Rubber Roof Materials - Why We Use EPDM Rubber

There are a number of different available rubber roof materials, and we would like to cover their differences. There are pros and cons for each that we have considered and taken into account when we chose to install fully-adhered EPDM rubber roofs. Here is a little bit about them all and why we choose to install the roofs we do, and here is our webpage about rubber roof installation if you would like to know more and see examples of our work. 


Tar and Gravel - The Old Method

First things first, let us tell you about how it used to be done. When Kevin Lyman Roofing Co. first opened for business the most commonly applied flat rubber roofs were tar and gravel roofs. This meant that asphalt was melted in large boiling pots, and applied to roofs with a mop over the top of a fibrous paper to give it some structure. Finally it was covered in gravel. 

Though this type of roof hasn't gone away completely, it has become unusual to see new ones being installed. They are heavey, often requiring that the buidling's roof deck be reinforced. Though it is relatively inexpensive to install, it is a messy, smelly, and dangerous job to do. We stopped installing them 20 years ago and haven't looked back.

TPO - Inexpensive but Problematic

TPO is a rubber roof material that is inexpensive. That however is where it's benefits end. It is difficult to work with, and it has weak seams that can cause your roof to leak. Not only that, but TPO has very little UV resistance, and therefore sunlight easily begins to break it down. Many people choose this product based on price, but we highly recommend that you find a different rubber roof material. 

PVC - Strong but Expensive, and Not Without Drawbacks

PVC is another  option. It has strength, but few other qualities. It is expensive, and difficult to work with. Many chemicals have a deteriorating effect on the material, such as asphalt, and these chemicals are commonly used in buildings. This provides an unfortunate opportunity for the PVC membrane to break down. PVC is also quite difficult to repair. For these reasons we don't install or recommend PVC roofing. 


EPDM Rubber - The Best Choice For Your Roof

This brings us to our preferred rubber roof material, EPDM rubber. This is a synthetic rubber that comes in long rolls of 50 or 100 feet. It is naturally black, but can now be purchased in white, which will help with energy costs because a white roof won't heat up nearly as hot as black roofs will. This material is relatively easy to work with, easy to repair, and quite durable and long lasting. It is for these reasons that we install EPDM roofs. Our method of installation is fully adhered, meaning that the roofs are glued down. Other methods are ballasted - where gravel holds the roof in place - and mechanically fastened - where the roof is screwed to the roof rather than glued. We find the last two methods to cause far more problems than they solve.

We are confident in our method of installation, as well as confident that our choice of rubber roof material is the best one for your roof. Call us today and let us know what service we can offer you!

Brian Lyman