what is epdm

Understanding EPDM: Durable Synthetic Rubber Roofing

Welcome to our article series on EPDM roofing! In this first section, we will provide a comprehensive understanding of EPDM by exploring its meaning, definition, and properties. EPDM, which stands for Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer, is a highly durable synthetic rubber roofing membrane widely used in low-slope buildings around the world.

EPDM roofing is crafted from ethylene and propylene, derived from oil and natural gas, making it an environmentally-friendly choice. It is available in black and white, with various widths and thicknesses to accommodate diverse project requirements. EPDM roofing can be installed using different methods, such as fully adhered, mechanically attached, or ballasted.

When it comes to repair and maintenance, it is important to note that EPDM roofing requires specific materials and should not be mixed with asphalt-based products. Now that we have gained an overview of EPDM roofing, let’s delve into its advantages and properties in the next section.

Advantages and Properties of EPDM Roofing

EPDM roofing offers a range of advantages that make it an excellent choice for various applications. Let’s explore the key properties and benefits of EPDM:

Advantages of EPDM Roofing

  • Long-lasting: EPDM roofs have a lifespan of up to 50 years, providing durability and peace of mind.
  • Lightweight: EPDM is a lightweight roofing material, reducing the load on the structure and making installation easier.
  • Low risk of leaks: EPDM has fewer seams compared to other roofing materials, minimizing the risk of water leakage.
  • Resistance to environmental factors: EPDM is highly resistant to hail, ozone, and UV radiation, ensuring that your roof remains intact and protected.
  • Cost-effective: EPDM roofing is an affordable option, offering long-term savings due to its longevity and low maintenance requirements.

Properties of EPDM Roofing

Property Description
Flexibility The resilient nature of EPDM allows it to expand and contract with temperature changes, preventing cracking and ensuring long-term performance.
Weather Resistance EPDM is resistant to extreme weather conditions, including high winds and heavy rains, making it suitable for various climates.
Chemical Resistance EPDM exhibits excellent resistance to chemicals, making it an ideal choice for roofs that may come into contact with industrial or chemical substances.
Fire Resistance EPDM possesses a high level of fire resistance, providing an added layer of safety and protection.

EPDM roofing can be used in various applications, including commercial buildings, garages, sheds, balconies, and even as a base-layer for rooftop gardens or solar arrays.

With its outstanding properties and numerous advantages, EPDM roofing is a reliable and cost-effective solution for your roofing needs.

EPDM Roofing

Common Issues and Maintenance of EPDM Roofs

EPDM roofs, although known for their durability, can experience various problems over time if not properly maintained. Regular maintenance is crucial to prevent these issues and ensure the longevity of the roof. Let’s take a closer look at some common problems that can occur with EPDM roofs and the importance of maintenance.

Lack of Maintenance

One common reason for EPDM roof issues is the lack of proper maintenance. Without regular inspections and upkeep, minor problems can escalate into major ones. It is essential to establish a maintenance schedule that includes regular inspections, cleaning, and repairs to detect any potential issues early on.


EPDM roofing membranes can experience shrinkage over time, particularly if installation was not done correctly or if exposed to extreme weather conditions. Shrinkage can cause the membrane to separate, resulting in gaps and potential damage. Regular inspections can help identify any signs of shrinkage, allowing for prompt repairs to prevent further complications.

Defective Seams

Another common issue with EPDM roofs is defective seams. The seams of an EPDM roof play a critical role in preventing water infiltration and maintaining the integrity of the roofing system. If the seams are defective or improperly installed, they can allow water to penetrate the roof, leading to moisture damage and potentially compromising the insulation layer. Routine inspections and timely repairs can help address any seam defects and maintain the roof’s waterproofing capabilities.

Environmental Damage

EPDM roofs are susceptible to sudden damage caused by severe weather events, falling debris, and even unintentional tradesperson damage. Every EPDM roof should be inspected after a severe storm or any event that could potentially damage the roof’s surface. Prompt repairs and necessary adjustments should be made to ensure the roof remains intact and continues to provide optimal protection.

Proper care and maintenance are essential for the longevity of EPDM roofs. By addressing any problems promptly and conducting regular inspections and repairs, property owners can ensure their EPDM roofing systems continue to perform effectively for many years.

