EPDM Roofing Explained

What Is EPDM Roofing

EPDM Roofing: E.P.D.M. stands for Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer which is an M-class rubber.  Epdm is a synthetic rubber that is used in a wide variety of applications.  EPDM has gained an industry wide respect and following as the go-to material for single-ply, low-slope roofing applications.  EPDM provides an immediate long-term solution that is weather and fire resistant.

As we move forward into an environmentally conscious society that places heavy emphasis on the sustainability and performance of roofing materials, EPDM has proven time and time again that it is the go to and green roofing material.

What Are The Different Characteristics Of EPDM

A combination of ethylene, propylene, diene, and monomer used to create a synthetic elastomeric rubber most commonly used for roofing on low sloped/flat roof structures.

EPDM Roofing Colors: EPDM Roofing Systems typically come in Black or White
EPDM RoofingThickness: Standard thickness’s are 45 mil, 60 mil and 90 mil.
EPDM RoofingTextures: Smooth or Reinforced, reinforced contains a layer of polyester reinforcement between two plies of EPDM. Reinforced membranes resist punctures.

What Are The Different Types Of Roofing System

EPDM roofing systems can be applied in many different ways. These different applications are also known as types of roofing systems.  EPDM singly ply roofing systems can be attached to a structure in several different ways.  Below are a few of the different types of EPDM roofing systems.

EPDM Roofing Fully Adhered Roof System: 

Smooth EPDM roofing single ply membrane is fully adhered with bonding adhesive directly onto insulation. The EPDM seams are overlapped and glued together with double sided EPDM seam tape.

Fully adhered roofing systems are the most commonly used due to the fact that it is the most secure EPDM single ply roofing system.  Fully adhered EPDM roof systems are also the easiest to maintain.

EPDM Roofing Mechanically Fastened Roof System:

Reinforced EPDM roofing single ply membrane is mechanically fastened to insulation. The EPDM seams are overlapped and glued together with double sided EPDM seam tape and then screws and 2” plates are mechanically fastened to seams; 1 screw/plate per foot.
Mechanically fastened EPDM roofing systems are the least expensive and are installed in areas where wind speeds are generally not high.  If you’re not too concerned about extreme wind speeds and your roof system receives foot traffic then this may be the system for you.

EPDM Roofing Ballast Roof System:

EPDM roofing single ply membrane is loose laid over insulation. The EPDM seams are overlapped and glued together with EPDM double sided tape, and then  ¾” – 1 ½” round washed stone ballast is loose laid on the entire roof surface (not less than 1,000 lbs per square).   EPDM Ballast roofing systems also deflect heat.

EPDM Roofing Perimeter and Protrusion Attachment Systems:

All EPDM Roofing single ply membrane is attached around all protrusions and along all roof perimeters.

What Roofing Systems Work Best In Certain Climates

Ethylene, Propylene, Diene, & Monomer were combined in order to create a synthetic elastomeric rubber which resists UV radiation, thermal shock, and weather changes.

Special coloring was also added to the EPDM single ply membranes in order to boost UV resistance:  Black membranes convert UV rays while white membranes deflect UV rays, thus keeping the interior of the building warmer when using Black EPDM and cooler when using White EPDM.

The Advantages Of An EPDM Roofing System Over A Modified Roofing System

EPDM is less expensive and easier to install than modified bitumen or built-up roofing systems.  More labor related accidents occur on modified bitumen and built-up roofing systems than during installation of an EPDM roofing system.  Hot tar used in modified bitumen and built-up roof systems emit odors/fumes and can cause severe burns.

EPDM is light weight and used on both new construction and reroof installations without adding excessive weight to the roof deck.  EPDM systems weigh approximately 30 pounds per square versus built-up or modified bitumen roofing systems which can weigh from 600 to 1500 pounds per square.

EPDM stretches to more than three(3) times the original size so it moves with the building during  weather changes.  This is especially important during hard winter months and in the desert where it is hot during the day and cold at night. Built-up and modified bitumen roofing systems do not expand or contract so cracks occur during weather changes.

EPDM can last 40+ years or more if properly maintained; EPDM roofing systems are easier and more successful to repair and maintain than built-up or modified bitumen roof systems years after installation.

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