About Rubber Roof Membranes
Rubber roof membranes were developed in the 1960’s. EPDM was first employed in waterproofing applications as pond liners. As these membranes were installed on roofs, they used stone or ballast to hold them down. EPDM gained popularity during the oil embargo of the 1970’s. As the supply of oil decreased, asphalt prices went up as well as the demand for a lower cost roofing solution.
EPDM is available in 45mil, 60mil, or 90mil thicknesses and either non-reinforced or reinforced. Reinforced EPDM utilizes a polyester mat encapsulated between two plies of EPDM. This construction provides fatigue and puncture resistance. Membrane sheets range in size depending on the project in order to reduce the number of seams.
EPDM can be installed in three ways; loose laid, fully adhered, and mechanically attached. The loose laid installation requires ballast such as river rock or pavers to hold the membrane in place. Fully adhered is a method where the membrane is completely glued in place using commercial grade adhesives rolled on both the backside of the membrane and the substrate. Mechanical attachment utilizes screws and plates to hold the membrane in place. The fully adhered method is recommended because it prevents water migration under the membrane in case of a membrane puncture.
Technological advancements have resulted in quick applied accessories and seam tape. The products allow for factory-controlled consistency results in improved adhesive strength and a professional looking appearance.