The Difference Between TPO and EPDM RV Roofs

There are lots of choices when shopping for RV roofs. But before spending into one, you must educate yourself first so that no amount of money should be wasted from your wallet. Don’t rush on buying one if you just heard an opinion of a particular product that’s introduced to your first. One sided is never an option when it comes to careful shopping. Instead, make it a habit to review other products too and determine their pros and cons. In this article, we will be talking about two RV roof choices: TPO and EPDM.

TPO and EPDM RV Roofs: What Are They?

  • Most people choose TPO roofs because of its price and its white color. It has a built-in TPO membrane that can be attached by screwing or using adhesive glue. But better yet, you can just heat-weld the membrane for easier convenience.
  • The TPO roof has a laminated nature and it comes with a different material in the top and bottom. For most TPO roofs, it has a white top and a gray bottom. Opting for TPO has its advantages such as it can be fully integrated with a reinforcement to make it more durable. It might take a little time and effort when installing such since it is difficult to do so.
  • On the other hand, the EPDM roof can be vulcanized that you can let it dry into the sheets. If vulcanizing is not your thing, you can leave the material to a semi-solid state.
  • The vulcanized EPDM acts as the roof’s membrane. Meanwhile, the non-vulcanized one acts as a flashing of the cured material of the roof as part of the work. Keep in mind that the EPDM is made from a material called synthetic rubber, which is the main reason for its black color.
  • With that being said, which of the two should you choose? Let’s find out below.

The Cost

  • When differentiating the cost between the two, TPO is one of the more expensive ones. That’s why some people opt for EPDM roofs because it feels more economical and can be easily installed when single-ply roofing membranes come into play.
  • Choosing from the two when it comes to pricing, you should pick one that has a thicker membrane. Although both TPO and EPDM roofs deliver excellent quality performance, having thicker membranes should be put into consideration when buying one.

Life Span

  • One trick to determine the longevity of a single-pry roofing membrane is how they overlapped the seams and how they are attached together. Improper attachment of these membranes can lead to leaks.
  • TPO roof is actually still an experimental product when it comes to RV roofing. And as of today, it is still difficult to determine the longevity of such. In conclusion, you should opt for EPDM roofing for now because it is already guaranteed that they last longer based on experience by most RV owners.

Build Quality

  • EPDM roofing steals the spotlight when it comes to durability. It is made from a material such as a rubber compound and has been used by many as long as it’s been around. It also comes with detailed flashings and well-tapered seams, which makes it more durable that can even last for up to 25 years.
  • EPDM roofing is also capable to withstand colder climates compared to TPO roofing. Not just that, it also provides ultraviolet light resistance and has been recognized by the roofing industry as the most reliable roof when it comes to RV roofing.
  • On the other hand, the TPO seam is constructed to be as durable as the EPDM. The problem with it is that it still needs a little tweaking to its membranes’ formulation to match the durability EPDM has.
  • That being said, EPDM is the way to go if build quality comes into mind. TPO is not water resistant, and they can’t also block extreme sunny conditions too which will only result in heat overload inside your RV.

Installation

  • EPDM roofs don’t need any special equipment when installing such. Meanwhile, TPO needs hot air welding making the installation costly and difficult to do so.
  • Even a beginner can easily install an EPDM roof, and it doesn’t require any special skills either. If you try to install a TPO roof without knowledge and skills how to do so, you’re only putting your RV’s life at risk.

Maintenance

  • Installing an EPDM membrane properly doesn’t require any special maintenance. TPO, on the other hand, needs to be maintained properly and you need to treat its seams with an adhesive so that the roof won’t fall apart.
  • The only disadvantage of an EPDM roof is its poor response to oils and solvents. So when it comes to cleaning and maintaining one, avoid using conditioners and cleaners that contain harsh abrasives. Doing so will only bring severe damage to the roof.

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