EPDM Roofing: What It Is, Pros & Cons

EPDM Roofing: What It Is, Pros & Cons

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If you are building a new home or repairing an old one, one of the most important elements to consider at all times is the roof. After all, this is what keeps the elements out. Today, we want to do an in-depth examination of one specific type of roofing system known as EPDM roofing.

Let’s find out what you’re in for with this type of roof.

What Is EPDM Roofing?

EPDM is a special type of roofing system. EPDM stands for ethylene propylene diene monomer roofing. This is a specific type of single-ply synthetic roofing membrane that is often used in commercial and residential buildings.

It will typically be used for flat roofs and low-sloped roofs, although it can technically be used for any type of roof out there. Many people like this material because it is very weather-resistant and durable.

Ethylene propylene diene monomer roofing is made of a synthetic rubber compound that is made primarily from both polypropylene and ethylene which are derived from oil and gas. The combination of these various materials helps to create very long-lasting, durable, and flexible roofing membranes that are able to withstand a variety of extreme weathers, such as ozone exposure, ultraviolet rays, and extreme temperatures.

There are actually two different types of EPDM roofing membranes, which include both black and white. The most common of these is the black one, which is often preferred due to its great ultraviolet resistance, as the darker color helps to dissipate heat from the sun.

We then have white EPDM which is one of the newer options available, and this is designed to help reduce heat absorption by reflecting sunlight away. This is considered a cool roofing option and is ideal for houses that are in hotter climates.

There are three main ways to install EPDM roofing, including ballasted, mechanically attached, and fully adhered. With the fully adhered method, the membrane is attached directly to the roof using an adhesive.

When it is mechanically attached, the EPDM membrane is fastened to the roof using plates and screws. If the ballasted method is used, the membrane is laid over the roof deck very loosely and then laid in place using concrete pavers or large stones.

8 Pros of EPDM Roofing

Now that we know what EPDM roofing is, let’s take a closer look at all of the potential benefits it features.


One big benefit of using EPDM roofing is that it generally lasts for quite a long time. If this type of roof is installed using the proper methods and the right materials, it should last for 30 years or even longer. Although it’s not the cheapest to install, it does produce long-term savings.


EPDM roofing can be quite durable when installed properly and is able to withstand a wide variety of weather conditions. It does well in temperature fluctuations, with ozone exposure, and it can handle UV rays as well, at least for a certain amount of time, all without any severe degradation.


One of the biggest benefits that you may find with EPDM roofing is that it is extremely flexible. This allows it to easily deal with a variety of temperature changes and building movement without becoming brittle, cracking, or breaking.

Weather Resistance

If you need a type of roofing system that is very resistant to the weather, especially as far as moisture is concerned, then EPDM roofing is an ideal choice. Because of this, many people use EPDM roofing as a waterproofing method for their roofs.

Ease of Installation

What is also nice about EPDM roofing is that it can be installed with relative ease, as it comes in very large sheets. There is a relatively simple installation process that helps to reduce the risk of damage or leaks occurring over the long run.


What many people also appreciate about EPDM roofing is that in the event that something does break, it is relatively easy to repair in small patches. This helps to extend its lifespan even further.

Energy Efficiency

EPDM roofing has another big benefit which is energy efficiency. These are often known as cool roofs. This is because the material is designed to reflect sunlight and reduce heat absorption. Ultimately, this leads to much lower costs associated with air conditioning during the warmer seasons.


The other big benefit of EPDM roofing is that it tends to be quite environmentally friendly, mainly because the materials themselves tend to be recyclable, and are sometimes made out of recycled materials.

6 Cons of EPDM Roofing

While EPDM roofing has a variety of benefits, it also has some drawbacks that deserve consideration.


The seams of EPDM roofing, in between the sheets, can sometimes be susceptible to leaking water, which may cause damage in the long run, especially in areas that see a lot of rain.


Another drawback of EPDM roofing is that it is somewhat susceptible to tearing and punctures from sharp objects, which can lead to damage or leaks if not properly maintained and if care is not taken.

UV Light

Although certain types of EPDM roofing are very resistant to UV degradation, black EPDM may experience some damage over time, which can lead to a reduction in its overall effectiveness when it comes to reflecting sunlight. The color of it may also fade over time.


Perhaps one of the biggest drawbacks of EPDM roofing is that it just doesn’t look that nice. For the most part, this is not something that most people would choose to install on their residential homes.

Roof Type Limitations

Although this type of roof is fine for most low-sloped roofs and flat roofs, it has its limitations when it comes to steep roofs and is therefore not often used for residential applications.

Fire Resistance

Although it should not combust at the first sign of trouble, EPDM roofing is not quite as fire-resistant as asphalt or metal roofing.

Should You Use EPDM Roofing?

If you require a type of roof that is going to last for a long time, is easy to install and repair, has great eco-friendliness, is fairly durable overall, and is energy efficient, then EPDM roofing is a good option to consider.

However, if you have a steeply sloped roof that needs to be puncture and tear-resistant, and you want it to actually look good, then it may not be the best choice.


Now that you know what EPDM roofing is, you can make an informed decision as to whether or not it’s the right type of roofing system for you.