Pros And Cons Of EPDM Roofing Systems

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John Harding has been involved in home improvements and services, specially roofing and its related sub niches for more than 15 years. He has reviewed numerous products first hand and had provided useful insights into the pros and cons of each product. Many customers have found his findings extremely helpful when making a buying decision. Hope you will find John's and his teams work helpful as well.



John Harding

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Home and business owners have many roofing options to choose from. One of the popular choices that homeowners choose is a rubberized roof which goes by the name of EPDM. EPDM stands for ethylene propylene diene terpolymer. As with the majority of construction choices, these roofing systems come with their own set of drawbacks and advantages.

EPDM is a synthetic rubber membrane that is extremely durable. Even though it is more commonly used for low-slope commercial roofs also known as flat roofs, when it comes to residential purposes it is also used on patio roofs and carports.

EPDM comes in either white or black. The "white" EPDM is an added layer over the existing EPDM layers. The EPDM roofing systems come in widths that range from 7.5' to 50'. It is also available in 1.1mm (45 mil), 1.5mm (60 mil), 1.9mm (75 mil) and 2.3mm (90 mil) thickness.

EPDM foil

The EPDM roof contains the following layers:

  • The EPDM elastomeric layer (bottom layer)
  • AFR EPDM (fire retardant layer)
  • FRM EPDM (Top layer), which is reinforced with a polyester fabric which improves the strength of the product
  • FlexWhite (optional top layer), this is a white-on-black layer which serves the purpose of reflecting sunlight

EPDM Roof Systems

EPDM_Rubber_flat_roof_

Here is an overview containing the great points about EPDM roof systems, along with some of the weaknesses.

EPDM is one of the preferred choices for low-slope roofs, which is why it is among the popular choices for a variety of industrial and commercial buildings, along with patio roofs and carports for residential settings. One of the main benefits of rubber roofs has to do with the cost. While the costs may vary from one area to the next, and between the different installers, the price of an EPDM roof is typically extremely favorable in comparison to other roofing types such as asphalt shingles, tiles and metal roofs.

Most of the EPDM roofs are black, yet there is also the option to choose an EPDM roof with a top-layer white coating which assists with reflecting heat and reducing energy costs. EPDM roofs are also compatible with the solar-cell arrays. They can also be used to support a rooftop garden. One of the other advantages of this type of material is that it is relatively lightweight. EPDM roofing systems can also adapt to all types of styles and shapes of roofs.


Here is a list of the EPDM roof advantages:

Inexpensive To Install

When compared to PVC and TPO, EPDM costs a lot less to install. For example, an EPDM roof of 2500sf costs around $5.5/sf to install. A TPO roofing system, on the other hand, would cost around $7/sf. PVC would cost on average $8,5/sf.

Long-Lasting


EPDM is a longer-lasting product when compared to other types of commercial roof systems. You can expect your roof to last for 30 years or even more. A professional and properly installed, well-constructed and designed EPDM roof can outperform just about all the other types of roofing systems.

Light Weight


Weighing in at under 1/2 pound for a 60 mil per-square-foot, membrane-only, fully-adhered EPDM, it is far lighter in weight when compared to traditional asphalt shingles, which typically weighs around 2.3lbs per-square-foot.

Easy And Fast To Install


EDPM is a product that is manufactured in either large rolls or sheets, which makes it easy and fast to install. The EPDM rolls come in common sizes such as 100' long and 10' wide. In comparison, the asphalt shingles are usually 1'tall x 3 'wide. Rather than laying each of the asphalt shingles one by one, with EPDM all that is required is to roll the product out, which means the area is covered much faster.

Ozone And Hail Resistant

EPDM is essentially rubber, which means weather conditions that result in hailstones will not damage the surface of the roof, but rather just bounce straight off. If you reside or work in a region that experiences weather conditions that result in large hailstones, it is recommended to choose from the thicker 75 or 90 membranes, or even go for a ballasted-layer. EPDM also features ozone-resistant ratings of 'A' up to a maximum temperature of 100º F.


High-Wind Resistance 

Since EPDM is available in large rolls or sheets, along with fully adhered seams, there are also no edges, so the wind cannot pick the roof up. Metal sheets, tiles, and asphalt shingles are made from far smaller pieces, which makes them more vulnerable to weather conditions such as high winds.



