Thanks to the EPDM Roofing Association, however, there is now a new resource for weighing competing claims and finding reliable technical information.

For contractors, EPDM remains a safe, user-friendly product.
Roofing contractors are constantly bombarded with mail, e-mails, faxes, phone calls and sales pitches about new product launches, technical development alerts, and much more. With so much information to weed through, it can be a challenge to figure what really is "news you can use." Thanks to the EPDM Roofing Association, however, there is now a new resource for weighing competing claims and finding reliable technical information.

Created in February 2003, ERA's purpose is to keep the roofing and construction communities informed of technical developments and advances in today's EPDM roofing systems. The very creation of this association in itself reflects the commitment of the top two EPDM product manufacturers - Firestone Building Products and Carlisle SynTec - to provide the most up-to-date information on EPDM in a unified voice.

EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) rubber roofing membrane has been an appealing choice for the low-slope commercial roofing industry for more than 40 years, with more than 500,000 warranted roof installations on 20 billion-plus square feet. Annually, EPDM accounts for over 1 billion square feet of new roof coverings in the United States and is the most frequently used roofing material in the marketplace. Building Design and Construction magazine and the National Roofing Contractors Association confirmed in their 2002-2003 market surveys that EPDM continues to be the number one roofing choice of architects, roof consultants and contractors for both new construction and replacement roofing projects.

Reaching Out to Roofing Contractors and Consultants

As the first trade association solely representing the manufacturers of EPDM single-ply roofing products and their leading suppliers, ERA fulfilled its primary mission to publish several independent technical studies that provide important updates, as well as address information gaps about EPDM. Labor-intensive enterprises, such as the roofing contracting business, are so busy with the day-to-day projects and demands that they sometimes overlook the many resources that are available to them from industry organizations and trade associations.

"Since our association believes that roofing installation procedures should be held to very high standards, we will continue to make substantial investments in conducting research and technical studies that support the quality and innovation behind the EPDM roofing membrane," says Nick Shears, ERA chairman and vice president of sales and marketing at Carlisle SynTec.

In an effort to ease installation procedures, EPDM manufacturers continue to implement ergonomic solutions, such as the creation of adhesive application equipment. In fact, many roofing contractors take great pride in specializing in EPDM systems because it allows them to market and position themselves to respond to the growing demand by building owners and architects for long-term, quality performance-driven roofing systems. Holland Roofing's President Hans Philippo comments, "Because we receive very few call backs with EPDM-related projects, EPDM clearly outperforms other roofing materials. And when EPDM makes our projects look good, our whole company looks good."

Following is a summary of some selected studies that ERA has released in the past several months. All of these studies can be viewed and downloaded from the ERA Web site,

ERA Technical Bulletin No. 1 (EPDM Attributes Document): A comprehensive guide and primer to EPDM's long list of attributes and overall system performance information.

Warranty and Repair Study: This study monitored and tracked the warranty and maintenance records of 3 billion square feet of EPDM roofs over a 20-year period.

River Bluffs Nursing Home's 90-mil Roof Replacement Case Study: This continually updated case study tracks the roof replacement project on a nursing home located approximately an hour and a half northwest of Chicago.

Steelcase North America Case Study: Steelcase North America, a furniture manufacturing plant in Caledonia, Mich., was a certified Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design project. The EPDM roof system helped the project earn extra LEED points because the rubber membrane was 100 percent post-consumer recyclable and featured low-VOC emissions from the LV-600 primer.

Frequently Asked Questions on EPDM: Questions are organized in four categories (general, material, installation and design) that correspond to the knowledge base of the reader, with questions ranging from the definition of EPDM to detailed information on splicing technology and systematic maintenance.

ERA has also made extensive progress in addressing cool roof and reflectivity issues to ensure that both the marketplace and government policy makers have a complete economic and environmental understanding of these issues. The cool roofing trend strives to create enhanced marketing opportunities for roofing contractors and consultants, but the decisions on where to recommend or require reflective roofs needs to be based on scientific facts.

Creation of the SolarSmart Roof Alliance

Rather than focusing on the color of a membrane, ERA believes that a building's entire roofing and insulation system should be taken into account when choosing the most appropriate application for a particular structure in a given climate. ERA was instrumental in the formation of the SolarSmart Roof Alliance, an industry coalition whose mission is to educate policymakers and the construction marketplace about the environmental, performance and economic issues that arise when considering the use of a reflective roof. The organizations on board with the new SSRA thus far include the EPDM Roofing Association, the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association, the Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association, the Alliance for the Polyurethanes Industry, the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association, the Roof Coatings Manufacturers Association, the Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance, Single-Ply Roofing Institute and the National Roofing Contractors Association.

As the ERA celebrates its one-year anniversary, we look forward to continuing our outreach efforts to the roofing contractor and consulting community. In addition to releasing more research and case studies this year, we are working on a new educational initiative that will provide continuing education credits and special training opportunities. We invite you to contact us and let us know what type of information would be of benefit and interest to you.