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EPDM: All You Need To Know About Rubber Roofing

February 13, 2021
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There is no disputing that asphalt roofing has been a favorite for American roofers and homeowners alike. However, other roofing options could be as efficient and even more cost-effective, but you don't know about them yet. And, no, we aren't talking about your common metal and slate roofs. Instead, we are going to be referring to more unconventional roofing materials, such as EPDM.

What Is EPDM Roofing?

EPDM, which stands for ethylene propylene diene monomer, is rubber derived from the aforementioned chemical compounds above. It's synthetic and can be produced in black and white colors. It also varies in thickness, with dimensions of 45 and 60 mils commonly used for roofing practices. The modes of installation are also vast. Adhesive bonds, mechanical clips, or specially formulated tapes can attach the rubber sheets onto the roofing structure. The EPDM Roofing Association provides more depth in their explanation.

EPDM Roofing Installation Process

We will try as much as possible to breakdown the complex procedures into forms that will be easily understandable by our readers. Here are the steps that roofers typically follow to install an EPDM roof successfully.

  • Making The Area To Be Roofed Clean And Even: Unlike other roofing materials, rubber roofing always considers this. Applying a rubber roof onto a dirty and irregular surface could lead to defects, such as air pockets underneath, and a rough surface. To avoid this, the roofer carefully removes all sorts of debris, oily substances, and smoothens out any irregular bumps and uneven slopes using OSB panels.
  • Drawing Pre-Construction Markups: Just like any other roofing material, the workspace needs to be designated with a set of tapes and pencil. Doing this will give the roofer a proper dimension to work with. It will also help him to make an accurate estimate of the required materials and labor. Additional provisions for overhangs are made to cover the roofing structure completely, even where it folds right beneath. The EPDM is also appropriately sloped at the ends to encourage water movement towards the gutter.
  • Rolling The EPDM Rubber Sheets: After the surface has been cleaned and marked, the rubber sheets will then be rolled on top of the surface. Unlike asphalt shingles installed one at a time, EPDM rubber is applied only in a larger format. This application method is why you need to ensure nothing else is obstructing it on the surface because it could disfigure the sheets and cause puncture holes. After it has been spread over the surface, it should be left to expand and rest for a few minutes, depending on the region's temperature.
  • Applying The EPDM On The Roof: As we mentioned earlier, there are various means you can use to attach the EPDM rubber to the roof surface. If a wet adhesive is used, you can apply generously on most of the roof surface with a roller. Since wet adhesives do not dry very quickly, you will have enough time to install a reasonable portion of the rubber roof before moving to the next section. Bonded adhesives, on the other hand, are used differently. They are applied on both the surface and the EPDM itself before it's applied on the surface. It takes a shorter time to dry, so it's always applied quicker than wet adhesives. It's advisable to start applying from the middle part of the area facing the wall towards the roof's edge.
  • Brushing the EPDM: After you are done installing the EPDM, you must run a brush over it. The main aim of doing this is to apply a bit of pressure to improve bonding between the surface and the rubber. Doing this will also help to eliminate all sorts of bubbles trapped beneath the EPDM. These bubbles can pose a problem in the future by making the adhesive bonds weaker, pulling the rubber away from the surface in the process. It's best to brush the EPDM, in the same manner, you applied the adhesive for even distribution.
  • Finishing Up: The final thing that needs to be done is to pay more attention to the little details, such as the roof edges and corners. Ensure the edges remain air and watertight and get rid of excess EPDM rubber that extends too much.

Advantages Of EPDM Roofing

Cost-Effectiveness: Rubber roofing is a very cheap option compared to asphalt and metal roofing. Its low cost is associated with the simplicity surrounding its manufacturing process.

They Are Eco-Friendly: Rubber roofs are known to save more energy costs, unlike asphalt roofs. The white color option is also useful to reflect ultraviolet rays from the sun.

EPDM Resists Fire: Rubber roofs hardly combust, which is a significant advantage if you live in an area known for erratic wildfires or high temperatures.

Feasible Lifespan: The lifespan of rubber roofs are very decent, especially when you consider how cheap it is. With a minimum durability period of 20 years, you would be getting the best out of your rubber roof with less maintenance and repair costs.

Disadvantages Of EPDM Roofing

Cost of Installation: Although it's a cheap roofing material, roofers tend to charge more to install EPDM membranes due to its unconventional nature.

Fragility: EPDM membranes aren't the toughest, and are known to crumble under intense conditions. It can shrink and even make leaky holes when exposed to a very high temperature for a long time. Maintenance might be cheap, but it's quite frequent when compared to other roofing materials. You can learn how to quickly detect and repair roof leaks by yourself if you visit our blog page.

Not So Stylish: Rubber roofs lack that sense of appeal that other roofing materials might provide for you. It looks straight and unaesthetic for most people, so you should consider other options if you are interested in such.

For more information regarding EPDM membranes, and secure roof installations, you can reach out to NY Roofing at 553 Prospect Avenue Brooklyn NY 11215 (646)-838-0441

Royal Renovators Inc is Fully Licensed and Insured, with Offices Throughout the NYC Area.
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