Businesses should focus on utility, longevity and energy efficiency when it comes to their roofing system. And, that means it’s important to choose a commercial roofing system made of strong, durable, light-weight and cost-effective roofing materials.
EPDM roofing is a time-tested roofing solution for businesses across the country that checks all the boxes for a business’s needs while also being easy on the eye. While it’s a fairly recent innovation (having been created in the late 1960s), EPDM roofs have gained traction with the modern wave of businesses.
If you want a functional and trusted roof for your business, then EPDM is often the way to go. In this post, we’ll highlight everything a beginner should know about EPDM roofing. Read on to learn more and make the right choice when you’re in the market for a new roof.
What Is an EPDM Roofing?
Most people refer to EPDM roofing as the “rubber roof,” and they’re not wrong. EPDM stands for ethylene propylene diene monomer which is a type of rubber. But before you research any further, let’s look at EPDM at its most basic level.
EPDM roofs have been all the rage with businesses in need of low-slope commercial roofing.
There are two roofing options when it comes to EPDM membranes. Black EPDM roofing is the more popular of the two; the rubber membrane has carbon black added to the mix to convert UV rays into heat.
The white variant has its own special layer on top made out of titanium dioxide, which is used to reflect the UV rays instead. So, the choice of the membrane will likely depend on the type of climate that your location typically receives.
Apart from the reflective layer, a typical EPDM roof has three other layers:
- The fire-resistant layer or AFR layer
- The polyester fabric reinforcement layer at the top
- The elastomeric layer at the bottom
Collectively, these layers make up the high-density rubber roof that businesses across the world love and make EPDM roofing strong, flexible and fire-resistant.
Benefits of EPDM Roofing
There are plenty of reasons why EPDM roofs are so popular with businesses, but it’s mainly due to the wide array of benefits these roofs present to business owners. Here are a couple of benefits of EPDM roofing.
Cost-Effective Rubber Roofing
Businesses look to cut costs in any way they can without compromising on quality. Purchasing an EPDM roofing system is typically cheaper per square foot than most other types of roofing (like TPO) while still being a high-quality material. For those two reasons alone, purchasing EPDM roofs is one way your business could cut down on roofing costs.
Longevity of the Roofing Materials
You can get a good twenty years or longer out of your EPDM roof, provided you get the right roofing contractor for the installation. Since roof replacement is not only costly but also time-consuming, make sure you’re using a commercial roofing company who has the experience and manpower to complete the job quickly and correctly.
In business, time is money, and you don’t want to lose any time on roof replacement that you could use to make money.
Easy to Install Flat Roof Option
The reason why EPDM roof installation costs remain so affordable are because the roofing systems are easy to install. EPDM is a light-weight but strong material, and EPDM rubber comes in rolls of about 10’ by 100’ (meaning that your roofing contractor can just roll the roof on the building and get to work).
Fire-Resistant Roof System
Earlier, we had mentioned that these roofs have a fire-resistant layer, making them ideal for regions where wildfires are more prevalent or where a business could be exposed to the risk of a fire.
Often, fires spread from one building to another through the roofing system and even a tiny wisp of a flame can ignite the neighboring building.
That’s why a fire-resistant roof systems are so popular. Flat roofing systems such as modified bitumen, for instance, lose their resistance after only five years.
It’s hard to use the terms “rubber” and “environmentally friendly” in the same sentence unless you’re talking about EPDM. EPDM is 100% recyclable.
Disadvantages of EPDM Roofing
Although EPDM flat roofs have many benefits, they are not without their cons. Here are a couple of drawbacks to EPDM roofing.
It’s Not a DIY Project
EPDM roofs are very easy to install, but you typically can’t install them on your own (unless you have previous commercial roofing experience). For the business that wants to try and save some money by installing the roof on their own, it just isn’t possible here.
There’s a lot of technical stuff that goes into installing an EPDM roof! If you choose to go it on your own, the probability of an EPDM system failing is very high. That’s why it’s so important to find a competent commercial roofing installer to handle your EPDM roofing.
While an EPDM roof has a clean and professional finish, it’s looks are certainly nothing to write home about. With EPDM roofing, you don’t get the glamor of wooden or asphalt shingles, and in fact, you can just think of it as a plain sheet of rubber.
For a bit of style, you can get one with a ballasted layer. However, even with an asphalt layer, it’s still very utilitarian. This is just fine for most commercial roofs, but if you’re a business that wants to use the roof as an outdoor space, you’ll likely want a different type of roofing for your building.
Can Puncture Easily
EPDM is a high-density rubber that is very strong. However, EPDM roofs may not hold up well to high-impact forces and cannot withstand large falling objects.
An EPDM Roof Is an Investment
Think of an EPDM roofing system as a cost-effective investment for your business. You’ll cut your roofing costs quite a bit when compared to other systems and you’ll get a long-lasting roof that requires minimal repairs and maintenance.
In the long run, you’ll save your business a lot of money that you can use for other things (like hiring additional employees or marketing and sales efforts). However, to experience the full range of benefits that EPDM rubber roofs offer, talk to a reputable roofing company.
Your commercial building’s roof is only as good as its installation or roofing contractor! For professional and fast EPDM roof installation, contact an expert commercial roofer today.