PVC Versus TPO

Two of the hardest flat roof systems to tell apart is the PVC roof and the TPO roof. Both are white, heat welded systems that look virtually identical. However, while the face of both membranes and their installation are virtually identical, they are very different systems on the inside.

A PVC Versus TPO comparison chart is below.

PVC Roofing Systems
PVCTPO Advantage
Years Used as Roofing ProductOver 50 Years, but formula has changed dramatically over timeOver 30 YearsNeutral
Base ProductVinyl / PlasticsPolyolefins (Polypropylene,Polyethylene) / PlasticsNeutral
ColorWhite, Gray, TanWhite, Gray, Tan + Pallet of colors if over 100,000 Square FeetNeutral
Temperature Impact on RoofCools RoofCools RoofNeutral
Seaming technologyHeat WeldedHeat WeldedNeutral
Thicknesses.036 to .090.045 to .080Neutral
ReinforcedAlways Reinforced (Older non-reinforced systems could shatter)Always ReinforcedNeutral
Puncture ResistanceOK to Good, depending on thickness and manufacturerGood to excellent, depending on thicknessTPO
Chemical ResistanceExcellentGoodPVC
Environmental ImpactPoor – is actually banned in some countriesExcellentTPO
Slippery With MoistureYesYesNeutral
Known ProblemsShatters 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.Effective welding requires experience.TPO, unless there is major grease and chemical output from rooftop units.