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EPDM Commercial Roofing: The Pros And Cons Of Rubber Roofs


EPDM commercial roofing refers to a roofing system that utilises Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM) as the primary roofing membrane. EPDM is a synthetic rubber material known for its durability, flexibility, and weather resistance. EPDM commercial roofing is commonly used for low-slope or flat roofs in commercial and industrial buildings, providing reliable protection against water infiltration and UV radiation. It is available in large sheets that are adhered, mechanically fastened, or ballasted onto the roof surface, offering a cost-effective and long-lasting solution for commercial roofing needs.

What Are The Main Benefits Of Choosing A Commercial Rubber Roofing System?

When considering a rubber roofing system for your commercial building, you'll want to understand the main benefits. Below you can see the main advantages of an EPDM Commercial Roofing System.

  1. Durability: Rubber roofs have excellent durability and can withstand harsh weather conditions, UV radiation, and thermal cycling, resulting in a longer lifespan for the roof.
  2. Low Maintenance: Rubber roofing systems require minimal maintenance, reducing the time and costs associated with upkeep. They are resistant to common issues like cracking, splitting, and moss or algae growth.
  3. Energy Efficiency: Rubber roofs have good insulation properties, which can help in maintaining comfortable indoor temperatures and reducing energy consumption for heating and cooling, leading to potential energy savings.
  4. Flexibility: Rubber roofing materials are flexible and can accommodate building movements without cracking or damage, making them suitable for various roof shapes and designs.
  5. Cost-effective: Rubber roofing systems are generally cost-effective in terms of installation, maintenance, and long-term performance. Their durability and low maintenance requirements contribute to long-term cost savings.
  6. Environmental Friendly: Rubber roofing materials, such as EPDM, are often made from recycled materials and can be recycled at the end of their lifespan, making them an eco-friendly choice.

By considering these benefits, commercial property owners can make an informed decision when choosing a rubber roofing system.

How Long Does An EPDM Commercial Roofing System Last For?

EPDM roofing systems are known for their impressive longevity and durability. On average, a properly installed and well-maintained EPDM roof can last between 20 to 30 years, although some roofs have been known to exceed this lifespan. Factors such as installation quality, climate conditions, maintenance practices, and foot traffic can affect the lifespan of an EPDM roof. Regular inspections and maintenance can help extend its lifespan and ensure optimal performance throughout its service life.

How Long Are The Guarantees Offered For Rubber Commercial Flat Roofs?

The guarantees offered for rubber commercial flat roofs can vary depending on the manufacturer, contractor, and specific roofing system chosen. However, it is common for EPDM rubber roofing systems to come with guarantees ranging from 10 to 30 years. These guarantees typically cover defects in materials or workmanship and provide assurance of the roof's performance within the specified period. It's important to review the specific terms and conditions of the guarantee provided by the manufacturer or contractor to understand the coverage and any requirements for maintenance or inspection during the guarantee period.

Are Commercial  EPDM Rubber Roofs Easy To Maintain?

Yes, EPDM rubber roofs are generally easy to maintain. They require minimal maintenance compared to other roofing materials. Routine maintenance for EPDM roofs typically involves periodic inspections to check for any damage or debris, keeping the roof surface clean, and addressing any issues promptly. Cleaning can be done using mild soap and water or specific EPDM roof cleaning products. Additionally, it's recommended to trim any overhanging branches or vegetation that may pose a risk to the roof. Overall, EPDM rubber roofs offer ease of maintenance, contributing to their popularity in commercial roofing applications.

How Do You Repair An EPDM Commercial Rubber Roof?

Repairing an EPDM rubber roof involves several steps:

  1. Clean the damaged area: Start by thoroughly cleaning the damaged portion of the roof using a mild soap and water solution. Rinse off any dirt, debris, or contaminants that may hinder the repair process.
  2. Assess the damage: Inspect the area to determine the extent of the damage. Look for cuts, punctures, tears, or areas where the membrane has lifted or separated.
  3. Prepare the repair materials: EPDM repair kits are available and typically include a patch or membrane piece, adhesive, and primer. Follow the manufacturer's instructions to prepare the materials for the repair.
  4. Apply primer and adhesive: Apply the primer to the damaged area as directed in the repair kit instructions. Allow it to dry before applying the adhesive. Use a brush or roller to evenly apply the adhesive to both the patch and the damaged area of the roof.
  5. Apply the patch: Carefully place the patch or membrane piece over the adhesive, ensuring it is positioned correctly and smoothly adhered to the roof surface. Use a roller or pressure to ensure proper bonding.
  6. Allow for curing: Give the repair sufficient time to cure and bond. Follow the recommended curing time provided in the repair kit instructions.
  7. Inspect and test: Once the repair is complete, inspect the area to ensure a proper seal. Perform a water test to check for any leaks or further issues.

It's important to note that for larger or more complex repairs, it may be advisable to seek the assistance of a professional roofing contractor experienced in EPDM roof repairs to ensure the best results.

