Natural rubber has many uses, including shoes, tires, balloons, garden hoses, doormats, and countless other objects. And it has been hanging over our heads for decades in the form of EPDM rubber.

What the heck is EPDM rubber? It is short for Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer and is a synthetic rubber compound developed back in the 1960s. Demand for natural rubber was at its tipping point, so an alternative was researched and developed by scientists at Exxon Oil. I’m imagining a scene from The Absent-Minded Professor, the great Disney movie about the invention of Flubber, but I’m sure EPDM’s story wasn’t quite that funny.

EPDM can withstand exposure to the elements so well that it is the perfect choice for outdoor products. It is highly resistant to UV light, Ozone, and weathering. It can operate in temperatures from -60 to +250 degrees Fahrenheit.

EPDM roofing membranes have a remarkable track record of resisting hail and wind damage and keeping water out of buildings, which can considerably cut owners’ financial losses. When hail up to 2 inches in diameter falls on an EPDM roof, the material’s elasticity allows it to absorb the impact without cracking or puncturing. EPDM rubber stays flexible throughout its lifetime (about 40-50 years, far longer than most other materials), providing great weather resistance, unlike other materials that tend to get more brittle with age.

Its uses vary, including construction parts, weather strips, wire and cable insulation/shielding, and hose and belt products. It is also often used for seals and gaskets. In the roofing world, it is used frequently on flat or low-slope rooftops for several reasons, including ease of installation.

EPDM rubber roofing offers several advantages over other common roofing materials like metal, single-ply, and asphalt roofing. Here’s how EPDM stacks up:

  1. Durability: EPDM rubber roofing is highly durable, with a lifespan of up to 50 years or more. Metal roofing, while also durable, can be prone to rust and corrosion over time. Single-ply roofing, typically made from materials like PVC or TPO, can be punctured or damaged more easily. Asphalt roofing is durable but can deteriorate over time due to UV radiation and weather exposure.
  2. Longevity: EPDM has a long lifespan, making it a cost-effective option in the long run. Metal roofing can also last a long time but may require more maintenance to prevent rust and corrosion. Single-ply roofing typically has a lifespan of 20-30 years. Asphalt roofing may need to be replaced every 15-30 years.
  3. Low Maintenance: EPDM requires minimal maintenance, whereas metal roofing may need to be inspected and maintained regularly to prevent rust and corrosion. Single-ply roofing may require more frequent inspections and repairs. Asphalt roofing may need to be cleaned and coated periodically to maintain its appearance and protect it from UV radiation.
  4. Energy Efficiency: EPDM has excellent insulation properties, which can help reduce heating and cooling costs. Metal roofing can also be energy-efficient, especially when coated with reflective coatings. Single-ply roofing can be energy-efficient if properly installed with insulation. Asphalt roofing is less energy-efficient compared to EPDM and metal roofing.
  5. Environmental Friendliness: EPDM is made from recycled materials and can be recycled at the end of its lifespan. Metal roofing can also be recycled but may require more energy to produce. Single-ply roofing is typically made from non-recyclable materials. Asphalt roofing is not recyclable and can contribute to landfill waste.
  6. Fire Resistance: EPDM is fire-resistant, which can help protect your home or building in the event of a fire. Metal roofing is also fire-resistant but can be prone to corrosion from fire retardants. Single-ply roofing may not be as fire-resistant as EPDM or metal roofing. Asphalt roofing is not fire-resistant and can contribute to the spread of fires.
  7. Installation: EPDM is lightweight and flexible, making it easy to install on a variety of roof shapes and sizes. Metal roofing can also be easy to install but may require special tools and equipment. Single-ply roofing can be more difficult to install due to its rigidity. Asphalt roofing can be more challenging to install, especially on steep-slope roofs.
  8. Versatility: EPDM is available in various colors and thicknesses, making it suitable for a wide range of applications. Metal roofing is also available in various colors and styles but may be limited in terms of thickness. Single-ply roofing is available in different colors and materials but may be limited in terms of thickness and durability. Asphalt roofing is available in a limited range of colors and styles.
  9. Cost-Effectiveness: EPDM is relatively inexpensive compared to other roofing materials, such as metal and single-ply roofing. Metal roofing can be more expensive, especially if it requires additional maintenance or coatings. Single-ply roofing can also be expensive, especially if it requires frequent repairs. Asphalt roofing is typically less expensive upfront but may require more maintenance and replacement over time.
  10. Resistant to Chemicals and Fungi: EPDM is resistant to chemicals, including acids, alkalis, and solvents, which can cause other roofing materials to deteriorate. It is also resistant to fungi and algae growth, which can help maintain the appearance of your roof.
Rubber Rooftops Advantages

Your roof installation is only as great as the roofer who installs it. This is why we recommend hiring us at Community Roofing & Restoration. Our years of experience show in the high quality of our installations. Plus, we have a team of licensed, bonded, and insured contractors who can help you. Call us today!

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