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EPDM vs TPO Roofing: Which is Better? (3 Things to Consider)

February 15, 2023 | 3 min. read

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Flat (membrane) roofing is a popular choice for commercial properties. However, it’s also necessary for flat or low slopes on residential homes.

Two of the most common flat roofing options are TPO and EPDM. Because they’re both popular, you need to know how they compare with vital factors to determine which is right for you. 

Rescue My Roof has been educating Wisconsin homeowners for over a decade, helping them find the perfect flat roofing material for their dream homes. Because of this, we’ll compare TPO roofing to EPDM roofing.

We’ll break down TPO and EPDM roofing, compare their characteristics, and help you choose the best option.

Ultimately, you’ll walk away with an idea of which membrane will fit your home’s needs. 

What are TPO and EPDM Roofs?

A TPO white membrane flat roof (left) compared to an EPDM black membrane flat roof (right).

TPO and EPDM are both flat roof systems for flat or low slope roofs. 

TPO is a single-ply white membrane used in both commercial and residential roofing. 

EPDM is a synthetic rubber black membrane used in commercial and medical facilities. One significant difference between the two is their chemical makeup and coloring. 

TPO usually comes in white, while EPDM comes in black. You may be able to find different colors depending on your contractor’s supplier and material availability. 

Regardless of your choice, both flat roof systems are great options. But you’ll need to pick the best fit for you.

TPO vs. EPDM Roofing: Durability, Pricing & Location

You know TPO and EPDM roofing; now it’s time to determine which suits you. 

Here are three key factors to compare when choosing a flat roofing material.

1. Durability

A roof’s lifespan is essential. Roof replacements are a significant financial investment. If you replace a roof now, you don’t want early repairs or a replacement in the future. 

As long as the membranes are correctly installed, you should get close to their maximum lifespan; 25 years for TPO roofing and 25-30 years of EPDM roofing. 

Subsequently, EPDM is slightly more durable than TPO. 

2. TPO & EPDM Pricing

For many homeowners, pricing is the determining factor of what materials they’ll choose. However, we can’t give you an exact price of a flat roof due to multiple factors like the size of your roof, location, accessibility, and more. 

However, here are the ranges you can expect for TPO and EPDM flat roofs:

TPO and EPDM will cost around $14-17 per square foot. Typically, TPO will cost more as it requires more accessories to install.

EPDM may be the right choice if you are looking for a more budget-friendly option. 

3. Location

Black flat roof on a Texas residential home.

To determine the best flat roofing material, you must consider its location. 

If the flat roof is over a bedroom or other living space, TPO roofing may be more suitable as the white membrane will reflect heat instead of absorbing it. 

EPDM’s black membrane absorbs heat and may warm the room below during the summer months. 

If the roof is in a highly visible area, TPO’s white membrane will dirty faster – which may become an eyesore. A black membrane, like EPDM, will hide dirt and debris better. 

We recommend TPO to effectively cool your home if the roof is above a living space. However, EPDM is the better option if you want to avoid frequent roof cleaning. 

Which is better: TPO Roofing or EPDM Roofing?

After comparing durability, price, and location, you should know which flat roof membrane is best for you. 

While EPDM is slightly cheaper, the pricing for both roofs is relatively the same. It comes down to where the roof is and how vital durability is. 

After determining which membrane suits you, it’s time to call a roofing contractor. 

To help you make the best hiring decision possible, read “Top 8 Questions to Ask A Roofing Contractor” and “Top 6 Commonly Asked Questions About Flat Roofs.” 

You can also download our Buyer’s Guide to learn everything you need about a roof replacement. 
Do you need a flat roof replacement in Southeastern Wisconsin? Call Rescue My Roof today to get a free estimate.