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7 Serious Disadvantages of EPDM Roofing (Including Two Not Often Mentioned)

Posted on July 12, 2023

Estimated Reading Time : 6 Min.

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Disadvantages of EPDM Roofing

If you’re considering installing a new flat roof for your commercial or industrial building, you may have come across EPDM rubber roofing as a potential option. While this material is affordable and easy to install, it’s important to consider the disadvantages of EPDM roofing before making a decision.

In this article, we’ll explore some of the hidden disadvantages of EPDM roofing that you may not have considered before. We’ll also discuss why installing an EPDM roof may not be a good idea anymore and provide some alternative options to consider.

What Is EPDM Roofing?

EPDM roofing is a type of flat roofing material that is composed of a synthetic rubber membrane. This membrane is typically installed as a single layer and can be attached to the roof deck using a variety of methods, including adhesives, mechanical fasteners, or ballast.

EPDM roofing has been a popular choice among roofers and building owners for many years due to its affordability, ease of installation, and durability. However, as we’ll see below, there are some serious disadvantages to using this material that may make it a less attractive option than it seems.

To learn more, check out our blog post: 8 Signs Your Commercial Roof Needs An Inspection ASAP 

Common Disadvantages of EPDM Roofing

1. Vulnerability to High Temperatures

One of the biggest disadvantages of EPDM roofing is its vulnerability to high temperatures. Over time, the rubber membrane can shrink, stretch, or crack if exposed to extreme heat for long periods. This can lead to leaks and compromise the overall effectiveness and longevity of the roof.

2. Susceptibility to Ponding Water

Ponding water

Another issue with EPDM roofing is its susceptibility to ponding water. If the membrane is not properly installed or has seams that aren’t sealed correctly, water can accumulate and start to rot or mold on the roof’s surface. This can cause long-term damage and may even compromise the structural integrity of the building if left unaddressed.

3. Prone to Punctures and Tears

EPDM roofing is also prone to punctures and tears from sharp objects such as branches and hail. The membrane does not hold up well against impacts and can be easily damaged by falling debris. This can compromise the effectiveness of the roof and lead to leaks and other issues.

4. Poor Aesthetic Appeal

The rubber membrane has a dull, flat appearance and can be an eyesore on certain buildings. While it is possible to improve the appearance of an EPDM roof with coatings or screen printing, this adds an additional expense and may not be enough to completely address the issue. However, commercial building owners often ignore this as a disadvantage, as there are limited roofing materials to choose from for flat roofs. The perceived advantages of EPDM also outweigh this disadvantage. 

5. Installation Cost

Installation cost

While EPDM roofing is often touted as an affordable option for flat roofs, the installation cost is quite high. This is especially true if you hire an experienced contractor who is equipped to properly install the membrane and ensure that it is sealed correctly. Keep in mind though, while it may be expensive, if the membrane is not installed properly you may end up paying more in repairs and maintenance costs down the line.

Hidden Disadvantages of EPDM Roofing

1. EPDM Roofing May Not Be Energy Efficient

EPDM roofing is not as efficient as other roofing options. The roofing membrane typically comes in black color, which means that it absorbs heat from the sun, making it difficult to keep a building cool in the summer. While it is possible to choose a white EPDM membrane, this may be more expensive than the traditional black option.

2. Environmental Concerns

Environment concerns regarding EPDM roofing are not often discussed. However, the truth is, EPDM roofing isn’t as environmentally friendly as roofing material should be. While the material itself is recyclable, the production and disposal of EPDM roofing can have a negative impact on the environment. Additionally, EPDM roofing does not provide the same level of energy efficiency as some other materials, which can lead to higher energy costs and a larger carbon footprint over time.

Alternatives to EPDM Roofing

Given the numerous disadvantages of EPDM roofing, it’s understandable that you may be looking for alternative options. Some of the best alternatives to EPDM roofing include:

PVC Roofing

Pvc roofing

PVC roofing is a type of flat roofing material that is composed of plastics, such as polyester. This membrane is highly durable, resistant to punctures and tears, and provides excellent energy efficiency. PVC roofing can last for up to 30 years or more with proper care, and it’s a great choice for buildings that require a long-lasting and low-maintenance roofing solution.

TPO Roofing

Tpo roofing

TPO roofing is a type of flat roofing material that is composed of a thermoplastic membrane. This membrane is highly durable, resistant to punctures and tears, and provides excellent energy efficiency. TPO roofing can last for around 20 to 30 years or more with proper care and is a great choice for buildings that require a reliable, low-maintenance roofing solution.

A TPO roof is one of the best alternatives to an EPDM roof. To find the top TPO roofing contractors in Tulsa, click here!    

Metal Roofing

A metal roofing system is composed of metal panels or shingles. Metal roofing is highly durable, resistant to punctures and tears, and provides excellent energy efficiency. Metal roofing can last for up to 50 years or more with proper care and is a great choice for buildings that require a long-lasting, low-maintenance roofing solution.

For more information, read our extensive blog post: 6-Minute Guide To Different Commercial Roofing Materials Used In Tulsa, OK

How Much Does EPDM Roofing Cost?

The cost of EPDM material ranges from $3 to $12 per square foot, with installation adding another $1.50 to $3 per square foot. For a 1,500 to 2,000-square-foot roof, the total cost can range from $6,000 to $20,000, with labor accounting for up to 60% of the total cost. Repairing an EPDM roof is relatively simple and inexpensive, with small repairs costing between $50-$100 and extensive repairs between $1,000-$2,000. It is important to hire an experienced professional to install EPDM. 

Should You Install An EPDM Roof?

While EPDM roofing may be affordable and easy to install, building owners should make the right decision before actually installing one. If you are considering EPDM roofing, there are several factors that you should consider.

First, consider the climate in your area. EPDM roofing may not be the best option for areas prone to wildfires or heavy precipitation. Additionally, consider the aesthetic of your commercial building. EPDM roofing may not be as aesthetically pleasing as other roofing options, which may be a concern for some property owners.

Moreover, consider the longevity of the roofing material. While EPDM roofing may be affordable, it may not be as long-lasting as other roofing options. If you are looking for a roofing material that will last for decades, you may want to consider other options, such as metal or TPO.

Conclusion

EPDM roofing may seem like an affordable and easy-to-install option for your commercial or industrial building, but it’s important to consider the hidden disadvantages of this material before making a decision. From its vulnerability to high temperatures and ponding water to its poor aesthetic appeal and shorter lifespan than other materials, there are numerous reasons why EPDM roofing may not be the best choice for your needs.

If you’re looking for a more reliable, long-lasting, and cost-effective roofing solution, bear in mind all the factors that may affect the material’s durability, longevity, and energy efficiency. With proper care and maintenance, these materials can provide years of reliable protection for your building without the drawbacks of EPDM roofing. 

Install Flat Roofing Materials By Trusted And Expert Roofers In Tulsa, OK

As we all know, the proper installation of roofing materials is as necessary as the roofing materials themselves. A poorly installed roof, whether it’s on a residential or commercial building, won’t last long. No one wants to invest in unskilled and unprofessional roofers. So, make the wise decision today for your roof and home that will last you years to come. Call A. Fricker Roofing & Waterproofing today at (918)-402-7167 and hire our expert team to install your commercial roof

Disadvantages of EPDM Roofing