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TPO vs. PVC: Which Roofing Membrane Will Withstand Punctures?

Which Commercial Roofing Membrane is Right for You


As a facility manager, you might already be aware that TPO and PVC are viable options for commercial roofing membranes, but what you may not be so aware of is which of them is better able to withstand punctures. The truth is that your flat roof can become damaged or punctured during  routine maintenance from dropped or sharp tools, or whenever a technician steps on gravel, a loose screw or a stone. If you’re due for a new roof and are aiming for something that’s durable, learn the difference between the two options and which is better able to withstand a potential puncture.


TPO has been tested with blunt and sharp objects dropped at low speeds. The results found that thicker varieties of the material were better able to withstand an accidental puncture. Besides thick TPO, you’ll also get the same results with a fleece-backed material.  In regards to puncture tests performed at high speeds with sharp and blunt objects, thicker TPO had the same results. What’s more is that these results were the same for a variety of manufacturers, so you aren’t as restricted in your puncture-resistant options for commercial roofing membranes.


With the low-speed puncture test, PVC tested the same as TPO, except when it came to the 36-mil material variety. Here PVC had better results when compared to TPO, mainly because of the overall weight of the fabric.  As far as the high-speed test, the 50-mil variety of PVC was shown to perform better than the 45-mil option. One thing to take note of with the high-speed test is that the 36-mil variety didn’t perform well under the increased speed. This has been attributed to the dense scrim of the 36-mil variety.

Additional Advantages

Besides overall puncture resistance, there might be additional features you’re looking for when it comes to commercial roofing membranes. TPO is known to be easier to install and more environmentally friendly. TPO is also more energy efficient and often better for those looking for a cost effective option.

If you need any help identifying the best roofing system for your facility, please contact us at 800-551-5602.

Posted on by North American Roofing
TPO vs. PVC: Which Roofing Membrane Will Withstand Punctures?

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