Is Rubber Roofing the Best Option for Commercial Properties?

Rubber roofing, also known as EPDM or ethylene propylene diene monomer roofing, is a top choice among commercial property owners due to their price and lifespan. A rubber roof uses strong adhesive during installation and has a 25-year lifespan on average.

EPDM roofs are made from recycled rubber materials. Manufacturers source these from scrappers, which typically get their recycling sources from used truck rubber tires, sport shoe soles, and other sources of rubber and plastic. Then, the manufacturers would create their own blend of rubber to improve the sturdiness and reliability of the roofs they sell.

While EPDM is a top choice, it is far from the most durable one. EPDM has an average of 20-25 years protecting commercial roofs, but it does have some cons. For instance, it's susceptible to foot and tool damage when stepped on because of its thinness. Furthermore, it doesn't have the outstanding UV reflective capability of thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) roofs, which limits its reliability in warm environments.

TPO and polyvinyl chloride or PVC single ply roofs are also exceptional choices for commercial roofing materials. They might cost some more, but their quality and reliability in any weather and season make them excellent replacements for EPDM. Learn more about them from this post from SPRI.

Single-ply roofing in North America traces its origins back to the early 1960s when the first EPDM rubber roofs were installed. Since then, single-ply roofing has grown in popularity due to its long service life, dependability, and ease of installation. Today, single-ply roofing makes up the vast majority of the low-slope commercial roofing market in North America.

There are two different types of single-ply roofing material: thermosets and thermoplastics.


Thermoplastic roof systems use TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin) or PVC (polyvinyl chloride) membranes. Both materials provide excellent weathering performance and are highly resistant to UV, tears, punctures, and most chemicals. Thermoplastic membranes are seamed using hot air welders to melt the plastic and pressure to join sheets together.

TPO Roofing Systems

Thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) is the fastest-growing segment of the commercial roofing industry.

Fueling this growth is the increasing use of TPO in southern climates where cooling costs significantly outweigh heating costs. Most light-colored TPO membranes are ENERGY STAR® qualified and Cool Roof Rating Council (CRRC) certified and have been directly attributed to reductions in buildings’ energy consumption and costs by greatly diminishing the need for air conditioning. While white is the predominant color used with TPO, other colors are also available.

PVC Roofing Systems

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) is a trusted membrane that has been performing admirably for decades in the European and North American markets. Most PVC membranes are ENERGY STAR qualified and CRRC certified and offer building owners the potential for decreased cooling costs. PVC also offers excellent resistance to rooftop chemicals, including acids, oils, and greases. While most PVC roofing systems are white, other colors are also available.


Thermoset roof systems are typically EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) rubber. EPDM is easily formed around shapes like corners and is extremely resistant to ozone, ultraviolet light, weathering, high heat, and abrasion damage, making it an excellent roofing material. EPDM membranes are seamed using pressure-sensitive tapes to join two sheets together.

EPDM Roofing Systems (Continue reading)

Need quality commercial roof installations and maintenance? Turn to the best in the industry. Roper Roofing & Solar is a reliable commercial roofer that has built a reputation for offering excellent installation, repair, and maintenance of commercial roofs. We can also install solar panels and shingles for your properties. Call us today to get started.

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