EPDM roofing has gotten super popular in recent years. It’s probably because it’s one of the more durable and affordable roofs that you can get. It’s really important that you understand the pros and cons of EPDM roofing before committing to installing it or passing it over.
EPDM roofing is one of the most affordable roofing materials available and has a high resistance to heat and elements. That being said, it is not the most aesthetically pleasing and will require an experienced professional to install it correctly. You can expect to pay around $5 per square foot of EPDM material, with most full roofing jobs costing between $6000 to $15,000.
This guide will provide you with all of the details you need to decide whether an EPDM roof is the right choice for your home or business.
What Is EPDM Roofing?
EPDM roofing, also known as Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer, is a really popular roofing material made out of rubber that is mainly used for flat roofing purposes. It is definitely not the most attractive roofing material out there, but it gets the job done.
EPDM has become the go-to choice for businesses and commercial roofing because it’s really affordable and highly resistant to almost all outside elements. You won’t really see EPDM roofing used for housing roofing because it’s not really practical. One of the big-time benefits of EPDM roofing Is that it will last for a really long time.
EPDM is a hyper-flexible material that has proven its own against the elements. It stands up to rain, sleet, snow, and UV rays really well. The rubber material is great for providing some much-needed insulation during hot and cold weather.
EPDM roofing will likely become way more popular as time goes on. As I said, you probably won’t see EPDM roofing in your neighborhood unless you live on a street with flat, long houses. EPDM roofing doesn’t slope well, so it’s just not great for regular housing.
Great, now we’ve covered the basics of EPDM roofing. Now we can go ahead and dive into the pros and cons of EPDM roofing. It’s really important that we talk about both sides of this coin so you can be aware of the benefits and drawbacks of this roofing type.
Pros Of EPDM Roofing
I find there are a ton of benefits to EPDM roofing when compared to other roofing types. Some of these benefits are increased resistance to fire and heat, a really affordable installation cost, and a way longer lifespan over other roofing types. You can also expect to save money due to the energy-efficient nature of the material.
Let’s dive into these benefits in the sections below. Being aware of the advantages of EPDM roofing can help you make the right decision when it comes to installing it in your home or business.
Resistant To Fire
EPDM roofing is a super fire-retardant material, which means it won’t catch fire or retain heat that could cause melting. To achieve this, EPDM roofing materials are coated when they are made with a fire-retardant layer to keep the heat off.
Extra fire resistance is always a plus when choosing a roofing material. Since there is no wood involved, there are way fewer materials to risk catching fire.
You can rest assured that your EPDM roof will not catch fire out of nowhere, which is a desirable quality when it comes to roofing. If fire-resistant materials weren’t enough to sell you on EPDM roofing, maybe the cheaper cost will.
Inexpensive Upfront Cost
When shopping for roofing materials like PVC and TPO, EPDM is the most affordable of them all. Of the three main types of modern roofing materials, TPO, PVC, and EPDM, EPDM is always going to beat them out in price.
It costs around $5 per square foot of EPDM roofing material. When compared to the $7 per square foot of TPO and the almost $9 cost per foot of PVC, it is easy to see why EPDM has a major league advantage in this category.
EPDM roofing is also super lightweight and easy to maneuver. You will always save money when choosing EPDM roofing over other commercial roofing types. If you are like me, then saving money is always a good thing.
Like most of us, we are always figuring out new ways to help the environment. With EPDM roofing, you can do your own small part to save the world. They are among the most eco-friendly roofing types. We will discuss this in the next section.
You will be happy to know that almost all EPDM roofing is made from recycled materials. If keeping a really low carbon footprint is what you are into, then this roofing is a great choice for you. This will help you do your part for the world while still getting the roof that you need.
Eco-friendly roofing options have become way more popular recently, and honestly, we all need that. Saving money and helping the environment, what could be better?
EPDM roofing is also designed to last way longer than other roofing types, meaning that you won’t contribute to excess waste any sooner than you really need to. This lowers the waste levels associated with the roof installation over time.
If that wasn’t enough, the money you save on energy with an EPDM roof will definitely convince you. We will discuss how this is possible in the next section.
EPDM roofing can cut your power bill in half. EPDM materials are super insulated and retain heat and cool inside the building way better than other roofing types.
If running the heat or AC is eating up your money, EPDM roofing can solve that easily. Hot climates and cold climates, both can be handled by an EPDM roof. With EPDM roofing, the days of cranking up the AC or heat are over.
EPDM roofing is a great option to consider if you are tired of cranking up the heat or AC during extremely hot or cold weather. You may surprised how much money you will save by simply having a roof that retains heat extremely well. The extra money you save can be used to treat yourself for making the right roofing decision.
Finally, the last main benefit of an EPDM roof is the simple fact that it is built to last. We will cover the longevity of EPDM roofs in the next section.
