Ethylene propylene diene monomers (EPDM) or rubber roofs are affordable and almost every Clinton MI commercial property owner will choose to use them other roofing materials. They’re a great choice because they can last for 15-20 years, endure several hailstorms, and easy to install. However, EDPM shrinkage is real, and you should know more all about it.

EPDM roof membranes are durable and highly efficient. However, you can only maximize the material’s full potential with an installation by a reliable and experienced Clinton Township MI commercial roofing company. In addition, Comercio Navarra Roofing has a list of the common EPDM shrinkage causes below.

Common Causes of EPDM Shrinkage

Depending on the type of EPDM membrane that was installed and how the membrane was installed, there are many different factors that can cause shrinkage. Most of the causes are related to substrate deterioration. Some of the most common causes include:

Poor quality of materials

Depending on what type of materials and oils are used to make the EPDM membrane, there will be some fluctuations in terms of quality. If oil was not properly mixed in, the loss of oil will result in shrinkage and other molecular changes.

Poor design

The design of the EPDM membrane must be capable of resisting some shrinking.
improper installation. Depending on the weather when the EPDM membrane was installed, the contractors will need to wait for the EPDM to either cool or warm up. Sheet expansion prior to attachment can cause what appears to be shrinkage when the EPDM membrane returns to its original size during cool weather. On the other hand, if the EPDM membrane was not properly relaxed prior to attachment, it will stiffen during cool weather.

Inadequate workmanship

It is crucial to find an experienced roofing contractor because an inexperienced contractor may not provide the workmanship that is required for long-lasting results. In particular, you want to make sure that the base securement details are done well.

Substrate deterioration

At times, the quality of the EPDM membrane is not the main cause of the shrinkage. If the substrate, where the base securement fasteners were installed, deteriorates, the fasteners can pull out, and cause the EPDM membrane to shrink. (Continued)

Is EPDM shrinkage preventable? By choosing the right materials and executing a proper installation, you definitely can. With a preventative perspective once you purchase and have professionals install your EPDM roof, you avoid having drastic repair solutions that can’t even amount to 50% of the maximization a well-installed and high-quality EPDM roof can bring.

Knoxville Roofing and Siding has a great post below on preventing and repairing EPDM shrinkage. The repair is arduous but can resolve many existing issues especially during an emergency.

Preventing and Repairing EPDM Shrinkage

Prevention Is the Key

To prevent shrinkage, use high-quality EPDM membrane mixtures only. Even with the best workmanship, poor quality EPDM membrane will shrink. Only choose an experienced roofing contractor like Innovative Roofing & Siding, Inc. We can spot any potential problems that may arise from the design of the membrane. Always remember to invest in a good foundation or substrate.

Fixing It

To fix EPDM shrinkage, keep the following in mind. Remove the entire flashing system. Clean and prime the adjacent EPDM membrane material to make a durable tie-in. Then replace the flashing with EPDM membrane material, not neoprene. If the surface of the bitumen membrane is too weathered, apply asphalt primer and allow it to dry. Cut a patch of like material eight inches larger around the area for repair. Install the patch according to roofer and manufacturer’s recommendation. (Continued)

As the first article mentioned, choosing high-quality EPDM roof materials is a great start to preventing possible EPDM shrinkage. However, is it a good idea to avoid EPDM altogether? Are there other single-ply commercial roofing membranes that will never shrink or have any similar problems?

Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO) is EPDM’s upper-tier successor. In fact, some believe it to perform much better than PVC roofing, which is highly durable and can last for more than 40 years. Both EPDM and PVC can shrink. TPO has reduced shrinkage, as listed in Chaffee Roofing‘s top reasons to use TPO.

Why Choose TPO Roofs?

TPO Roofing Systems currently have the fastest growth in the roofing industry, and for a good reason. A TPO Roof combines the benefits of an EPDM roof with the benefits of a PVC roof and carries very few drawbacks. These advantages include:

  • Much better puncture resistance than EPDM and slightly better than PVC.
  • Much more environmentally friendly product than PVC or EPDM.
  • The seams are the same as PVC and stronger than EPDM due to heat welding technology.
  • The roof doesn’t heat up like a black EPDM System.
  • TPO has a chemical resistance similar to a PVC System without the weak resistance of EPDM.
  • TPO doesn’t shrink like PVC.
  • TPO doesn’t shatter like PVC.
  • TPO doesn’t deteriorate like PVC. (Continued)

Remember, to prevent EPDM shrinkage, it is wise to select high-quality materials. It may seem expensive at first, but it will save you money and time from any form of hassles. Lastly, make sure to work with reputable companies such as Miller’s Home Improvement to help you install your EPDM or any single-ply membrane effectively.