Reduced Energy

EPDM is a great option for all types of weather and matches up well to areas that experience both cold or hot weather. In the colder Northern regions, black EPDM is a preferred roofing option for its abilities to retain heat and to assist with keeping your building warm inside. This added benefit can help to save on your heating bills. In the South where the climate is warmer, a white EPDM membrane can be used to reflect the heat from the sun which can also help to lower your cooling bills.




No Rotting, Cracking, Or Blistering

EPDM contains natural properties which means once it is installed, these materials are 100% resistant to rot, cracks, and blistering. This provides EPDM rubber roofing with even further advantages when compared to other flat roofing types, and gives the customer of these roofing systems one less thing to be concerned about.






Some of the other added advantages of EPDM roofing systems include:

  • Ultraviolet radiation resistance
  • Virtually 100% recyclable
  • Won't pollute rainwater
  • Fire-Rated : With the added AFR layer inside the EPDM roofing product, the overall product is fire-resistant. 
  • Wider Operating Temperature Range :EPDM has a -40º F, minimum operating-temperature, and a 300º F. maximum operating-temperature.

Here are some of the disadvantages of EPDM roof 

  • Not DIY: Even though it is possible to buy EPDM from retailers and department stores, and you can even install the product yourself. Most roofing experts advise strongly against it. If the EPDM roofing system is not installed correctly, for example, over asphalt shingles, your EPDM roof is going to fail. You should only use roofing contractors that are qualified to install an EPDM roof
  • Can Easily Puncture: This will obviously depend on the thickness of the membrane and the object, but EPDM can be pierced or punctured. None of the roofing systems are completely resistant. However, a ballasted fully-adhered EPDM roof is known for coming really close. When your home or your commercial property is located in an area where hazards like falling debris are common, such as fallen branches, or heavier foot traffic go for the thicker membranes like the 75 or 90 mil. A roof that is ballasted can also contribute towards protecting the EPDM membranes from falling tree branches and punctures.
  • Poor Petroleum Resistance: EPDM does not have great resistance when it comes to products that are petroleum-based. It will start to degrade when in direct contact with these types of products.
  • Appearance : Without any ballast, like rocks or concrete pavers, EPDM is basically a sheet of white or black rubber. For some home or business owners, this product holds no visual appeal. The ballasted roofs which are the roofs that feature concrete pavers or rocks that holds the membrane of the roofing material down, such as EPDM, also assist with protecting the membrane from ultraviolet light, hail, high winds, and tree branches.
  • Finding The Correct Installer :Rubber roofing has been on the market for about 40 years, and this is not as long when compared to many of the other types of roofing methods. This means that locating a roofer that is experienced with this type of roofing material, might be more difficult than you originally thought.
  • The ideal approach to finding an installer that is qualified, licensed, and certified would be to visit the website of the manufacturer or to contact the manufacturer directly. Most of the manufacturers have many professionals that have gone on the necessary courses. You need to ensure that the roofing contractor that you decide on has experience with EPDM roofing systems and a great track record to prove it.

Factors to consider when choosing a snow removal rake

1. Length

When choosing the right rake, it is vital to consider the height of your roof in relation to the length of its handle. Snow removal rakes are extendable, so you should look at the maximum extension length of the handle.

However, most rakes are not very useful when extended to their full length; hence you should choose one that you don't have to stretch to its full extent to reach your roof.

2. Design

​The design of the rake significantly affects its comfort ability and effectiveness. It is better to choose a rake with a design that offers a good grip and doesn't get stuck on your roof edge. Also, rakes can cause damage to your roof shingles; hence you should choose one that won't damage your roof.

Curve-bladed and wheeled rakes are the best at protecting your roof.

3. Weight

​The weight of the rake has great significance on the level of comfort it provides and proper handling. Heavy rakes are very uncomfortable to use and also make you fatigued. You should go for a lightweight rake, but be sure to check the materials it is made of as a material like wood breaks when subjected to a lot of weight.

4. Durability

​Nobody wants to see their money go down the drain; hence you should consider buying a rake that doesn't break or rust. Rakes with aluminum handles and polyethylene are the most durable as they are not susceptible to rust and breakage.

Final Thoughts

As you may have noticed, EPDM rubber roofing is an extremely durable and versatile roofing option that is backed by more advantages than drawbacks. It is also one of the easiest roofing systems to repair if any damages occur. It makes sense why this roofing material has increased significantly in popularity over the last few decades. EPDM is one of the preferred choices for commercial and industrial applications, yet it has also become a preferred option for residential uses such as carport and patio roof systems.

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