Is EPDM Roofing Right For Your House?

Typical Cost To Install a Flat Roof Average: $6,980 - $9,710
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EPDM rubber roofing has become increasingly popular as an alternative to traditional low slope and flat roofing solutions.

The reasons for EPDM’s rise to fame include relatively easy maintenance, low cost and durability.

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How Much Does EPDM Rubber Roofing Cost?

The average cost of EPDM roofing is around $5.50 per square foot including installation. Overall, the expense of installing an EPDM rubber roof can range from $3.20 to as much as $11 per square foot.

Prices vary depending on architectural complexity of the roof, it’s size, as well as local labor rates for flat roofing.

The final cost of installing EPDM roofing will be influenced by:

-Price of material
-Cost of adhesive and insulation
-The need for additional flashing and accessories
-Installation contractor’s fee
-Building story count
-Roof construction
-Whether old roofing needs to be removed or not

Eliminating installation costs, a square foot of EPDM will cost between $0.70 and $4.60.

The price range for EPDM Rubber is determined mainly by the thickness of the material, color, and curing. The thicker the material, the more it will cost. Cured EPDM will be more expensive than uncured, as will white roofing compared to black.

Adhesive usually comes in three-gallon buckets which cost around $80 and can cover 150 square feet. The insulation, meanwhile, is sold as 8×4-inch boards, which go for approximately $10, depending on the vendor.

Additional costs include insulation and membrane plates, screws, primers, sealants, cleaners, flashing, and various tape types. The total cost of materials can surpass the price of EPDM rubber roofing itself three times or more.

When it comes to the installation of EPDM rubber membrane, the average fees charged by contractors can reach about $92 per hour. But this price can be increased further depending on the style and configuration of the roof.

More complex roof constructions with skylights, numerous corners, and chimneys will warrant a higher installation fee.

The same goes for the height – if the house has two or more stories, the installation will come with a premium charge of up to 15% of the initial cost.

Finally, if there’s old roofing in place, removing it will represent another expense. The removal of a square foot of roofing costs on average $1.90 per square foot.


Cost to Install a Roof (1700 s.f)
Low End
$4,731
Average
$5,709
High End
$6,997

See costs in your area Start Here - Enter Your Zip Code


What Is EPDM Rubber Roofing?

EPDM is an acronym that translates to ethylene propylene diene monomer. This flat roof material is a synthetic rubber and covers the roof in the form of a membrane.

The membrane has four layers: base, middle, reinforced, and top layer.

The base layer is the core of the membrane, consisting of EPDM rubber. The middle layer provides fire protection, while the next one reinforces the structure. Finally, the top layer is again made of EPDM and can be black or white.

The material finds broad use in the roofing industry. However, it is often the best fit for flat roofs or those with a relatively low slope.

In terms of installation, EPDM rubber roofing can be affixed three different ways. As a standalone roof cover, EPDM can be fastened mechanically with screws and then fully adhered using tape or a specialized adhesive.

Meanwhile, if the roofing is installed by ballasting, it will no longer cover the roof independently. Rather, it will be covered with an additional layer, usually made of stone.

Pro Tip: If you want the most durable EPDM roofing system, go with the fully adhered installation.

It will be the most resistant to most outside factors, except particularly strong winds.

Mechanical fastening sacrifices a portion of the durability for increased flexibility, while ballasting gives you a wider choice in terms of aesthetics.

Top Features of EPDM Rubber Membrane

The list of benefits of EPDM rubber roofing is quite extensive. In certain respects, the material can match or surpass traditional options such as asphalt or clay.

An EPDM membrane excels in terms of functionality and dependability thanks to several favorable traits:

  • Lower maintenance needs compared to other materials
  • Provides excellent protection against weather conditions and the elements
  • Highly UV-resistant
  • Regulates temperature, boosting the structure’s energy efficiency
  • Properly installed thicker EPDM roofing can last for two decades or more
  • Relatively affordable roofing solution
  • Ecologically aware choice: the synthetic rubber can be reused through recycling
  • Pros Of An EPDM Rubber Roof

    EPDM roofing is very popular popular – in fact, there are several reasons why this roofing type became so prominent. Here are some of the top advantages of EPDM membranes.

