How Sustainable Is An EPDM Rubber Roof?

Looking for a more sustainable option for your flat roof? An EPDM rubber roof may be your answer.

An installed EPDM Rubber Roof An installed EPDM Rubber Roof

What is EPDM Rubber Roofing?

EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) rubber is a synthetic rubber used in many waterproofing applications, especially rubber roofing. 

An EPDM rubber roof is a low-sloped flat roof installed with an EPDM membrane using adhesives on a roof deck. Even though Russ tape is officially needed to reinforce the rubber, EPDM rubber roofs are so lightweight that it is not always required.

It is ideal for small to medium-sized domestic roofs as it is a more cost-effective and quicker-to-install option compared to traditional roofing systems. 

What is Sustainability?

Sustainability is the goal of meeting our own needs without compromising the ability to meet the needs of future generations.

With the rise in global warming, sustainable choices are becoming more necessary in preserving our planet - socially, economically and environmentally.

Many companies in various industries have set sustainability goals to reduce their carbon footprint by a certain percentage. The current climate situation is causing issues like air pollution, loss of biodiversity and land degradation, to name a few. 

All industries are to blame since they need packaging, transportation and disposal. It is especially evident in the construction industry, which has its struggles and part to play. 

Why is Sustainability Important in the Roofing Industry?

The construction industry accounts for 40% of the UK’s total carbon emissions, and the roofing industry is one of the main contributors.

That is a lot, considering small changes in the industry can massively reduce carbon footprint.

Using recyclable materials, disposing of scrap appropriately and using long-lasting products are among the ways that can massively reduce sulfur dioxide, nitrous acid and dust particles in the air, reducing the carbon footprint and slowing down climate change. 

Companies in the UK roofing industry are already trying to implement actions like these in their production and selling journeys. But, not enough.

Most have heard of felt, asphalt shingle and metal roofing. However, there is a way more sustainable option - EPDM rubber roofing. 

Two men installing an EPDM Rubber Roof with adhesives Two men installing an EPDM Rubber Roof with adhesives

What are the Advantages of EPDM?


EPDM rubber roofs are known for their longevity and track record of 50 plus years. Its ability to take temperatures between -40ºC to +120ºC and being puncture resistant contributes to its durability. This durability makes EPDM rubber roofs more sustainable than traditional roofing systems, which require changing after 15 to 25 years.

It is a ‘fit and forget’ system, referring to its low maintenance characteristic. Any repairs needed are simple, inexpensive and quick to do. Since it is UV stable, it also prevents bubbling and cracking on the surface, keeping your roof waterproof and reliable against the horrible British weather.

Completely Recyclable and Non-Toxic

EPDM is a fully recyclable material and can be re-purposed in children's playgrounds or even a new roof!

To recycle your EPDM rubber roof, ensure to strip the rubber of all adhesives:

  1. Wait for a warm day
  2. Use a utility knife to cut the material into small sections for easier removal
  3. You can use a heat gun to loosen the adhesive and make the material easier to pull away from the roof deck
  4. Use a hammer to remove any nails and staples as you go

    *Ensure to wear heavy-duty gloves for protection*

There are places around the UK that will accept your EPDM rubber roof to recycle or repurpose:

As there are no bitumen or toxic adhesives used when installing an EPDM rubber roof, it is perfectly safe for you and your pets. The rainwater that flows off the roof is also perfect for your garden crops.

Comes in One Piece

When you order your EPDM membrane, it will come in one piece, cut to the specific size you need. This is to reduce wastage and decrease the weight in the delivery vehicles, reducing carbon emissions. 

As it comes in one piece, it also doubles up as a makeshift tarpaulin, meaning you will not have to buy an extra plastic sheet to protect your roof if you are not yet ready to install it. No special tools are needed, unlike those that need flame installation, so it is safer and easier to install. 

EPDM is generally a light roofing material, so you will not need additional equipment to get all your materials on the roof. If the roll is too heavy due to its size, we have a video to show you the top three ways on How To Lift Heavy Rolls of EPDM Rubber Onto Your Roof.

Great For Solar Panel Installation 

Solar panels are relatively easy to install on EPDM rubber roofs. The membranes also provide good water drainage to keep water away from the hardware. 

However, to be more effective, the solar panels need to be mounted at a 20-50° angle. This is to ensure it catches the most sunlight throughout the day. You could save 64% on your electricity bill each year with solar panels on your EPDM rubber roof. 

It is a belief that the UK does not get enough sun for a solar panel to be worthwhile, but we do get more than enough solar energy to make your solar panel investment worth every penny. You will reach break-even on your investment in about 10 years. 

If you want to find out how much you can save on your home if you install a solar panel, check the e.on website.

Great for Green Roofs

EPDM is the ideal waterproofing layer for green roofing as it prevents fungal and moss growth. Depending on the criteria, there are three different types you can install.

You can find out more about Green Roofs using Rubber Membrane here.

A close-up of a green roof A close-up of a green roof

Peace of Mind with ClassicBond

ClassicBond was first manufactured in the United States by Carlisle-Syntec during the 1960s. It has since held a 50-year proven track record of service life and remains one of the most reliable, durable and sustainable roofing systems.

High-Quality Choice

Experience the peace of mind that your roof will not have leaks for a lifetime, and know you made the best sustainable choice. 

ClassicBond is the premium EPDM rubber roof choice without the premium price that still delivers high-quality features. ClassicBond comes with 20-year guarantees, ensuring you have a protected roof for a long time.

Certified and Trusted

ClassicBond has BBA and fire rating certifications (Fire Rating BS476 & Fire Rating EN13501) to prove its reliability and safety which not many brands have, especially newer budget brands. 

The newer brands on the market also do not have a proven track record of 50 years. 

Some of the first ClassicBond rubber roofs installed are still standing today!

Ideal For Most Roofs

ClassicBond comes in 1.2mm and 1.5mm thicknesses to suit your different roofing projects. It is ideal for most roofing types and sizes. Furthermore, it can be installed directly onto tissue-faced insulation, making installation easier for you or your builder. 

Start Your EPDM Rubber Roofing Journey

In conclusion, EPDM rubber roofing is a very sustainable option, thanks to its longevity, recyclability and non-toxic features, together with certifications to give you that extra security. 

Since it comes cut to size and only uses adhesives to install, it is also one of the most effortless roofing systems to learn and work with.

If you are settled on getting ClassicBond for your roof, we have made the roofing journey even easier for you. Just put the dimensions of your roof into our Kitbuildr to get a quote on your materials and their prices in just minutes.

We will do all the hard work for you.

Compatible Systems:
  • The ClassicBond One Piece EPDM system is great for large or small flat roof areas and is normally bonded on to a timber deck in one piece so no joins!
    Find out more!

Back to top