Roofing is something most of us like to ignore. It’s not the most glamorous topic, and as long as there’s a good roof over our heads, everything is fine, right? Unfortunately, when it comes to commercial real estate, proactive thinking is invaluable. Whether you’re working on a new construction project or you’re getting ahead of the rising age of an existing roof, you need options. For commercial roofing, the most common materials are very different from what you’ll see in residential sections. The flat nature of most commercial roofs is served better by ultradurable materials that don’t weigh too much.

Two of the most popular choices for flat roofing are TPO and PVC. Read this blog to get an idea of which is right for you.

TPO

TPO is the new up-and-comer in commercial roofing. Well, it’s been around for plenty of years (which is young in roofing terms), and in that time, it has gained a lot of steam. It stands for thermoplastic polyolefin, and it is made from ethylene or polyethylene products. It is a single-ply roofing material, and many roofers consider it the gold standard for commercial applications. The advantage of TPO is that it has a rubber-like quality. That makes it tough and adaptable to many different conditions experienced by commercial roofs. The end product is something that roofers have come to respect as a highly competitive material for top-notch roofs.

Pros

TPO is in most regards a very effective roofing material. It is durable and very waterproof. It is great at reflecting sunlight, which can help lower cooling costs for a building. It is also recyclable, meaning it is a green material choice on several fronts.

Perhaps best of all, TPO is a cost-efficient material. It costs less than many other roofing options. Even when you take this cheaper option, you get comparable performance and longevity.

Cons

TPO has many pros, but nothing is perfect. On the downside, TPO is much harder to install than PVC and other popular materials. Part of this is that it’s on the newer end of the spectrum, and it can be harder to find roofers who are comfortable working with the material.

TPO is also less chemically resistant than PVC. That won’t matter in most applications, but some commercial roofs are exposed to corrosive chemicals, and in those cases, TPO is an inferior option.

PVC

PVC has been popular for commercial roofing for a good 30 years or more. It is well known for its high-performance qualities. It’s great on flat roofs and commercial buildings. Especially when roofs become restrictively large, the lightweight PVC material is a great choice that provides strength to the roof without putting too much stress on load-bearing components of the structure.

Pros

For starters, PVC is very resistant to chemical damage. In terms of primary roofing materials, it might be the most chemically resistant option you can find. PVC is also flexible and does well at resisting punctures. This allows it to be a very durable roofing material, and it does well against high winds and hail.

PVC roofing is naturally white, so as long as you don’t color it, it is very UV reflective — making it another energy-efficient option. It’s also fairly easy to install. Roofers have been dealing with it for decades, and the methods are fleshed out at this point.

Cons

On the downside, PVC doesn’t weather as well as TPO. In fact, that was one of the driving motivations for the development of TPO roofing. Add to that the fact that PVC roofing materials are much more expensive, and you can see why the new style has become so popular.

The Final Verdict

There is no clearly superior choice here, and it’s why the best roofers install both kinds of roofs. When chemical corrosion is an issue, PVC becomes the clear winner. When you’re trying to keep to a budget, TPO offers an obvious advantage. In most cases, both options will prove viable, and it will come down to small details when you determine which is the better option for your building.

If you want to discuss those finer details, or you’re looking for roofing expertise, contact Paradigm Roofing. We regularly install both TPO and PVC roofs in Collin County and the rest of DFW, and we are intimately familiar with each of them. We can answer all of your questions and really dive into the minutia of your project. We’ll help you sort out the best option, and then we’ll professionally install your new roof.