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Pros and Cons of EPDM Roofing: Is It Right for Your Building?

Pros and Cons of EPDM Roofing: Is It Right for Your Building?

You may not know it, but you’ve probably seen an unsung hero of commercial roofing materials and technology. It’s called EPDM, and it can make a huge difference in energy costs and building maintenance.

What Is EPDM Roofing?

EPDM stands for Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer, and it’s a synthetic rubber roofing material that’s frequently used for commercial roofs. EPDM roofing is durable and weatherproof, making it one of the most perfect building roofing materials for commercial buildings in Colorado. It’s also one of the more sustainable roofing materials because its two main ingredients are ethylene and propylene, which make it environmentally friendly.

Pros and Cons of EPDM Roofing

Choosing the right roofing material for your commercial building is one of the most important decisions you can make since it impacts nearly all other maintenance aspects of your building.

There are many EPDM roofing benefits, including:

1. Affordability

EPDM roofing costs depend on a number of factors, including the style you select, condition of your roof, and more. Generally, EPDM roofing is typically less expensive than other common roofing materials like TPO (Thermoplastic Polyolefin) or metal, although material pricing can vary. It’s also usually cheaper to repair EPDM in the event of a puncture or other damage.

2. Weather Resistance 

Today’s EPDM materials are far more durable when it comes to the kind of tough weather we experience in Colorado. It can withstand strong UV rays, hail, snow, heavy rain, and extreme cold better than other membrane materials.

3. EPDM Roofing Longevity

The technology behind roofing materials has come a long way and gotten better each year, and EPDM is no exception. You can expect high EPDM roofing durability, as the material can withstand temperatures from -40ºF to over 300ºF. Because the rubber it is made with is highly flexible, waterproof, and durable, you can expect to get many years out of your EPDM roof (assuming proper EPDM roofing maintenance).

4. Ease of Installation

EPDM roofing installation is a straightforward process. It has fewer seams than traditional roofing, is durable enough to walk on, and it can be installed without restructuring your old roof (which makes installation simpler and faster). This easy installation process for EPDM roofing also helps keep costs low.

5. Energy Efficiency

Depending on where you live, your choice of EPDM material and color can make it a highly energy-efficient roofing material. Denver is the dividing line for dark versus light low slope roofing color choices as we experience both high and low ranges in temperature and weather. For example, if you live in a cooler climate, like in the mountains, black EPDM can help you save on heating costs as the black rubber absorbs heat. And if you’re in a warmer climate or a dense urban area, you may choose a white EPDM roof to help handle the heat and lower your cooling costs. White EPDM is a newer option to the more popular white TPO in our region.

EPDM is also eco-friendly, as it can be recycled and requires less energy to produce compared to other rubber materials. Overall, EPDM is a good example of a green roofing solution.

6. Low Maintenance Requirements 

To maintain your EPDM rubber roofing, you should regularly clean it and remove any debris or standing water. Maintenance is simple cleaning, meaning washing only with water. EPDM doesn’t do well with liquid solvent cleaners, as it will damage the material. You should also inspect your roof for any signs of damage, such as cracks or tears, and repair them promptly. It’s also recommended to have your EPDM rubber roof inspected by a professional roofing contractor annually.

Cons of EPDM Roofing

There aren’t as many EPDM roofing drawbacks as there are benefits, but here are three to bear in mind.

1. Appearance

EPDM is traditionally available in black or white, while TPO options also include gray, tan, and other colors. While black is easily the most common color, EPDM does sell with a white surface, or laminated top. This is done to compete with the TPO and PVC options and to achieve the Cool Roof ratings and/or energy-efficiency performance effects.

2. Shrinkage and Less Resistance to Punctures

EPDM roofing material is highly durable, but it can still become damaged. EPDM rubber is known to be less resistant to punctures and tears compared to other roofing materials such as PVC or TPO. It also tends to to shrink and curl over time, which can lead to leaks and other issues if not properly installed or maintained. Most often, EPDM damage is limited to punctures and tears that occur from things like fallen tree branches, pests, or someone wearing the wrong shoes while walking across it. Fortunately, EPDM is relatively easy and inexpensive to repair.

3. Maintenance Issues if Not Properly Installed

Roof protrusions, such as pipes, vents, and HVAC units create natural vulnerabilities in the integrity of your roof. Making a mistake around these areas can leave your roof vulnerable to leaks that can cause long-term damage. Seams are also an area that can require maintenance, as they can dry out over time. Poor cleaning or priming will also lead to failing seams and areas around pipes. Resealing and re-coating are the most viable options and really do extend the life of the roof.

Considering an EPDM Roof for Your Business? Trust a Professional for Your EPDM Roofing Needs

A new roof is one of the most expensive investments you can make to your building, but also one of the most important. Whether you’re replacing or repairing your existing commercial or residential roof, choose a trusted, local professional roofer to get the job done right.

Our team has all the experience needed to professionally install your EPDM roof and make sure you’re set up for decades of success. We are certified and knowledgeable when it comes to EPDM, and we won’t consider the job complete until you’re satisfied.

Give us a call at 303-425-7531 or click here to get started on your EPDM roofing project.

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