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When Should You Replace Your EPDM Roofing System Instead Of Having It Repaired?

One of the major advantages of an EPDM roofing system is that it's very easy to make simple repairs. The protective membrane in this roofing system is made of ethylene propylene diene terpolymer, which is a form of synthetic rubber that can be easily patched. Repairs are quick, inexpensive, and cause minimal disruption to your business.

However, repairing an EPDM roofing system isn't the best choice in every situation — sometimes the damage is too extensive, and it's better to replace it. Continuing to make repairs to a roof that is failing quickly becomes costly, and the repairs may not be able to correct the underlying problem. If your building has an EPDM roofing system, read on to find out when you should replace it instead of performing repairs.

1. Your EPDM Panels Are Breaking Down

The most frequent reason why businesses replace their EPDM roofing systems is that the EPDM panels themselves are deteriorating. This is a sign that the roof is near the end of its usable lifespan. Ultraviolet light causes the panels to break down slowly, and eventually, they'll start falling apart.

When the panels start to break apart, you'll notice cracks, chips, and discolored areas. Replacing the panels with the worst damage isn't recommended at this point, as you'll soon need to replace them all — it's better to have the entire EPDM roofing system replaced at once.

2. Your Panels Are Coming Apart at the Seams

Some EPDM roofing systems are installed using a single sheet of EPDM to cover the entire roof deck. However, this usually isn't possible for larger commercial buildings or ones with complex designs. Instead, multiple panels are joined together in order to fully cover the roof. This creates seams between different EPDM panels that are a potential weak point for the whole roof.

Older EPDM roofing systems used an adhesive to join panels together, while modern ones use seam tape. Unfortunately, both can eventually break down. This causes two adjacent EPDM panels to separate at the seam, and this causes a leak. You'll be able to spot that this has happened by looking for a visible separation between panels. The edges of the panels may also be raised slightly at the seam.

Separated EPDM panels can be attached again, but this is sometimes an ineffective repair. If the underlying cover board or insulation starts to warp due to water damage, it may be impossible to create a tight seal again. In this case, you'll need to replace the roofing system entirely.

3. Your Roof Has Suffered Extensive Hail Damage

Finally, hail damage may also require you to replace your EPDM roofing system. EPDM panels can withstand small hailstones with no damage. The force of the hail can dent the insulation or cover board underneath the EPDM panels, but this doesn't cause structural damage.

Large hailstones, however, can build up enough momentum to puncture through the EPDM layer. This is more likely to happen if your roof was installed using very thin EPDM panels. While you can easily repair punctures in an EPDM roof by patching or replacing the panels, hail damage is typically widespread — if you would have to replace the majority of your EPDM panels, it's best to just replace the entire roof.

While EPDM roofing systems are very durable, they're not capable of withstanding the elements forever. If you notice any of the above problems with the EPDM roofing on your building, call a commercial roof replacement service. They'll examine your roof and tell you whether or not it would be better to replace individual panels or to replace the whole roof.

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