The Ultimate Guide to EPDM Roofing

EPDM roofing

EPDM roofing became popular in the 70s and 80s because of the Middle East embargo. The event raised the price of asphalt. It also lowered the quality of the existing asphalt shingles. 

EPDM roofs became the more cost-effective option in that period. This isn’t the case today. However, EPDM roofing still has a lot to offer. 

Read on to learn more about EPDM types of roofs. 

What Is EPDM Roofing? 

EPDM stands for Ethylene Propylene Diene Terpolymer. This material can be best described as a kind of synthetic rubber. Manufacturers form EPDM rubber into a single-ply membrane and install it over roofing substrates. 

A full EPDM roofing system, however, consists of more than the synthetic rubber layer. When installing a new roof, roofers will install four distinct layers over the base roof structure. The exact materials involved in these layers differ between different installation methods. 

Where Is EPDM Roofing Installed? 

EPDM roofing options are most often installed on low-slope or ‘flat’ roofs. These types of roofs are found more often on commercial buildings. However, plenty of residential buildings have them as well. 

Why are EPDM membranes often used on flat roofs? It has to do with how well EPDM roofs repel water. This ability counteracts how difficult it is for water to flow off flat roofs. 

The Installation Processes of EPDM Roofs

There are about three techniques that roofers use during a roof replacement process with an EPDM roof. Each of these has pros and cons.

Owners may want to ask about the method the roofers will use. They may be able to request that roofers use a specific method. 


This method doesn’t involve attaching the membrane to the lower layer directly. Instead, they lay it down loosely and use stones or concrete pavers to hold it down.

This method is regarded as more aesthetically pleasing. It also has a higher level of energy efficiency. 

Mechanically Fastened 

Most roofers use this method to install EPDM roofs. It involves using metal plates and fasteners for securing the roofing membrane to the insulation membrane and roof decking. One major benefit of this method is that it’s quick. 

Fully Adhered 

With this method, roofers use specialized glue to attach the membrane to the insulation layer. This method is more time-consuming, but it also has a longer life expectancy. 

The Pros of EPDM Roofs 

What do EPDM roofs offer that makes homeowners and building owners choose them over other options? There are plenty of ways that EPDM roofs can offer any building effective protection for long periods. However, EPDM roofs offer far more benefits than just sufficient protection. 

Durable and Long-Lasting 

The exact lifespan can vary between different styles of EPDM roofing. Thicker membrane options, for instance, will last far longer than thinner options. There are also plenty of underlayer options that hold up better than others. 

Another factor to consider is roof maintenance. An EPDM roof that receives frequent maintenance will last far longer than one that residential and commercial building owners ignore.

It’s also highly important that clients hire competent roofers. They will install an EPDM properly. An improperly installed EPDM roof will last a shorter time. 

When all the right factors are in place, however, EPDM roofing options can have a fairly impressive lifespan. 

Easy Installation 

A roof replacement can be a costly endeavor. A lot of this process’s cost comes from the hourly rate of roofers. What a client ultimately pays in this cost sector depends on how long the roofers have to labor. 

The more complex the roofing system, the longer it will take to install. Less complicated roofing systems will take less time to install. The hourly wage cost for a simpler roof system installation will cost less than for a more complex one.

EPDM is a simpler roofing system. Thus, a client will pay less in hourly wages to have it installed.  

Repair and Maintenance Is Easy

Unfortunately, there are plenty of structural issues that can plague EPDM roofs. Foot traffic, roof equipment, and weather debris like hail can cause sudden damage to EPDM membranes. In addition, the adhesives that bond EPDM seems together can weaken and split the seams apart. 

Beyond that, there’s also the shrinkage issue. The rubber membrane can shrink over time and detach from seams, parapet walls, and so on. 

Luckily, these damages are very easy to fix. Roofers and/or building owners can easily fix holes and punctures with tape, overlays, and/or patches. 

Environmentally Friendly  

More eco-conscious individuals can also find a lot to love with EPDM roofs. These types of roofs can benefit the environment in several ways. 


Unlike many types of roofs, the materials in EPDM rubber are 100% recyclable. This feature prevents the materials from winding up in landfills. It can instead be reused in places such as children’s playgrounds. 

On top of that, many manufacturers will use recycled rubber to make their EPDM membranes. This material often comes from sources such as old tires. Eco-conscious clients should check or ask the manufacturers about the specific details to be certain. 

Energy Efficient 

EPDM membranes can efficiently regulate the temperature inside buildings. Depending on their colors, they can either absorb or reflect sunlight and heat. Absorbing the heat and sunlight will keep a building warm, and reflecting heat and sunlight will keep it cool. 

The result is that building owners do not have to rely as much on their HVAC system to regulate temperatures. This way, they use less energy. The less energy their building uses, the less atmosphere-polluting fossil fuels get burned. 


Many roofing materials are toxic to the environment. This isn’t the case with EPDM materials. The rubber is non-toxic and, thus, won’t pollute rainwater and the environment. 

Get High-Quality Roof Maintenance Services From Us 

Be sure to research all the roofing options available to you before you undergo a roof replacement. EPDM roofing certainly has many benefits. However, you may find that another roofing option is better suited for your situation. 

When you’re ready for a roof replacement, consider our services. We ensure that your roofing project is completed to perfection. Schedule a free 25-point roof inspection by filling out the form on this page

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