EPDM Roofing in Vancouver, BC
- Why EPDM?
- Is EPDM Affected by Ponding Water?
- Green (Black) Roofing
- Energy Efficient Roofing
- Safety and Longevity
The EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) rubber roofing membrane has been an appealing choice of the low-slope commercial roofing industry for over 45 years. EPDM continues to be a top choice of architects, roof consultants and contractors for both new construction and replacement roofing projects. EPDM membrane formulations have remained relatively constant for the past 40 years, with roof systems installed in the 1970s still performing well. Even so, EPDM manufacturers remain committed to continuous product innovations. In response to technological advancements, membrane research and contract or requests for more ergonomic products, EPDM accessory products continue to evolve in order to meet the demands of the industry.
The greatest test of any construction material is how it performs under actual field conditions. "More than 45 years of empirical experience in field applications has shown EPDM to have the roofing industry’s longest average service life." * Since EPDM prices are similar to other membrane prices, when you do the math, that translates to the lowest cost per year of any roofing membrane.
Characteristics that contribute to this superior overall system performance include:
- Cyclical membrane fatigue resistance
- Proven hail resistance
- High resistance to ozone, weathering and abrasion
- Flexibility in low temperatures
- Superior resistance to extreme heat and fire
- Thermal shock durability
- Ultraviolet radiation resistance
EPDM's high resistance to wind damage has also proven to be an increasingly desirable attribute.
Architects, roof consultants and contractors have come to depend on EPDM's time tested, long-term performance.
Since its infancy, when EPDM was used primarily for pond lining and canals, it has demonstrated excellent resistance to moisture absorption. This characteristic made the membrane a candidate for many underground waterproofing applications where the material was buried in saturated soil. (EPDM meets ASTM D 3083 "Resistance to Soil Burial for Underground Application.")
Moisture found in ponding areas has caused decay of organic felts (built-up roofs), algae growth (light colored roofs), granule loss (modified bitumen roofs), and premature curing and surface cracking (non-vulcanized thermoplastic membranes). This moisture has absolutely no affect on EPDM membrane.
While it is always good roofing practice to provide positive drainage for any roofing assembly, EPDM membrane offers greater safety margins in the event of deflection and subsequent ponding.
Environmentally, EPDM roofing gives off the least amount of carbon dioxide of all types of roofing membranes. Whether CO2 has much effect on global warming is debatable, but we do know at the very least, that too much is not good for breathing.
EPDM rubber is one of the world’s most recyclable low-slope roofing products. Since 2006, almost six million square feet of EPDM have been removed, transported and recycled from buildings all across North America and Canada.
Additionally, EPDM works very well with Green Roofs and Planters.
In Southern climates, white roofing saves energy in buildings due to lower cooling costs in summer compared to higher heating costs in winter. In Northern climates, including all of Canada, it is just the opposite. The savings in heating costs using black EPDM, or other black membranes, outweighs the loss in summer cooling costs.
In 2004, a study was conducted by the German Institute of Synthetic Materials (SKZ) to determine the minimum service life of EPDM rubber membranes. Thirty-nine samples of EPDM membranes were taken from roofs in Western Europe that were 20-30 years old. Over a period of 2 years, these samples were subjected to tests for artificial aging at high temperatures in laboratory conditions.
The results of the study are as follows:
- All the roofs visited were in a perfect condition and operating as intended.
- No external signs of aging were noted (crazing or cracking).
- None of the elongation at break values obtained were less than 300%.
- Each sample was artificially aged up to the lower threshold of 150% elongation to obtain the values for remaining life span.
All results obtained have exceeded the 70 years life span.
Study Conclusions: The life span of EPDM membranes is clearly evaluated at over 50 years in normal west European climate conditions.
Black EPDM roofs reduce slipperiness in winter, and also reduce snow loads on roofs due to their heating up quicker from the sun.
Another major problem with white roofs is condensation under the membrane. This causes a slow breakdown of the membrane and substrate, greatly reducing roofing life. Black EPDM membrane reduces the condensation problem fourfold; and our preferred installation method of fully adhering the membrane, eliminates the problem.
EPDM last and lasts. "The SKZ Group in Germany has conducted a study on EPDM and found that its expected life is between 50 and 75 years." * Other studies show that even after more than 30 years EPDM roofs can be successfully restored by installing PS Cover Strip on the seams, and any damaged areas can be easily repaired. Read some of the research articles on the ERA site and you will conclude, as we did, that EPDM roofing, when properly installed, is the longest lasting and lowest cost per year of any roofing membrane on the market.