Debate over whether Ethylene-Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM) or traditional felt membranes are the better choice is rife in the industry. Ultimately, which is the best option for you is a personal decision, but here at Rubber Flat Roof we want you to be as informed in that decision as possible. Essentially, roofing membranes can be compared across five key categories, this short article will outline the differences between EPDM rubber roof and felt flat roofing membranes in each of these categories.
Lifespan: Traditional felt roofs are (on average) guaranteed for up to ten years. Different manufacturers and installers will give slightly different estimates, but ten years is an accurate appraisal of the shorter-term nature of traditional felt membranes. EPDM membranes on the other hand, can be guaranteed for up to half a century, but around twenty-five to thirty years is a more common figure. EPDM rubber roof membranes will almost always have a longer lifespan.
Durability: Traditional membranes are not especially durable, over time the felt will be weathered and break down, blistering in hot weather and cracking in cold, this can lead to leaks and can make your roof prone to UV damage. While more modern roofing felts have improved flexibility, it is not capable of substantial elongation without failing either. Despite this lack of durability, felt membranes are relatively easy to repair. EPDM flat roofs, on the other hand, are notably more durable, the membrane’s saturated polymer backbone allows for a strong resistance to weathering such as considerable temperature changes, whilst its chemical properties result in a very low risk of oxidation as well as providing a high resistance to water, acid and alkali erosion. Moreover, EPDM membranes are extremely flexible; capable of up to three hundred per cent extension, and the fact that they are fitted in single sheets (available up to fifteen meters in width) greatly reduces the risk of leaks. In the unlikely case of damage, EPDM membranes are easy to patch repair.
Cost: Of the two types of membrane felt flat roofing is cheaper. However, given the higher durability and longer lifespan of EPDM rubber roof membranes, it is certainly arguable that EPDM is more cost-effective and gives you much better value for money, despite costing up to twenty or thirty per cent more than felt roofing solutions.
Installation: DIY is almost impossible for felt roofing as they require either a gas torch or bitumen boiler to apply. This is a dangerous and difficult task and will require a trained professional, which will often incur a cost. EPDM flat roofs are cold applied, glued down to the surface, which is both very easy and safe, and can be done by you. It is important to note, however, that without practice the result of your DIY efforts can be aesthetically unpleasant, so hiring a professional may be a good idea.
Appearance: There are a greater variety of colours and finishes available in felt roofing. However, given felt’s lack of durability can lead to a tatty and unpleasant appearance. What’s more, felt membranes have no resistance to the growth of plants like algae and moss, which can look very unattractive. EPDM membranes, on the other hand, go far longer without looking tatty or damaged, and can be bought with resistant properties that prevent the growth of unwanted plants and fungi that can appear on the felt membranes. There is little to no choice in colour with EPDM membranes, and if installed haphazardly EPDM flat roofs can have an uneven finish.
At Rubber Flat Roof, we are believers in the better long-term value, performance and reliability of EPDM rubber roof solutions, but we hope that this article has given you some useful information in making your mind up about which option is best for you. If you have any questions about your roofing needs, please Contact Us today.