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Charleston Roofing: Article About Epdm Rubber Roofs

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Sometimes, the classic versions of a product are the best, and that holds true in commercial roofing too. The old standard-bearer, EPDM, or rubber roofs, have been used around the country since the 1970s, but they are still a valid option for commercial roofs today.

This lightweight synthetic roof membrane has many benefits, and since it has been used for so many decades, most of its weaknesses are well-known and readily addressed. Although it's always best to talk with your reliable Charleston roofing contractor about your specific roofing needs, there are a few EPDM benefits and issues you should consider.

The cost of these black rubber roofs is comparable and sometimes less expensive than newer single-ply roofing membranes like TPO and PVC. Price differences arise, though, in EPDM's installation. Although these rubber roofs can be installed in many ways, they are most often fully adhered at the seams and to the substructure. The special glue used in this method of installation can be quite costly. Mitigating that expensive seaming cost is the fact that most EPDM roofs come in very large sheets, leading to fewer seams than other roof membranes.

In performance, rubber EPDM roofs offer excellent protection. They provide long-term durability, are highly adaptable to a number of surfaces and slopes and are very resistant to ozone, UV rays, moisture, abrasions and cold temperature variations.

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As a result, rain, ice and snow are easily handled by rubber roofs. EPDM roofs are also a known commodity, so a rigorous maintenance program addressing seam issues can keep the roof in tip-top shape for many years.

Part of EPDM's appeal also derives from its versatility. It can be installed using a variety of methods, and it is available in a solid, cured state or in a non-vulcanized, semi-solid state. As a result, EPDM can be applied to nearly any roof, whether it's flat, angled or curved.

EPDM roofing membranes also have a few drawbacks to consider. Although most of these synthetic rubber roofs are black, some manufacturers offer EPDM roofs with a white-colored laminated top to improve energy efficiency. This white-on-black EPDM is notorious for its chalking and instability. As for the typical black rubber EPDM roofs, high temperatures can cause seams to shrink and separate. These roofs also should not be placed in contact with petroleum-based products or products with vegetable or animal oils since the combination can cause the roofing to distort and swell.

Your roofing contractor can review these benefits and disadvantages of EPDM roofing systems with you and address your roof's individual needs. Because of its longevity on the market, most EPDM issues can be addressed with different installation methods and with a strong maintenance program. Sometimes, it's better to choose a known product with a long history, and EPDM roofs can provide that familiarity.

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