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What Is EPDM Roofing?

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Today’s commercial roofing market can be overwhelming, with new and improved technologies becoming available to consumers on a near-constant basis. When it comes time for a new or replacement roof for your commercial property, you’ll want to carefully assess all of your options. Many roofers will recommend starting with ethylene propylene diene terpolymer (EPDM) roofing, a rubber roofing membrane that has been a go-to for low-slope commercial roofing for more than 40 years. But what is EPDM roofing, and why is it so popular for commercial projects?

What Is EPDM Roofing?

What Is EPDM?

Ethylene propylene diene terpolymer, or EPDM, is a highly durable synthetic rubber roofing membrane derived from a blend of oil and natural gas. EPDM’s durability and versatility make it a popular choice for low-slope commercial buildings. EPDM is customizable in both black and white, and is also available in a broad variety of widths. Finally, roofers can install EPDM fully adhered, mechanically attached, or ballasted, adding to its versatility.

Benefits of EPDM Roofing

EPDM has certainly stood the test of time, leading the commercial roofing industry for decades. So what makes it such a popular roofing material? In addition to having the roofing industry’s longest average service life, EPDM has a wide variety of other positive characteristics:

  • Fatigue Resistance: EPDM roofing is designed with cyclical membrane fatigue resistance. This makes it particularly durable against hail, ozone, ultraviolet radiation, wind, and abrasion from other abnormal weathering sources. It also offers superior resistance to extreme heat and fire, making it a great choice for commercial buildings.
  • Thermal Shock Durability: EPDM is highly flexible in both extremely low and extremely high temperature zones. This makes it a popular choice for areas with volatile weather conditions.
  • Environmental Impact: A 2010 Life Cycle Inventory and Assessment study showed that EPDM performs better than many other single-ply and bitumen-based membrane materials in key environmental categories including global warming, acidification, and even smog generation.

EPDM vs. TPO Roofing

If you’re considering EPDM for your commercial project, it’s important to compare it to other popular commercial roofing materials to determine the best fit for you. Roofing professionals often compare EPDM roofing to TPO roofing, another commercial roofing material that is growing increasingly popular due to its high energy efficiency. That efficiency is largely due to TPO’s reflective nature. TPO reflects sunlight, allowing commercial air conditioners to work more efficiently. TPO also has a somewhat higher puncture resistance than EPDM, although both perform well when put to the test. If you have questions about whether EPDM or TPO is a better fit for your project, make sure to chat with your roofing professional.


EPDM roofing has stood the test of time for more than 40 years, proving its value as a popular commercial roofing material. Many architects, roof consultants, and contractors depend on this time-tested performance leader – however, it’s important to consider how alternatives like TPO might impact your project as well. When in doubt, make sure to work with an experienced roofing professional to weigh the pros and cons of different materials for your commercial project.

If you’re still asking yourself “What is EPDM roofing?” and you live in southwest Missouri, contact Taylor-Made Roofing for help with your roof. Our experts can help you explore new roofing options, maintain an older roof, perform emergency repairs, complete tear-offs and recovers, and perform remodeling services. With over 20 years of experience in residential and commercial roofing, Taylor-Made Roofing is a company that you can trust with all of your roofing needs. Our family-owned business offers quality services, a reassuring warranty, and free estimates. For more information regarding roofing options, please give us a call at 417-326-8778 or contact us online. We look forward to hearing from you!

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