EPDM Roofing Is A Proven Performer

Over the years, EPDM (ethylene propylene diene terpolymer) single-ply rubber roofing membrane has been the number one roofing choice of architects, roof consultants and contractors for both new construction and replacement roofing projects, according to a variety of surveys conducted by roofing industry publications and trade associations.

Long-term Weathering Study Shows 30-Year Roofs Perform Well

LONG-TERM PERFORMANCE: As one of the most sustainable roofing materials used today in the construction industry, EPDM offers low life cycle costs. EPDM roofing systems therefore offer the greatest economic value in the low-slope commercial roofing industry. Less frequent replacement results in decreased building disruptions and even creates reduced impact on the environment.

  • All samples were performing like new—after up to three decades in the field.
  • EPDM withstands the effects of various climates extremely well.
  • Properly designed, installed, and maintained EPDM systems can successfully withstand extreme weather cycles.
  • Indications that EPDM systems can approach or exceed 40 years of service life.

EPDM: A Proven Performer

A state-of-the-art study of roof systems conducted on behalf of the EPDM Roofing Association (ERA) provides tangible proof of the long-term performance capability of EPDM. The study examined five roof systems, ranging from 28 to 32 years of in-field service, and concluded that all of the systems examined were still performing as intended. In fact, the study found that all of the samples were essentially performing “like new” with physical characteristic properties above or just below the minimum characteristics of newly manufactured 45-mil EPDM membrane. The roofs were first inspected in the field to get a good sense of their condition, and then samples were sent to Momentum Technologies, a testing facility for the roofing industry. The laboratory testing examined five critical performance characteristics of the EPDM membrane.

Long Term Performance of EPDM Roof Membrane

The Elongation Test Results showed that four of the five roof samples exceeded the minimum characteristics for aged EPDM, and one exceeded the minimum for new EPDM. For Tensile Strength, all five samples exceeded the minimum standard. For Thickness XD, three samples exceeded the manufacturer minimum, while the other two missed by one-thousandth of an inch. For Thickness MD, three achieved or exceeded the minimum, while one missed by one one-thousandth of an inch and another by four one-thousandths of an inch. For Factory Seam Strength (Figure 5), it was only possible to test two of the samples and both easily surpassed manufacturers’ minimums.

This is the fourth study conducted on EPDM that supports the long-term performance of the EPDM membrane. “The first field studies of EPDM were done in the late 1980s, and we are finding a pattern,” says Thomas W. Hutchinson AIA, FRCI, RRC and Principal, Hutchinson Design Group, Ltd., Barrington, Ill. “The pattern is that these roofs can really last a long time. By using today’s advanced design techniques and proper roof maintenance, it is reasonable to expect that an EPDM roof will approach or exceed 40 years of service.” To help prove that theory, the samples from the latest study are being heat-aged and tested at prorated “life spans” of 40, 50 and 60 years. Updates from this study will be posted on www.epdmroofs.org.

Today, there are more than 500,000 warranted EPDM roof installations in the U.S. This figure represents an astounding 20 billion-plus square feet of existing low-slope roofing on facilities across the country. In fact, EPDM is the only roof membrane that delivers solutions to meet all of today’s sustainability and energy efficiency needs.

If you’re considering a new or retrofit roof for your facility, now is actually a great time to be searching for a sustainable solution. In terms of dependability, performance and sustainability, the choices in the low-slope roofing market have never been better.

Do have questions about your building’s condition? Consult a reputable Minneapolis Minnesota roofing contractor that has experience installing EPDM commercial roof systems. With an energy efficient or sustainable roof, building owners and managers can reduce company costs and save energy.