Roofing Talk - Professional Roofing Contractors Forum banner
1 - 20 of 91 Posts

·
Roofing Relapse
Joined
·
2,552 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
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.
 

·
Roofing Relapse
Joined
·
2,552 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
71 Posts
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...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
754 Posts
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.

Ed
 

·
Roofing Relapse
Joined
·
2,552 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
63 Posts
Primarily because I don't think roof assemblies should be that complicated. It is a gimicky product that doesn't weld a well as other pvc's (ie fibertite). The kicker to the gimicky idea is: Their sales reps roll around the country saying that Durolast will insure not only the roof assembly but all the contents inside the building up to xx million dollars. Can't remember what the number is but for some reason I'm thinking 10m.

That is a horrible way to try to get market share.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
754 Posts
Duro-Last welded quite well for me, especially after around 1988, when they reversed the course side to the bottom of the membrane instead of the top.

The warranty issue is backed by Chubb Insurance, if they still use the same insurance company and many other membranes offer similar marketing gimicks, if that is what it is, to make the choice of their product seem preferential also.

Ed
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
71 Posts
We tried DuroLast for a bit but didnt really buy into the "pre-fab" roof thing.

I dont recall a problem with the weldability of the product, but did not think the organization was on par with the other products in that price range.

Sales representation, tech support, warranty services, etc all seemed to be noticeably inferior to the other products.

That is why we decided to stop using the product.

I do see , from time to time, trucks and trailers around sporting the DuroLast logo, etc and they all seem to have Virginia plates on them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
24 Posts
Have around a 12 year history using Duro-Last. They have not had a solid rep in our area, but the support from their corporate plants has been excellent. Most responsive corporate offices I have dealt with for a major mfg. The pre-fab has always been a big seller for me. Easier on the crews too. Duro-Last will stay a top option in my low slope arsenal for sure.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
754 Posts
I think the opinion of the Duro-Last installation gets skewed by crews who are incapable or uncomfortable with knowing how to stretch out the bulkiness of the material after you unroll it from the baggy lump it comes shipped as.

I liked it, but I did NOT like the back-stabbing of the rep from my area, who, when they found out which jobs I was bidding on, would all of a sudden provide several othe D-L approved applicators to the contractor for alternative pricing.

Now, due to them being familiar with me, I still wound up getting the jobs, but at a cheaper price due to unqualified competitors bidding on an animal they were not famiiar with, just like when I first started off and learned the true hours of installation.

Ed
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
754 Posts
Yeah I just prefer roll goods.... the DL roof always seemed wrinkled...even after I bought their silly "membrane stretcher" contraption haha.
I was friends with the guy who invented that, errrr, should I say, the owner of the company that had an employee come up with the basic idea for the Grip Puller.

He now is the Iowa Rep.

Ed
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
63 Posts
I remember starting out, my foreman asked me to run down to the truck and get the rubber stretcher. Flipped over every half empty can of bull and moved every soggy box of hanks looking for that damn thing. I figured it would be next to the left handed seam roller.

It was a good 10 minutes before I caught on. Imagine my surprise when I found out years later that Durolast had it the whole time.

Niche product for sure. Niche group who love's the stuff.

rw
 
1 - 20 of 91 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top