Back to top

Frequently Asked Questions on EPDM for Architects

  1. What is EPDM
  2. How long does an EPDM roof last?
  3. What major advantages is RubberGard EPDM membrane bringing to an architect?
  4. Is RubberGard EPDM a sustainable choice?
  5. Which is the difference between RubberGard EPDM sold in the Americas, Europe, or Asia RubberGard EPDM?
  6. Is RubberGard EPDM suited for lightweight construction?
  7. Is RubberGard EPDM a safe and proven technology?
  8. Are there any approved installers in my region?
  9. Can I still repair EPDM many years after installation?
  10. In what colors is the RubberGard EPDM available?
  11. Can RubberGard EPDM be installed directly over an existing roof?
  12. Is RubberGard EPDM the right choice for solar roofs?
  13. Is RubberGard EPDM membrane suited for green roofs?
  14. Can I reuse rainwater that runs off an EPDM roof?
  15. Can RubberGard EPDM play a role in obtaining the LEED & BREEAM building certificates?
  16. Can you recycle RubberGard EPDM?
  17. Is the RubberGard EPDM membrane/system FM approved?
  18. Does the RubberGard system have any national & international approvals?
  19. Is RubberGard EPDM available in your region?
What is EPDM?
Firestone RubberGard EPDM is a 100% cured single-ply roofing membrane made of a synthetic rubber Ethylene-Propylene-Diene Terpolymer. Since the installation of our first EPDM roof in 1980, more than 1.500.000.000 m² of RubberGard EPDM membranes have been successfully installed worldwide, from Alaska to the Arabian Gulf.
 
How long does an EPDM roof last?
Firestone RubberGard EPDM membranes offer unmatched resistance to UV radiation, ozone, alkaline rains, and both high and low temperatures. As the membrane does not contain any volatile ingedrients or products that may migrate over time, its characteristics remain stable and unchanged over time. Studies show a life expectancy for EPDM membranes of more than 50 years, even when exposed to sunlight. On top of its exceptional service-life, it is easy to repair, even several decades after its installation. Thus, its lifespan can be extended to even more than 50 years.
 
What major advantages is RubberGard EPDM membrane bringing to an architect?
Top quality, versatility, freedom of design, and sustainability are Firestone’s RubberGard EPDM key benefits. RubberGard EPDM is a flexible membrane and keeps this flexibility even at low temperatures (-45°C). It has excellent lay-flat characteristics and adapts and conforms to irregular shapes very quickly. It follows the geometry of the supports and accepts their various expansions or retractions due to climatic variations without ever saturating or breaking. For both new constructions and renovations, the RubberGard EPDM membrane can be installed directly on most substrates, with or without insulation.
 
On top of that, there are various application methods. It can be either fully adhered, or mechanically fixed, or loosely laid - ballasted depending on the project needs. RubberGard EPDM membrane can be combined with extensive green roofs, solar installations, and/or blue roofs, together with excellent durability and longevity.
 
Is RubberGard EPDM a sustainable choice?
The most sustainable roof is a durable roof which uses the least amount of natural resources. Greenpeace, GreenTeam, and NIBE put forward EPDM as the roofing membrane with the least environmental impact.  All in all, choosing RubberGard EPDM is an easy way towards making significant contribution to the reduction of CO2 emissions. It offers a durable, long-term, roofing solution that helps promote efficient and sustainable building practices.
 
Firestone RubberGard EPDM is an inert material with low environmental impact. No toxic substances are released during and after installation of the membrane, allowing collection and use of run-off rainwater for domestic use. It can also be recycled and re-used. In addition, Firestone's EPDM manufacturing facilities have received ISO 14001 certification, a testimony of the company's commitment to environmental management. Moreover, Firestone offers Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) studies and product-specific EPDs, which provide full transparency of the material’s environmental impact, with “cradle-to-grave” analysis.
 
Which is the difference between RubberGard EPDM sold in the Americas, Europe, or Asia RubberGard EPDM?
Firestone RubberGard EPDM is a single world-champion! No matter for which location, or climate, RubberGard EPDM is made using the same base formulation and installed all over the world. The same RubberGard EPDM membrane is applied in ice-cold Alaska and the extremely hot Arabian gulf. Due to its stable chemical composition and fully cured state, the Firestone RubberGard EPDM membrane is considered chemically inert and constant over time.
 
Is RubberGard EPDM suited for lightweight construction?
Lightweight construction is becoming a new trend in the market, and RubberGard EPDM fully supports such applications. Compared to other traditional waterproofing materials that come in multi-layers, RubberGard EPDM is a single-ply, thin, and lightweight membrane.
 
Is RubberGard EPDM a safe and proven technology?
Firestone RubberGard EPDM is easy to install. It is available in large seamless sheets up to 15.25 m wide and 61 m long (930 m²), resulting in fewer field seams for large surfaces and short installation times (typically 6.10 x 30.5 m panels used). Additionally, Firestone's QuickSeam Tape technology provides a proven field seaming solution without requiring special tools.
 
Unlike other waterproofing membranes, the Firestone RubberGard EPDM membrane does not require flames or hot-air welding. The details on roofs are executed with primers and self-adhesive products. The risk of fire during work is minimized.
 
Are there any approved installers in my region?
The RubberGard™ EPDM roofing membrane can only be installed by roofing contractors that have been trained and approved by Firestone. The company offers a variety of educational programs at training facilities spread across Europe and Asia. The objective of these training programs is to educate and familiarize roofing contractors with all aspects of EPDM roofing system installations, from beginner to advanced level. For more information please contact your local Firestone representative via www.firestonebpe.com/en/contact-us.
 
