Scott's Roofing Commercial EPDM

Roofing Experts

What Is EPDM Roofing?

Having the right roof is important to protecting your building from the elements, and not every building will need the same roof to get the right job done. For many types of buildings, this is where EPDM roofing comes in.

In commercial buildings, membrane roofing has been popular for decades, and they’re even used on homes in certain areas nowadays.

Below, we’ll cover what you need to know about EPDM roofing to understand its benefits, disadvantages, and whether it’s right for you. Let’s dive right in!

What Is an EPDM Roofing Membrane?

EPDM stands for “ethylene propylene diene monomer.” Often known as a “rubber roof,” this is an extremely durable synthetic rubber roofing membrane. Its most common use is on low-slope or flat-roof commercial buildings, but it also sees residential use, such as on patio roofs or on carports. This synthetic rubber membrane is often used for commercial and medical facilities.

Only certain situations call for EPDM roofing. A roof is considered to be a low-slope roof if the steepness or roof pitch is below 2:12, meaning less than 2 vertical units up for every 12 horizontal units out. With this flat (or close to flat) roof, water isn’t going to run off as it would on a higher-pitch roof.

If your roof (or parts of it) are low or flat slope, they’ll need a waterproof material – which disqualifies most roofing materials. In fact, some building codes and installation instructions state that asphalt shingles can’t be installed on anything with less than a 2:12 roof pitch. For this reason, EPDM roofing or other flat roof systems need to be installed for flat or low-slope roofs.

EPDM Roofing

What Are the Advantages of EPDM Roofing?

Now that we’ve covered what EPDM is and the type of situation it’s used in, let’s go over a few of the benefits those who opt for EPDM can expect from it.


The lifespan of a roof refers to how many leak-free years it offers, and it’s even an indication of when you’ll need to replace your roof. EPDM roofing is very durable and, with proper installation, you can expect a long life from it. Of course, you might not get the full lifespan out of your roof depending on factors including the weather, the amount of sunlight it receives, installation quality, and more.

Easy and Quick Installation

As EPDM comes in large rolls or sheets, it’s easy and quick to install. Rather than placing shingles one at a time like you would with asphalt shingles, EPDM is simply rolled out, allowing the area to get covered more quickly.


Fortunately, EPDM is able to expand and contract in response to thermal changes. This material is able to withstand fluctuations in temperature without becoming compromised, such as by cracking.

Protection from Elements

This material is a great option to protect your roof from elements like wind, rain, hail, and sunlight.

What Are the Disadvantages of EPDM Roofing?

Below, we’ll cover a few of the disadvantages you might get from opting for EPDM Roofing.

Water Ponding

It’s essential with any flat roof or low-slope roof system to avoid the ponding of water. With EPDM rubber, water ponding can happen as the building shifts with time and very slightly adjusts the roof structure. It’s essential to drain ponding water as quickly as possible and find a way to ensure proper drainage.

Limited Color Options and Aesthetics

There aren’t many color options available, and the aesthetics that come with an EPDM roof aren’t for everybody. If you’re concerned about the appearance of your building, this is certainly something to keep in mind.

Not the Most Energy Efficient Option

You might be familiar with the dark black color of EPDM roofs. This is the type you’ll see most commonly, but lighter options are available to help reflect the UV rays of the sun. These lighter options help keep down cooling costs during the summertime.

It’s important to know that coating wears off with time, so its efficacy in deflecting the sun’s rays will deplete as well. In addition, lighter-colored EPDM roofing is usually more costly than the standard black.

Black EPDM roofs can also absorb the sun’s heat, heating your building and decreasing the energy efficiency of the material.

EPDM Roofing

How Does EPDM Compare To Other Types of Flat Roof Materials?

EPDM is an affordable roofing option that offers a long lifespan but doesn’t have a reputation for adding aesthetic value. In addition, it can be prone to mildew and mold.

In comparison, TPO is a low-cost choice that is excellent at reflecting the sun’s rays away from the building, but it’s a newer material and hasn’t been truly tested for longevity. PVC, on the other hand, is strong and durable with a long lifespan, but it comes with a higher price tag. When it comes to silicone, some differences include that silicone can function at higher temperatures but has a higher price tag.

Of course, there’s more than what’s listed here to consider when comparing and contrasting different roofing options, but these are some key aspects to consider.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Does EPDM Stand For?

EPDM stands for ethylene propylene diene terpolymer, and this refers to a synthetic rubber black membrane that’s often used for flat and low-pitch roofs, especially for commercial and medical facilities. Some benefits include its quick installation, long lifespan, and durability.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are many benefits to having an EPDM roof, depending on your situation. Some of the benefits these types of roofs offer include quick and easy installation, durability, a long lifespan, and more.

If you’re looking for a commercial roofing solution and think an EPDM roof might be right for you, get in touch with us at Scott’s Roofing for commercial roofing services. We serve many areas in Colorado, including Denver, Boulder, Aurora, and more!

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