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Providing Peace of Mind Since 1932

Know Your Membranes: The Difference between EPDM and TPO

The thing about high-sloped roofs is that there are many available options. From streamlined steel to elaborate tile roofs, each type has its own set of options and distinct features.

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Low-slope roofs, on the other hand, make it easier for homeowners to choose. Membrane roofing comes in two variants: Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM) and Thermoplastic Olefin (TPO). Both EPDM and TPO have a lot in common: they’re membranous sheets of semi-flexible material that provide excellent protection against rainwater. They also have extremely long life spans. Nonetheless, they are easily repairable.

Let Garlock-French Corporation show you the two materials’ own set of advantages and applications.


Commonly known as synthetic rubber, this option has been around much longer than TPO. It is extremely durable, making it a popular choice for buildings with large areas. In fact, most factories prefer EPDM due to its lower cost and easy maintenance. More importantly, its longevity is comparable with metal roofing in MN. Keep in mind that a single installation of EPDM typically lasts 30 to 50 years.

The installation process is simple, as it only requires especially treated tape and/or adhesive to create a seal between seams. Repairs are done the same way – the same kind of tape is custom cut and applied to punctures.


A relative newcomer compared with EPDM, the standards may differ among manufacturers. Still, it remains a popular Minneapolis roofing option. After all, TPO is more puncture-resistant. The seams are hot-welded, and are four times stronger than adhesive or taped seams. Its inherently light color (it almost always comes in white) helps reflect UV rays.

It is worth noting that both EPDM and TPO can be used for high slope roofing St. Paul. In fact, the water resistance is much better.

Our professionals for roofing in Minneapolis and Edina are highly qualified and trained to install either roofing type. If you want to know more, or to check out our other services, contact Garlock-French Corporation at (612) 444-8900. We also provide gutter cleaning and inspection in the Minneapolis, Edina, White Bear Lake and Minnetonka areas.