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EPDM Membrane Roof: Harmful UV Rays Cause Shrinkage – Watch Video

EPDM Membrane Roof is black and thin. These roofing membranes shrink, absorbs heat, and the adhesives fail due to ultraviolet rays.

EPDM Roofing: Installed on Commercial Roofs Despite Defects 

Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer, also known as EPDM, is a synthetic rubber with an elastic nature and is the same type of rubber used to make inner tubes of tires. EPDM rubber has been installed on commercial roofs for decades, despite its poor performance, since the late1970s. The rubber membrane tends to shrink and degrade prematurely from harmful UV rays, and the adhesive fails to maintain a bond at the seams. Since then, it has gone through several generations of “improvements.” Manufacturers claim that UV and ozone protection is inherent in its formulation.  Although the defects are in revision at least four times since first being manufactured, each revision has been ineffective to extend the life of the rubber and adhesives adequately.  

Its popularity is due to “Smart Marketing” strategies that pertain to cost-effectiveness. The 20 ft wide membrane, its elasticity, the ease of installing with little experience, and very few inexpensive tools needed, are just some claims. None of these strengths, however, address the defects of the still, inferior formulations, to date.

Advocates for EPDM often refer to it as an “Extremely durable synthetic rubber roofing membrane,”  but do not mention another system as a comparison.  When compared to the Two Ply Modified Bitumen Torch Down Roofing System, EPDM is far from having a standard of durability, without frequent problems with defective formulations.

EPDM Membrane Roof Installed on Commercial Roofs: “Popular on the Surface”

Although the EPDM Membrane Roof is a popular roofing system, it is far from the best roof money can buy.

  • EPDM has a smooth finish which looks and feels nice to walk on and to touch.
  • The smoothness of the rubber makes sweeping or leaf blowing easier.
  • It is manufactured in wide sheets of 8 – 20 feet which reduce the number of seams that need adhesion.
  • Installation is relatively inexpensive because it is not labor intensive to install, and few tools are needed.

EPDM: “Under the Surface”

  • EPDM rubber membranes come in .45 and .60 Mil., which is only about 1/16″.
  • The formulations of both the rubber and the adhesives are in their 5th generation of revisions because of a premature failure to perform; after about ten years of UV exposure, the rubber shrinks and the adhesives fail to maintain a bond.
  • It requires constant maintenance throughout the life of the rubber membrane.
  • An additional lap sealer (caulking) used on the seams for a watertight seal, needs to be reapplied every 3 – 5 years.
  • Uncured, more pliable rubber, is used for the detail flashing of skylights and vents and does not last half as long as the cured EPDM rubber used on the roof itself.
  • Extreme heat, upwards of about 160°F, is absorbed by the black rubber membrane increasing a/c costs.
  • It Punctures easily with foot traffic.
  • Repair materials must be compatible with EPDM rubber.

EPDM Rubber and Seam Repairs

In the image below, this single ply EPDM commercial rubber roof failed to withstand the exposure to harmful UV rays and has had multiple seam repairs.

EPDM Membrane Roof - Thickness of EPDM less than a quarter


It has been our experience that single ply EPDM rubber roofs have their initial appeal, but over time, they are just unable to perform as promised. This roofing material has had the same inherent defects for many decades.

We feel that a true resolution for these defects lies in change. A change to a thicker membrane with UV protection and a heat fused process that melts seams together.

We specialize in such a roof system. Our TWO Ply Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber Roof System, is, in fact, the best roofing system to date.

EPDM Membrane Roof - The repairs and patches of any EPDM rubber roof is proof that there are problems with the roofing system

Defective Adhesives 

The image below shows multiple repair patches on an EPDM roof. In this case, the EPDM roof surface is in fair condition; however, the adhesives used on the seams, have failed to maintain a bond and have caused leaks.

EPDM Membrane roof - Defective Adhesives - Patches on a EPDM rubber roof indicates a premature failure of a roofing system.

