EPDM Roofing (aka EPDM Rubber Roofing)– Advantages and Disadvantages
EPDM Roofing – Advantages and Disadvantages
There are roughly four different types of roofing materials that can be installed on flat roofs. Of them, EPDM roofing (aka EPDM rubber roofing) is one of the most frequently used.
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What Is EPDM Roofing?
EPDM roofing is most commonly known as rubber roofing, rubber membrane roofing, or rolled rubber roofing. It’s made of a mixture of recycled tires, sawdust, and slate dust and runs roughly .80 a square foot, making it one of the least expensive types of roofing on the market today.
Advantages to Using EPDM Roofing
The biggest advantage that EPDM roofing has over other types of flat roofing materials is its cost. At .80 a square foot, this is one of the most inexpensive roofing materials around. It’s also extremely easy to install, so whether you do it yourself or you hire a professional, the costs are low in that area as well.
EPDM rubber roofing is also very lightweight, so the roof deck doesn’t need any kind of reinforcement. In fact, the best way to install this material is to strip everything right off the roof, apply an adhesive then roll out the roofing. Because there are few seams, leaks are fairly rare and a good quality EPDM roof can last up to 20 years.
Installers also have options of how they will install the material. In addition to using adhesive to attach hit to the roof, there are also fasteners that can be used to anchor it in difficult to reach areas. It can also be ballasted with stone, which may help to improve its appearance.
This type of roofing is fairly durable, doesn’t scratch or scuff easily, and can be easily repaired if a leak does occur. Liquid roofing membranes, latex tape or adhesives, and some types of rubber shingles can be installed over the EPDM roofing to repair and patch leaks that may develop over time. And while the material is black and does absorb heat, it isn’t easily damaged by UV rays, which helps it hold up well in sunny climates.
Disadvantages to Using EPDM Roofing
The biggest drawback to this type of roofing is its appearance. Because it’s made of rubber, EPDM most resembles a stretched out inner tube when it is unrolled on the roof. If you are looking for a roofing material for a garage or shed, this may not be a major drawback, but it can detract from curb appeal when used on the main buildings of a home. EPDM comes mainly in a black roll, which easily absorbs heat and can lead to superheating of the structure below. You can find it in lighter colors to help reflect heat in warmer climates, but this adds about 30% more to the cost of the material per square foot.
EPDM roofing can also puncture fairly easily, so falling branches, or a workman wearing the wrong type of boots could easily tear a hole in the roof. And while this is easily repaired, any kind of water infiltration into the structure can cause additional problems, and is best avoided if at all possible.
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