When it comes to choosing the right roofing material for your home, there are various options available in the market. Each type of roofing material has its own set of pros and cons, making it essential to understand the differences before making a decision. In this guide, Sydney Roofing Co will explore the different types of rubber roofing materials, their benefits, costs, and installation process.

Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO)

Thermoplastic polyolefin, commonly known as TPO, is a relatively new roofing material that gained popularity in the 1990s. TPO is a synthetic rubber membrane that is known for its affordability and energy efficiency. It is available in multiple colours, allowing homeowners in warm climates to choose white roofing for improved energy efficiency.

Pros of TPO

  • Affordable: TPO roofing is a cost-effective option compared to other types of rubber roofing materials.
  • Long-lasting, heat-welded seams: TPO roofs are known for their durability, thanks to the heat-welded seams that provide exceptional strength.
  • Surface reflects UV rays: TPO roofs have a reflective surface that helps to reduce the heat absorbed by the building, resulting in lower energy costs.

Cons of TPO

  • Complex installation and maintenance: TPO roofs require professional installation and regular maintenance due to the complicated heat welding process.
  • Shorter lifespan: While TPO roofs can last for a considerable period, their lifespan is generally shorter compared to other rubber roofing materials.

Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM)

Ethylene propylene diene monomer, commonly referred to as EPDM, is the oldest and most commonly used rubber roof membrane. It has stood the test of time and is known for its longevity and resistance to fire and hail damage.

Pros of EPDM

  • Easy installation: EPDM roofing is relatively easy to install, making it a preferred choice for many homeowners.
  • Long lifespan: With proper maintenance, EPDM roofs can last up to 60 years, making them a long-term investment.
  • Resistant to fire and hail damage: EPDM roofs are highly resistant to fire and hail, providing homeowners with peace of mind.

Cons of EPDM

  • Glued seams may leak: The glued seams of EPDM roofs can sometimes be vulnerable to leaks if not properly installed or maintained.
  • Only available in black: EPDM roofs are only available in black, which can retain heat and increase energy costs.

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

Polyvinyl chloride, commonly known as PVC, is a flexible and leak-resistant rubber roofing membrane. While it is the most expensive option among rubber roofing materials, it offers exceptional durability and weather resistance.

Pros of PVC

  • 20-year lifespan: PVC roofs have a lifespan of around 20 years, providing long-term protection for your home.
  • Heat-welded seams: The heat-welded seams of PVC roofs ensure a strong and watertight seal, preventing leaks.
  • High weather-resistance: PVC roofs are highly resistant to extreme weather conditions, including wind, rain, and snow.

Cons of PVC

  • High cost: PVC roofing tends to be more expensive compared to other rubber roofing materials.
  • Less eco-friendly: PVC roofs release dioxins and chlorine as they break down over time, making them less environmentally friendly.

Choosing the Right Roofing Material

When selecting a roofing material, it is important to consider factors such as cost, durability, energy efficiency, and maintenance requirements. Each type of rubber roofing material has its own unique advantages and disadvantages. Here are some key points to consider when making your decision:

  • Budget: If you have a limited budget, TPO roofing may be the most affordable option for you.
  • Longevity: If you are looking for a roofing material with a long lifespan, EPDM or PVC may be the better choices.
  • Energy efficiency: TPO roofing is known for its energy efficiency, especially when choosing a white-coloured option.
  • Maintenance: EPDM roofing requires minimal maintenance, while TPO and PVC may require more attention due to the heat-welded seams.
  • Environmental impact: If eco-friendliness is a priority, EPDM roofing is a better option compared to PVC.

Cost Comparison

The cost of rubber roofing materials can vary depending on factors such as the size of the roof, labour costs, and additional features. Here is a general cost comparison for each type of rubber roofing material (costs are approximate and may vary):

Roofing MaterialCost per Square Foot
TPO$5 – $7
EPDM$4 – $6
PVC$6 – $8

It’s important to note that these costs are for materials only and do not include installation or additional expenses.

Installation Process

The installation process for rubber roofing materials typically involves the following steps:

  • Preparation: The roof surface is thoroughly cleaned and inspected for any damage or defects.
  • Membrane Installation: The rubber roofing membrane is rolled out and cut to fit the roof dimensions, ensuring proper overlap and alignment.
  • Seam Welding: For TPO and PVC roofs, the seams are heat-welded to create a strong and watertight bond. EPDM roofs may use adhesive to secure the seams.
  • Flashing and Edging: Flashing is installed around roof penetrations, such as vents and chimneys, to prevent water infiltration. Edging is added to provide a finished look and protect the roof edges.
  • Finishing Touches: The installation is completed by adding any necessary finishing touches, such as installing gutters and downspouts.

It is recommended to hire a professional roofing contractor for the installation of rubber roofing materials to ensure proper installation and maximise the lifespan of your roof.

Maintenance and Repair

Regular roof repair and maintenance are essential to prolong the lifespan of your rubber roof and prevent potential issues. Here are some maintenance tips:

  • Inspections: Regularly inspect your roof for any signs of damage, such as cracks, tears, or loose seams.
  • Cleaning: Keep your roof clean by removing debris and leaves that can accumulate and cause water pooling.
  • Gutter Maintenance: Ensure that your gutters are clear of debris to prevent water backup and potential damage to your roof.
  • Professional Inspections: Schedule professional roof inspections at least once a year to identify any potential issues and address them promptly.

In the event of damage or leaks, it is crucial to repair them as soon as possible to prevent further damage to your home. It is recommended to hire a professional roofing contractor for any repairs to ensure proper and effective solutions.


Choosing the right roofing material is a significant decision that can impact the longevity, energy efficiency, and overall aesthetics of your home. By understanding the pros, cons, costs, and installation process of rubber roofing materials such as TPO, EPDM, and PVC, you can make an informed decision that suits your budget, preferences, and environmental concerns. Remember to consult with a professional roofing contractor for expert advice and assistance in selecting and installing the right roofing material for your home.