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The Pros and Cons of an EPDM Roof for Your Commercial Building

If you're in the market for new commercial roofing, you may find yourself daunted by all the choices. You have things like metal roofing, spray-on silicon, shingles, and more.

What's most important is that you choose something that is low maintenance, easy to replace, and won't cost an arm and a leg. It helps if it looks good, but not every commercial building has to worry about the neighbors seeing the top of their building.

One of the most common and affordable roofing types you'll encounter is an EPDM roof. Here are some of the pros and cons of purchasing an EPDM new roof.

What is EPDM?

EPDM, or Ethylene Propylene Diene Terpolymer, is a type of synthetic rubber roofing material. It acts as a membrane that offers all kinds of benefits in an affordable package.

When the product was first invented, it was used in the automotive and construction industries. Now, you can find EPDM used in things like body armor, domestic appliances, and heating and ventilation.

Benefits of an EPDM Roof

You might wonder why you should choose EPDM over other roofing options. After all, some types of roofing hold up better to heavy impacts from hurricanes and other heavy storms.

What it comes down to is that an EPDM roof is low-cost, eco-friendly, installs quickly, and can handle outdoor elements better than you'd think.

Low Cost

First of all, the cost of an EPDM roof is quite low compared to other types of roofing. One reason for its low cost is that it's often sold in long and wide sheets of membrane. This is helpful when you're applying it to a large commercial roof area.


EPDM roofing is considered an eco-friendly option for two main reasons: it can reduce energy costs and is 100% recyclable.

This type of roof material helps to lower energy costs by reflecting UV radiation. You only get this benefit if you opt for white EPDM, as black will continue to absorb the heat as normal.

The actual material EPDM is made out of is usually manufactured with few materials and effort. It's also completely recyclable and won't impact the environment.

Quick Installation

Due to the fact that EPDM roof materials come as large sheets, they're much easier to install than something like shingles. It can be attached using special adhesives or tape. In fact, it's considered one of the easiest types of rubber roofs to install and repair.

Lowers Utilities

Another way EPDM roofing can lower your energy bills is through the insulation it is often paired with. Insulation helps to keep the heat out and lets your HVAC system work more efficiently. You can also coat your roof to increase its lifespan and make it more reflective.


In addition to resisting heat, EPDM rubber roofing is also fire-resistant. You will also find that this type of roof material also slows down the spread of fire, making it a great safety measure.


Finally, EPDM rubber is durable against things like water and fire damage. While tears may develop, you can repair them with ease. They last long and won't succumb to UV damage or freezing temperatures.

Drawbacks of an EPDM Roof

Even though an EPDM roof is affordable and durable, it does have its drawbacks. It's not as resistant to puncturing as other roof types, so it may not be the best option if you live in an area with frequent hurricanes. Additionally, there are other roofs with more diverse and appealing appearances.

Requires Skilled Installers

While EPDM is relatively easy to install compared to other roofs, it still requires skilled installers. Don't make the mistake of hiring professional installers that lack experience installing them.

A licensed and insured roofing contractor has gone the extra mile to earn the title. Their work is guaranteed, and both the homeowner and installation crews are insured against accidents or installation problems.

Some Installations Cost More

On top of requiring skilled workers, some EPDM installations will cost more than others.

Ballasted systems are affordable and easy to install. However, fully adhered or mechanically attached systems will cost more. TPO, in particular, actually costs less than those options.

Make sure that your roofing services know what type is best for your type of building and its needs.

Prone to Shrinkage and Punctures

EPDM roofing isn't suitable for everyone kind of environment. It's subject to shrinkage as it ages, which makes it more vulnerable to puncturing.

This is more common with non-reinforced EPDM. It's less of a problem if the roof is mechanically attached and adhered.

Another problem you may encounter in regions with heavy rain or snow is pooling. A flat room may start out as level, but both the roof and the material can shift and warp. When the water sits there, it only takes a small puncture for a leak to form and cause water damage.

Not Much Visual Appeal

Finally, an EPDM roof isn't always the prettiest option. In its most basic form, you'll have a flat black rubber roof. If you're surrounded by taller buildings, then they'll be able to see your solid black roof.

One option is to opt for a white EPDM for a more vibrant appearance. You can also paint over it with an acrylic coating.

Hire a Reliable Contractor

Regardless of the pros and cons of EPDM roofing, you won't have a good time with it unless you hire a reliable and experienced contractor. Poorly installed roofing has a higher chance of developing issues like leaks and warping. A good contractor can give you great mileage with even the most affordable materials.

Murray Roofing can help with all of your roofing needs. We offer our services in both Nebraska and Texas for both commercial and residential owners. Contact us to learn more and get a free roofing estimate.

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