    Very Cost-Effective

    EPDM roofing is, in most cases, more affordable than many other flat roofing types, such as PVC or TPO roofing. Even better, the lower price of this material doesn’t come at the expense of quality.

    Long-Lasting

    If installed by experienced professional contractors, EPDM roofing can stay functional for decades. In the long run, the durability of this material can bring financial benefits. The roofing won’t need to be replaced for some time, saving you time and money.

    Easy and Affordable Installation

    Installing an EPDM roof comes at a relatively low cost as well. The lightweight material can be installed with ease in a process that won’t require quite as much effort as with other materials.

    However, the price can increase due to specific conditions.

    Resistant to Fire

    One of the four layers of the EPDM membrane serves one primary – but critical – function: to stave off fire. This is especially important since fire can spread from one roof to the next.

    The best part about the fire resistance of EPDM is that the material will retain that trait for a long time rather than lose it after a few years.

    Waterproof Roofing

    EPDM rubber is highly resistant to water. In addition, the roofing is designed to be installed with as few seams as possible, leaving little space for water to seep in. This makes EPDM rubber roofing an excellent option for areas particularly prone to rainfall.

    Light Material

    Sturdier types of roofing can be somewhat weighty, potentially causing future issues with the roof construction.

    However, EPDM rubber doesn’t have that problem. The material is extremely light while being highly protective and resilient.

    Environmentally Friendly

    EPDM rubber is an extremely reusable material. The roofing material is often made of recycled products and can be recycled itself once it nears the end of its usefulness.

    This makes the roofing material very environmentally friendly by reducing waste.

    Did You Know? EPDM rubber was discovered at the beginning of the 1960s. This material was made as a part of the search for new synthetic compounds with unique traits.

    Soon after being created, EPDM rubber was refined by DuPont, a company that specializes in chemical production, making it into the material used today.


    Cost to Install a Roof (1700 s.f)
    Low End
    $4,731
    Average
    $5,709
    High End
    $6,997

    See costs in your area Start Here - Enter Your Zip Code


    Cons Of EPDM Rubber

    Here are some important disadvantages you should consider before installing an EPDM rubber membrane.

    Unfit for DIY Installation

    EPDM roofing has a reputation for being easy to install. However, that information comes with a caveat.

    While the installation process might be very straightforward for experienced professionals, amateur homeowners who attempt to do it themselves will soon learn it’s not easy for beginners.

    Prone to Overheating

    Nearly every type of rubber functions as a great absorber of heat. This trait can be very useful in certain situations, but when it comes to roofing, it’s not the most optimal feature.

    Granted, there’s a way to reduce EPDM roofing heat absorption by covering the material in white paint, but that option will elevate the price.

    Can Puncture Easily

    EPDM rubber roofing is most often installed on flat roofs, which can lead some people to think the material is well-suited for walking.

    In reality, this roofing type can be damaged quite easily by walking on it.

    Similarly, the EPDM membrane can be punctured if hit by falling branches, which is why this roofing shouldn’t be installed on buildings near trees.

    Top EPDM Rubber Roofing Brands

    Here are top EPDM membrane manufacturers that are trusted by flat roofing pros.

    Versico

    Versico produces a variety of EPDM roofing solutions. The company has all types of EPDM roofing available. The company has been in business for over a quarter of a century so they have ample experience in the industry.

    GenFlex

    With over two decades of experience, GenFlex is a respected roofing system manufacturer that offers a wide selection of EPDM roofing.

    Their products are made according to leading industry standards. GenFlex’s EPDM solutions include mechanically attached, ballasted, and adhered systems.

    Mule-Hide Products

    Mule-Hide has an exceptionally long history of roofing product manufacturing. The company specializes in low-slope roofing solutions and operates nationwide. Established as a premium low-slope roofing manufacturer in 1985, this brand is reputable and trusted.

    Carlisle SynTec Systems

    This company is not only a veteran brand in the roofing industry but also plays a crucial role in the history of EPDM use.

