TPO vs EPDM RV Roof: Which One Should You Use?

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If you are a beginner with recreational vehicles, you may be surprised by the most popular RV roofing material. Some people may think that it is aluminum or tin like most houses, but it is not. The most common RV roof material is rubber, specifically — TPO and EPDM.

If you plan to change your RV’s roof, you’ll likely choose between TPO vs EPDM RV Roof. To know which one to use, read the comparison down below.

TPO Roofing

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TPO stands for Thermoplastic Polyolefin, and it has been used as an alternative to PVC since the early 1990s. It was an excellent hit for RV owners since it was inexpensive.

Installing the TPO roof membrane for RVs is easy as you can use adhesives or mechanically screw it in to attach. Today, it is considered the most popularly used roofing material for RVs.

Advantages and Disadvantages of TPO Roofing

Now that you know what a TPO RV Roof is, it’s time to know about the advantages and disadvantages of using it. That way, you can make a better decision on which type of RV roof to use.

Advantages

  • Durable

One of the best reasons why RV owners choose the TPO RV roof is its durability. This material can withstand any impact and does not collect dirt or grow mold. In addition, TPO is made out of flexible material that follows the RV’s every move.

  • Affordable

The TPO RV roof is an excellent choice for many RV owners because of its affordable price. With proper care and maintenance, this budget-friendly material can last up to years, which is a big win. You can also get some PVC benefits such as hot-air weldable seams for a low price.

  • Energy-efficient

You can save a lot of energy if you use the TPO roof. This material has cooling and heating effects so that you can conserve energy. The TPO white variant surpassed the requirement of EPA’s EnergyStar, which means it can keep your RV cool even during summer.

The other color variants have a remarkable ability to reflect UV rays.

  • Stylish

Back when RV roofs were first introduced, only lighter colors were available because they could absorb light and heat. However, thanks to modern technology, TPO roofs are now made UV-resistant.

As a result, you can now choose a TPO RV roof in any color you want without compromising its efficiency in absorbing heat.

  • Easy to install

TPO roofing is lightweight and usually produced in wide sheets; that’s why it is very easy to install.

You can be sure that there wouldn’t be any seams in your RV’s roof because of the wide TPO sheets. Installation cost won’t be high as the lightweight roof material is easy to maneuver, even if you do it all by yourself.

Disadvantages

  • It does not last long

One of the setbacks of using TPO roof membrane for RVs is that it isn’t long-lasting yet. Over the years, manufacturers have been trying to research what can make this material last long without sacrificing cost.

Today, there still isn’t an exact duration of how long it will last. If you want to use TPO for your RV, get one from a well-known manufacturer trusted for many years.

  • Deteriorates faster in hot weathers

Another major drawback of using TPO is that it tends to deteriorate faster when left out under the sun. This is a common problem for those who live in the Southern parts, where they experience long hours of heat. Make sure to ask your manufacturer what extent of heat can your TPO roof tolerate.

EPDM Roofing

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EPDM stands for Ethylene Propylene Diene Terpolymer and is commonly called Rubber membrane roofing, rolled rubber roofing, or rubber roofing. Alongside TPO roofing, EPDM is considered one of the most popularly used roofing materials for RV.

It’s popular because it is made out of recycled materials such as sawdust, slate dust, and recycled automotive tires, which makes it low-priced.

Advantages and Disadvantages of EPDM Roofing

After finding out what EPDM Roofing is, you need to know the advantages and disadvantages of using this as your RV roof material. Check the following list to make your choice.

Advantages

  • Durable

You won’t have problems with seams or leaks if you use EPDM because it is produced in broad sheets. It can also withstand harsh weather, such as extreme heat.

If you can get EPDM roofing from a manufacturer that’s known in the business for many years, you can ensure that your RV roof can last up to 20 years.

  • Affordable

The most significant benefit of using EPDM roofing is that it is cost-friendly. For as low as 80 cents per square foot, you can have a new RV roof. No matter how big your RV is, you won’t have any problem with the price.

  • Easy to install

Installation is a breeze with EPDM RV roofing because of its lightweight material. You can save up on many things such as cost and time because all you need to do is remove everything in your RV’s roof and roll out the new EPDM sheets and secure them with adhesive or screws.

No need for additional manpower; you can do this all by yourself.

Disadvantages

  • Absorbs heat

The major drawback of using EDM is that it quickly absorbs heat. Since the material often comes in black, it naturally absorbs heat faster. As a result, you may experience problems with overheating in the interior of your RV when left under the sun for some time.

You can choose EPDM in lighter colors, but they are more expensive in general.

  • Plain look

Another downside you may experience with using EPDM is that it doesn’t have any curb appeal. The black EPDM roofing looks just like the inner tube of a rubber tire that is completely stretched out. Again, although EPDM does have other colors such as tan and white, they cost more than the regular black ones.

TPO vs EPDM RV Roof: Which One Should You Use?

Both the TPO and EPDM roof material have distinct features that can make either an excellent choice for your RV.

If you’re looking for an RV roofing material that can efficiently reflect UV rays and look stylish at the same time, then you may choose the TPO RV roof.

However, one of the most significant issues you may encounter with this material is its short longevity. If you’re okay with changing your RV roof now and then for a more appealing look, then feel free to choose the TPO RV roof.

On the other hand, the EPDM RV roof is one of the most used RV roofing materials. At only 80 cents per square foot, you can get a durable RV roof that will not deteriorate with any amount of heat.

The only drawback with this material is that it doesn’t reflect UV rays very well. Instead, it absorbs heat, which may cause you problems, especially if your RV is parked somewhere without a shade. However, if you choose a light-colored EPDM roof, you can make sure that it will last long.

Conclusion

Choosing the proper roofing for your RV is an essential factor that you need to think over so that your RV will always be in good condition. Picking the suitable material between TPO vs EPDM RV Roof is confusing for RV owners, especially beginners.

You must keep in mind their features and choose the one which suits you better. For example, TPO is lighter and more appealing, while EPDM is more heat-resistant and can last longer.

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