A debate that comes up is whether to install a PVC roofor an EPDM roof. Both flat roof systems have been around for a similar amount of time, and have unique attributes that are beneficial or detrimental, based on how your building is used.

A PVC Versus EPDM comparison chart is below.


PVC-CarlisleEPDM - Swansea
PVCEPDM Advantage
Years Used as Roofing ProductOver 50 Years, but formula has changed dramatically over timeOver 40 YearsEPDM, since formula has been more consistent.
Base ProductVinyl / PlasticsSynthetic RubberNeutral
ColorWhite, Gray, TanBlack + White at price premiumPVC
Temperature Impact on RoofCools RoofHeats roof (Unless white)PVC if lots of HVAC and other rooftop equipment. EPDM if minimal rooftop units. *EPDM melts small amounts of snow if black EPDM is exposed. Once roof is completely snow covered, doesn’t help at all.)
Seaming technologyHeat WeldedAfter 1980, 3” or 6” Seam Tape.Before 1980, liquid adhesivesPVC
Thicknesses.036 to .090.045 to .090Neutral
ReinforcedAlways Reinforced (Older non-reinforced systems could shatter)Reinforced or Non-ReinforcedNeutral
Puncture ResistanceOK to Good, depending on thickness and manufacturerGood to excellent, depending on thicknessEPDM
Chemical ResistanceExcellentPoorPVC
Environmental ImpactPoor – is actually banned in some countriesModerateEPDM
Slippery With MoistureYesYes – ModerateEPDM
Known Problems
  • Shatters under colder conditions.
  • Shrinks over time causing numerous issues.
  • Expensive compared to other single ply products.
  • Many concerns with fire resistance and fumes emitted when burned.
  • Effective welding requires experience.
  • Seams come apart over time.
  • Grease and other chemicals deteriorate product.
  • Creates hot environments for rooftop equipment.
Depends on building!