What is EPDM?
In this week’s blog post, we will focus on ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) as we answer the question, “What is EPDM?” Mainly used in low-slope roofing, EPDM is often called a rubber roof and is considered extremely durable. Here is a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of EPDM and how Progressive Materials’ silicone roof coatings can help aging EPDM roofs.
Because EPDM is manufactured in large sheets or rolls, it is quick and easy to install. It is sold in a broad variety of widths with a common roll size of 10 feet wide and 100 feet long. Roofing installers simply roll out and attach EPDM to the roof with an adhesive and cover a large area in little time.
EPDM can maintain its physical properties for years, making it one of the top choices for new commercial roofs. Additionally, the basic design of rubber roofing makes repairs somewhat simple compared to other materials such as metal roofing.
Since EPDM is essentially rubber, it’s largely resistant to weather damage. For example, most hail stones will simply bounce off an EPDM roof. It also resists ponding water damage unlike acrylic coatings. Finally, EPMD has a fire-retardant layer, making the overall roofing system fire-resistant.
Arguably, the most common disadvantage to EPDM roofs is the adhesive that’s used to attach it to the roof decking. This can break down over time as the rubber expands and contracts with the weather. Another disadvantage is that EPDM can puncture pretty easily if hit with a sharp object. Once those seams fail or punctures occur, water can saturate the roof decking and put the roof structure and the building contents at risk.
Most EPDM is black, which means it absorbs ultraviolet (UV) rays. Those UV rays break down the roof and seriously impact the building’s internal temperature. This leads to increased energy output and higher energy bills. The final disadvantage we will identify today is that EPDM also will break down when exposed to petroleum-based products. If there is a chemical spill on the roof, the EPDM will break down and begin allowing water in.
How PM Can Help
One of the top benefits to restoring aged EPDM with PM Silicone is that it creates a completely seamless membrane on the roof. EPMD seams won’t break down once it is coated with silicone because the seams will be nonexistent.
While PM silicone is available in various colors, white is recommended for commercial roofs because of its ability to reflect UV rays. A white PM Silicone-coated roof reflects up to 88% of the sun’s rays. A black EPDM roof absorbs up to 83%. A cooler building means lower energy costs for the owner!
Finally, PM Silicone is resistant to petroleum-based chemicals and most chemicals. It is also resistant to hail damage and puncture damage. If there is damage to silicone, that damage can be remedied in seconds with a caulk gun.
In closing, we believe that EPDM can be a good substrate for any building. It will hold up well for years and is relatively easy to install. As it breaks down, PM Silicone is here to help and can restore aging EPDM roofs for decades, making your EPDM roof last even longer.
Thanks for reading! Our next blog in the “What is a Substrate” series looks at the advantages and disadvantages of TPO.