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EPDM

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EPDM (ethylene propylene diene terpolymer) is a single-ply rubber roofing membrane used for low-slope commercial roofs and has been used for about 40 years.  The black EPDM roof absorbs heat very efficiently, meaning the roof surface gets extremely hot in our part of the country. Up north, where the temperatures are relatively cool year-round, EPDM roofs perform extremely well.  

 

Because EPDM is seamed together with glue, one of the challenges it has faced in the south is shrinkage due to our extreme heat. This shrinkage has a tendency to pull so hard against the seams and edges of the roof that the seams fail. Catastrophic seam failures can occur over an entire side of a roof. If there is a large rain before the failure is noticed, a major flood of the building can occur. To eliminate this problem, white EPDM is now being marketed, however, there have been many challenges with it as well. If a white roof is desired, a PVC or TPO roof would perform much better in the south than a white rubber (EPDM) roof.