The Benefits of EPDM Roofing: Cost and Durability Explained
Last Updated: January 06, 2023
Fact Checked By: Ryan Maguire
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Flat and low-slope roofs were traditionally covered with built-up-roofing (BUR), but these asphalt-based roofs are prone to sun damage, which eventually causes leaking. Stone ballast can protect roofing against the sun's harmful rays, but this makes it extremely difficult to find leaks when they develop. A superior flat roofing solution is offered by modern single-ply roofing membranes. Of these, one of the most popular is EPDM roofing. Used for more than 40 years, EPDM roofs are durable, easy to install, and cost-effective. To learn more about EPDM roofing installation and how much it costs, continue reading.
EPDM Rubber Roofing Average Costs #
- In general, you should expect the EPDM roofing cost to be between $3.50 and $5.00 per square foot. For an average-sized roof of 1,500 square feet, that's a total cost of around $7,000 to $10,000.
- Installing EPDM roofing on a small area, because it involves more detailed work, might cost up to $10 per square foot.
- Because EPDM roofing should not be installed over an existing petroleum-based roof (i.e. asphalt or tar), you may have to remove your existing roof at a cost of $1 to $2 per square foot.
The actual cost of EPDM roofing may vary based on your location, the complexity of the installation, the materials used, and other factors.
EPDM Roofing Membrane: An Overview #
EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) is a type of synthetic rubber pioneered by companies that include DuPont and Exxon and first used as a roofing material in the 1960s. Since then, EPDM rubber roofing has helped to revolutionize the roofing industry by providing flat roofing with improved weatherability and U.V. resistance.
Some of the major manufacturers of EPDM roof membranes are Carlisle SynTec, Firestone, RoofTop, and Sta-Fast. While it's advisable to speak with your contractor about the differences between the EPDM products offered by each company, you should begin narrowing down your choices by considering the following criteria:
- Color: A black EPDM roof membrane has greater resistance to ultraviolet rays and ozone in addition to heat absorption properties. White EPDM roofing, on the other hand, while typically more expensive than black EPDM, is more energy efficient.
- Thickness: EPDM roofing membrane is available in a wide range of thicknesses, from 30 mils (0.030") to 100 mils (.100"), although the most popular are 45 mils and 60 mils. Thickness affects durability, with thicker membranes generally lasting longer.
- Means of Adherence: An EPDM rubber roof can be installed in one of three ways: mechanically fastened, adhered (with glue or tape), or ballasted (laid loose and covered with a layer of stone).
- Cured or Uncured: EPDM roofing is classified as a "thermoset" material, meaning that it is fully cured, or has its molecular structure set, during the manufacturing process. Uncured EPDM, however, is also available, and will naturally cure with exposure to heat and light.
While there are a number of options to choose from when buying an EPDM roof, you can expect the properly-installed final product to provide the following benefits:
- Excellent protection against the sun, chemicals, impacts, and all types of adverse weather
- Lasts for up to 40 years with little or no maintenance
- Great cost-effectiveness
- Easy to modify thanks to long-lasting integrity and flexibility