TPO vs PVC Roofing: What You Need to Know

Mar 22, 2023


Moises V.




March 22, 2023


October 10, 2023

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Roofing is a crucial part of any building’s construction process, as it protects the interior from environmental hazards and also insulates the building, which helps minimize energy usage. There are various roofing options, but Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO) and Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) are two widely used roofing materials. Both are thermoplastic materials, which are great choices for both commercial and residential roofing.

However, there are differences between the two, and knowing what they are can impact your decision of which type to choose. This article will delve into TPO vs PVC roofing and provide a detailed comparison of each one to help you make a sound decision. Ready to get started?

What is TPO Roofing?

TPO is a type of roofing material characterized by its distinctive white color. This color allows it to reflect heat instead of absorbing it, resulting in a comparatively cooler internal building temperature.

The material comes in large rolls that are welded together to form a single layer and then laid onto the roof deck. TPO is a superb choice for roofing a flat or low-sloping dormer, as it’ll help regulate the temperature, no matter if it’s used above a garage or a bedroom.

One aspect to consider when choosing this roofing material is its white-colored membrane. It gets dirty fairly quickly, which can be off-putting for many as it’ll cast a bad look on your roof.

What is PVC Roofing?

Worker welding pvc roof membrane by heater with welder machine

PVC is a single-ply white membrane made from a synthetic plastic polymer. It’s white in color and is commonly used to cover flat or low-slope roofs. One major advantage of PVC is the added plasticizers, which increase the material’s flexibility.

This is most commonly used for commercial buildings but can also be used for residential roofs and is among the most popular roofing products available. PVC is highly durable and has excellent resistance to harsh environments.

The disadvantage is that, just like TPO, PVC is generally white in color and can get dirty quite easily. 

TPO vs PVC Roofing

balance between benefit and cost

Here, we’ll look at some comparison points between TPO and PVC to aid you in your decision-making process. Keep in mind that you may need to consider other factors apart from the ones listed below.


This is perhaps the most significant factor for homeowners when deciding on whether to choose TPO or PVC roofing.

TPO roofing is typically less expensive than PVC due to its material. It’s made from a blend of different thermoplastic materials, which costs less than the materials used for PVC. However, due to the labor requirement, TPO will be slightly more expensive when factoring in installation costs.

In general, the cost depends on the size and complexity of the roofing project and the quality of materials being used. Consult with a roofing professional to get a better idea of the cost of your project.


PVC is easier to install due to its increased flexibility. This makes it a more sensible option for complicated projects like irregularly shaped roofs. TPO installations are more difficult and may require further work if glued seams are chosen instead of welded seams. 

The roofing contractor is a significant factor in the installation process. You should choose one who has considerable experience with membrane roof installations.


A roofing material’s durability is important when selecting your material of choice, as it’ll impact the longevity of your roof.

TPO can withstand the elements as well as punctures, tears, and impact. This makes them a great solution for industrial roofing. Other pros of this type of roofing include protection from UV rays and resistance to mold and dirt.

Meanwhile, PVC roofing is resistant to moisture. The welded seams form a strong bond that’s even stronger than the thermoplastic material itself. Because of this, PVC is regarded as one of the most durable materials for roofing.

While TPO roofs seem more durable due to their lack of plasticizers, it’s worth noting that PVC roofing has stood the test of time. 

Energy Efficiency

Both roofing solutions have naturally reflecting membranes that work to reduce the penetration of UV radiation. They have both been proven to be energy-efficient options during warmer climates with harsh sunlight, especially for buildings.

Using PVC can reduce the urban heat island effect and cool down the environment. A smoother TPO and PVC roofing membrane can help protect the roofing system from accumulating dirt and debris. This is very important as dirt buildup can reduce the material’s reflective properties.


If installed correctly, PVC roofing can be expected to last around 20 years with little maintenance and care, thanks to its high strength and durability. It’s also resistant to water, fire, and wind hazards, making it a popular choice for commercial structures. Although PVC may be expensive to install, it’ll save you a ton of money in the long run. 

TPO roofing, on the other hand, has a slightly longer lifespan of around 22 to 30 years. This is due to the welding that fuses many pieces into a single one. The lifespan may depend on your geographic location. It’s been known to have poor performances in locations with high temperatures.


Choosing the right roofing material can be an overwhelming task. Both TPO and PVC are great roofing options to consider, so make sure to keep the factors discussed above in mind. 

We, Viking Contractors, are a reputable roofing contractor who can guide you through the process of choosing a roofing material based on your requirements. We’re eager to work with you, from planning to installation, so that you can have peace of mind. Contact us today to learn more.

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