How Much Does An EPDM Commercial Rubber Roofing Systems Cost?

The cost of an EPDM commercial rubber roofing system can vary depending on several factors, such as the size of the roof, installation complexity, location, and any additional features or insulation requirements. However, as a general guide, you can expect to pay at least £50 per square meter for a cold roof installation and up to £120 per square meter for a warm roof installation. It's important to note that these prices are estimates and it is recommended to obtain quotes from reputable roofing contractors for a more accurate cost assessment based on your specific project requirements.

What Are The Main Problems With Commercial Rubber Roofing?

While commercial rubber roofing systems offer numerous benefits, they can also experience certain problems. The main problems associated with commercial rubber roofing include:

  1. Punctures and tears: Sharp objects or foot traffic can cause punctures and tears in the rubber membrane, leading to potential leaks and water damage.
  2. Seam failures: Improperly sealed seams or adhesive failures can result in seam separation, allowing water infiltration and compromising the roof's integrity.
  3. Shrinkage and expansion: Temperature fluctuations can cause the rubber membrane to shrink or expand, potentially leading to stress on the roofing system and increased risk of leaks.
  4. UV degradation: Extended exposure to UV rays can deteriorate the rubber membrane over time, causing it to become brittle, crack, or lose its elasticity.
  5. Ponding water: Poor drainage or inadequate slope can result in ponding water on the roof's surface, which can accelerate wear and tear, promote algae growth, and lead to leaks.

To mitigate these problems, regular inspections, proactive maintenance, prompt repairs, and proper installation by experienced professionals are crucial. Taking preventive measures and addressing issues promptly can help maximize the lifespan and performance of a commercial rubber roofing system.

What Is The Process Of Installing Commercial EPDM Rubber Roofing?

The process of installing commercial EPDM rubber roofing typically involves the following steps:

  1. Roof Preparation: The existing roof surface is thoroughly inspected and prepared. This may involve cleaning the roof, removing debris, repairing any damage, and ensuring a smooth and even surface.
  2. Membrane Installation: The EPDM rubber membrane is measured, cut, and laid out on the roof surface. Adhesive or bonding agents are applied to secure the membrane in place. It is important to ensure proper alignment and avoid wrinkles or bubbles during installation.
  3. Seaming: In areas where multiple membrane sheets are required, seaming is performed. This involves overlapping the edges of the sheets and using a specialised adhesive or heat welding process to create a strong and watertight seal.
  4. Flashing Installation: Flashing components, such as edge trims, termination bars, and penetration collars, are installed to provide additional protection and ensure proper waterproofing around roof edges, corners, and penetrations.
  5. Detailing and Finishing: Any necessary detailing work, such as sealing around vents, pipes, or HVAC units, is performed. The roof is inspected for any imperfections or areas that require additional attention or reinforcement.
  6. Final Checks: The installed EPDM roof is inspected to ensure proper adhesion, seam integrity, and overall quality. Drainage systems are checked to ensure efficient water flow and prevent ponding.
  7. Clean-up and Maintenance Guidelines: The work area is cleaned up, and any debris or waste materials are removed. The roofing contractor may provide maintenance guidelines and recommendations for ongoing care to maximize the lifespan of the EPDM roof.

It's important to note that the specific installation process may vary depending on the roofing contractor, project requirements, and roof design. It is recommended to hire experienced and certified roofing professionals for the installation of commercial EPDM rubber roofing to ensure a proper and durable installation.

Can A Commercial EPDM Rubber Roof Endure Heavy Use?

Yes, a commercial EPDM rubber roof is designed to withstand heavy use and foot traffic. EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) is a durable and resilient material that offers excellent resistance to impact, abrasion, and weathering. It can handle the regular foot traffic associated with maintenance activities, HVAC servicing, and occasional roof access. However, it is important to ensure proper installation, periodic inspections, and timely repairs to maintain the roof's integrity and prevent any damage from heavy use. Additionally, taking precautions such as using walkway pads or protective measures can further enhance the durability and longevity of a commercial EPDM rubber roof in high-traffic areas.

What Are The Best Ways To Provide A Top Coat To A Commercial Rubber Roof?

When it comes to providing a top coat to a commercial rubber roof, there are a few options to consider. The best ways to provide a top coat to a commercial rubber roof include:

  1. Polyurethane Coating: Polyurethane coatings offer excellent flexibility, adhesion, and impact resistance. They provide a protective layer that helps guard against damage from foot traffic, hail, and other external factors. Polyurethane coatings also enhance the aesthetics of the roof while providing added durability and weather resistance.
  2. Acrylic Coating: Applying an acrylic coating is a popular choice for enhancing the performance and extending the lifespan of a rubber roof. Acrylic coatings provide an additional layer of protection against UV rays, weathering, and environmental pollutants. They also offer reflective properties that can help improve energy efficiency.
  3. Silicone Coating: Silicone coatings are known for their excellent durability, UV resistance, and ability to withstand extreme temperatures. They create a seamless, waterproof barrier over the rubber roof and provide superior protection against water damage, ponding, and deterioration. Silicone coatings also have self-cleaning properties, reducing the maintenance needs of the roof.

