Thermoplastics 101

A customer guide to PVC and TPO membranes

When your customers contact you for help with their roofing needs, they are looking for a professional who can provide easy-to-understand information about available products and systems. Two roofing materials that often are difficult to tell apart are PVC and TPO membranes. These types of roof systems look identical, but they are not the same.

For customers interested in learning more about thermoplastic roofing materials and roof system options, the following can help guide your conversations and serve as a leave-behind piece for consumers.

What is a thermoplastic membrane?

A thermoplastic membrane is a material made with a synthetic substance that softens when heated and rehardens when cooled. Because of the way the material seals to itself, it is used as a single-ply roofing material—no other roofing layers are used during installation. These single-ply roof membranes offer flexibility and can be installed using a variety of methods, including mechanical attachment, adhered and point-affixed installation.