# EPDM Roof Parts, Materials & More – Explained

by May 5, 2024

If you’re facing the task of choosing a durable, cost-effective material for your roof, an EPDM roof might be your answer. This concise guide evaluates EPDM roofing systems, highlighting their performance and installation costs. Get help making an informed decision through these insights tailored to property owners and professionals alike.

Inside this blog:

  • The Benefits of EPDM Roofing Systems
  • Installation Methods and Considerations
  • EPDM Roof Maintenance and Repair Tips

The Benefits of EPDM Roofing Systems

EPDM roofing systems, a popular choice among commercial roofing systems, are known for their durability, offering resistance to ultraviolet radiation and even having the option to add an AFR layer for enhanced fire resistance. High-quality EPDM coatings contribute to the long lifespan of these roofs by providing additional protection against environmental elements.

But what sets EPDM apart is not just its durability, but also its cost-effectiveness and versatility.

1. Durability and Longevity

EPDM roofing has been enhanced with new manufacturing formulas to improve its resistance to radiation and UV rays, contributing to its longevity. It can withstand extreme temperatures, ranging from -40o F to 300o F, without damage. The chemically saturated molecular structure of EPDM provides high resistance to weather elements such as wind and hail, further enhancing its durability. A well-installed EPDM roofing system can have a lifespan of around 20 years, and with proper maintenance, it can potentially last between 30 and 50 years.

2. Cost-Effectiveness

EPDM roofing is cost-effective, with installation costs typically lower than those for TPO and PVC alternatives. Costs for EPDM roofing average $12.00-$17.00 per square foot, with additional installation materials ranging from $350 to $450. Also, EPDM maintenance costs are typically low, though ballasted systems may incur higher expenses throughout their lifespan.

Thicker EPDM membranes enhance roof life and can lead to reduced heating and cooling costs, contributing to long-term savings.

3. Versatility and Adaptability

The versatility of EPDM roofing is reflected in its availability in various thicknesses to meet the needs of different buildings and climates. For residential roofs in milder climates and low-slope, small commercial buildings with minimal exposure to harsh weather, a 45 mil thick EPDM membrane is often suitable. In environments with moderate weather conditions, EPDM membranes with a thickness of 1.14mm provide a well-balanced option in terms of cost and performance.

Installation Methods and Considerations

Installation plays a crucial role in the performance and longevity of EPDM roofing systems. These systems are installed using three main techniques: mechanically fastened, adhered, or ballasted, each with its own advantages and considerations. The ballasted installation involves loose-laying the roof over insulation and holding it in place with pavers or smooth stones.

EPDM roofing is generally not advised for high-pitched roofs due to lower durability and increased vulnerability to weather impacts. For pitched roof applications, EPDM is appropriate for low to moderate roof pitch, with the effectiveness contingent on the pitch angle’s impact on water drainage. Hiring professional installers for EPDM roofing ensures the proper application and maximizes the lifespan of the roof.

Mechanically Fastened

During a mechanically fastened installation of EPDM roofing, the membrane is laid out across the roof in a specific manner to ensure proper overhang at perimeter edges and upstands for trimming. The installation then proceeds from the roof’s center towards the edges, folding the membrane inward to access and secure the RUSS. Securing the EPDM roofing involves the application of adhesive to the RUSS and waiting until it becomes tacky, then pressing it together with the membrane, proceeding piece by piece.

Fully Adhered

The fully adhered installation method for EPDM roofing involves gluing the membrane directly to the insulation layer using a bonding adhesive. Prior to applying splice adhesive, it’s imperative to clean the RUSS (Reinforced Universal Secure Strip) and the underside of the EPDM membrane with splice wash to ensure proper adhesion.


The EPDM membrane is laid loosely over the flat roof system substrate in a ballasted installation, making it suitable for flat roofs. It is then held in place with materials like smooth stones or concrete pavers. Ballasted systems enhance the protection of EPDM membranes against ultraviolet light, tree branches, and hail, and can improve energy efficiency when coupled with reflective coatings or paired with polyiso insulation.

close view of EPDM roof

EPDM Roof Maintenance and Repair Tips

Regular maintenance and inspection are essential for maintaining the condition and longevity of EPDM roofs. Scheduled maintenance is essential to prevent problems and ensure prompt repairs. Inspections are particularly important after severe weather or service work on rooftop equipment to identify any potential issues. Trimming back overhanging branches can help prevent damage to the EPDM roofing, safeguarding against potential abrasions or punctures.

Regular Inspections

Conducting regular inspections of EPDM roofs is necessary to identify potential issues before they escalate. It’s recommended to inspect an EPDM roof at least twice a year to detect any damage requiring repairs.

Cleaning and Debris Removal

Frequent removal of debris such as leaves and dirt from the EPDM roof is necessary to maintain its condition and prevent potential damage.

Roof coatings create a flexible, seamless barrier that is UV-resistant and watertight, which aids in protecting the EPDM roof from weather elements, thereby extending its lifespan.

Repair Techniques

Roofs made of EPDM can sustain abrupt damage from hail impacts, wind-driven debris, and foot traffic on the rooftop. This can lead to the need for repairs or replacements. Elastomeric coatings on aged EPDM roofs can improve performance and increase reflectivity. Shrinkage is a common issue for EPDM roofs, often necessitating repair to address membrane separation around edges and penetrations.

Solvent-based roof coatings, such as silicone and urethane, are effective for repairing EPDM roofing.

Understanding EPDM Roofing

EPDM roofing offers a durable, cost-effective, and versatile roofing solution for both commercial and residential applications. With the ability to withstand extreme weather conditions and its low installation and maintenance costs, EPDM roofing proves to be a reliable choice.

At Alamo Roofing, we can provide reliable roofing services. When your roof needs a pick-me-up, our skilled team can get the job done. Reach out to us for a free estimate!

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