Foot Traffic Repair Patches on an EPDM Roof

The image below shows repair patches caused by foot traffic. Notice that the protective mats incorrect positioning in front of the door.

EPDM membrane Roof - Foot Traffic Repair Patches on an EPDM Roof - the mats are not in the walk areas.

Below is an image of an EPDM single-ply flat roof system that was repaired many times due to faulty adhesives.

EPDM membrane Roof - Below is an image of an EPDM single-ply flat roof system that was repaired many times due to faulty adhesives.

When not to repair a EPDM Rubber Membrane

EPDM Rubber only Ten Years Old - Patches - Don't make this mistake. New Canaan CT
When an EPDM Rubber Roof Membrane is beyond repairs This article: Explain why it is not wise to repair an EPDM Rubber Membrane that was installed before 2015. See the ...
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Rubber Roofs – Comparing EPDM with Torch Down -Video

Rubber Roofs -Comparing EPDM and Torch Down Rubber Membranes Video
Rubber Roofs - Modified Bitumen vs EPDM Rubber This Article: Comparing Rubber Roofs "Modified Bitumen Torch Down" vs "EPDM Rubber Membrane" Rubber roofs were introduced in the late 60's in the ...
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EPDM Rubber Roofing Membrane – Ultraviolet Degradation – Watch Video

EPDM Rubber Roofing Membrane - Ultraviolet Degradation - Watch Video
EPDM Rubber Roofing Membrane EPDM Rubber Roofing membrane will shrink due to ultraviolet exposure. This, in turn, will put stress on the adhesives that bond the seams and eventually separate ...
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Why do Roofing Contractors Install EPDM Rubber-Watch Video

Flat Roof Problems with EPDM Rubber Membranes Hi, my name is Andre and today we are looking at an EPDM Rubber roof, one of the most popular roofs um to ...
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Pros and Cons of EPDM Rubber Roofs – Watch Video

Harmful Ultraviolet rays have damaged an EPDM Rubber Roof - watch video Pros and Cons of EPDM Rubber Roofs - Video Transcription: Erik talks about the Pros and Cons of EPDM Rubber ...
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EPDM Rubber on Commercial Roofs – Watch Video

EPDM Rubber on Commercial Roofs
What is EPDM? And "Why EPDM Rubber on Commercial Roofs?" This article and others on this website along with videos will prove that it is not wise to install EPDM Rubber on ...
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EPDM Roofing Deteriorates from Harmful UV Rays – Watch Video

EPDM Roofing Deterioration Stems from UV Exposure An EPDM roofing problem on a residence in Greenwich, Connecticut stemmed from the prolonged exposure to harmful ultraviolet rays. We found that the ...
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EPDM Rubber Roofs Issues – Fail Prematurely – Watch Video

EPDM Rubber Roofs
EPDM Rubber Roofs Issues - Fail Prematurely Before 2014, all EPDM Rubber Roofs Issues stems from the breakdown of liquid adhesives used to bond seams. This single-ply rubber roofing system is ...
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EPDM & Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber Roofs – Which is the Best?

EPDM and Modified Bitumen Rubber roofs
EPDM & Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber Roofs After 10 Years Below are images of EPDM rubber roofs and Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber roofs that are about ten years and ...
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EPDM Roofing Systems – Advantages & Disadvantages

EPDM Rubber Roof Membrane Tear - Flat Roof Repair - Alabama
EPDM Roofing - Rubber Membrane EPDM rubber roofing materials come in different thicknesses. They are .045, .060, and .090 thousandths of an inch.  Most contractors use the industry standard thickness of ...
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EPDM Rubber Material need to be constantly patched due to Ultraviolet degradation

EPDM Rubber Material degrades fast when exposed to ultraviolets. Therefor the constant patching
How to find and repair leaks on float roofs Finding and repairing leaks on flat roofs. Choose from different categories what you want to learn about. Flat roof leaks can ...
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