What does EPDM stand for?

EPDM is a type of synthetic rubber material which is extremely durable and flexible. It has a variety of applications in roofing and construction. It is even used in window and door seals in vehicles, used in non-slip coatings for decks and playgrounds, as well as other areas around the home. Pure rubber materials has the disadvantage of becoming brittle with changes in temperature whereas EPDM, which is a synthetic rubber material, is able to withstand temperature variations and remain flexible.

EPDM roofing is actually a collective term used to refer to different types of roofing systems. EPMD itself is the synthetic rubber material used in these systems. Aside from the use of EPDM, however, other materials are used in conjunction. These EPDM roofing systems consist of a single layer rubber membrane along with other components, such as vapour barriers and thermal insulation, drainage, pipes, gravel guards and more.

EPDM has elastomeric properties; it is both viscous and elastic. If EPDM rubber is stretched, it will go back to its initial shape and form. This material has two main components – ethylene and propylene – which are both derived from oil and natural gas.

What Does EPDM Mean?

EPDM is an abbreviation for ethylene propylene diene monomer. The material gets its name from the monomers mixed together in various proportions to form it. These chemicals are ethylene, propylene and diene. The ethylene content is usually between 45% to 75%.

What gives EPDM its resilience, durability, and flexibility are the cross-links that form between the diene monomers. Because of its molecular structure, EPDM is almost unbeatable when it comes to elasticity and durability when compared to other roofing materials.

What Is EPDM Roofing?

Also known as rubber roofing, EPDM roofing is constructed from a mixture of various materials such as recycled tires, sawdust, and slate dust. This type of roofing is also known as rubber membrane roofing or rolled rubber roofing and is one of the more affordable roofing options for commercial flat roofing systems.


Aside from the low cost and high resilience of EPDM roofing, there are also other advantages to using this material. The cost is definitely one of the major benefits since it is one of the most inexpensive roofing materials around. Moreover, the low cost of the material is made even sweeter by the easy installation process whether you do it yourself or you hire a professional. However, to get the best results with this type of roofings, experts recommend getting an experienced roofer to install your EPDM roof.

Additionally, EPDM rubber roofing is a very lightweight material. This negates the need for additional reinforcement on your roof deck. Actually, one of the best ways to install EPDM rubber material on your roof is to strip everything off your roof and then apply a strong adhesive. Right after that, you simply need to roll out the material and set it in place. Because there are only a few seams, there is a low chance of roof leaks. If installed properly, a good quality EPDM roof can last up to 20 years.

Aside from this method of installation, roofers also have other ways of putting in an EPDM roof. Aside from using adhesives, there are also fasteners and other materials which can be used to anchor in these materials, especially along difficult to reach areas. EPDM roofs can also be ballasted with stone. That last option is also helpful in improving the material’s appearance.

Overall, EPDM roofing is durable and doesn’t scurr or scratch easily. Repairs are also easy to do. On top of your EPDM roof, you can also install liquid roofing membranes, latex tape or adhesives, and use certain types of rubber shingles which can be installed over the EPDM roofing to repair and patch leaks that may develop over time. While the material is black and is capable of absorbing heat, it is not easily damaged by UV rays. This helps it hold up well in sunny climates.


One of the major disadvantages to this type of roofing is its aesthetics. Because it is a rubber material, it ends up resembling a stretched inner tube that has been rolled out unto the roof. If you are in search of a roofing material for your garage or shed, this may not be a major drawback. However, it can detract from curb appeal when used on the main buildings of a home. 

Another disadvantage is that it also puncture fairly easily. While this is easily repaired, any kind of water infiltration into the structure can cause additional problems, and is best avoided if at all possible.


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