EPDM Compared to Felt

In this handy guide, we will look at how Firestone EPDM rubber roofing sheets compare to traditional felt roofing (or tar paper) for DIY installation.

Bituminous roofing felt is still a widely-accepted, (and perhaps the most commonly first-thought-of) option for DIY roofing projects such as shed roofing amongst homeowners.

The earliest examples of roofing felt appeared in the 1800s Californian Gold Rush, when a tar paper was used to protect the typically temporary buildings of the period from the elements.

It was during the 1930s that roofing felt began to be used in the UK for domestic waterproofing.

The stigma of traditional flat roofing

Until recently almost all types of roofing felt were impervious, which has impaired the performance of flat roofing historically, leading to damp inside a building and eventually to dry rot.

The modern versions are often vapour permeable, yet still do not perform well in roofing with insulation and are today most commonly used as a secondary barrier against wind-driven rain and snow.

Felt roofing can take time to install, and the process often involves the use of hot bitumen on the roof and ensuring that an effective seal is in place along the edges and joints. This can be a complicated and potentially hazardous task for an inexperienced DIYer and can prove messy. If not carried out correctly, the felt roof can fail very quickly.

How EPDM roofing is different

In contrast, EPDM rubber roofing can be the ideal solution for DIY application due to ease of application and provides a long-lasting solution to waterproofing that outperforms every other roofing membrane with a life expectancy of more than 50 years.

Most EPDM systems are now available with 25-30-year guarantees (following decades of field testing).

Self-adhering components of the system, such as flashing, for example, has increased roof system quality and ease of installation in such previously problematic areas.

As it is applied in a single piece, it means that EPDM is easy to fit using non-hazardous adhesive with minimised creation of vulnerable areas across the entire installation.

Installing an EPDM flat roof does not require the same level of tools that other materials, such as felt, will require.

Simple rollers and pads, a domestic broom, a dustpan and brush, measuring tape and a piece of chalk are typically required for an EPDM roof system.

Buy EPDM rubber roofing in our online store at:

You can view a full video demonstration of the application of EPDM rubber online at:

You can download a comprehensive installation guide and individual tutorials in the resources section of our site at: