Save the Planet, Switch to EPDM

Greener, more eco-friendly options have become such an important part of so many people’s lives. They want the choice of sustainable products that don’t pollute the Earth and contribute less to global climate change. This expands across so many industries, and home roof repairs are no exception. Fortunately, greener roofing options such as EPDM cause less harm to the environment, but they’re usually less expensive in the long run. This has led many builders and home remodelers to switch to EPDM. This material offers some of the most environmentally friendly benefits a roof can have. Let’s take a look at why.

Being Eco-Friendly is Black and White

EPDM, or ethylene propylene diene monomer, is a synthetic rubber that is rolled out as a liquid to create one of the most durable EPDM roofing materials on the market. But durability isn’t its only selling point; color is too. Color might sound like a cop-out when it comes to a marketing point, but in the world of roofing, color matters a lot—particularly black and white.

Think of a hot summer day in Miami. You probably imagine a swimming pool with fruity cocktails and men dressed in white suits and Panama hats. That white suit didn’t become a fashion trend just for the sake of style. White is white because it reflects back all shades of visible light, i.e., it doesn’t absorb sunlight. For your building, this translates to a cooler outer surface. With less sunlight absorbing into your building, you’ll use less energy to cool the interior. 

The same goes for buildings in cold climates. If you spend most of the year heating your property, opting for a black roof can cut the energy you spend on heating. Where white reflects light, black absorbs it. And we don’t just mean a few degrees worth of light. Making the switch to this style of roof can affect your building’s overall temperature by up to 30%!

A Greener Source

If the idea of a rubber roof causes you to balk, that might be because you know where rubber comes from—the rainforest. While it’s easy to forget, rubber is a natural product produced by rubber trees deep in the hearts of the Amazon, Congo, and jungles of Southeast Asia. Collecting sap from these trees is not the most eco-friendly of industries and can cause deforestation in our planet’s lungs.

The good news is, though, with EPDM roofing, your worries are put to rest. Rather than being sourced from the rainforest, EPDM is a synthetic rubber made without causing deforestation. This also has the added benefit of producing a better product. Compared to natural rubber roofing, EPDM roofing can stand up against higher and lower temperatures, prolonged exposure to UV radiation, and even ozone.

Durability Equals Environmentally Friendly

Even still, synthetic rubbers might set off a few alarm bells for an avid environmentalist. But thanks to how much more durable these roof coatings are, EPDM roofs last far longer than a standard roof. This means they won’t have to be repaired or replaced as frequently, and less product gets used. With an EPDM roof, you can go decades without replacing your roof even in harsh climates. At the end of the day, if you’re looking for a way to cut energy expenditure, slow the rate that the rainforest is being commercialized, and still walk away with a roof over your head, you can’t get much better than an EPDM roof coating. You’ll save on money and also help benefit the planet. 

EPDM vs PVC: What’s Right for Your Roofing Needs?

If you are the owner of a flat-roofed or low-slope roof structure, you already know that your roofing needs are far different from those with buildings featuring traditional, more steeply sloped rooftops. Your roofing has to be resistant to everything from extremes of temperatures and the risks of pooling water, snow and ice to structural movement. This is why the issue of EPDM vs PVC so frequently emerges.

Why the EPDM vs. PVC Issue?

You will see a lot of EPDM vs PVC comparisons when you start to search for roofing because these are the two most commonly chosen materials for flat roofs. EPDM is a rubber material made mostly with oil based ingredients. PVC is a vinyl-like material made of chlorine and ethylene.

Are there pros and cons to each? Absolutely, and it is imperative to run that EPDM vs PVC comparison as you narrow down your choices for your new or replacement roof on a flat-top or low slope building. Let’s start with the EPDM and its many pros and cons.

EPDM vs. PVC: The Pros and Cons of EPDM

Ethylene propylene diene monomer or EPDM is a synthetic rubber and is treated with a range of chemicals to help stabilize the material and make it long-lasting, flexible and durable. Typically, EPDM is UV stable, meaning that it can be exposed for many years to the intense powers of sunlight without degrading or breaking down. It is also able to withstand extremes in weather such as incredibly hot summers and intensely cold winters without turning brittle or breaking down.

EPDM is able to flex enough to support structural movement, too. And perhaps one of the most important “pros” for the EPDM roofing is the fact that there is no special equipment or skill needed to install it. It does ask for a great deal of prep in terms of cleaning and/or installing a new roof decking on which the material is applied. However, with good brushes, rollers and patience even a novice can do a good job.

