Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer rubber is better known as EPDM rubber, and for many years it has been a leading type of single-ply roofing membrane. It is also used in many other applications. The appropriate use for EPDM rubber is on flat or low-slope roofs. EPDM is an extremely durable synthetic rubber roofing membrane (ethylene propylene diene terpolymer) widely used in low-slope buildings in the United States and worldwide. Its two primary ingredients, ethylene and propylene, are derived from oil and natural gas. EPDM is available in both black and white, and is sold a broad variety of widths, ranging from 7.5 feet to fifty feet, and in two thicknesses, 45 and 60 mils. EPDM can be installed fully adhered, mechanically attached or ballasted, with the seams of the roofing system sealed with liquid adhesives or specially formulated tape.
Most rubber roofs are black, but it does come in white to reflect the sun. White EPDM rubber membrane roofing costs a little more than black. This roof system can be mechanically attached or fully adhered and comes in reinforced and non-reinforced. There is also a less common ballasted roof system. Reinforced is used for mechanically attached, and non-reinforced is used for fully adhered systems. Ask your roofer which one makes the most sense for your roof. This material is tough, standing up to tears, impacts, punctures and normal roof traffic. It’s durable, offering excellent resistance to ozone and ultraviolet light exposure. And it’s reliable, maintaining elasticity and flexibility that lasts.
The EPDM rubber sheets come in rolls from five feet up to 50 feet wide. The sheets wider than 10 feet are for fully adhering only, in most cases. Because covering a roof requires more than one sheet, there are seams in a rubber roof. These seams are primed and an inseam tape is installed to make them watertight. A roofer must be skilled and take extra care in properly seaming the sheets and installing rubber roof flashings.
Rubber roofs should last from 15 to 30 years, and top manufacturers guarantee them, labor and material or just the membrane. These membranes range in thickness from 45 to 60 to 80 and 90 mils. A mil is one one-thousandth of an inch. The most common thicknesses are 45 and 60 mil.