TPO vs. EPDM Roofing for RVs: Which is the Best RV Roof Material?

Choosing the best RV roof material is largely a matter of personal preference. Still, there are some factors that are involved in your decision that you should be aware of before you begin shopping for a new roof. Two of the most popular options on the market for today’s RVs are TPO and EPDM. Both of these are synthetic polymers that are designed specifically for use on RVs and mobile homes. They offer low maintenance roofing solutions, but each has its own pros and cons to consider.

Before you can compare the two, you really have to understand a little more about what they are:

EPDM: This synthetic rubber is designed specifically for roofing, and is available in both liquid and sheet form. When used as a liquid, it will dry to a semi-solid finish, offering a flexible watertight seal. EPDM sheets are dried out and cured, which offers less flexibility but a slightly sturdier finish. This material is usually black, although many liquid products dry to a white finish to offer better UV protection and other benefits.

TPO: This synthetic material is a laminated membrane that is relatively cheap. This roofing material can be attached by mechanical screws or adhesion with glue or other roofing adhesives. Details and seams can be heat welded, or they can simply be glued and sealed. This material can also be combined with fiber reinforcements for added strength, but this can also cause more rigidity, leading to difficulty with installation in some cases.

The Best RV Roof Material is Affordable

Since roofing material selection is more about personal preference, what you can afford matters. The costs involved in TPO roofing are higher because the materials are more difficult to manufacture. Additionally, TPO may require additional products like sealants and the fiber reinforcements mentioned above, so you have more to consider than just the cost of the roofing material itself.

EPDM is an economical solution, and in its liquid form it is even more affordable and easy to install. Why does ease of installation matter to cost? If the process is simple, you can replace your own RV roof and save hundreds, if not thousands, on shop or dealership labor costs.

Another factor to consider when it comes down to cost is the thickness. A thicker membrane is going to perform better and provide longer protection, so you should always choose that option if it is within your budget. After all, spending a little more on a better quality roof now, regardless of whether it is TPO or EPDM, is going to save you from more frequent repairs and replacements in the future.

Installation and Maintenance

TPO roofing typically requires hot air welding for the seams, which is a more complex process. Plus, it is going to be more expensive to install because of the need for specialty tools or a skilled welder to complete the work. On the other hand, EPDM can usually be installed even by the most average handy person. Liquid rubber EPDM products are even easier to install, making them a popular choice among DIYers for their ease of installation and lack of maintenance required.

Speaking of maintenance, this is another area where EPDM rubber roofing does the job better. Rubber roofs, when properly installed, will not require much maintenance in the early years. In fact, with regular cleaning and care, a rubber roof can last a long time with minimal or no need for repairs.

A TPO roof, on the other hand, requires regular resealing for the best protection. Like fiberglass, the seams have no other protectant or adhesive like they do on a rubber roof, and therefore rely solely on the protection of a sealant. Applying and reapplying this product over the years can also cause unnecessary deterioration and damage.

Is EPDM Rubber Roofing Right for You?

If your business or home has a flat roof, or a low-slope roof, you have options in terms of roofing systems that go beyond conventional asphalt shingles, shakes, and the like. EPDM rubber roofing is one of the most popular options on the market, and it can offer quite a few benefits for business owners and homeowners. However, it is not the right solution for everyone. Is it right for your particular needs? We’ll help you make an informed decision.

A Quick Look at the Benefits of EPDM Rubber Roofing

EPDM offers quite a few benefits and advantages as a roofing material when compared to other options on the market. Understanding these is key to making the right decision.

  • Cost: You’ll find that EPDM rubber roofing is more affordable than many roofing systems on the market. The lower cost per square foot allows you to save money on your construction or re-roofing project that can be reinvested in other areas or saved outright. However, you do not need to worry that because EPDM is low-cost, that you will suffer with low-quality roofing. It is actually stronger and more durable than many other roofing systems used today.
  • Weight: Weight is a significant consideration with any type of roof cladding. The roof system and substrate must be strong enough to handle the load. With other roofing materials, ranging from asphalt shingles to slate or terracotta tiles, the weight can be immense. EPDM rubber roofing is much lighter, helping to reduce stress and strain in your roofing system without sacrificing protection or durability.
  • Durability: The roof of your home or business is one of the most critical components. It must withstand harsh temperatures, direct sunlight, exposure to wind, rain, sleet, snow, and ice, and it must do so for decades without degrading. That’s a tall order to fill for any material, but EPDM rubber roofing does so very well. In fact, it’s one of the most durable materials on the market, with a lifespan surpassing 50 years with correct installation.
  • Ease of Maintenance: Most roofing systems require very little in the way of maintenance, but EPDM rubber roofing is particularly low-maintenance. It simply needs to be cleaned once or twice per year to remove dust. With a quality protectant applied to it, even mildew will not be a problem. Few other roofing materials can claim that – even asphalt shingles can suffer from mildew and mold buildup.
  • Ease of Installation: Installing EPDM rubber roofing is also very simple. In fact, it can be done in mere hours in most cases. Compare that to the days required for other systems and you begin to see just how beneficial this option is. All you need to apply it is a roller and a brush, although a sprayer may also be useful for applying it to large, open areas of the roof quickly and evenly.

