EPDM Rubber Roofs and Roof Coatings

Today’s blog post looks at the performance value of a great commercial roof system, single-ply EPDM rubber roofing, and how it can be enhanced with a commercial roof coating membrane system. We start by reviewing a few basic facts about EPDM rubber roofing in the United States, and then take a look at how a reflective, white roof coating system adds even more customer value.

A Few Basics about EPDM Rubber Roofing

spray foam roofingEthylene propylene diene monomer roofing (or simply EPDM rubber roofing) is the oldest single-ply membrane system used in the United States, to date. This type of roofing has been used for over four decades. According to the National Roofing Contractors Association, EPDM rubber roofing accounts for 25 percent of the roofing market, making it a leading option for new roofing and retrofit projects. Every year, more than 1 billion square feet of EPDM rubber roofing is installed on new roofing projects.

Currently in the United States, there are over 500,000 warrantied EPDM rubber roof installs on over 20 billion square feet of space. EPDM rubber roofing does come in white and lighter-colored membrane options, but the most-common EPDM rubber roofing is dark-colored.

Commercial Roof Coatings Enhance EPDM Rubber Roofing’s Effectiveness

An EPDM rubber roof does last for up to 40+ years or more, and it does have strong puncture resistance, strong edge-to-edge protection, and other powerful weathering-resistant features. A commercial roof coating membrane system, though, can add more bullion to an EPDM rubber roof’s overall value. Here are few ways in which it can do so.

  • Punctures- EPDM roofing is known for its robust strength against puncturing, but even the best-performing roofs can succumb to sharp or obtrusive objects such as hail. A roof coating membrane system adds another layer of seamless protection over the EPDM rubber roof, strengthening its weathering capability.
  • Seams- Many EPDM rubber roofs have seams. These seams are sealed off from the elements with strong seam tape, but prolonged sun exposure can result in the seams coming apart. As the seams separate over time, water can infiltrate the roof system below the surface and do its damage. A roof coating application will up the EPDM rubber roof’s protection value by sealing the rubber roof under the new roof membrane the coating forms. This new, white roof membrane is completely seamless and has exceptionally strong waterproof properties, making it a strong resistant against leaks and other outdoor conditions.
  • Sun exposure- An EPDM rubber roof’s seams, or seams on nearly any roof system made up of sheet product for that matter, will be spread apart over time due to the sun’s effects. EPDM rubber roofs do a great job of holding up against this influence, but a roof coating membrane system has “elastomeric” properties, or specialized features that allow it to expand and contract in the sun’s heat with ease. Because it has such great flexibility, the effects of the sun on this roof are further minimized.
  • Curbs and rooftop units-Of all places on an EPDM rubber roof, 90 percent of leaks occur around curbs or rooftop units such as HVAC systems. When leaks do happen, it is usually attributable to shoddy contractor workmanship. In these areas, contractor technique plays a huge part in whether the area-in-question holds up against leaks. On top of covering exposed seams, a roof coating system can shore up these potential weak points and make water entry much less probable.
  • Roof surface- EPDM rubber roofs are known for their outstanding protection value, but they can get hot due to their black coloration. Their roof surface heats up, creates a hot environment for rooftop appliances, and then allows heat to transfer to the building below. Thereafter, the building heats up, and the air conditioning system works harder to keep the building’s interior cool. The dark roof surface also means the EPDM rubber roof will take in heat during the day and then release it at night, which produces the “heat island” effect in urban areas (cities with buildings or suburban settings). A roof coating membrane system will coat the EPDM rubber roof with a new, white membrane surface. This new roof surface will reflect a majority of the sun’s energy, keeping heating effects at bay and opening up doors for huge energy savings.

Conklin Roof Coating Products at Work

spray foam roofingFor EPDM rubber roofing, Choice Roof Contractor Group offers a Conklin® roof coating membrane system, which has been a trusted, energy-efficient roofing option for over 40+ years. This system comes with several great benefits including:

  • 85 percent reflectivity of the sun’s rays
  • Edge-to-edge, completely seamless, completely waterproof, fully adhered roofing protection
  • Retain very little heat during the day due to their white roof surface
  • Strengthen an EPDM rubber roof’s resistance against building movement
  • Add another layer of protection against powerful winds, hail storms, rain, and other conditions that cause roof damage
  • Exceptional tensile strength and elongation in the face of prolonged sun exposure
  • Water-based composition for environmental protection and easy cleanup
  • Non-prorated warranty coverage on all labor and material costs
  • ENERGY STAR® qualified properties for tremendous energy savings
  • So much more!

For more information about our coating membrane system, as well as the coating products compatible with EPDM rubber roofing, please give us a call at 800-670-5883. 

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Written by: Ian Myers
Ian Myers
Ian was the very first team member brought on by the original co-founders of the Choice Roof Contractor Group to assist with nationwide growth. Since then he has written 120+ blog posts and provided excellent support to the roofing contractors in the group. Through his multiple roles in the commercial roofing industry, he has gained tremendous knowledge in the sector.