TPO vs EPDM RV Roof: Which One Should You Use? (2023)

TPO vs EPDM RV Roof: Which One Should You Use? (1)

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.

Table of Contents

  • TPO Roofing
    • Advantages and Disadvantages of TPO Roofing
  • EPDM Roofing
    • Advantages and Disadvantages of EPDM Roofing
  • TPO vs EPDM RV Roof: Which One Should You Use?
  • Conclusion

TPO Roofing

TPO vs EPDM RV Roof: Which One Should You Use? (2)

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.


  • 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.

(Video) EPDM vs TPO Flat Roof - What's The Difference?

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.


  • 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

TPO vs EPDM RV Roof: Which One Should You Use? (3)

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.

(Video) RV Roof Materials Explained! Does it really matter? FIND OUT!


  • 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.


  • 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.

(Video) How to replace your RV or Motorhome roof EPDM or TPO

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.


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.

Did you enjoy this article? Do you want to check more comparisons about TPO vs Fiberglass roofs? Let us know in the comments down below.

TPO vs EPDM RV Roof: Which One Should You Use? (4)

We care to offer help to anyone into cars, vans, trucks, ATVs, Jeeps, or driving. No matter what age they are, maintaining your vehicles can be much work and effort. So, that is why we want to provide detailed information and helpful reviews for people, especially beginners.

(Video) Determine whether your RV roof has an EPDM or TPO RV roof


What is the best RV roof material? ›

The Best RV Roof Material is Affordable

EPDM is an economical solution, and in its liquid form it is even more affordable and easy to install.

Is TPO roof better? ›

TPO can be a desirable option because it has a relatively low price point. Compared to PVC, TPO offers comparable energy efficiency and ability to weld hot-air at a fraction of the cost of PVC. TPO would be considered a strong roofing product because of its ability to resist tears, punctures and dirt and mold build-up.

What is the best sealant for a travel trailer roof? ›

7 Top Picks for the Best RV Sealant
  • 1 – Dicor Self-Leveling Lap Sealant.
  • 2 – Eternabond RSW-4-50 Roofseal Sealant Tape.
  • 3 – Geocel ProFlex RV Sealant.
  • 4 – Sashco Through The Roof Sealant.
  • 5 – 3M Marine Adhesive Sealant 5200.
  • 6 – Beech Lane RV Permanent Repair Tape.
4 Jan 2022

What is the best coating for a TPO RV roof? ›

Silicone and acrylic coating systems are both great choices for restoring and extending the life of a TPO roofing system.

How can you tell the difference between EPDM and TPO? ›

EPDM has a dark surface, which in summer conditions will absorb heat, forcing cooling systems to work overtime, whereas TPO roofing reflects sunlight, allowing commercial air conditioners to work more efficiently. TPO also has a somewhat higher resistance to punctures than EPDM.

Which RV roof is better EPDM or PVC? ›

Composed of synthetic rubber, an ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) roofing membrane offers superior weather resistance while remaining a cost-effective option. PVC, on the other hand, delivers exceptional seam strength; in fact, heat-welded PVC seams are stronger than the PVC roofing membrane itself.

Is TPO more expensive than EPDM? ›

The main advantage of TPO is that it is typically the lowest material cost for single ply membrane roofs, costing less than EPDM and other types of rolled rubber roofing.

What is the life expectancy of a TPO roof? ›

What is the life expectancy of a TPO roof? A thermoplastic Olefin (TPO) roof typically lasts as little as 22 years and up to a maximum of about 30 years. The two thermoplastic layers are adhered to a polyester scrim for reinforcement, becoming a single ply to protect your roof.

How do you reseal a TPO RV roof? ›

Sealing a RV TPO Roof - Dicor - YouTube

How often should RV roof be resealed? ›

In fact, about every two to four years is ideal, depending on the kind of weather you have and the type of environment you drive through on a regular basis. Certain kinds of climates can cause more wear and tear on the roof than others. And always, after a large storm or heavy snow, inspect the roof for damage.

Can you use EPDM coating on a TPO roof? ›

Yes! AcryShield A502 base coat provides unique AcryLock™ technology to tenaciously adhere directly to EPDM, TPO, and Hypalon without the need for additional primers or an etching rinse.

Can you recoat a TPO roof? ›

Light damage may be fixed by recoating only the damaged part of the roof. Both recovering and recoating a TPO roof are more cost-effective options for business owners than replacing the entire roofing system. However, the main goal is to keep your building dry, and it may be necessary to replace the whole thing.