The Drawbacks of EPDM Rubber Roofing

While there are many benefits and advantages to using a rubber roof product, there are some cons that you should know about, too.

  • Professional Installation: In most cases, you’ll need to let a professional handle installation to make sure that it’s done right. So, if you’re the DIY type, this is most likely a hands-off sort of project. This also goes for most large-scale repairs, although home and business owners can often handle small repairs on their own.
  • Roof Protrusions: Roof protrusions and other potential problem areas need to be addressed before EPDM rubber roofing is installed to prevent punctures and other damage.

In the end, rubber roofs may not be the right choice for everyone, but they are increasing in popularity thanks to their wide range of benefits and advantages.

A Quick Look at EPDM Rubber Roof Installation Cost

Ask roofing experts and they will always say that there are many factors that impact the total cost of a roof installation or replacement. These factors can include the size of the roof, pitch of the roof, level of accessibility, and the materials chosen. In this article, we’ll explore the typical EPDM roof installation cost and take a look at the factors that affect its installation.

The Biggest Factors in Any EPDM Rubber Roof Installation Cost

When looking at a EPDM Rubber Roof installation cost (or any roofing installation, for that matter), the largest cost factor is the size of the roof. With flat and low-sloped rooftops, that usually means a relatively simple to calculate figure. As an illustration, roofing is often charged “per roofing square” and this is a ten foot by ten foot area, or one hundred square feet.

EPDM Rubber Roof

EPDM Rubber Roof

So, if your flat-roofed building has a forty thousand square foot size, it is actually 40 roofing squares. The best way to give yourself a relatively accurate estimate of the EPDM roof installation cost is to begin with the actual size of the roof to be covered or re-covered with the EPDM.

The Slope and the EPDM Roof Installation Cost

A real advantage to the use of EPDM is the fact that the complexity of a roof’s design usually boosts the cost of any work done relating to the roof. Large and steeply pitched roofs are very costly to deal with, and it is because the pace of the work is slower. Steeper pitches mean materials cannot remain nearby the worker and special steps are needed to ensure safety.

Flat roofs, however, are easily accessible, materials can be brought to the roof and left in place until the work begins, and worker safety is easier to manage because there is no slope or pitch to struggle against.

The DIY Element

Of course, in looking at the issue of EPDM roof installation cost, we cannot ignore that it is a process that is able to be done on a DIY basis if desired. One of the leading advantages of EPDM is that it does not require lots of specialized equipment or training. Not many commercial property owners will do a massive installation on their own, but they also do not need to hire a huge team of experts with heavy machinery and expensive skills to do the work.

And as to the most basic part of the costs of an EPDM roof – the actual materials themselves – EPDM is ranked as one of the most affordable. It requires very little in terms of materials with nothing more than the rolls of EPDM the adhesives used, and special materials like batten boards and special trims to complete the job properly. Keep in mind that the costs of the job, and the need for roofing experts, may boost the overall price. For instance, you may find that the plywood roofing beneath the old roof needs replacement. That can mean a dumpster at the site to take materials, the new boards and their installation, and any other materials will have to be figured into the price.

If there is any water damage, that too can boost the costs as you may need to replace structural issues or work around everything from skylights and vents to chimneys and more.

The good news is that EPDM has long had a reputation as one of the most affordable roofing options for residential and commercial buildings with low-slope or flat rooftops. Long-lasting, water and weather proof, and even environmentally friendly (they can be recycled whenever they are replaced), they are a good solution if you want a budget-friendly option for your building.

Elastomeric Roof Coating Explained

With all the advantages out there when it comes to roof coating, it’s understandable that you may want more information before making a decision. Your roof is important, after all, so anything but the best is taking a pretty big gamble. Keep reading to learn more about one option, an elastomeric roof coating.

What is an Elastomeric Roof Coating?

An elastomeric roof coating is one that greatly resembles rubber once it’s applied. One of the main advantages of this particular form of coating is that it can be applied to so many different kinds of roofs.

What are Its Advantages?