EPDM roofing will outlive all of the other roofing types you can find. As previously mentioned, a well-maintained EPDM roof can last up to 30 years. TPO and PVC roofs may need replacing around every 15 to 20 years, while roofs that haven’t been taken care of can degrade in as little as 10 years.
The lifespan of your roofing material is the biggest thing to consider when making a choice. This will ensure that you are purchasing a roofing material that will stand the test of time. You do not want to purchase a roofing material that will need to be replaced too soon, as this could be costly and frustrating to deal with.
The lack of seams used in EPDM roofing will also contribute to a longer lifespan. The more seams a roof has, the more potential for cracks and damage are apparent. Although 30 years is the safest maximum lifespan to assume, it is not uncommon for some EPDM roofs to last up to 50 years if maintained extremely well.
Now that we have covered all of the basic benefits of an EPDM roof, it is important to also discuss the downsides associated with them. There are a few we will cover in the next few sections.
Cons Of EPDM Roofing
Although EPDM roofs are some of the best for commercial use currently on the market, they are not without their downsides. These include differences in quality between manufacturers, installation issues, and generally unappealing aesthetics. We will cover all of these factors in the next few sections.
Differences In Quality
There could be substantial differences in the quality of the EPDM materials you encounter depending on the manufacturer. Unlike standard roofing, where the materials are generally standard without much deviation in the manufacturing process, EPDM roofing can commonly be found in extremely low qualities.
Unless you know what to look for, you could wind up purchasing EPDM roofing material that is not up to standard and thus will deteriorate much faster than normal. Because of this, it is extremely important to source your EPDM materials from a reputable manufacturer and hire a contractor with extensive experience installing this type of roofing.
Speaking of installation, there are a few complications that can arise during this process. We will discuss these potential issues in the next section.
Hard To Install
While EPDM materials are easy to handle, the actual installation can be a tricky process. This means that it is not recommended that you attempt to handle the installation on your own. An incorrectly installed EPDM roof will deteriorate much faster than it should and could eventually create a potentially dangerous situation.
EPDM roofing installed on top of asphalt shingles will pose an even greater risk of a total roof collapse. None of these situations are ideal so it is extremely important that you hire a contractor to install your roof that has extensive experience dealing with EPDM materials.
This will ensure the safest and most high-quality installation for your home or business. It may take some searching to find a manufacturer and a contractor that has the right amount of experience to provide a quality installation.
In addition to being harder to install in some cases, EPDM roofs have less curb appeal than many other roofing types that we will discuss next.
Poor Curb Appearance
Although EPDM roofing materials are great when it comes to functionality, they are not the most aesthetic roofing material available. This means that your business or home will have much less curb appeal than more attractive roofing types.
The plain black or white rubber will not catch the eye of passersby like a more elegant roofing material would. This means that if you are after a roof that will add some appeal to your building or home aesthetically, EPDM might not be right for you.
Finally, the last of the main drawbacks to EPDM roofs is that they require a good amount of maintenance to keep them in good condition. We will cover this drawback next.
Requires Regular Maintenance
While the maintenance requirements for an EPDM roof are not too difficult, it is important that you stay on top of them to ensure your roof lasts as long as it should. Regular maintenance includes simple cleaning and removal of debris. This maintenance will ensure that your roof lasts its full lifespan without any major issues.
If you do not keep up with this routine maintenance, it is likely that your roof will need repair or replacement much earlier than it should. Now that we have discussed all of the major pros and cons of EPDM roofing, we can discuss how much you can expect to pay.
How Expensive Is EPDM Roofing?
You can expect to pay an average cost of $6000 to $15,000 to have a full EPDM roof installed. This includes an average cost of around $5 per square foot of EPDM materials as well as labor costs, which average around $75 an hour.
Of course, your actual total cost will depend on the size of the roof that you are considering and the total materials and labor necessary for the installation. Generally, EPDM roofing can be purchased and installed for much cheaper than other standard roofing as well as popular commercial roofing.
Once you have settled on a roof and decided the cost is worth it, you may be wondering how long your roof can be expected to last. We will cover this in the final section of this guide.
How Long Does EPDM Roofing Last?
An EPDM roof that has been well maintained and installed correctly will last up to 30 years. EPDM roofs that have been extremely well-maintained can sometimes last up to 50, though this is much rarer.
If you do not take care of your EPDM roof and perform routine maintenance on it, this lifespan could be cut in half to around 15 years. This is a long lifespan for a roof, especially when compared to other roofing types like TPO or PVC, which typically only last up to 20 years or as little as 10.
EPDM roofs are a great choice for someone looking for cheap commercial roofing. While you could technically use EPDM roofing on a residential home, it is generally not ideal. A full roofing job typically costs between $6000 to $15,000. Consider all of the pros and cons detailed in this guide when making your decision.
Ruben has a diverse background in the home services industry, with experience running a construction company, a kitchen and bath showroom, and a moving and relocation company. This breadth of experience has provided him with a wealth of knowledge and expertise in various areas of home improvement in general and specifically in the heating and plumbing niche.