What is EPDM? Part One – Single-ply Membrane for DIY Flat Roofing

As the flat roofing industry searches for a sustainable alternative to traditional roofing materials, such as a felt roof, Permaroof UK takes a closer look at Firestone’s EPDM single-ply membrane, part of the fastest-growing sector of the industry.

The first in our three-part blog series examines what EPDM actually is, and how its longevity and expected lifespan make it the clear choice for the future of flat roofing.

What is EPDM?

EPDM is the widely-accepted abbreviation of the term Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer, given to a single-ply rubber roofing membrane manufactured in the United States by Firestone. The name is made up of the primary ingredients of EPDM, which are synthesised to produce the rubber roofing membrane.

In addition to the primary ingredients, EPDM has other ingredients added, dependent on the finished colour, to enhance resistance to UV. The black EPDM membrane has carbon black added, which converts UV rays into heat.

Sheet sizes and availability of EPDM rubber roofing

Firestone EPDM rubber roof membrane is available in kit form from Permaroof UK in a wide range of standard sizes, and in two grades of thickness – premium grade at 1.52mm and standard at 1.14mm. Buying EPDM in a rubber roof kit is ideal for DIYers, as the kit contains everything you need to install a complete, new roof covering for sheds, garages and flat roof extension projects.

For standard, smaller installations, the membrane is often applied in a single, seamless sheet, eliminating traditional issues arising, such as join weaknesses. Factory splice T-joints can also lead to water ingress if not applied correctly where factory seams intersect with them, so the single-sheet application makes a great deal of sense for both trade and DIY installers.

Larger flat roof projects, including those involving mechanically-fixed or ballasted installations, can be accommodated with EPDM sheets measuring as much as 15m x 61m.
Permaroof, as the UK’s largest direct importer of Firestone Rubbercover EPDM, offer a custom-cutting service for clients who require non-standard kit or single-ply membrane.

Unmatched life expectancy with EPDM

Over the past four decades, it is estimated that more than 1 billion m2 of EPDM has been installed all over the world, proving its suitability in a wide range of climatic conditions. During this period, none of the tested membranes have demonstrated significant signs of degradation.

EPDM rubber, with its superior capability for weathering and UV resistance, has been recognised as having the potential to last for more than 50 years. There is no other synthetic flat roofing cover that can be compared to EPDM for life expectancy, leading to unmatched warranties offered by certain suppliers for up to 30 years.

Permaroof UK Ltd has been providing genuine Firestone Rubbercover EPDM membranes for more than 15 years, and has introduced the rubber roof kit – Permaroof-in-a-Box – designed to make installations super-easy for the DIY world. Our experience in the flat roofing industry is second-to-none, and our motivated teams are waiting to chat to you about your order.

In part two, we will look at the performance of EPDM rubber roofing – read What is EPDM? Part Two – High Performance Rubber for Roofs here.