TPO vs. EPDM: Rubber Roof Replacement Guide

Florida Rubber Roof Membrane
May 13, 2024

A rubber roof is one of the best ways to protect your flat roof from the Florida elements. But is it the best flat roofing option for your home or business? And if it is, which type of rubber roof should you get? To answer these questions, we need to have a clear understanding of what the different types of rubber roofs can offer.

That’s what we’re here for! PITCH Roofing was created to help our community members with real roofing problems, and today we’re doing that by taking a deep dive into rubberized roofing systems. Let’s start simple and talk about the different types of rubber roofing options.

Types of Rubber Roofs

Types of Rubber Roofs

Rubber roofs are pretty simple. They’re single-ply roofing materials made out of either rubber or a rubberized material. This means they work by creating a single, water-resistant layer across your flat roof to keep your roof strong and dry.

But in Florida, there are two types of rubber roofs that are especially popular: TPO and EPDM.

TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin) is a roofing membrane that typically comes in white. It’s made from a blend of polymers, usually including ethylene-propylene rubber and polypropylene. Manufacturers combine these materials to create a durable, flexible, and heat-resistant roofing membrane that can withstand all of Florida’s inclement weather.

EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) is a synthetic rubber roof that comes in both black and white. EPDM is known for its excellent resistance to weather, UV rays, and durability. That’s why it’s such a popular choice for low-slope roofs on both commercial and residential buildings.

While both of these materials are rubber roofs, they have wildly different benefits and drawbacks. Let’s take a look at them side by side so you can get the roof that’s right for you!

Choosing a Rubber Roof Material in Florida

Choosing a Rubber Roof Material in Florida

Sadly, we can’t just tell you which roofing material is “best,” because all roofing materials have situations when they’re better or worse than others. But by looking at specific ways that these materials compare, we can help you find the best option for your rubber roof replacement.

TPO vs. EPDM: Longevity

When you get a new roof, you obviously want it to stick around for a long time. But which type of rubber roof lasts longer?

Well, assuming that each roofing option has been correctly installed, you’ll notice a slight difference in longevity. TPO roofing, for example, lasts for about 25 years on average. An EPDM rubber roof, on the other hand, can last for up to 30 years.

In other words, EPDM lasts slightly longer than TPO, but the difference is slight and probably shouldn’t be the main deciding factor when choosing your rubber roofing material.

TPO vs. EPDM: Aesthetics

Since TPO comes only in white and EPDM is available in both black and white, EPDM definitely has an edge when it comes to aesthetic versatility. But how do you know if you need a black or white rubber roof?

A white roof is great for homes, especially if the flat part of your roof is over a bedroom. White roofing materials are better at reflecting UV rays, so a white rubber roof can help your structure stay cool in the summer.

Black rubber roofs, on the other hand, are ideal for commercial structures where you can see the roof from inside the building. Thanks to their darker colors, they can hide dirt much better than a white roof, which makes them popular for hospitals and other multi-story buildings.

TPO vs. EPDM: Maintenance

Nobody wants to spend money on a flat roof replacement just for the new roof to need constant repairs. And the good news is that most rubber roofs need very infrequent repairs. But there is a difference between how often TPO and EPDM need repairing.

Specifically, TPO requires significantly less attention than EPDM. That’s because TPO seams are heat-adhered, which makes them stronger than EPDM’s adhesively-bound seams. As a result, you’re much more likely to need repairs on an EPDM roof.

But for either rubber roof material, you should watch out for issues like punctures from storm debris. Rubber roofs are vulnerable to punctures in their single-ply systems, which can expose your roof to water, so getting a roof inspection after a major storm is always a good idea.

TPO vs. EPDM: Cost

In almost every rubber roof replacement, cost is either a major factor or the biggest factor for a buyer. And we completely understand — you want great value for your investment. But when it comes to rubber roof costs, there is not a night and day price difference between materials.

Take TPO roofing for example, This rubberized roofing system costs between $10 and $20 per square foot, including material and installation costs. The average size of a roof is 1,700 square feet, so TPO roof replacements average a cost of around $17,000 and $34,000.

EPDM roofing costs a bit more, with price ranges from $12 to $26 per square foot. So while it’s more expensive than a TPO roof, the price difference is fairly small. Using the same numbers, an EPDM roof will cost between $20,400 and $44,200.

Get a Free Rubber Roof Replacement Estimate

If you’re considering a flat roof replacement, then you need to consider all of the above factors when choosing your roofing material. It can be tempting to focus on a single issue, but EPDM and TPO are so similar that you need to be careful when choosing between them. While both are great flat roofing materials, one will inevitably be better than your situation than the other.

Whether you know exactly what you want or you’d like to discuss your roofing options with a professional, Pitch has you covered. All you have to do is give us a call at 727-607-4531 or schedule your free roofing estimate online. When we come out to conduct your roof inspection, we’ll be happy to walk you through your rubber roofing options!

Or, if you really want to expedite the process, you can get an entirely online roofing estimate. No inspection, no phone call, just filling out a form and getting a tailored rubber roof replacement quote!

No matter where you are in the buying process, let Pitch help you make the right decision for your roof. As Florida’s trusted local roofing experts, we can help make sure that you get the rubber roof that’s right for your home or business.

Last Updated:May 31, 2024