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4 Problematic Disadvantages of EPDM Roofing

[fa icon="calendar"] Oct 26, 2018 11:23:55 AM / by Krystal Coddington

Krystal Coddington

disadvantages of epdm roofing (rubber roofing)

If you’re looking to save on roofing expenses, you might be thinking about installing an EPDM roof. These is one of the most common and least-expensive roofing materials, and if your building was constructed over the last few years, it may already have it. Choosing an EPDM roof now could save you lots of money upfront, but there are some trade-offs you’ll make as a result. Once you’re aware of these, you can decide if EPDM is right for your roofing needs if you should use another material.

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What Is EPDM Roofing?

Also known as rubber roofing, EPDM roofing is a type of roofing popular among builders and building owners because it is inexpensive, easy to install, and simple to maintain. EPDM (ethylene propylene diene terpolymer) is composed primarily of recycled tires along with slate and sawdust for added strength and durability. To install it, a contractor can simply roll out sections cut to the size of your roof and keeps them in place with adhesives, fasteners, or weights. These characteristics mean EPDM roofing is very inexpensive, with full installation costs ranging from $4 to $8 per square foot.

EPDM roofing is can last up to 50 years under optimal conditions, but you will need to make regular repairs to keep it in working order. You will want to make sure all seams are sealed and any cracks that appear are quickly fixed, though this may not be a major problem as most rubber roofs are UV resistant. While EPDM roofing is typically black, you can simply cover it with a coat of white acrylic paint, which can help to keep it cool while further extending its longevity. You can easily fix damages with patches, tape, or a liquid membrane, but it may be wise to replace your roof entirely if you have to undertake substantial repairs.

 

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EPDM roofs are also highly fire-resistant, making them good choices if you’re looking to prioritize safety. They may also include warranties of up to 30 years, though you will want to make sure you are careful not to undertake any work which may void it. Rubber roofs are also surprisingly lightweight compared to other roofing materials and come in a variety of styles, including shingles if you’re looking to maintain a traditional look. They can also fit a wide variety of roofing styles, which can be important if you have an unusually shaped roof.

What Are the Problems and Disadvantages of EPDM Roofing?

While EPDM roofing has numerous advantages, there are also some important drawbacks you’ll want to consider before choosing it for your building.

Easy to Damage

While EPDM roofing can provide adequate protection in many circumstances, it is more vulnerable to damage than other materials. Rubber roofing usually consists one one relatively thin layer of material that is often exposed to the elements. It can be easily damaged by debris from a storm or even by someone walking on the roof in the wrong footwear. You’ll have to make repairs quickly to prevent water damage, and these expenses can eventually add up over time to reduce your overall savings.

Unreliable Contractors

Given its ease of use, some contractors who aren’t experienced with EPDM roofing offer it to install it with disastrous consequences. By the time you notice a problem, they could be long gone, and you could be left with a substantial repair bill. Your building could also experience permanent damage from a poorly installed rubber roof if there are any leaks. You may have to replace your roof entirely in the case of an extremely poor job, negating any savings you may have realized in the first place.

Shrinkage

Over time, exposure to the elements can shrink a rubber roof, which can lead to leakages as seams come apart and cracks open up. You can help to avoid this by coating your roof with acrylic paint, but this may still eventually become a problem, especially in drier climates. A roof can begin to crack from roof shrinkage in as little as seven years if it is poorly installed, so you’ll want to maintain regular inspections to seal any leaks before they cause damage. However, these can be hard to detect until a leak becomes evident within your building, which may indicate damage has already been done.

Protrusions

Roof protrusions such as pipes, vents, HVAC units, and more create natural vulnerabilities in the integrity of your roof. It’s very easy for your contractor to make a mistake around these areas which can leave your roof vulnerable to leakages. It’s very easy for these to cause long-term damage since they are hard to detect unless you’re a professional. They may also compromise the integrity of the rest of your rubber roof, causing you to replace it earlier than anticipated.

A new roof is one of the most expensive improvements you make to your building and is what ultimately offers it the most protection from the elements. That makes it vital to know about the benefits and drawbacks of EPDM roofs before deciding whether or not to buy one. You’ll also want to consider your long-term plans for your building and whether or not an EPDM roof is suited for them, as shingle or metal roofs typically add more value to a building. In the end, working with an expert can provide you with the knowledge you need to make the right decision for your business.

Krystal Coddington

Written by Krystal Coddington