Ballasted EPDM roofs are a type of flat roofing system that utilizes ballast materials to secure the underlying structure. The heavy materials, such as gravel, loose stones, or pavers, hold down lighter layers of roofing material and protect the highly durable EPDM membranes. Though ballast is often used on ships to improve stability, this system has become increasingly popular for commercial and industrial roofs due to its unique combination of cost-effectiveness, durability, and sustainability. Not only does the ballast anchor the other roofing materials, but it also provides an additional layer of protection against severe weather and the elements. In this blog post, we will go over everything you need to know about ballasted EPDM roofs, including their pros, cons, and installation tips.
Let’s start by understanding why this sturdy, low-maintenance, energy-efficient solution is gaining traction among building owners and developers alike.
What Are Ballasted EPDM Roofs?
A ballasted EPDM roof is a type of roofing system where a layer of gravel or another heavy material weighs down the EPDM roof membrane, providing a sturdy and weather-resistant shield for commercial and industrial buildings.
This type of roof utilizes EPDM, which is renowned for its exceptional durability and resistance to water, heat, and UV radiation. The robustness of this roofing system lies in the ballasting process, as the heavy materials secure the EPDM membrane and protect it from wind, weather damage, and punctures.
How To Install A Ballasted EPDM Roof
When considering the installation process of these roofs, though it’s quite straightforward, it will require you to hire a professional for their expertise. Here is how it is installed:
The EPDM membrane is first laid out over a layer of insulation on the rooftop. Then, it’s covered with a layer of ballast, typically stone or pavers. The weight of the material holds down the membrane without any need for adhesives or fasteners, reducing installation time significantly and providing benefits in terms of wind resistance and stability.
Benefits Of A Ballasted EPDM Roof
Imagine a roofing solution that’s not only cost-effective and energy-efficient but also extremely durable with minimal upkeep. Enter the ballasted EPDM roofing system. With this type of flat roof, you will get these advantages and more.
Highly Durable Roofing Material
One of the key providers of durability for this type of roof lies in its primary material – EPDM. This synthetic rubber membrane is highly resistant to water, heat, and UV radiation, ensuring it will last for decades with proper upkeep.
Ballasted EPDM roofs are highly weather-resistant due to their inherent strength and resilience. They can withstand elements such as sun exposure, high winds, heavy rain, snow, and even hail with ease. The layer of gravel or ballast material acts as an extra shield against harsh weather conditions while keeping the membrane firmly in place.
Easy To Maintain
Now let’s shift to another significant advantage: the ease of maintenance associated with ballasted EPDM roofs. Unlike many other roofs requiring regular maintenance and expensive treatments to prevent decay or damage over time, ballasted EPDM roofs are different. The long-lasting EPDM membrane coupled with the ballast creates a durable roof that requires less maintenance due to the lack of fasteners and adhesives.
This further amplifies its cost-effectiveness over time without compromising on quality or longevity. Choosing a ballasted EPDM roof provides additional peace of mind knowing you have a protective cover overhead that will last through the changing seasons and for years to come.
Also Read: Guide To EPDM Roof Repair
Environmentally-Friendly Roofing Material
This roofing system has a reduced environmental impact due to its installation process. The use of ballast instead of fasteners and adhesives reduces the need for chemicals and manufactured products that could potentially harm the environment. Certain types of ballast are completely natural, cutting down on the carbon footprint caused by factory-produced roofing materials.
The installation process of this type of roof is relatively straightforward, which can result in lower labor costs compared to other roofing options. When we compare ballasted EPDM roofs with other options like PVC or TPO membranes, the former is often more cost-effective because the latter tends to be more expensive in terms of initial installation.
Plus, the durability of a ballasted EPDM roof translates into significant savings over time as maintenance costs are minimized.
Also Read: EPDM vs. TPO Roofing
Drawbacks and Safety
All roofing materials come with drawbacks and safety concerns, and the same applies to EPDM ballast roofs.
Weight Can Be An Issue
Notably, weight limitations represent one of the most significant issues. The bulkiness of the ballast used in these systems can put additional stress on your building’s structure, which might require an engineer or contractor to evaluate its ability to bear the added weight. Considering this aspect during installation is crucial since overloading the roofing system could compromise structural integrity, leading to potential damage.
Requires Professional Installation
Another concern lies in the proper installation and maintenance requirements associated with ballasted EPDM roofs. If not installed correctly by certified professionals using appropriate techniques, the loose-laid ballast could become dislodged under strong wind conditions or during rooftop activities, posing a safety risk. While these roofs are less demanding compared to other types of commercial roofing systems, they still warrant periodic inspections and prompt repairs when needed.
EPDM Ballasted Roofs and Energy Efficiency
Most EPDM roofing membranes are black and though there are ones in white, it is usually not as readily available or is more expensive. This may raise some concerns about the energy efficiency and heat retention of these roofs, as the color may hinder the reflective power. But that’s not entirely true as other factors play a role too, such as insulation and ventilation.
The layering system of a ballasted EPDM roof includes a thick layer of insulation under the rubber membrane. This works hand-in-hand with EPDM’s inherent insulative characteristics, and together they reduce thermal transfer between your building’s interior and the outside environment.
Coupled with proper ventilation during the installation process, these attributes render the roof capable of maintaining an optimal balance in temperature inside your building without demanding excessive use of HVAC systems.
Popular for Commercial and Industrial Buildings
Ballasted EPDM roofing systems are increasingly favored for commercial flat roofs for many reasons, some of which are listed below.
Keeps Your Business Sustainable:
With increasing awareness about sustainability, many business owners are looking for ways to reduce their carbon footprint. Ballasted EPDM roofs minimize energy consumption by providing excellent insulation properties. This helps regulate indoor temperatures effectively and cuts down on heating and cooling costs.
The waterproofing capabilities of this roofing system are yet another attribute that makes it a preferred choice among property owners. The synthetic rubber membrane provides an impermeable layer against water, thus protecting the structure from potential damage due to leaks or moisture accumulation.
Great At Reducing Noise:
When you are running a business, you want to be able to concentrate with less outside noise. The heavy ballast layer acts as an excellent sound insulator, reducing noise transmission from external sources such as rain or wind.
There are many benefits to installing a ballasted EPDM roof on your commercial property.
They are incredibly durable, withstanding any type of weather, and are an environmentally conscious choice.
However, they’re not without their challenges. Luckily, with proper maintenance and regular inspections, your ballasted EPDM roof will last for decades.
If you are looking for commercial roofing services in Tampa, look no further than the team at SouthShore Roofing & Exteriors. Our team is fully licensed and insured with years of experience in the industry. Plus, we have a long track record of happy customers and top-notch workmanship.
Contact us today and our team will be more than happy to assist you with your commercial roofing project.