Can I use Dicor on TPO roof? ›

Dicor Products offers a specially formulated cleaner for EPDM and other kinds of roofs, such as TPO, fiberglass and aluminum. This cleaner safely loosens the dirt from the roof and works well on dirt, mold, bird droppings and all kinds of pollutants.

What is better than EPDM? ›

Though more expensive, we recommend TPO roofing over EPDM roofing simply because it offers better rain protection and better performance. You'll get a longer lifespan from TPO, which helps to offset its higher cost. Plus, TPO is simpler to repair than EPDM.

How long will an EPDM roof last? ›

EPDM roof membranes remain stable over time and can have a life expectancy of over 50 years. ** Made from synthetic rubber, EPDM roofing membranes have two primary ingredients, ethylene and propylene, which are derived from oil and natural gas.

How do I maintain my RV EPDM roof? ›

Rubber RV Roof Maintenance - YouTube

Is TPO good for flat roofs? ›

TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin) is a single-ply white membrane used in both commercial and residential roofing. Due to TPO being a white membrane, it reflects heat instead of absorbing it. If you have a flat roof or a low-slope dormer over a bedroom, TPO is a great option because it'll keep the room below cooler.

Is TPO roof waterproof? ›

If you're curious about TPO waterproofing membrane specification. Here's where the magic happens: a TPO's hot air-welded seams make it 100% resistant to water penetration. Unlike PVC, property owners enjoy a leak-proof roof for a long period of time.

Is TPO considered a rubber roof? ›

Believe it or not, TPO is actually in a broad family of rubber roofing materials. TPO is a blend of polypropylene and ethylene-propylene rubber. EPDM stands for Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer. It is a synthetic rubber derived from oil and natural gas (ethylene propylene).

What is the best material to use for a flat roof? ›

For many projects, PVC roofing is our preferred choice as the best flat roof material on the market. PVC roofing is somewhat more expensive than other single-ply commercial roofing materials, however it offers a wide range of benefits for the price.

How thick is a TPO roof? ›

TPO is typically sold in thicknesses of 45 mil, 60 mil and 90 mil. In Indiana, we typically see 45 mil and 60 mil specified. The thicker the membrane, the better the long term durability.

How much does EPDM cost per foot? ›

For installation, the EPDM roofing cost per square foot will normally range between $3.25 and $14.75. The average price is about $4.50 and $5.50 per square foot. That being said, you can expect to pay between $6,000 and $18,000 for a full roof.

How much should a TPO roof cost? ›

How much should a TPO roof cost? The TPO roofing cost per square foot will differ from project to project, but in most cases, it will be between $3.50 and $9.50. Overall, most people can expect the price to range from $7,000 and $11,500.

What is the minimum slope for a TPO roof? ›

Thermoplastic single-ply roofing systems are plastic sheets (PVC, TPO, CSPE) that are welded together with hot air. This creates a shingle sheet that provides the weather protection for the building. Both the Thermoset and the Thermoplastic must be installed at a minimum one- fourth-inch-per-twelve-inch slope.

Is TPO flammable? ›

Single-ply roofing materials such as TPO are a sub-specialty category of roofing. This means that single-ply roofing is made using highly flammable and toxic materials. Solvents and adhesives are used to compose and install TPO roofing, which does make it flammable.

Is TPO roof slippery? ›

TPO can get very slippery when its wet, frosted, snowy or icy. This technically can be both an advantage and a disadvantage. It is a disadvantage when you need to walk on the roof in those limited conditions. It's an advantage when it comes to its water-repelling abilities.

Does TPO need underlayment? ›


Like the cover board, an underlayment is usually made out of gypsum and acts as an extra layer under the insulation. This can improve the fire rating for buildings that require it, but isn't necessarily essential to the TPO roofing system.

How much weight can a TPO roof hold? ›

In essence, you can expect that a flat roof built to California's building code can safety hold 300 pounds of HVAC equipment in an area that measures 2.5 feet by 2.5 feet.

Can you use bleach on TPO RV roof? ›

Yes, you can use bleach on a TPO RV roof. Bleach is often the best solution to get rid of mold and mildew, which can be common on an RV roof. However, the bleach should be used safely and with extreme caution. Be sure to dilute the bleach with four parts water and rinse it thoroughly.

Can you use bleach on TPO? ›

You can you household cleaners on your roof, just nothing abrasive. Products with bleach are ok as well. So the dawn is fine, you can also use Simple Green, or if you have sticky areas or sap you can use Goo Gone. Bleach in your cleaning solution is ok as long as you make sure to rinse well afterward.

Can TPO roofing be painted? ›

Then, based on recommendations from a national coating and paint company in Canada, the best paint to use to paint a TPO roof is elastomeric paint. If you use a good quality elastomeric paint, then that will eliminate the need to use a surface primer first.