Lastly, it is the most affordable type of single-ply membrane-style roofing and has been in use for decades.

EPDM vs. PVC: The Pros and Cons of PVC

A more recent innovation in single-ply, membrane-style roofing is PVC roofing. However, one of the major “pros” of the PVC roofing is that it is actually made of three layers of material that feature PVC material reinforced with polyester “scrim” between. It is, however, described as a single-ply membrane. This means it is considered a bit more flexible and stable with high break and tear resistance. It is identical to EPDM in that it has UV resistance and can remain stable under extremes of heat or cold. PVC is also quite resistant to fire and chemicals, and typically inhibits the growth of any fungi or plant materials.

And also just like EPDM, the PVC materials are designed to be watertight and leak free for many decades after installation. This material also requires attention to prep when it is installed, and it requires “hot air welded seams” rather than an adhesive to bond together properly. This is why the PVC roofing is also a job for professionals who know how to handle the machines and materials properly.

This tends to boost the price of a installation, making EPDM the lower priced option with the added benefit of a DIY installation if desired.

In the debate of EPDM vs. PVC we now know that PVC is just as durable but requires experts to install the material properly. If you are looking for a long-lasting, easy to install and affordable roofing material for a flat roof, the EPDM materials may be the ideal choice.

EPDM Roof Installation Cost and Benefits

Those who are considering an EPDM roof will find that it offers a range of benefits. The traditional membranes tend to have fewer seams than other types of roofing, and when using a liquid EPDM, there are no seams at all. It is a lightweight material and it is easy to apply when compared with other options, such as asphalt. Because they are lightweight, it means that they can be installed without the need for any type of heavy machinery.

The reputation of the EPDM products is outstanding, as well. The membranes have been in use for more than 50 years in the construction field, and these high-quality sheets tend to be faster to install than other roofing methods. Additionally, they use less energy when they are created. With EPDM, you will have a roof that can last for between 20 and 30 years, making it a low-cost options. It is resistant to weathering and damage, and it works well in both high and low heat. Overall, the maintenance for these types of roofs tends to be low. This is true whether using the membranes or the liquid EPDM.

What About the EPDM Roof Installation Cost

Determining exactly how much the installation will cost can be difficult because it can vary so much based on a number of factors, such as location and the cost of labor. For the material alone, the national roofing costs are estimated to be $0.80 per square foot to $1.60 per square foot. This does not include the cost of labor. When you are trying to determine how much you will have to spend on your roof, you will want to consider the amount of square footage that you need to cover, as well as the cost of the membranes or liquid EPDM in your area. Additionally, you will want to check with several contractors who can supply the labor for the roofing.

Overall, though, it does tend to be a cheaper option than many of the other roofing alternatives out there for flat roofs. It could be a good choice for you given all of the benefits and the low cost. However, you will want to speak with contractors in your area to get full information and an estimate on what your total cost will end up being. If you talk with several contractors, you may find some small differences in the price you need to pay for your roof. Typically, they will be close to one another in cost, including labor, so choose the contractor that has the best reputation.

What’s the Cost of Not Having Quality Roofing?

There are many who worry that their EPDM roof installation costs are going to be too high, and they decide that they can wait “just a little longer” before they get new roofing. However, it is important for them to consider what could happen if they wait for too long. A leak in the roof could be more than just a little problem. If you need new roofing for your store, for example, think about how much damage rain could do to the merchandise and stock that you have. If you have a flat roof on a garage or storage shed that needs better roofing materials, consider the damage that water could do to the items that you have stored inside. The EPDM roof installation costs tend to be some of the lowest you will find for quality roofing that will keep your building safe. Spending a little now could help you to save a lot in the end.

A Typical EPDM Roof Life Expectancy

If you are the owner of a flat or low-slope roofed building (whether residential or commercial), and you are in need of a new roofing material, you might have already heard of EPDM. Experts in building and design have long known that it is a remarkably durable material that installs easily and comes with a very budget-friendly price. In this guide, we’ll also look at the typical EPDM roof life expectancy and just why it is probably an optimal solution to your roofing needs.

What is EPDM Anyway?

EPDM is an oil-based rubber material that can be easily applied to a flat or low-sloping rooftop. It is often described as a DIY-friendly material, too, because it does not involve any specialized skills or tools to install correctly and effectively. Preparing the area properly is also going to have an effect on any EPDM roof life expectancy.