There are many benefits to choosing an elastomeric roof coating. As mentioned above, it can be used on just about any surface type. This includes roofs made out of metal, single-ply applications, built-up applications, modified bitumen, and much more. It can even be applied to freshly sprayed polyurethane foam.

The actual angle of the roof doesn’t matter, either. Unlike some other coatings that can only be used on buildings with a flat top, elastomeric coatings can handle those and ones with just about any type of slant to them.

Once applied, an elastomeric roof coating will provide superior resistance against just about any weather condition. As it acts much like rubber, it can stretch when the temperature goes up and then retreat to its original shape when it gets colder out. By doing this, it resists cracking.

Because of the strong seal this coating produces, it’s great for energy efficiency. Cold air and heat stay in, while the outside world is kept at bay.

There are four main types of elastomeric coating. They are as follows:

Acrylic Elastomeric Coating

This is the most widely used elastomeric roof coating. It’s great for roofs with a positive slope, for one thing. It also displays superior longevity and is easy to clean. Furthermore, many people appreciate that it is considered an environmentally friendly option.

Butyl Elastomeric

For flat roofs or those with a low slope, butyl elastomeric is a great choice. It works especially well on roofs that are made from modified bitumen, asphalt built-up, or singleplied roofing. One advantage for flat roofs is that this variety can resist the pressure of pooling water.

Polyurethane Elastomeric

While EPDM roof coatings are considered high quality, adding a polyurethane elastomeric coating will further help ensure the roof’s overall protection. This variety is also especially good for roofs made from modified bitumen or a single-ply application of PVC or TPO.

Silicone Elastomeric Coatings

This is a great option for a roof that was recently treated with polyurethane foam. The main reason is that a silicone elastomeric coating displays excellent weathering. Whether the foam was just recently sprayed or needs a new layer for protection, this is a great choice.

When you’re looking to coat your roof for added protection, it’s hard to think of a better option than the rubber-like elastomeric coating. It can be applied to just about any surface, and it will display excellent durability while adapting to weather conditions. With several different options to choose from, you can find the coating that will work best for your roof.

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The Advantages of EPDM Roof Coatings

There’s no getting around the importance a roof plays in any structure. Whether it be a home, a warehouse, office building, etc. you need a strong roof that can provide shelter from the elements. Leaks do happen, however, at which point, you want to act fast to solve the problem. Despite all the options available, you can’t do much better than having EPDM roof coatings above your head. Keep reading to learn why applying EPDM to your roof is one of the best decisions you can make for the structure.

Immune to Most Climates:

EPDM roof coatings can handle just about any climate condition short of a tornado. They can withstand low temperatures all the way down to -40 F without cracking or becoming brittle.

If you live in the Southern Hemisphere, you’ll be glad to know that a roof covered in EPDM doesn’t mind the warmth, either. While temperatures will never get up to 300 F, EPDM has shown it wouldn’t be a problem if it did.

The really great thing about EPDM roof coatings, when it comes to climate, is how much it can save you in energy costs. EPDM gets a lot of credit for keeping the elements out, but the truth is that it does just as good a job keeping your cold air or heat in, where it belongs.

Repair and Maintenance:

Roof Leaks Repairing

Roof Leaks Repairing

As the above attests, a roof covered in EPDM will have an easy time withstanding the elements. Yet EPDM needs very little, if any, maintenance. While you’ll want to clean your roof periodically, simply to keep things like fungi or algae from growing, the synthetic rubber itself won’t need any help.

This also provides greater savings. The longer you can go without having to fix your roof again, the more of a return you’re getting on your investment. But this can also provide great savings for use on an office building. As that type of building constantly undergoes inspections for worker safety, you won’t have to worry about spending more to keep it up to code.

Longevity:

It’s hard to think of another option that can provide the kind of longevity you’ll get from installing EPDM Roof coatings. The ERA (EPDM Roofing Association) recently conducted a study. In it, they examined a number of EPDM roof coatings that were 30 years old. Their finding was that, even after 3 decades, the EPDM maintained a high degree of tensile strength, almost as if it were new.

Installing EPDM:

Installing EPDM Roof Coatings

Installing EPDM Roof Coatings

Keep in mind that the above advantages are contingent on quality installation. While many people may be successful in installing EPDM on their own, they take the results into their own hands. Many of the benefits listed above will not be a factor if installation is mishandled.

When it comes to putting a roof over your head, you’d be hard pressed to find a better option than EPDM rubber. For added savings, incredible durability, and little-to-no maintenance issues, EPDM roof coatings will deliver. Best of all, you won’t have to think about it again for decades to come.

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