Can I wash my RV with Dawn dish soap? ›

Washing Fiberglass, Metal, and Enamel

The nice thing about RVs is that they are generally constructed from easy-to-clean materials. For this reason, good old soap and water is perfectly well-suited for cleaning most RVs. All you need to get started is a bucket that mixes mild detergent like dish soap with water.

Can you pressure wash a rubber RV roof? ›

The roof can be the dirtiest part of your RV and the area where you can be most tempted to blast away with that pressure washer. Don't! All the seams and caulk you could damage may result in a leaky roof.

How much does it cost to recoat an RV roof? ›

The cost of resealing a RV roof depends on if you do it yourself or if you have it done for you. Generally, resealing your own roof will cost between $200-500 while having it done professionally will cost around $800-1000. These costs are affected by both the materials and size of your roof.

What is the longest lasting roof coating? ›

Sprayed Polyurethane Foam, also known as SPF, is regarded among the longest lasting types of roofing systems. Many SPF roofing systems have endured for over 50 years with few signs of failing.

How do I protect my RV rubber roof? ›

Cleaning and protecting your RV roof - YouTube

Is a fiberglass roof better on an RV? ›

One of the most commonly recognized advantages of a fiberglass roof is its durability. Most fiberglass RV roofs can easily last 20 years or more (with proper maintenance) before needing to be, repaired, recoated, or replaced.

How long does Dicor rubber roof coating last? ›

If properly maintained, the roof should last a minimum of 20 years. The membrane itself has been weather tested for 20 years.

Are rubber roofs good in RVs? ›

One of the primary benefits of a rubber RV roof is its cost. Rubber roofs are much more cost-effective than other types of roofs like aluminum or fiberglass. Also, rubber roofs weigh less than fiberglass and aluminum roofs. Perhaps most important of all: rubber roofs on RV's are extremely low maintenance.

What type of roof does forest river use? ›

EPDM is one of the most versatile and long lasting materials ever manufactured for outdoor exposure. Most RV Industry experts consider EPDM rubber roofing membrane the most dependable, most cost effective and easiest to maintain roofing material there is.

Should I wax my fiberglass RV roof? ›

Apply Regular Wax Treatment to Protect Against UV Damage

An important part of RV fiberglass roof maintenance includes applying a specialized wax treatment that is designed for this type of roof material. This will enrich the high-gloss look of your roof while also protecting it against UV damage.

How often should you treat your RV roof? ›

Treating your RV roof should be once every three months, no matter what type of roofing you may have. If proper maintenance is not done, wear and tear on your RV roof can turn into major issues such as water damage, mold, and other problems.

What is the longest lasting roof coating? ›

Sprayed Polyurethane Foam, also known as SPF, is regarded among the longest lasting types of roofing systems. Many SPF roofing systems have endured for over 50 years with few signs of failing.

How do I protect my RV rubber roof? ›

Cleaning and protecting your RV roof - YouTube

Should I coat my RV roof? ›

Like any type of motor vehicle, RV roofs are built to withstand tough weather, from snow to hail to a deluge. However, the roof material can still wear out over time. Coating the roof with sealant regularly ensures that you can extend the life of the roof, and often the life of the vehicle in general.

Can you put Eternabond over Dicor? ›

Yes. Some folks like myself put a thin smear (not bead) on the eternabond edges after they are done. Cleaning up the old dicor is very important. Yes, that's what Eternabond tape was made for.

Can you use Dicor in the rain? ›

It will keep it watertight and protect it from UV damage, rain, hail and general wear and tear. For example, Dicor fiberglass roof coating is a favorite among many RV owners because it has great coverage and holds up well over a longer period of time.

How often should a rubber roof be coated? ›

The Lifespan of a Flat Roof

It's a good idea to plan for a new coating every five years to ensure its integrity and continued performance.

How much does it cost to put a new rubber roof on an RV? ›

How much does it cost to replace an RV Rubber roof? Expect to pay between $3,000 and $8,000, depending on the size of the RV roof. Paying $300 per foot is typical for most RVs.

What type of rubber roof does jayco use? ›

Jayco uses a Magnum Truss roofing system on all their travel trailers. This is said to be the strongest roof in the RV industry and comes with a 20-year limited warranty as proof of the manufacturer's confidence in the durability of their product.

How often should you reseal RV roof? ›

First off, let me answer the popular question of “How often do I need to reseal my RV roof?”. Of course it's case by case, roof by roof, but the recommendation is to reseal your roof each and every year. Every 10 years it is recommended to replace the entire roof, failure to do so will cause leaks.


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