EPDM Roofing

EPDM Roofing

Why? If you want to get the very most EPDM roof life out of an installation, it means you’ll have to consider what issues might shorten or interfere with a longer life span on the material. Generally, it is the following factors that can shorten the roofing material’s life span and decrease its performance:

  • Moisture – Any EPDM roof life expectancy can be shortened if the materials are applied to wood a foundation that is damp or retaining moisture. This can cause adhesives to fail or for trapped moisture to degrade the base materials quickly.
  • Debris – The prep work before installation involves removal of old asphalt and oil-based materials, as well as ensuring there are no sharp surfaces or pieces of debris that could work away at the backside of the roofing, causing a tear or fracture in the future, and leading to leaks inside the building.
  • Poor drainage – Preparing a roof for EPDM means ensuring that water drains away from the rooftop and into gutters. This means the installation of batten boards and other trim that channels water where it needs to go. It also means that installation requires flashing to help channel water away from vulnerable surfaces and/or joints between the EPDM and other parts of the building.

A trustworthy EPDM guide can help you learn all about the appropriate steps to take before, during and after installation. Each of these steps can prolong or ensure the long EPDM roof life you desire.

The Average EPDM Roof Life

And just what is the average life span of an EPDM installation. Generally, experts know that a well done installation provides a property owner with 40 to 50 years of roof life, or more. Regular maintenance and inspections can detect any issues or signs of trouble and extend the life span of the roof for even longer.

A Lesser Known Benefit of EPDM

And though you might read that EPDM has a long life and can withstand exposure to such things as UV light, extremes of heat and cold, structural movement and more, it is also important to recall that it is a greener sort of roofing. Not only because it lasts for such a long time, though, but also because it takes much less energy to produce and when it is replaced in later years the original material is entirely recyclable.

If you are considering a new material for a low-sloped or flat roofed building, you have several ways you can go. However, if you need a cost-effective, low maintenance and easy to install option that can last for many years to come, then it is EPDM. Available in different colors, thicknesses and widths, it can cover large or small areas affordably and over a very long span of time.

EPDM and the Environment

More and more people today are concerned with the environment and going green, and they want to make choices that are sustainable. This includes when it comes to the buildings they own and the roofs on those buildings, particularly in the commercial sector. Builders and buyers alike are looking for ways that they can create environmentally friendly roofing systems, and one of the best options on the market is EPDM, or Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer. This material offers a number of benefits that help to make it an environmentally friendly product, and it could be the perfect option for your business.

Energy Efficient Roof

Energy efficiency is important, and this is one of the areas where EPDM can truly excel. The product is available in both white and black. This means that it can work well to accommodate different types of environments when it comes to being energy efficient.

If the white EPDM is used in a climate that tends to be warm and get a lot of sunshine, it can help to keep the building cooler. The white will reflect the sunlight. This can help to reduce the use of air-conditioning. For those that live in colder climates, having the black roofing can help, as it will more readily absorb the sunlight to keep the building warmer. This means reduced heating costs throughout much of the year.

In fact, a study conducted by Ashley-McGraw Architects have shown this to be the case. They found that using white roofing will provide 30% higher thermal heat loss than the black roofs.

Highly Durable and Long-Lasting

Another way that EPDM is environmentally friendly is in its durability. It’s very common for the coatings on roofs to last and stay in great shape for decades. They are not going to need to be recoated and repaired every year, which means less of the product is being used. Not only is this good for the environment, but it shows that EPDM is also a good value.

A study by a strategic environmental consulting firm called GreenTeam, Inc. found that EPDM performs better than other similar types of roof assemblies. They found that it has a lower environmental impact than asphalt, TPO, and PVC roofing systems.

Another one of the benefits of EPDM that helps it to last so long is the fact that it is not a rigid, inflexible material. You will find that the rubber can expand and contract with the weather, which means there is a far less likelihood of it cracking and allowing for leaks.

Applying the EPDM

If you want to have a quality roofing system that is environmentally friendly, you will find that EPDM tends to be fast and relatively easy to install. In fact, depending on the size of the roof, the slope of the roof, and the amount of time you have, it is a project that you could conceivably complete on your own. However, if you do not have the time or inclination to do it on your own, you can find some great roofing companies that can take care of the installation for you.

epdm

EPDM (ETHYLENE PROPYLENE DIENE MONOMER)

During the application process, be sure to follow all of the guidelines from the manufacturer to ensure proper installation. This includes cleaning and preparing the roof before you begin, applying a single coat, and ensuring you are following safety guidelines while applying.

Whether you choose to install the EPDM on your own or hire someone to do it for you, it is worth it. The peace of mind it can offer, along with the environmental friendliness, are priceless.