Home roofing systems have evolved considerably in recent years, with newer shingle systems offering 25 years of life. Metal roofs can offer up to 50 years of life. However, none of these is foolproof, and they’re also subject to leaks. Metal roofs can rust, and shingle roofs can be easily damaged by high winds. Metal dents when impacted by hail. Is there another option? Actually, EPDM roofing might be the best option for your home. What should you know?
How Does EPDM Differ from Conventional Roofing?
There are several important differences between EPDM and conventional roofing. First, it’s a rubber material that must be installed directly to the roofing substrate. It’s not made of metal, and there are no shingles. It’s made of various sheets of specially designed rubber, adhered to one another using liquid rubber. It’s highly resistant to all types of weathering, and is specially designed to maintain its elasticity even when exposed to high heat and UV rays for year after year.
EPDM has been widely adopted throughout the construction industry, but sees more use in commercial and industrial applications than in residential construction. With that being said, new technologies are enabling it to be used in many different areas of home construction, particularly in covering carports, garages, outbuildings and the like. It’s especially effective for use on flat roofs, because of its waterproof properties.
Interestingly, most roofing materials aren’t waterproof. They only need to be water resistant. In a conventional home design, the roof is sloped so that water runs down and off. In these situations, water resistance is all that’s needed. Shingles (or whatever other roofing might be in place) must only resist the water until it stops raining and the roof dries. However, in a flat roof, that can take a long time. What’s more, low spots in the roof will collect water, called ponding. These areas keep the roofing submerged for long periods, creating the ideal situations for a leak to form. Once a leak starts, the substrate is weakened and there’s a greater chance for further leaking and damage.
With EPDM roofing solutions, ponding is not a problem. The roofing material is completely waterproof, so standing water cannot penetrate into the substrate no matter how long it stays in place. For homeowners with flat roofs, this is a significant advance.
Repairing EPDM Roofing
EPDM roofing systems are subject to damage, just as any other roofing material would be. However, it’s better at resisting some – high winds, for instance – which reduces some potential for repairs. In instances where damage is unavoidable (a falling tree limb is a good example), repairing EPDM roofing is very simple. Once any damage to the substrate has been repaired, a couple of coats of liquid rubber will seal the roof again and protect it like new.
EPDM roofing systems offer significant advantages to homeowners. However, they must be installed by licensed contractors – this is not a DIY project. Contact a reputable roofer to have your home inspected to determine if EPDM is the right material for you.