EPDM roofs are a synthesized amalgamation of their ingredients: ethylene, propylene, and diene monomer. This specific combination makes EPDM roofs highly resistant to UV light, fire, abrasion, acids, alkalis, and oxygenated solvents. These roofs also resist cyclic fatigue and thermal shock, which is tension in a material caused by a sudden variation in temperature. Because it is not an organic material, EPDM is not susceptible to decay caused by leaks or condensation. For this reason, EPDM roofs tolerate ponding and moisture, making them an excellent choice for the flat and low-slope roofs often found topping warehouses, office high-rises, and other commercial buildings.
EPDM membranes are available in black and white, and each color has a specific purpose. Carbon black is added to black EPDM membranes to convert UV rays into heat, a plus in cold climates. In warmer climes, such as Sarasota and Bradenton, the white membrane is typically used. To reflect the sun’s rays, it contains titanium dioxide, the same ingredient found in some sunscreens.
An EPDM roof is installed in much the same way as a fully adhered TPO roof is. Strong adhesives are applied to the substrate and to the membrane itself, and the membrane is smoothed with a special, long-handled broom. Whenever possible and feasible, sheets of EPDM material are installed whole to reduce the number of seams.
In the United States alone, EPDM roofs account for more than one billion square feet of new roofs every year, which is approximately 35% of the entire roofing market. Their typical life expectancy is 25 to 35 years, and materials are warrantied up to 50 years. Like TPO membranes, EPDM materials are recyclable.