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EPDM Roof Installation (Explained in 5 Steps)

Written by

Leroy Whitt

When it comes to roofing materials, EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) stands out as a popular choice for both residential and commercial buildings. With its durability, cost-effectiveness, and ease of installation, EPDM has gained widespread recognition in the commercial roofing industry.

Want to learn about EPDM roof installation? You’re in the right place. We’re breaking down:

  • What EPDM is
  • Its advantages and disadvantages
  • Installation process
  • Cost considerations
  • Longevity
  • Maintenance tips
  • Signs indicating it’s time for a replacement

What is EPDM?

EPDM roofing

EPDM is a type of synthetic rubber roofing membrane widely used in low-slope buildings. Composed of ethylene, propylene, and a small amount of diene monomer, EPDM exhibits exceptional resistance to heat, ozone, weathering, and abrasion. This durable material is available in various thicknesses and can be installed in large, seamless sheets, making it ideal for flat or gently sloping roofs.

✅ Pros of EPDM Roofing

  • Durability: EPDM roofs have a proven track record of longevity, with lifespans ranging from 25 to 30 years or more when properly installed and maintained.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Compared to other roofing materials like asphalt or metal, EPDM is relatively affordable, offering excellent value for money over its lifespan.
  • Low maintenance: EPDM requires minimal maintenance, typically limited to periodic cleaning and inspections, reducing long-term upkeep costs.
  • Resistance to weathering: EPDM exhibits high resistance to UV radiation, ozone, hail, and temperature extremes, making it suitable for various climates.
  • Flexibility: EPDM remains flexible even in cold temperatures, allowing it to expand and contract with temperature changes without cracking or tearing.

❌ Cons of EPDM Roofing

  1. Susceptibility to punctures: While EPDM is highly durable, it can be punctured by sharp objects, such as falling branches or debris, necessitating prompt repairs to prevent water infiltration.
  2. Limited color options: EPDM typically comes in black, which may absorb more heat compared to lighter-colored roofing materials, potentially leading to higher cooling costs in hot climates.
  3. Adhesive dependency: Proper installation of EPDM relies heavily on adhesives and seam tapes, and improper application can compromise the roof’s integrity.

Cost of EPDM Roof Installation

The cost of installing an EPDM roof varies depending on factors such as roof size, complexity, local labor rates, and the quality of materials used. On average, homeowners can expect to pay between $5 to $8 per square foot for EPDM installation, including labor and materials. While EPDM’s upfront cost may be higher than traditional asphalt shingles, its long-term durability and low maintenance requirements make it a cost-effective investment.

5 Step Installation Process

installing EPDM

Want to know what to expect when getting your EPDM roofing material installed correctly? Here are the steps your roofing contractor will take.

1) Preparation:

The roof surface must be clean, dry, and free of debris before installation begins. Any existing roofing materials should be removed, and the substrate inspected for damage or irregularities.

2) Application of Adhesive:

EPDM sheets are adhered to the roof substrate using a compatible adhesive applied with a roller or sprayer. Careful attention must be paid to ensure proper adhesion and minimize air bubbles.

3) Seaming:

Seams between EPDM sheets are sealed using specialized seam tapes or adhesives to create a watertight barrier. Proper seam installation is critical to prevent leaks and ensure the roof’s integrity.

4) Flashing and Edge Detailing:

Flashing strips are installed around roof penetrations, edges, and transitions to provide additional waterproofing and protect vulnerable areas from water infiltration.

5) Final Inspection:

Once the EPDM membrane is fully installed, a thorough inspection is conducted to identify any defects or areas requiring additional attention. Any necessary repairs or adjustments are made before the final inspection.

Longevity of EPDM Roofing

When installed and maintained correctly, EPDM roofs can last 25 to 30 years or more. Factors that influence EPDM’s lifespan include climate, exposure to UV radiation, installation quality, and maintenance practices. Regular inspections and prompt repairs can help extend the life of an EPDM roof and maximize its performance.

Maintenance Tips for EPDM Roofing

If you’re looking to increase the lifespan of your EPDM rubber roofing, and avoid damage then maintenance is a non-negotiable. Here are our top tips:

🗓️ Regular Inspections

Inspect the roof surface at least twice a year for signs of damage, including punctures, tears, or seam separation.

🫧 Keep it Clean

Remove debris, leaves, and other debris from the roof surface regularly to prevent buildup and potential drainage issues.

🧰 Address Repairs Promptly

Promptly repair any punctures, tears, or seam defects to prevent water infiltration and prolong the roof’s lifespan.

🚫 Avoid Harsh Chemicals

Use mild, non-abrasive cleaners and avoid harsh chemicals or solvents that may damage the EPDM membrane.

🌻 Trim Vegetation

Trim overhanging branches and vegetation near the roof to prevent damage from falling debris and minimize the risk of punctures.

Signs It’s Time for EPDM Roof Replacement

Wondering if it is time for your roof replacement? Here are some common signs:

  • Age: As EPDM roofs approach the end of their expected lifespan (typically 25 to 30 years), they may become more prone to leaks and other issues, indicating the need for replacement.
  • Visible damage: Punctures, tears, or seam separation that cannot be effectively repaired may necessitate roof replacement to maintain structural integrity and prevent water damage.
  • Excessive leaks: Persistent or recurring leaks, despite repairs, may indicate underlying issues with the EPDM membrane or roof substrate, warranting replacement.
  • Decreased energy efficiency: An aging or damaged EPDM roof may contribute to increased heating or cooling costs due to reduced insulation or compromised waterproofing.
  • Mold or mildew growth: Moisture infiltration resulting from roof damage can promote the growth of mold or mildew, posing health risks and indicating the need for replacement.

Your Local Commercial Roofing Experts

EPDM roofing offers numerous advantages, including durability, cost-effectiveness, and low maintenance requirements, making it a popular choice for residential and commercial buildings alike. By understanding the installation process, maintenance considerations, and signs indicating the need for replacement, homeowners can maximize the lifespan and performance of their EPDM roofs, ensuring long-term protection and peace of mind.

Contact Whitt’s Quality Roofing today to learn more about our commercial roofing services!

Leroy Whitt

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