<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=2445357002353931&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">

Roofing Tips, Tricks and Ideas

TPO vs EPDM - What’s Best for Commercial Roofs in North Carolina?

Published by Pickard Roofing at

When choosing a new roof for a commercial building in North Carolina it’s important to know which roof type would work best. Since many commercial roofs tend to be flat, allowing water to pool, you’ll need a roofing system that lowers your risk of water damage. This includes a good roofing design including tapered insulation and proper drainage systems. You’ll also need a roof that is durable and reliable enough to provide protection for a larger area compared to residential roofs.

Two of the more common types of commercial roofs that are available include thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) roofing systems and ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) systems. Knowing more about both of these systems will help you make the right choice for your commercial building.


What Is TPO?

TPO roofing systems have been growing more popular in recent years due to the benefits they offer. These roofs consist of one layer of thermoplastic polyolefin made up of different sheets. These sheets are heat welded together to cover your roof with a single membrane. When you have a TPO roof on your building, you can expect lower energy bills, improved protection from the elements and other benefits, including the following:

  • Durability: TPO roofs have a long lifespan compared to other commercial roofing systems. With proper installation and maintenance, these roofs can last for a couple of decades or more. Keep in mind that TPO roofs do not require a lot of maintenance overall. They’re also more resistant to punctures compared to EPDM roofs, resulting in a lower risk of repairs.
  • Energy efficiency: White TPO roofs reflect sunlight, which helps keep the interior of your building cooler. With temperatures reaching into the 90s frequently during summer in North Carolina, this can add up to significant savings on your air conditioning bills.
  • Easy repairs: If your TPO roof needs repairs, the heated weld seams make this easier to do than repairs on other roofing systems.
  • Protection from water damage: The single membrane design of TPO roofs means that they are able to repel water, which helps reduce the risk of having rainwater pool on flat commercial roofs.


What Is EPDM?

EPDM roofs have been the industry leader for commercial buildings for more than six decades. These roofs, which are made from synthetic rubber, are mechanically fastened, fully adhered and ballasted. EPDM roofs are commonly used for commercial buildings due to the following benefits they offer:

  • Protection from hail: The rubber surface that EPDM roofs have provides effective protection from hail storms. With this type of roof in place, dents and other damage from hail is rare.
  • Durability: EPDM roofs can have a long lifespan if they are properly installed and maintained. They are also resistant to water and wear and tear from UV radiation.


Although EPDM roofs offer these benefits, keep in mind that they typically have a dark surface. This darker coloring means that these roofs absorb heat from the sun rather than reflect it, which can make the interior of your building hotter. When you have an EPDM roof on your building, this darker surface forces your air conditioning system to work harder, resulting in more wear and tear, along with higher utility bills.


What’s Best for North Carolina?

When it comes to choosing the right roof for your commercial building, climate and weather are important factors to consider. The amount of heat, rain and hail your roof is typically exposed to are among the biggest factors to think about when weighing your options. Since North Carolina gets a lot of heat and rain, TPO is the most suitable roofing system. With a white TPO roof, your building can significantly reduce cooling costs when it’s hot out. When it’s rainy, having a TPO roof provides your building with protection from water damage. 


At the end of the day, design and details are the most critical part of your roof. This includes flashings, walkway protection mats, proper drainage, insulation value, and elimination of ponding water. If you’re having trouble deciding between TPO and EPDM roofs for your commercial building, give us a call. We’re the commercial roofing experts in the Triangle. We can help you determine which roofing system will provide your building with the best protection from water and heat throughout the year.


Get a Roofing Evaluation


At Pickard Roofing, we think Design. Craft. Renew. We are experienced in all types of roofing systems- and provide the right roofing design and selective craftsmanship for renewing our customer’s assets. We invite sustainable building customers to give us a call for your free evaluation. For over 90 years Pickard Roofing Company has installed countless metal, tile, slate, TPO, EPDM, and all types of shingle roofing in the Triangle. Our services including residential, commercial, custom architectural metal fabrication, and historical renovation.