EPDM roofing has been a revolution in the roofing field because of its unique properties that make it ideal for long term outdoor uses. The use of rubber roofing systems has grown in popularity for the last few decades, especially for flat roofing projects.
EPDM stands for the chemicals that make up the substance: ethylene propylene diene monomer (with ethylene and propylene derived from natural gas and oil). It was initially designed to be an artificial rubber that could replace the natural rubber used in tires (but turned out not to be suitable).
Since then EPDM has been used in a wide range of applications. The seal in your fridge door, for example, is likely made of EPDM rubber as is your garden hose. And even bungee cords are often made of this synthetic rubber.
But one of the most popular EPDM applications is in rubber roofing systems and especially flat roofing. An EPDM flat roof has a wide range of benefits and advantages due to its unique properties.
A flat roof is something that is left to the elements for its entire life, and these forces can harm many types of roofing material. EPDM can overcome many of these challenges.
EPDM rubber roofing has many of the same properties as natural rubber, including an ability to return to its natural shape after it has been stretched (which is important due to temperature-related expanding and contracting). It also doesn't pollute any run-off rainwater, which helps to protect the ecosystem and allows the rainwater to be used again if desired.
Where EPDM rubber roofing differs from natural rubber is how it can deal with weather conditions. Natural rubber is a stronger material which is why it is suitable for car tires and EPDM rubber is not, but it easily becomes brittle in the face of extremely hot weather.
An EPDM rubber roofing system is also UV and ozone resistant and also weather-resistant to rain, wind, snow, and hail. It creates a watertight seal that keeps the building and roofing structure underneath protected.
An EPDM rubber roofing system is perfect for any outdoor structure and can be used for flat roofing on extensions, sheds, summer houses, and even tree houses. It is also the perfect choice for green roofs because it is root-resistant and doesn't pollute the rainwater. And it is a popular choice for commercial flat roofs because it has a long life expectancy and is highly durable.
One of the biggest benefits of EPDM, beyond its ability to withstand a wide variety of weather conditions, is how quick and easy it is to install on flat roofs. An EPDM flat roofing project can be installed by a DIY enthusiast with relative ease and the right roofing supplies but, of course, using a certified installer can ensure that all of the necessary accessories such as drain outlets and pipe boots are installed and that a professional finish will be achieved the first time, and they should be the only ones who tackle liquid systems.
There are lots of places that are now supplying EPDM rubber roofs, and the EPDM membranes usually come in one piece, and there will usually be an extensive range of size and thickness options. So the EPDM membrane will be in a single sheet that can then be laid over the flat roof and cut to size.
This is an important benefit of EPDM flat roofing systems because it means that the EPDM flat roof will have virtually no seam. This creates a watertight seal and provides less chance for any water or moisture to seep in underneath the EPDM membrane and degrade the roof structure below, and moisture is often an issue for flat roofing. Pipe boots and drain outlets can further help to remove excess water from the rubber roof.
The one-piece sheets come in multiple thicknesses. Thicker EPDM rubber roofs are, of course, highly durable but at the same time, they will be heavier. A thinner EPDM rubber roofing membrane is extremely lightweight and can be perfect for smaller or more vulnerable structures.
Now let's take a look at how EPDM rubber roofing systems are installed. Easy installation is one of the big draws of EPDM roofing, but you do need to take into consideration how you are going to get a nice professional finish.
If you are covering a brand new roof, then you are going to be affixing the rubber roofing membrane to the clean decking that has been erected. It gets a little more complicated when you are replacing an existing flat roof system. In this case, you will need to make sure that the decking is completely stripped and clear of any roofing material that has been left behind. The materials used in felt roofing, for example, can contaminate the glue used for EPDM roofing. It can help to overboard the existing decking to ensure that you have a clean surface on which to lay the rubber roofing.
Once the decking is completely clean, then you should lay the EPDM membranes over the flat roof and leave them for 20 minutes to relax. This is to give it time to go back to its natural size after it has been stored tightly. Then you can cut the membrane to size. This doesn't have to be exact at this stage, because you can go back in later to make it neat and tidy, but it makes it easier to work with.
Then you need to fold half of the membrane away to the roof and apply the supplied adhesive to the decking. Roll the EPDM membrane back down and use a hard bristle brush to make sure there aren't any bubbles and that the rubber roof is laying completely flat.
You can then go back in and apply seam tapes to the edges that are likely to get lifted (e.g. around roof details). The seam tapes will make sure that the watertight seal is retained even when the membrane is no longer in one piece. The final step is to add the flashings and edge trims to the roof.
One of the names you will often come across when looking for EPDM rubber roofing systems is Firestone EPDM. This is probably the most famous EPDM brand. Firestone RubberCover EPDM is a perfect example of EPDM roofing done right and getting your rubber roofing direct from them is often a guarantee of quality.
It comes in a single sheet that can be used to install on flat roofs of any kind, and even more complicated roofs. It has a life expectancy of 50 years or more and you can buy it in sheets measuring any custom size that you want.
Firestone RubberCover EPDM is a high-performance EPDM rubber roof material that is flexible, UV resistant, 100% water-resistant, and extremely durable. It remains flexible even at very low temperatures (below -40o). It also doesn't degrade or form cracks in high levels of heat.
Using Firestone EPDM for your rubber roofing project is easy to install and with the right accessories and tools. And Firestone also sells sealants that can be used when you install the flat roofing and also whenever you need to repair it. Repairs are easy with Firestone EPDM with the use of sealants that will restore the waterproof membranes.
Firestone RubberCover EPDM is also resistant to algae and moss growth and it doesn't show any dirt, so it is very easy to maintain. It is fully recyclable and its production doesn't produce any pollution, so it is an environmentally friendly material for your rubber roofing project.
The installation of a flat roofing system can help to enhance the look of your outside buildings and can also help to keep them protected from the elements. Firestone RubberCover EPDM, and other similar EPDM roofing materials, form a watertight seal that is weather-resistant and has a life expectancy of at least 50 years. When choosing the right roofing supplies for your flat roofing project, a rubber roof can be a great option that will last a long time and require very little maintenance.