The Permaroof Team Preparing Firestone EPDM

The Permaroof Team Preparing Firestone EPDM (Pictures taken prior to Covid-19 outbreak and the social distancing measures that are now fully implemented in our offices and warehouse)

When it comes to investing in a flat roof, choosing EPDM rubber roofing over market alternatives is a good place to start for guaranteed longevity. Our managing director, Adrian Buttress, discusses what makes rubber roofing so long-lasting and how to create a robust roof using the material.

EPDM roofing membranes have been developed as long-term solutions due to the optimal balancing of key ingredients to give extended durability. When a complete system is used, contractors can expect the material to withstand the elements for more than 50 years.

The single-ply roofing system has become increasingly popular in recent years – possibly because many EPDM flat roofs are still going strong decades after they were installed. In fact, Firestone’s first EPDM installation at Albo Manufacturing in Wisconsin is marking its 40th year with no reported issues – despite tornadoes, snow, and extreme sun hitting the area.

Why is EPDM so long-lasting?

When the Occupational Safety and Health Act and the Passage of Clean Air Amendment Act became law in the 1970s and negatively impacted asphalt, the commonly used flat roofing material at the time, EPDM became the obvious choice to fulfil the newly-formed gap in the market.

Alternative flat roofing options often degrade due to the loss of mechanical properties caused by exposure to UV. Temperature fluctuations, even those that are normal for the changing UK seasons, cause stress in materials with low degrees of flexibility and elasticity. This results in cracks and tearing – particularly at any joints or details.

EPDM rubber roofs, when applied correctly to adequately prepared roof decks, far outperform other types of roofing. As well as the excellent waterproofing, EPDM is resistant to UV radiation as well as ozone and temperature fluctuations, which would otherwise age the product significantly. EPDM membranes have elasticity of over 300% to accommodate building movement and extremes in temperature. Furthermore, flexibility and elasticity are retained down to temperatures as low as -45oC.

As EPDM membranes can be manufactured in very large sizes up to 15.25m x 30.5m, many small flat roofs can be installed with a single sheet of membrane – reducing or removing the need for seams and further improving the productivity and longevity of the roof waterproofing installation.

Furthermore, RubberCover roofs can also be adapted during their long service life if a new feature – such as a rooflight or vent pipe – is required, ensuring homeowners can always keep on top of trends.

Taking a full system approach

As with any roofing material, the proper application of the membrane is as important to the performance of the roofing system as the material itself.

The best way to ensure the longevity of the roof’s performance – and avoid problems and failures down the line – is to use a full water-proofing system of compatible products, which consists of a membrane, adhesive, tape and primer from the same brand.

The single system solution is hardly a revelation considering that the problem of unreliable results clearly stems from overly using a mix of products. But it’s important that it’s reiterated and heard clearly by the industry. It also helps to aid traceability, which is more important than ever before on commercial projects and helps to keep a high standard of roofing in the UK.

Using a system of products purchased from one source offers a reliable long-life solution, particularly as they have been designed to work together in harmony and tested in a lab under various controlled conditions to prove durability.

Furthermore, choosing a full system from a reputable brand will usually mean the inclusion of a warranty. For example, Firestone offers a membrane warranty up to 20 years with every installation by a licensed or authorised installer.

Things are designed and made to go together, and this is no different for a roofing system.

The importance of using a good quality adhesive

Rubber roofs can be applied using cold, water-based adhesives. This results in a safe, faster application method, and a lightweight and flexible result. Adhered roof systems also have a high wind uplift performance rating, which makes them a good choice to further enhance the resilience of a structure.

EPDM roofing membranes have been developed as long-term solutions, so it makes sense that the adhesive and sealant products used to adhere the roof to the deck offer an equally high level of performance.

Investing in a quality adhesive will bear many long-term benefits. Not only will this protect properties various weather conditions and keep them safe and secure, it will also make the system more cost effective in the long run.

Exposure to various difficulties such as heavy rains and strong winds will lead to wear and tear, reducing the longevity of the roof, which undoubtably means spending more money on maintenance or even replacement costs.

However, if you’re using a quality and genuine adhesive during the installation process, this will work to guarantee the long-term performance of the water proofing – reducing upkeep costs in the long run. I’ve seen isolated cases where an adhesive has failed, and it’s turned out that the product a contractor was using wasn’t authentic.

As adhesives are unseen and hidden beneath the surface of the roofing membrane, it is easy to understand why some may choose to save on their cost. But ignoring the critical role adhesives play in a good quality roofing installation means the system may end up failing to a catastrophic – and expensive – effect.

Getting to know the products you’re working with

The benefits speak for themselves, but it’s important to remember that this level of longevity is only assured by fully trained contractors. While EPDM installation is simple, even the most qualified and experienced roofers should keep on top of continuing professional development (CPD) to enhance their skills in an everchanging sector and, in turn, help to raise industry standards.

Training programmes not only cost money, but they also mean spending time off site, and it’s understandable that smaller businesses may not have a dedicated budget for these qualifications. Because of this, many roofing contractors see training as an expense, rather than an investment.

However, as we’ve discovered, untrained employees and construction professionals will, inevitably, lack the knowledge to get the most out of the products they’re working with. This ultimately means they are less likely to install a system that’s fit for purpose.

But one of the strengths of rubber roofing is that it’s an incredibly effective, but simple to use, product. So, training doesn’t mean as much time off site as you’d expect – and it probably isn’t as expensive as you’d expect (with our prices starting from just £99 plus VAT per person.

Investing in just one day of training can bring so much new business for existing contractors, as well as new starters, and ensure you have highly skilled specialists on your team that fully understand a product’s capabilities.

In conclusion

The natural characteristics of EPDM – along with how it is supplied and applied – are the key reasons for its outstanding longevity. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that installations are still as effective today, no matter the tornadoes, snow, or sun they have been exposed to.

CONTACT PERMAROOF

Permaroof are on hand to answer any questions regarding our products, services or your order. We welcome enquiries from the trade, stockists and homeowners alike. Contact Permaroof today using the below form and one of our experienced team members will be on hand to help you right away.

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CONTACT PERMAROOF

Permaroof are on hand to answer any questions regarding our products, services or your order. We welcome enquiries from the trade, stockists and homeowners alike. Contact Permaroof today using the below form and one of our experienced team members will be on hand to help you right away.

Permaroof UK Limited are committed to working within the GDPR (2018) guidelines. Here at Permaroof UK Limited, we take your privacy seriously and will only use your personal information to administer your account and to provide the products and services you have requested from us.

However, from time-to-time we would like to contact you with details of other products, services or information we feel are relevant to you. If you consent to us contacting you for this purpose, please tick to say how you would like us to contact you:

EmailPhoneText

We promise we will never pass on your details to any 3rd party.

Permaroof UK® Ltd
Unit 1
Westway
Cotes Park Industrial Estate
Alfreton
Derbyshire DE55 4QJ

Tel: 01773 608 839
Fax: 01773 608 408
Email: Click here
Registration No. 4109502
VAT No. 764 2785 00
Permaroof (UK) LTD

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