Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions about EPDM roofing.
What is EPDM?
EPDM (ethylene propylene diene terpolymer) is synthetic roofing material made from mainly two components, namely, ethylene, and propylene. It is an elastomeric compound that is highly resistant to ozone, ultraviolet, weathering, and abrasion. The ingredients are also resistant to acids, alkalis, and oxygenated solvents.
What does EPDM look like?
EPDM is typically available in two colors – black and white. Both types come with a smooth surface more like a natural slate. One of the main differences is that EPDM, whether black or white, does not have surface granules. It is also important to note that EPDM has highly reflective surface that helps lower energy bills. In tropical areas, where the weather conditions are mostly hot and humid, white EPDM roofing reflects the heat away and thus helps lower air-conditioning costs. Moreover, EPDM is an extremely durable roofing material, so you can expect EPDM roofs to last for years.
How did EPDM perform over the past four decades?
The past few decades have seen wide-ranging application of EPDM roofing membrane throughout the world. More than one billion square feet of EPDM membrane have been installed worldwide over the past four decades. More importantly, EPDM roofing performed well in nearly all climatic conditions. A number of studies and surveys have concluded that EPDM is an extremely durable and sturdy roofing membrane. EPDM is highly resistant to thermal shock, UV (ultraviolet) radiation, and hail damage. Also, this synthetic roofing membrane can withstand cyclic fatigue and has excellent low temperature flexibility.
How would you compare the performance of EPDM membrane with that of built-up roofing?
Roofing membranes are exposed to extreme climatic conditions, such as heavy rainfall, hailstorms, extreme temperatures, and thermal shock. Constant expansion and contraction make the membranes highly vulnerable to faster wear and tear. Thankfully, EPDM roofing has outstanding low temperature flexibility and excellent elongation capacity, which enable it to withstand building movement in various climatic conditions, without putting much pressure on the material. Thanks to the high moisture absorption resistance of EPDM membrane, it can withstand minor ponding and deflection and is a perfect choice for low-slope buildings.
Moisture can damage the organic materials in built-up roofing over time. There is no such risk with EPDM roofing because it does not contain organic materials. Temperature extremes often cause premature membrane aging and affect the durability of a roof. Because EPDM membrane has high resistance to extreme temperature, EPDM roofing would be a good idea in areas with extreme climatic conditions.
What is the maximum size sheet for EPDM membrane?
EPDM membrane is available is a wide variety of widths, ranging from seven feet to 50 feet. Application of 50 feet wide EPDM membrane is seen in ballasted and mechanically attached structures. If you are looking for more flexibility in placing the membrane, you can opt for EPDM with lesser widths.
Whether you opt for narrow or wide sheets, you can get them in a wide variety of lengths, ranging from 50′ to 200′.