We use EPDM a lot at AM Flat Roofing & Sheet Metal. EPDM stands for ethylene propylene diene monomer. To put it simply: it’s an extremely durable synthetic rubber membrane. The two main ingredients are; ethylene and propylene, which come from natural oil and gas. EPDM has a life expectancy of 10-30 years but it’s important to realize that this is only with proper care and maintenance.
EPDM is used for more than just roofing, other places you may see EPDM being used is:
As you can see, EPDM is used for a wide variety of things in fact you’ve probably encountered EPDM before in one of it’s other forms- us roof construction contractors hardly have the monopoly on it.
EPDM has several features that make it one of the top two most popular flat roof material:
In case you were wondering, PVC is the other most popular material. Which one reigns depends on who you ask. PVC beats EPDM in terms of heat loss, it will cost slightly more to heat a building with an EPDM roof, and because EPDM seams tend to not be quite as strong as PVC. EPDM is however, the cheaper of the two options and all its other quality are nearly identical. With the right installation and maintenance plan you should see no difference in performance.
Technically EPDM can be found in a solid state- like the Firestone kind we use or semi-solid. The solid-state EPDM is used the standard for flat roofs and comes in rolls in a variety of colours, widths and roll sizes. The most common colours are, predictably, black or white, with black being slightly more common for existing roofs but white quickly becoming more popular.
Like we mentioned above, EPDM flat roofs are very fast to install, depending on the size and state of the current roof. EPDM can be installed fully adhered, mechanically attached or ballasted and the seams sealed with liquid sealant or specialty tape. The EPDM membrane is installed over gravel ballast.
Gravel ballasted roofs have a few advantages to the other ways of installing EPDM roofing. Because there are fewer adhesives involved in the interior layers of the roof cost is significantly lower than these other systems. The ballast also allows us to install the EPDM membrane fast and efficiently, more so than any other way. In other words we can install EPDM in almost any weather condition. The ballast also allows the roof and EPDM membrane to withstand natural movements and fluctuations in the building, such as during temperature changes or extreme wind. Repairing and replacing ballast roofs is also easy due to the loose structure.
Overall we believe our EPDM flat roofing system with gravel ballast is a perfect solution to many of our clients needs. Call us to discuss what your needs are and we will point you in the right direction.