It's important to note that the specific top coat option may depend on factors such as climate, roof condition, and desired performance characteristics. Consulting with a professional roofing contractor can help determine the best top coat solution for a commercial rubber roof based on its specific requirements and budget. Proper surface preparation, application techniques, and following manufacturer guidelines are essential to ensure a successful and long-lasting top coat for the rubber roof.

Does The EPDM Commercial Roofing Company You Choose Matter?

Yes, the EPDM commercial roofing company you choose does matter. The expertise, experience, and reputation of the roofing company can significantly impact the quality of installation, workmanship, and overall performance of your EPDM roof. Choosing a reliable and knowledgeable roofing company ensures proper installation, adherence to industry standards, and the use of high-quality materials, leading to a durable and long-lasting EPDM commercial roof.

How Do You Choose A Quality EPDM Commercial Roofing Contractor?

Choosing a quality EPDM commercial roofing contractor requires careful consideration. Here are some key factors to consider:

  1. Experience and Expertise: Look for a contractor with extensive experience in installing EPDM roofs specifically for commercial projects. A knowledgeable contractor will have a deep understanding of EPDM roofing systems, installation techniques, and best practices.
  2. Reputation and References: Research the contractor's reputation in the industry and review customer testimonials and references. A reputable contractor will have a track record of delivering high-quality work and customer satisfaction.
  3. Licensing and Insurance: Ensure that the contractor is licensed and insured to perform roofing work in your area. This protects you from liability and ensures that the contractor meets industry standards and regulations.
  4. Warranty and Support: Inquire about the warranty provided by the contractor for their workmanship and the EPDM roofing materials. A reliable contractor will stand behind their work and offer support in case of any issues or concerns.
  5. Communication and Professionalism: Assess the contractor's communication skills and professionalism. A quality contractor will be responsive, provide clear explanations, and address any questions or concerns you may have.

By considering these factors and conducting thorough research, you can select a quality EPDM commercial roofing contractor who will deliver a successful roofing project with excellent workmanship and customer service.

Are Rubber Roofs On Commercial Buildings Easy To Repair?

Rubber roofs on commercial buildings can be relatively easy to repair compared to other roofing materials. EPDM rubber roofs, in particular, are known for their repairability. Small punctures or tears in the rubber membrane can often be patched or repaired using specially formulated EPDM repair materials. However, it is recommended to have roof repairs on commercial buildings done by a professional contractor. It is advised to choose one who has experience working with rubber roofs to ensure proper techniques and materials are used for a long-lasting and effective repair.

What Are The Common Repairs Required On A Rubber Roof?

Common repairs required on a rubber roof include patching small punctures or tears in the rubber membrane and resealing or repairing any damaged seams or flashing. Regular inspections and maintenance can help identify and address these common repair needs promptly, ensuring the long-term performance and integrity of the rubber roof.

Can A Liquid Roof Overlay Be Applied To Rubber Roofing Systems?

Yes, a liquid roof overlay can be applied to rubber roofing systems. Liquid roofing systems can be used to provide additional protection, enhance durability, and extend the lifespan of the rubber roof.

Are EPDM Roofs Vulnerable To Leaks?

EPDM roofs, when installed and maintained properly, are highly resistant to leaks. The rubber membrane used in EPDM roofing systems is known for its excellent waterproofing properties. However, like any roofing material, EPDM roofs can be vulnerable to leaks if there are installation errors, improper maintenance, or damage to the membrane. Regular inspections and prompt repairs are advised to minimise any potential problems with a leaking commercial roof which has an EPDM membrane.

Can You Have An EPDM Gutter Lining?

Yes, it is possible to have an EPDM gutter lining. EPDM is known for its excellent waterproofing properties. It can be used to line gutters on commercial buildings. An EPDM gutter lining can provide a durable and watertight solution for gutter systems.

What Are The Signs An EPDM Commercial Roof Needs To Be Replaced?

Signs an EPDM commercial roof may need to be replaced include extensive and widespread damage, such as significant membrane deterioration, cracks, or blistering, that cannot be effectively repaired. Additionally, recurring leaks, frequent repairs, and an ageing roof beyond its expected lifespan are indicators roof replacement on a commercial property may be necessary.

What Type Of Commercial Building Is Best Suited To EPDM Roof Systems?

EPDM roof systems are well-suited for a wide range of commercial buildings, including flat and low-slope roofs. They are particularly advantageous for buildings with large roof areas, as EPDM membranes can be manufactured in large sheets, minimising seams and reducing the risk of leaks.

Need Help With An EPDM Commercial Roof?

If you would like a quotation or any further information regarding EPDM commercial roofing please get in touch with us using our enquiry form or calling us on 01277 375 511.