Choosing the Ideal Commercial Roofing Material: EPDM vs. TPO

Comparing EPDM vs. TPO Comes Down to Your Individual Roofing Needs

Commercial property managers and business owners have a wide variety of potential roofing materials to choose from for flat and low-slope roofs. This can be a difficult decision, as there’s no universal best option that works for every roof. Even similar materials such as EPDM and TPO have their own unique advantages and disadvantages. So how can you fairly compare EPDM vs. TPO for your roofing system?

Here at Anchor Roofing, our commercial roofing experts have years of experience installing, repairing, and maintaining TPO and EPDM roofing systems. We’ve seen each material be the best choice for various reasons, so today we’re breaking down these single-ply membranes and comparing how they stack up against each other.

Resistance to Damage

EPDM and TPO roofing may seem quite similar at first glance. Both are single-ply membranes composed of a synthetic membrane that is installed in large sections by unrolling the material across the roof. 

Because of these similar properties, EPDM and TPO have similar resistance to certain types of damage. Both stand up against hail effectively, and both are relatively fire resistant. 

However, TPO grades out slightly better for puncture resistance, chemical resistance, and crucially, water resistance. This difference in water resistance is due to the heat-welded seams that TPO roofs use, compared to adhesives such as roofing glues or tape used for EPDM roofing.


While TPO is generally more damage resistant, EPDM roofing gains an edge when it comes to overall longevity. A newly installed TPO roof has an expected lifespan of around 20–30 years. EPDM roofing, on the other hand, may last for 30–40 years or longer with proper maintenance.

In this case, the comparison between TPO vs. EPDM is clear, EPDM gaining an advantage here.

Energy Efficiency

Another factor that commercial building owners should consider is energy efficiency. The type of roof you choose for your building plays a major role in how your building deals with heat. 

Dark-colored materials have long been the norm in commercial roofing, but more recently commercial building owners have learned the benefits of “cooler” roofing solutions. A cool roof is one that reflects more sunlight and heat, thus reducing the costs of cooling your building.

When considering this factor, TPO gains another advantage. This is because TPO is naturally white in color, while EPDM roofing is typically black. While reflective coatings can be added to EPDM roofs, this adds to the overall cost. 


As both EPDM and TPO are single-ply membrane roofing systems, they are each fairly straightforward to install. They are also similarly priced, as some of the more affordable options for commercial roofing.

That said, in a direct comparison, EPDM typically costs less overall than a TPO roofing system. This largely comes down to installation costs, as while both are relatively quick to install, the heat-welded seams of TPO require more time to finish than the adhesives and mechanical fasteners of EPDM roofing systems. The additional labor hours result in slightly higher costs for TPO roofing.

Carlisle: Our Trusted Manufacturer for EPDM and TPO

Wherever you fall between EPDM vs. TPO roofing, there’s another important factor to consider: your manufacturer. No matter which material you choose, the quality of your roof will depend heavily on the product you choose.

Here at Anchor Roofing, we use Carlisle products for both EPDM and TPO roofing systems. Carlisle is a true leader when it comes to commercial single-ply roofing systems, with more than 50 years in the industry. 

Anchor Roofing Is Your Commercial Roofing Partner!

Of course, the roofing partner you choose to install your roof matters a whole lot, too. At Anchor Roofing, our commercial roofing team is well versed in both EPDM and TPO roof installations. 

Both of these roofing options have key advantages that are important to consider when planning your commercial roof replacement. Our professional roofers in Omaha can help evaluate your building, your roofing needs, and your budget to identify the solution that works best for you.

In need of a commercial roof replacement? Contact Anchor Roofing today to get started!

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