Rubber is the easiest to repair, the most flexible of all roofing membranes and has the longest track record (40+ years). As well as being naturally resistant to the sun.
TPO is basically a Thermo Plastic roof. It is not as flexible as rubber, which makes it a little tougher to install and repair. However it is whiter than rubber due to additives and is UV resistant (once again due to chemical additives). Some people complain of bubbles forming due to the adhesion process which doesn't tend to laminate as well as the rubber. In addition its track record is only around 12 years...less than that in the RV industry.
So to say it is "Better than rubber" is misleading. In some ways it is better, in some ways it's worse.
Either way it supposed to keep the water out...proper factory installation is more important than which material.
PS: the cost of TPO compared to rubber is pretty much a wash. Most MFG's use rubber because it is easier to install, repair and folds over the corners of the RV.
* This post was
edited 10/13/05 02:45pm by Buckeyes *
Thermoplastic Poly Olefin. They use it for decking material on battleships. It doesn't bleed black streaks on the sides of your unit like rubber and is much more resistant to deterioration from petrochemicals. It will still tear like a rubber roof but easily patches with Eternabond, I know, I just repaired a small tear last week. I have had rubber, aluminum, and TPO. Aluminum is far superior, TPO next, rubber last. I will never have a rubber roof again and will try real hard for aluminum next time, if there is a next time with these fuel prices. IMHO.
I agree, and with that said, aluminum is superior to both rubber and TPO.
Well, for most purposes, I agree. It's more expensive and noisier in the rain, but, other than that, aluminum is best, with the possible exception of fiberglass, So far, though, I have been unimpressed with fiberglass roofs because they all seem to be a very thin layer of fiberglass over wood - not what I think of as having the strength of fiberglass, certainly.
In then end, all roof choices should last the life of the rig but rubber, especially EPDM, does require cleaning several times a year. If you re-seal you aluminum or fiberglass roof with Eternabond tape everywhere, it should be virtually maintenance-free, as I think a roof really should be.