TPO vs. PVC Roofing (Comparison, Cost, and Installation)

TPO vs. PVC Roofing

TPO roofing has grown increasingly popular each year. The primary reason for its popularity is its presentation as an affordable alternative to PVC roofing. Despite its rising intrigue, some roofing companies still contend that PVC roofing is the superior roofing system in 2022. Let’s compare the two roofing systems to understand better.


PVC membrane costs more per square foot than TPO, but the overall price is very similar. However, the labor cost for TPO is cheaper because most roofers mark up PVC membranes at a higher rate. Despite the lesser labor costs, the labor itself is more intensive with TPO because of glued seams.

The bottom line is simple. While the affordability of TPO roofing compared to PVC is overblown, the cost of installation is usually lower. As a result, choosing TPO roofing over PVC is the most affordable choice.

Winner: TPO Roofing

Environmental Impact

TPO is recyclable and environmentally friendlier than PVC. In addition, the reflective surface reduces UV radiation while increasing energy efficiency. Some PVC roofing membranes also feature reflective surfaces, and most abide by energy regulations. Still, TPO is the clear environmental choice.

Winner: TPO Roofing

Weather Resistance 

Accelerated weathering tests show TPO as a superior roofing system for weather resistance compared with PVC roofing. While PVC fanatics strongly refute the test conclusions, many are unaware of the consistent advancements in the TPO roofing formulation since its inception.

Also, some PVC enthusiasts misuse chemical resistance as evidence of weather resistance when they are entirely separate functions. For example, PVC roofs resist chemicals, oils, and greases better than TPO, but TPO stands up better to weather conditions like rain, sleet, hail, and snow.

Winner: TPO Roofing


Both roof types will present a manufacturer’s warranty and a contractor’s warranty. The former protects you from defects with the membrane’s manufacturing. The latter covers the roofer’s craft and installation.

The length and coverage of these warranties depend on the specific manufacturer and contractor. As a result, neither roofing material presents an advantage over the other, as the warranties are case-by-case.

Winner: Draw

Installation Process

Most roofers find the PVC installation process more straightforward because the materials have been around longer. Also, TPO roofing material is typically stiffer as it lacks PVC roofs plasticizers. 

While many roofing contractors are creatures of habit and prefer the installation process of PVC material, others favor TPO installation. Ultimately it comes down to the preference of the roofing contractor, their skillset, and their knowledge of the installation process.

Winner: Draw


More data exists about the longevity of PVC than TPO. As a result, PVC is the safest bet for life expectancy. Still, newer TPO roofing materials project lifespans even longer than their PVC counterparts.

A roof’s lifespan, regardless of material, depends on multiple variables:

  1. Installation quality sets the foundation for your roof’s longevity.
  2. Maintenance frequency or, in some cases, neglect.
  3. The luck or fortune of severe weather conditions plays a role.

The materials themselves have some built-in advantages and disadvantages. For example, TPO roofs lack plasticizers which bodes well for their longevity by preventing plasticizer migration which can ruin PVC roofs. 

On the other hand, PVC roofs have a larger roll width, requiring fewer cuts to cover the roof and fewer seams to glue. TPO roofs can run into problems with a smaller roll width which thus requires more cuts.

Winner: Draw

TPO and PVC Similarities

TPO roofing aims to emulate PVC roofs by providing similar benefits for a more affordable price. Both are made of thermoplastic materials, thermoplastic olefin and polyvinyl chloride, respectively. Similarly, both materials are more resistant to leaks because they are heat weldable.

As mentioned earlier, TPO and PVC roofs are reflective, lowering energy usage, energy costs, and UV radiation. In addition, the white color of both materials makes them obvious choices for cool roofing or green roofing.

The installation process is also very similar for both roof types. Tools, procedures, and requisite skillsets are almost identical for both roofs. In the same vein, roofers can mechanically fasten or fully adhere either material to the property.

Finally, both PVC and TPO roofing conform to roofing movements, making them highly flexible and adaptable. As a result, repairs are easier for both roof types than other flat roofing options. 

The Final Call

TPO roofing is more affordable, environmentally friendly, and durable than PVC. While traditionalists still prefer PVC roofing because of its installation process and chemical resistance, the smart long-term money is on TPO.

At Adams and Sons Roofing, we provide TPO roof repair and replacement in Sugar Hill, GA, and surrounding areas. With top-notch roofing contractors, we can attend to all of your TPO roofing needs in 2022.

Winner: TPO Roofing