EPDM Roof “Rubber” (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer)

EPDM Membrane CoverPhoto

EPDM Roofing Systems have been installed since the early 1970’s. An EPDM roof system comes in thicknesses from. 045 mil to .090 mil, can be reinforced or non-reinforced, and is typically black in color, but can is rarely in white. An EPDM membrane installation can be mechanically attached, fully adhered, or ballasted.

Since the 1980’s, individual membrane rolls are bonded together using 3” or 6” seam tape, which is far superior to the liquid adhesives that were used prior. While not as strong as a heat welded systems found in TPO Roof Systems and PVC Roof Systems, seam tape does an excellent job of bonding the two rolls together for extended periods of time. The way the bonding works in an EPDM Membrane Installation is the EPDM Roof membrane is cleaned off then primed. Once the primer is set, the seam tape is rolled over the primed area, and rolled into place. After, the two rolls are bonded together for the life of the EPDM roof system!

 01 Left - EPDM Cleaned and Primed  01 Right - EPDM Membrane Bonded and Rolled

 EPDM Cleaned and Primed

 EPDM Membrane Bonded and Rolled

For smaller areas, like rooftop units and curbs, EPDM membrane from the field sheet is custom cut and wrapped around the units. For corner areas, where the membrane must be cut perfectly to fit around the unit, flashing membrane is used due to its flexibility and versatility. The surrounding area is cleaned and primed first; the same way seam tape is used above. Then, the flashing membrane is custom cut to fit the area, then placed on the curb by hand. After, the flashing membrane is rolled in place using a rubber roller, where it becomes watertight. 90% of roof leaks come from these small detail areas, because work in these areas relies heavily on the craftsmanship of the roofing mechanic. Having an EPDM Membrane Installation performed by an experienced and professional crew makes the difference in whether your building will follow this statistic.

 02 Left - Cleaning and Priming  02 Right - Curb with Pipe

 Cleaning and Priming

 Fully Flashed Curb

Benefits of an EPDM Roof

EPDM Roof Systems have been one of the most popular choices in flat roofing for a reason. Some advantages of an EPDM Roofing System are:

  • Proven system that has been installed for over 40 years
  • Strong puncture resistance with reinforced systems
  • Rubber rarely deteriorates over time (except with grease and other chemicals).
  • Easier to install and patch than heat welded systems.
  • Very flexible material, which is useful for buildings that expand or contract over time.

Drawbacks of an EPDM Roof

EPDM Roof systems have a few disadvantages, which are:

  • Black color creates hotter environment for rooftop units, such as HVAC and other equipment.
  • Eco friendly white color comes at a premium cost and is not as well proven.
  • Grease and other chemicals can destroy EPDM Membrane.
  • Seam tape is not as strong as heat welding found in TPO and PVC.

EPDM Roof systems will go the distance on any building that doesn’t have excessive chemical output, particularly grease, going to the roof.