PVC vs TPO?

 
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Old 06-05-2009, 10:46 AM   #1
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PVC vs TPO?


Any opinions on which should be spec'd and why? Is there any real compelling reason to use TPO?

thanks.

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Old 06-06-2009, 11:55 AM   #2
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Re: PVC vs TPO?


Tpo is cheaper than PVC, seems more rigid as well. Not sure if the rigidity means it's better but in my unscientific puncture tests (smashing my keys against samples of equal thickness) TPO actually seems to be more puncture resistant.

TPO has a bad name. Why? Because it's a fairly recent material and did have some failures with the first generation TPO. Also in very sunny environments TPO has been known to fail premature. I haven't seen much of that in the Chicago market though.

We are currently promoting TPO as our base low slope roof system. If the customer wants a 20 year roof, I steer them towards PVC. PVC just offers more peace of mind. Our approach to everything, we want to do what's better, not cheaper. Since codes here have changed I foresee more people coming to the white side (tpo) and then we'll probably start to push PVC even harder, just so we can one-up the competition. I always want to be better than the competition.
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Old 06-08-2009, 07:58 PM   #3
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Re: PVC vs TPO?


Pvc holds up to most chemicals that may destroy the other materials. So if your near airport or have propability of chemical spills on roof. PVC makes sense.
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Old 06-09-2009, 07:34 PM   #4
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Re: PVC vs TPO?


Having said that, If you are considering a pvc, let me recommend fibertite. Say no to Durolast.
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Old 06-10-2009, 07:20 AM   #5
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Re: PVC vs TPO?


I'm definately considering TPO. My local roofer likes it and has been around for quite a while.

One problem we have along the coast (aside from wind concerns) is seagulls. You know how they like to drop quahogs, crabs and lobsters onto hard surfaces? When they see a nice, white, flat roof they'll bombard it. That's not so bad, but when they get down there to start eating, they peck like hell with their sharp beaks trying to break apart the shells. I find it pretty neat how they pass along this knowledge to their offspring. They probably like the TPO too because its cooler on their feet. They've been known to poke a few holes through rubber, but I doubt seriously they could do much damage to TPO.
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Old 06-11-2009, 08:56 AM   #6
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Re: PVC vs TPO?


Interesting point you bring up of the holes. When trying to explain to customers that TPO is more resistant to puncutres then modified bitumen for example, when they say it's so thin, I allow them to smash my keys against samples of each tpo and modified. Obviously modified is very soft. In regards to rubber (epdm) that's not really a concern since modified is king around here and we don't often have to bid against epdm. 98% of the bids a customer is going to get (excet on engineer, architect or consulant specified jobs) for a low slope roof is going to be modified so that's what we have to sell against.
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Old 06-15-2009, 09:09 PM   #7
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Re: PVC vs TPO?


PVC is VASTLY superior to TPO...you really cannot compare the two as it is like apples to oranges.

I have 20+years exp with PVC and about 10 years with TPO. I have put down thousands of squares of both.

My firm actually worked with a few of the major manufacturers with their first generations of their respective TPOs.

TPO is a commodity and that is evident in the pricing.

PVC is more of a higher-end product with a proven track record.

The higher end PVC (Sarnafil and Fibertite specifically) have virtually unblemished histories of performance.

There was some problems with a few PVCs many years ago (Trocal for one) where an unreinforced sheet was used and the sheet became brittle and split relentlessly. This was not common for PVC but seemed to stick in everyones mind....that product has long been off the market.

The welding of the two products is night and day.

PVC is much more user-friendly and has a more reliable and easily checked weld. An underheated seam will not bleed and can be probed and rewelded.

TPO is much more finicky and relies on a seasoned mechanic to get it right. Too hot and the material will burn and needs to be patched....too cold and you may get a false or "cold" weld that may appear sound during probing but will open down the road.

Dont let the promotion of all the "peel and stick" accessories fool you.... they are promoted as much to make more money for the manufacturer as they are to try and minimize the heat welding as much as possible.

Dont get me wrong, TPO has its place and "should" perform if installed correctly. We have many TPO roofs performing well. Then again, 90% of our work is thermoplastic and all my guys know is welding....

My first choice is PVC for my customers. I put PVC on my building.

Just my opinion...
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Old 06-16-2009, 07:02 AM   #8
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Re: PVC vs TPO?


Quote:
Originally Posted by SinglePlyGuy View Post
PVC is VASTLY superior to TPO...you really cannot compare the two as it is like apples to oranges.

I have 20+years exp with PVC and about 10 years with TPO. I have put down thousands of squares of both.

My firm actually worked with a few of the major manufacturers with their first generations of their respective TPOs.

TPO is a commodity and that is evident in the pricing.

PVC is more of a higher-end product with a proven track record.

The higher end PVC (Sarnafil and Fibertite specifically) have virtually unblemished histories of performance.

There was some problems with a few PVCs many years ago (Trocal for one) where an unreinforced sheet was used and the sheet became brittle and split relentlessly. This was not common for PVC but seemed to stick in everyones mind....that product has long been off the market.

The welding of the two products is night and day.

PVC is much more user-friendly and has a more reliable and easily checked weld. An underheated seam will not bleed and can be probed and rewelded.

TPO is much more finicky and relies on a seasoned mechanic to get it right. Too hot and the material will burn and needs to be patched....too cold and you may get a false or "cold" weld that may appear sound during probing but will open down the road.

Dont let the promotion of all the "peel and stick" accessories fool you.... they are promoted as much to make more money for the manufacturer as they are to try and minimize the heat welding as much as possible.

Dont get me wrong, TPO has its place and "should" perform if installed correctly. We have many TPO roofs performing well. Then again, 90% of our work is thermoplastic and all my guys know is welding....

My first choice is PVC for my customers. I put PVC on my building.

Just my opinion...
thanks, I am leaning towards PVC in fact for the same reeason you state, longer track record.
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Old 06-16-2009, 01:04 PM   #9
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Re: PVC vs TPO?


Since I never put down any TPO, I was going to stay on the sideline, but I have a lot of experience with many brands of PVC and CSPE and CPA and others that are hybrids, which are not categorized as PVC, but should be.

(The "Others" did not want to get associated with the very old Trocal cracking failures)

Everything that I have read from very experienced applicators, whose judgment I trusy, pretty much all say the same thing, that PVC has a proven track record, while TPO has continually been changed, so you don't really know if the current chemical formulation is time tested yet.

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Old 06-17-2009, 08:21 AM   #10
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Re: PVC vs TPO?


This is the same as I have heard as well, ed. However I make this point.

If the customer is buying a 20 year roof system. Yes give them what's best, and that's PVC. If they are buy a 10 of 15 year roof system, TPO is totally adequate. It all depends what your customer is buying.

LOL it's hard enough to get people to believe in single ply on the multi-family and residential side of the market when if they get 4 bids mine will likely be the only one for anything other than modified bitumen. They just don't understand it. Commercial is slightly better.
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