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Ballasted EPDM Roofing Systems: How Cool Are They?

When you think of  single-ply EPDM roofing systems, you probably think about the membrane’s superior weatherability, its remarkable resistance to deterioration and its capacity to remain strong and flexible even in frigid temperatures. You might already know that rubberized EPDM membrane is recyclable and that it often comes with one of the longest warranties in the roofing industry. But, you might not know that when combined with ballasted installation and the right amount of insulation, EPDM roofing can go toe-to-toe with conventional “cool” roofing systems.

EPDM’s Cool-Roof Factor

In warm/hot regions where facility managers spend more to cool their buildings than to heat them, highly reflective single-ply membrane systems are popular. A ballasted EPDM roofing system that features natural river-washed stone or pavers, sustains a typical surface temperature of 90-103 degrees Fahrenheit, which is comparable to that of highly reflective membranes. An added benefit of ballasted EPDM is that it does not reflect heat onto overworked rooftop HVAC units or nearby windows.

How Does It Work?

The largest conclusive study to date was conducted by the Oak National Laboratory (ORNL) and lasted four years. During that time, heat data was gathered from different types of ballasted EPDM roofs and their “cool roof” competitors. The results were something professional roofing companies have known all along – under a layer of concrete pavers or river-washed stones, black single-ply EPDM will not exceed acceptable cool roofing temperature ranges. While ballasted itself is not reflective, it offers superior thermal mass; retaining heat instead of transferring it to the membrane. This thermal retention not only reduces cooling costs in warm climates, it prevents heat loss during winter in cooler climates as well.

Additional Benefits of Ballasted EPDM Roofing Systems

Ballasted EPDM roofs are aesthetically pleasing, and they have an enviable low life cycle cost when compared to some other roof systems. With wider membrane widths – up to 50 feet – less seams are required, making installation fast, efficient and less opportunities for water intrusion. Adding appropriate insulation beneath the ballasted EPDM further reduces heat transfer and resultant facility cooling costs. A ballasted EPDM roof decreases sound transfer and provides great wind uplift resistance. In addition, EPDM will not pollute water runoff.

Why North American Roofing for Ballasted EPDM Systems

With all the benefits ballasted EPDM offers, bear in mind that any roof system is only as good as the company that installs it. At North American Roofing, we’ve installed more EPDM membrane than any other roofing company around. We hold premier contractor status with major manufacturers including Carlisle SynTec, Firestone Building Products, and Johns Manville. Since 1979, we’ve installed hundreds of millions of square feet of EPDM membrane. We’re licensed in every state, so no matter where your facility is – we can help.

If you’d like to know more about the benefits of ballasted EPDM, and how it can protect your facility while reducing your climate-control costs, give us a call today at 800-551-5602. We’re here to help you make the roofing decision that’s right for you.

Posted on by North American Roofing
Ballasted EPDM Roofing Systems: How Cool Are They?

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