EPDM roofing maintenance

Installation Methods and Cost of EPDM Roofing

When it comes to installing EPDM roofing, there are three main methods: adhered, mechanically attached, and ballasted. Each method offers its own advantages and considerations.

Adhered Installation

Adhered installation is considered the highest quality option for EPDM roofing. It involves using adhesive to securely bond the EPDM membrane to the roof substrate. This method provides excellent adhesion and durability, resulting in a long-lasting and watertight seal. However, adhered installation is more time-intensive and expensive compared to other methods.

Mechanically Attached Installation

Mechanically attached installation is a common and relatively quick method for installing EPDM roofing. It involves using mechanical fasteners, such as screws and plates, to secure the EPDM membrane to the roof substrate. This method offers good wind uplift resistance and ease of installation. However, it may require additional seam treatments to ensure watertightness.

Ballasted Installation

Ballasted installation is another option for EPDM roofing. It involves placing stones or gravel on top of the EPDM membrane to hold it in place. The weight of the ballast provides stability and wind uplift resistance. This method is often used for roofs with minimal foot traffic and can be cost-effective. However, it requires careful consideration of drainage and may increase the load on the roof structure.

Now let’s talk about the cost of EPDM roofing. The cost can vary depending on factors such as the size of the roof, location, and roofing contractor. On average, the cost of EPDM roofing ranges from $6 to $8 per square foot.

EPDM roofing installation

If you’re considering EPDM roofing for your project, it’s important to obtain quotes from reputable contractors to get a more accurate cost estimate. While EPDM roofing may have a higher upfront cost compared to some other roofing materials, its durability and long-term performance make it a cost-effective choice in the long run.


EPDM roofing is a highly durable and versatile solution for a wide range of low-slope roofing applications. With its exceptional properties and advantages, it is well-suited for use in commercial buildings, garages, sheds, and various other structures.

Regular maintenance and proper installation methods are crucial for ensuring the longevity and optimal performance of EPDM roofs. By conducting routine inspections, addressing any issues promptly, and utilizing the correct repair materials, you can extend the lifespan of your EPDM roof and minimize the risk of costly problems.

When considering roofing options, EPDM stands out as a cost-effective choice that offers exceptional durability and resistance to various weather conditions. Its ability to withstand hail, ozone, and UV radiation makes it an ideal choice for long-lasting protection. Additionally, EPDM can serve as a base-layer installation for rooftop gardens or solar arrays, showcasing its versatility.

Whether you are looking to install a new low-slope roof or replace an existing one, EPDM roofing is a reliable and efficient solution. Its wide range of applications, durability, and ease of installation make it a popular choice among professionals in the industry. Choose EPDM for a roofing material that offers exceptional performance and peace of mind.


What is EPDM?

EPDM stands for Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer. It is a highly durable synthetic rubber roofing membrane used in low-slope buildings worldwide.

What are the advantages and properties of EPDM roofing?

EPDM roofing offers several advantages. It is long-lasting, lightweight, and has a low risk of leaks due to fewer seams. EPDM is resistant to hail, ozone, and UV radiation. It is also cost-effective compared to other roofing materials.

What are the common issues and maintenance requirements for EPDM roofs?

EPDM roofs can experience problems due to lack of maintenance, shrinkage, and defective seams. Regular maintenance is crucial to prevent issues. Shrinkage can cause the membrane to separate, leading to damage. Defective seams can result in water infiltration and damage to the insulation layer. EPDM roofs are prone to sudden damage from severe weather, debris, and tradesperson damage.

What are the installation methods and cost of EPDM roofing?

EPDM roofs can be installed through three methods – adhered, mechanically attached, or ballasted. Adhered installation provides the highest quality but is more time-intensive and expensive. Mechanically attached installation is common and relatively quick. Ballasted installation uses stones or gravel to hold down the EPDM. The cost of EPDM roofing varies but is generally around to per square foot.

What are the uses and applications of EPDM?

EPDM roofing is a durable and versatile solution for various low-slope roofing applications. Its properties and advantages make it suitable for commercial buildings, garages, sheds, and other structures. EPDM can also be used for base-layer installations for rooftop gardens or solar arrays.

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