EPDM roofing was developed in the 1960s as a response to the demand for alternative roofing systems. With the fuel shortages and the oil embargo of the 1970s, roofing manufacturers were faced with a shortage of crude oil necessary to produce conventional roofing products. There are three main types of EPDM roofing: Standard EPDM, Fleece-backed EPDM and Reinforced EPDM.
WHAT IS EPDM ROOFING?
EPDM roofing (Ethleyne Propylene Diene Monomer) is a single-ply rubber roofing system. It has the appearance and feel of a tire inner tube. It is generally used on flat or gently sloping roofs. It easily surpasses roofing material available today in terms of performance characteristics and long-term weatherability. It is UV resistant and has a flexibility well past
-60 degrees Celsius which makes it an excellent choice for the Canadian climate. EPDM roofing membrane weathers better than any other roofing system. Conventional roofing systems usually require some form of maintenance after only a few years of service. EPDM roofing systems show no similar signs of deterioration with aging and can last up to 30 years. It can be installed much faster than conventional systems resulting in lower cost.
The two leading manufacturers of EPDM are Carlisle and Firestone though there are many others such as US Intec, Goodyear and Lexcan. The process for manufacturing EPDM roofing is relatively standard. It is a synthetic rubber membrane made of EPDM polymers compounded with pure carbon black which is one of the most weather resistant compounds known. The use of carbon black makes it resistant to ozone, UV, and aging. EPDM roofing is manufactured in large rolls from five to fifty feet in width and up to two hundred feet in length, resulting in fewer seams and less installation time. Lexcan EPDM roofing comes in sheet sizes up to 10,000 square feet and most roofs can be covered with one sheet.
TYPES OF EPDM ROOFING
Most manufacturers offer three different types of EPDM roofing: standard, fleece-backed and reinforced. These are available in a variety of thickness (.045 to .060). They are complimented with a wide range of seaming and flashing accessory products. EPDM roofing costs between $4.00-$6.00/sq. ft. Tar and ply roofing costs about the same but does not have the life expectancy or ease of application that EPDM roofing has. Roll asphalt roofing costs around $1.70/sq. ft., and is the most vulnerable of flat roofing systems.
Standard EPDM Roofing can be used on anything from a dog house or trailer roof to a commercial building. It is extremely fatigue and puncture resistant and has a life expectancy of at least twenty years. Many EPDM roofs installed in the 1960s are still performing without problems. It is available in black or white. White is typically used on buildings where there are concerns about thermal heat transfer or about sweating under the membrane. White EPDM roofing can be up to 80 degrees cooler than black, which can translate to significant energy savings in an air-conditioned building. Black EPDM roofing can be painted white with water-based acrylic paint.
Standard EPDM roofing accounts for about 30% of all commercial roofing materials. It remains the most popular choice for industrial use. Thousands of millions of square metres of EPDM roofing have been successfully installed worldwide over the last 30 years. 200 million square metres are installed annually, making it the most widely used roofing system in the world. It is lightweight and easy to install making it ideal for do-it-yourself projects or can be professionally installed for larger applications.