    Carlisle SynTec adopted the EPDM technology and started using it to produce membranes in the 1960s, the same decade EPDM was invented. Since then, the company has maintained a reputation for quality and professionalism.

    Pro Tip: If you live in an area with heavy snowfall, pay attention to the snow accumulating on your EPDM roof.

    Snow can weigh down the material and leave plenty of excess water that can stay on the surface and even pass between the seams. A good snow removal schedule will keep your roofing functional for longer.


    Cost to Install a Roof (1700 s.f)
    Low End
    $4,731
    Average
    $5,709
    High End
    $6,997

    See costs in your area Start Here - Enter Your Zip Code


    EPDM Rubber Roofing vs PVC vs TPO Roofs

    EPDM isn’t the only synthetic membrane roofing in the market. It competes with PVC and TPO, with all three materials holding particular benefits and shortcomings.

    EPDM vs. PVC Roofing

    While EPDM rubber is quite resilient, PVC outshines it in that regard as one of the most durable roofing materials available.

    PVC roofing can endure intense use and harsh weather conditions. Furthermore, PVC membranes are prefabricated and welded using hot air off-site, resulting in tighter seams and tailored fitment.

    On the other hand, while EPDM can be damaged more easily, its weather resistance is comparable to PVC.

    Since this roofing comes in large sheets, it doesn’t feature many seams, making it virtually watertight.

    In terms of resistance, both materials perform well. They’re resilient against fire and water damage, although PVC has the added advantage of being highly resistant to chemicals as well.

    PVC roofing has a limitation that might be a deal-breaker for some customers: The material is practically unusable on asphalt since it can’t adhere to that type of surface.

    The most significant difference between EPDM and PVC that might influence purchasing decisions is the price. While EPDM is relatively affordable, PVC is the most expensive type of synthetic roofing.

    The increased price does come with great functionality, but the cost – which can reach $14 per square foot – might deter some customers.

    EPDM vs. TPO

    TPO is a synthetic rubber roofing material that’s gaining plenty of popularity, especially in commercial roofing.

    This material is corrosion-resistant and prevents algae or mildew from forming on its surface. It’s also resilient to UV radiation and ozone and withstands a moderate amount of chemical damage.

    In addition, TPO doesn’t require pressure washing, making it quite easy to maintain.

    Like EPDM, TPO can be installed with adhesives or attached with nails. TPO can also be heat-welded around irregular roof sections such as chimneys.

    However, this roofing solution comes with several drawbacks. In particular, it has lower durability than EPDM and is prone to shrinking upon installation, causing the curbs and seams to pull away.

    TPO also doesn’t have particularly good heat resistance, meaning constant high heat might damage it.

    Finally, TPO requires expert installation to ensure proper performance. If the seams aren’t heat-welded correctly, the roofing will likely succumb to wear and tear sooner.

    The factor most responsible for the traction this material is gaining in the industry is the price. At the lower end, TPO roofing can be installed for as low as $3.45 per square foot.

    However, more reliable options might not turn out to be as affordable, with some being comparable to PVC costs.

    Did you know? Since rubber roofing started being used in the second half of the 20th century, it has become the most prevalent roofing type for commercial use in the U.S.

    Today, this material is at the core of a specialized branch of the industry that includes proven manufacturers and expert installers.

    Should You Install EPDM Roofing?

    EPDM roofing represents a versatile solution that comes at quite reasonable prices.

    Alternative roofing options might provide particular benefits but also come up lacking in certain areas.

    For instance, a more durable material could be less resistant to heat.

    Ultimately, your decision concerning EPDM roofing will come down to your specific requirements.

    If the goal is functional flat roofing with a decent lifespan at a relatively low cost, EPDM rubber roofing could present an excellent solution.


    Cost to Install a Roof (1700 s.f)
    $4,731 - $6,997
    See costs in your area Start Here - Enter Your Zip Code


    About Ilan

    Ilan G. has been working in the remodeling and construction industry for over 15 years. His focus is on construction planning and design as well as project cost estimating. Ilan also has a personal interest in interior design, as well as in unique DIY remodeling projects. Read more about Ilan


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