Why EPDM Roofs are Taking the Commercial and Residential Markets by Storm

Posted on April 28, 2023

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Why EPDM Roofs are Taking the Commercial and Residential Markets by Storm

Asphalt and metal have long been popular among homeowners, but EPDM roofs are prevailing in the flat roofing market. This single-ply membrane has been widely used on commercial buildings and is now gaining popularity in residential markets.

In this article, we’ll explore why EPDM is becoming the go-to roofing choice for property owners across the country. We’ll examine the benefits of this membrane for home and business owners and share supporting facts on the topic.

Let’s find out how EPDM could be a good roofing choice for your property.

What Is EPDM Roofing?

EPDM is a low-slope and flat roofing material made from a synthetic rubber called ethylene propylene diene monomer. It is exceptionally resistant to water, wind, hail, and UV rays, and has been among the most durable and cost-effective roofing options for decades.

This roofing material is installed as a single-ply membrane, which means it comes in large sheets that cover the entire roofing surface. The membranes are adhered or mechanically fastened to the roof deck by licensed flat roofing contractors.

But how does this roofing material benefit home and business owners alike? Let’s understand what EPDM rubber roofing systems bring to the table.

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Impressive Benefits of EPDM Roofs

EPDM membranes have been here for decades and are time-tested to perform well in most climates and structures. Here are some of the most admired benefits of this roofing material:


EPDM rubber roofs have a lifespan of around 30 years with proper installation and maintenance. At this time, EPDM is one of the longest-lasting flat roof materials due to its resistance to fire, water, hail, and snow. This is because of its sturdy composition that has undergone several advancements over the years.

Low Maintenance Requirements

Commercial buildings often have large roofs that can be difficult and costly to maintain. That’s where EPDM comes into play. EPDM requires very little maintenance over its lifespan. Like other roofing materials, it doesn’t need frequent repairs, recoating, or cleaning. The only care required is occasional inspections and cleaning debris from the roof’s surface. This is also an attractive quality for homeowners who don’t want to spend much time and money on roof maintenance.

UV Resistance

EPDM roofing membranes are incredibly resistant to UV rays, which can cause other materials to degrade over time due to blisters and cracks. This attribute ensures that the roofing material will maintain its color and shape over many years of use.


EPDM roofing is more cost-effective than other roofing materials, such as metal, concrete, and built-up roofs. It has a lower installation and repair cost, which makes this roof an intelligent investment for property owners.


EPDM is an eco-friendly roofing solution made from recycled materials such as tires. According to the National Roofing Contractors Association, around 1.25 million pounds of recycled EPDM membranes have been derived from landfills. Additionally, this rubber roof can be repurposed at the end of its lifespan for other applications like sealing, cooling, and flooring. This “green” building feature is incredibly helpful for business owners who are looking to reduce their commercial carbon footprint.

Here is an example of an EPDM roof installation in the commercial world. 

The energy-efficient choice of the Coca-Cola bottling plant in Los Angeles was to install an EPDM rubber roof. This solution helped the plant achieve “Gold” certification from the Green Building Council, which recognizes buildings for their sustainability efforts and architecture.

While the rubber roof has more pros than cons, it’s helpful to learn about the drawbacks of EPDM membranes too.

What Are The Disadvantages Of EPDM Roofing Systems?

Since EPDM is originally black, it can cause the roof to absorb more heat than other roofing materials. However, EPDM roof coatings are available to address this issue and help reflect sunlight. 

Another potential drawback of EPDM roofing is that it may shrink in extremely hot climates, which can shorten its lifespan or necessitate frequent repairs. However, this is common with other roofs like PVC and TPO as well.

If you compare EPDM roofs with other flat roofing materials, you’ll find it has several advantages over TPO, PVC, and built-up roofs.


TPO (thermoplastic olefin) roofs are another popular option for low-slope and flat roofs. TPO is a single-ply membrane made of a blend of plastics and rubber and has gained popularity in recent years due to its white reflective surface and energy-efficient properties. 

However, when compared to EPDM, TPO has some disadvantages. For example, TPO roofing is less flexible than EPDM, which can make it more prone to cracking over time. Additionally, TPO has a shorter lifespan than EPDM roofs. Where the polyolefin roof generally lasts between 15-25 years, EPDM membranes have an average lifespan of 30 years. Additionally, EPDM roof installation and maintenance cost less than TPO.


PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is another single-ply membrane option for low-slope and flat roofs. PVC roofs are known for their durability and energy efficiency, but it also has some drawbacks compared to EPDM rubber roofing membranes. 

One of the main concerns is that PVC is more expensive to install than EPDM membranes. Additionally, PVC roofs are less resistant to extreme temperatures than EPDM rubber roofs, which leads to cracking in areas with high heat or freezing temperatures.

EPDM vs Built-Up Tar and Gravel Roofs

Built-up tar and gravel roofs are a traditional option for flat roofing systems, but they are becoming less popular due to their maintenance requirements and environmental impact. Built-up roofs consist of multiple layers of asphalt and roofing felt, topped with a layer of gravel. While they can be durable and long-lasting, they are also heavy, prone to leaks, and challenging to repair. In contrast, EPDM roofs are lightweight, easy to install, and require less maintenance over time.

After evaluating these impressive and unique benefits, many property owners, roofing contractors, and organizations prefer EPDM. If you are also considering this roofing material, you should know some more crucial facts.

What Property Owners Need to Know About EPDM Roof Installation

EPDM is generally considered to be a cost-effective option for flat roofs, as it has a lower upfront cost than some other materials, such as PVC or metal. According to This Old House, the cost of installing an EPDM roof ranges from $7,000 to $23,000. 

What Affects the Cost

It’s essential to remember that your EPDM roofing cost might be more or less within the above range, as it depends on several factors, such as the size and complexity of the roof, the location of the property, and the cost of labor and materials in your local market.

Choosing the Right Manufacturer

The quality of installation and materials used is crucial to the effectiveness and longevity of an EPDM roofing system. To ensure optimal performance, it’s essential to choose a reputable manufacturer. Carlisle EPDM roofing membranes are some of the most durable and reliable flat roofing membranes to choose from.

Correct Installation Can Make All the Difference

When selecting a roofing contractor, it’s essential to choose a company with a good reputation and excellent track record installing EPDM roofs. Proper installation and using quality materials can help ensure that an EPDM roofing system lasts for many years with minimal maintenance and repairs.

If you are looking for a new flat roof for your home, building, garage, or any facility in Western New York, we are here to help you out.

Free Consultation and Estimate on EPDM Roofs

At OConnor Contracting, we’re passionate about what we do and are committed to delivering exceptional service, every step of the way. If you are looking for an EPDM roofing contractor or want more information on flat roofing materials, our experts can guide you through it all. 

From assessing your roofing needs to providing you with a customized solution, we’ll work with you to ensure that your EPDM roofing system is the perfect fit for your property. We take pride in the quality of our work and only use the best flat roofing materials that meet industry standards.
We understand that investing in a new roof is a significant decision, and we want to make the process as smooth and transparent as possible. Call us at (716) 600-7663, and discuss your roofing project with one of our experts over a free consultation.

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