Can I still repair EPDM many years after installation?
The repairability of the membrane after decades of use renders the system more durable and reduces the environmental impact. Given the inert nature of the Firestone RubberGard EPDM membrane, its composition is stable over time. For this reason, the membrane can still be repaired, using Firestone accessories, many years after its installation and its exposure to climatic agents. The repairs are quick and easy to carry out. Moreover, repairs can be performed with everyday tools, and there is no need for electrical power or advanced and expensive equipment.
 
In what colors is the RubberGard EPDM available?
The most popularand durable version of RubberGard EPDM is manufactured as a homogenous black EPDM rubber sheet. Any acrylic coating in pastel colors can be applied over RubberGard™ EPDM, whether new or existing membrane, for aesthetical reasons without decreasing the lifespan of the membrane. The difference could be the life expectancy of the coating itself. Several acrylic coatings are available in the market and can be applied directly to the EPDM surface.
 
Can RubberGard EPDM be installed directly over an existing roof?
RubberGard EPDM is the best roofing solution for renovations. Unlike other roofing membranes where there are limitations with compatibility, applicability, and product weight, RubberGard EPDM can be applied on top of all existing roofing systems, whether it is a bituminous roof (with several layers) or a single-ply membrane.
 
Is RubberGard EPDM the right choice for solar roofs?
Installing solar panels on roofs is a green initiative that contributes to the sustainability of the building and its value while in parallel improves its energy efficiency. The investment horizon is typically based on 20 to 25 years of financial projection. Thus, the roofing system must be able to support the installation of the solar panels for at least that period, to maximize returns.
 
Solar panels generate additional heat, which typically leads to faster heat aging of the membrane underneath. RubberGard EPDM has outstanding resistance to aging and has proven its excellent performance under solar panels. Its exceptional durability renders it an effective match that lasts significantly longer than the investment horizon of PV systems.
 
Is RubberGard EPDM membrane suited for green roofs?
In the case of green roofs, resistance to root penetration, and robustness to cope with roof traffic associated with maintenance is crucial. Firestone RubberGard EPDM is an ideal product for a green or living roof. The Firestone RubberGard EPDM membrane has successfully passed various tests of root resistance (DIN 4062, CEN/TS 14416: 2005, EN 13948, FLL). For more details about design and installation requirements, please contact Firestone Technical Services.
 
Can I reuse rainwater that runs off an EPDM roof?
To correctly manage and harvest rainwater through a blue roof, the roofing membrane has to be inert in addition to having outstanding waterproofing quality. Thanks to its highly stable chemical composition, the Firestone RubberGard EPDM membrane is chemically inert, non-toxic, and has no carcinogenic ingredients. Thus, the water quality upon contact with the RubberGard EPDM membrane is compliant with environmental standards for surface water and has zero abnormal bacterial presence. It is, therefore, possible to recycle the collected water for use as domestic water.
 
Can RubberGard EPDM play a role in obtaining the LEED & BREEAM building certificates?
Firestone is a leading BREEAM & LEED advocate and is pleased to offer RubberGard EPDM, which helps achieve both program’s highest ratings. Firestone RubberGard EPDM roofing systems play a key role in the Green Building Rating Systems that promote responsible design and sustainable construction. For an overview of the standards set by both BREEAM & LEED and how RubberGard EPDM can minimize your environmental impact and maximize building value, you may contact our environmental experts, or consult our BREEAM / LEED guide books.
 
Can you recycle RubberGard EPDM?
Firestone’s commitments for the environment could not exclude the care for the end-of-life roofs. Firestone RubberGard EPDM can be recycled, and there are several possibilities, such as chemical and mechanical recycling, pyrolysis, and devulcanization. According to the EPDM Roofing Association (ERA), EPDM is the leading recycled commercial roofing product in North America. However, due to the long service life of RubberGard EPDM (> 50 years), the volumes of end-of-life membranes are currently negligible.
 
Is the RubberGard EPDM membrane/system FM approved?
The Firestone RubberGard EPDM membrane is Factory Mutual (FM), and UL approved. Thousands of RubberGard EPDM assemblies/ roofing systems have been tested and approved as per FM guidelines. Extended information on all the Firestone FM Approved roofing products assemblies can be found in https://roofnav.com
 
Does the RubberGard system have any national & international approvals?
Firestone RubberGard EPDM membrane has obtained the CE marking, proving that it meets current European requirements in the field of safety, health, environment, and consumer protection. Moreover, to deliver a quality product, our EPDM manufacturing facilities follow stringent quality control guidelines. From raw material selection to finished product testing, our EPDM roofing production sites have been certified according to ISO 9001 for their quality management system and to ISO 14001 for their environmental management system.
 
Firestone RubberGard EPDM waterproofing systems have been tested and certified by numerous national and international bodies. The RubberGard membrane has the following approvals: ATG, DTA, CCT, DIT, BBA, Komo, FM, etc.  Please contact the Firestone Codes & Approvals Department when looking for a specific classification or rating.
 
Is RubberGard EPDM available in your region?
Since 1980, Firestone Roofing Systems have been installed on hundreds of thousands of roofs worldwide. Firestone RubberGard EPDM systems are available in all regions. To learn more about our RubberGard EPDM Roofing Systems, please contact your Firestone local representative