As technology has advanced in the roofing industry, so have the variety of solutions for commercial roof repair and maintenance. As a leading commercial roofing company, it is our responsibility to deliver optimal solutions for any given scenario, as well as, maintain continued knowledge of the latest and greatest industry products and technologies.

Many times, a building owner’s best choices for a roof restoration is TPO membranes or silicone coatings.  Both products deliver significant reliability while offering consumers attractive options for total repair. In this article, we will look at the key difference between TPO membranes and silicone roof coatings and work to determine which product is best suited for your commercial roof needs.


More Adaptable Installation Process

In general, TPO is safer to install.  Mistakes can be easily fixed if they are made during installation.  This characteristic makes most building owners more comfortable because the installation requires less risk and avoids the problematic issues that can arise from installing more complicated coatings.

TPO can be installed over rough surfaces like gravel and ballast. This is a key differentiator from silicone because of its ability to be applied to a wider variety of pre-existing roof materials. TPO is also more applicable over roofs with moisture inside of them because coatings will eventually blister if they are applied over wet insulation. TPO withstands this type of scenario significantly better, although it’s always recommended to remove saturated roofing before re-roofing.

TPO Problems are Easier to Fix 

Though TPO is highly resistant to tears and punctures, it is not completely immune. It is, however, easy to repair when conducted by professionals. TPO membranes are heat-weldable, making patches for slight punctures or tears east to fix for roofing professionals.

TPO is also more resistant to foot traffic. Commercial roofs are hosts to several added structures like HVAC units that require frequent maintenance. This added traffic creates wear and tear in high traffic areas resulting in the need for continued upkeep or installing safeguard measures like roof walk pads. TPO provides a better first line of defense to high volumes of foot traffic and requires less additional protective measures for those areas.

TPO Has a Longer History in the Marketplace

TPO has been a popular industry product for the last several decades.   In fact, nearly 90% of the commercial new construction market is TPO.  It has a longer track record than coatings and is used more often by professionals. Generally, TPO warranties can extend up to 20 years and provide building owners with peace of mind and security. There are also less individual manufacturers of TPO because of the difficult barrier to entry. This creates a marketplace of more reputable sources.


More Technical Application Process

A key difference between silicone and TPO is their varying degrees of installation difficulty. Silicone coatings are more challenging to apply. This requires a building owner to be more selective in choosing a professional roofing contractor to apply the coating properly. Parsons Roofing employs true industry experts in this field.

Cost Effective Solution

Silicone coatings are a more cost-effective alternative than a TPO membrane installation. Despite their lower cost, most coatings carry a similar or even superior warranty to TPO products.  This is because silicone coating warranties do not specifically exclude sections of the roof where ponding water occurs for more than 48 hours like TPO. Also, applying a silicone roof coating is considered roof maintenance by the IRS which makes it fully deductible from taxes on year one.  Georgia Power even offers rebates for silicone applications.

Energy Savings

Silicone coatings have major energy saving properties. 98.8% of the Sun’s energy does not penetrate a silicone coating. This means they are ideal for reducing building temperatures and can reduce temperatures by up
to 50 degrees on the surface of a roof. Silicone coatings do not deteriorate over time like TPO. They are the only UV stable roofing system, which means that they will remain the exact same thickness decades after they are applied.  No other roofing product can say this.

Easy Barrier to Entry

The silicone coatings industry has recently been flooded with new manufacturers trying to capitalize on the success of coating products. This has created a product saturated market with cheaper and less reliable products. For this reason, Parsons Roofing exclusively uses Gaco Western products. Gaco is the most reliable manufacturer of coatings and delivers industry-leading data specs on their S-2000 coating system. To be the best commercial roofing company in the business, you must use the best products on the market. That’s why we choose Gaco Western, a Firestone company.

Looking Towards the Future

Technological advancements in products and services continue to shape the way that the commercial roofing industry operates. Employing the most effective solutions makes customers happy and keeps the business competitive. This trend is continuing as top roofing manufacturers around the world are purchasing coating companies with the belief that they will play a vital role in the future of roofing. This investment is truly indicative of the versatile application properties of coatings.

The Rundown


  • Easier to install
  • Easy to repair
  • Work better with foot traffic
  • More applicable over roofs with moisture inside
  • Can be installed over rough surfaces like gravel and ballast
  • Have a longer track record in the market
  • Have long manufacturer’s warranties
  • Has a lower number of manufacturers because of the tough barrier to entry, which means more reputable sources


  • UV Stable and does not deteriorate over time like TPO
  • Lower cost with a better warranty
  • 98.8% of the Sun’s energy does not ever penetrate the coating
  • Can reduce temps up to 50 degrees on the roof surface
  • Considered roof maintenance so they can be fully deducted from taxes on year 1 unlike TPO
  • Easier barrier to entry for manufacturers, thus leading to lower quality products
  • Harder to apply thus meaning riskier for the building owner to find a qualified crew

Choose Parsons – Choose the Best

Both TPO and silicone coatings provide beneficial solutions to commercial roofing needs. We come to each job with an open mind and will recommend the best solution for your needs.  Before making an ultimate decision on the direction of your project, contact our team of experts for a free estimate and consultation. We are dedicated to helping our clients to choose the most appropriate solution for their needs and delivering unparalleled quality in the commercial roofing industry.