Which EPDM System Is Best For My Project? - A Complete Guide For The Trade Community
The need for long-lasting products among homeowners is rapidly increasing each year. EPDM is quickly becoming a sought-after roofing system as it's loved for its fit-and-forget qualities.
This guide will tell you exactly what's what in the world of EPDM and will make picking the best EPDM system for your project super easy.
Here are just some of the reasons why this material is a first choice for many homeowners and tradespeople.
- The majority of systems have proven track records and life expectancies of 50+ years
- Absolutely maintenance-free as EPDM doesn’t support moss growth
- Completely UV stable meaning the membranes won’t get brittle with time
- EPDM can be installed all year round, as long as conditions are dry and the temperature is 5 degrees and rising up to 35 degrees
There has never been a better time to learn about EPDM rubber roofing as where there's demand, there's money to be made. Not to mention these systems are designed with tradespeople in mind.
What Is The Best EPDM System?
Each system has its own advantages and disadvantages, meaning the best EPDM system for your roof will depend on your project’s requirements.
Some things to consider when choosing an EPDM system are:
- Size of roof (small-large)
- Amount of detail work (protrusions like skylights and vents)
- If you are taking up the current roofing substrate
- What the roof will be used for (balcony, green roof)
- Your customer’s budget
We’ve compared 5 of the most popular EPDM systems in the UK today, comparing everything that matters to you.
- Elevate (formally known as Firestone)
- ClassicBond Pro
Not only that we have exact installation times for each system. Installation was carried out on a 4.5m x 5m free-standing, freshly boarded garden room. The garden room didn’t have any detail work and the installation was during the summer in warm temperatures. Each installation time includes trim installation so you know roughly how long a finished project will take.
EPDM System Overview Comparison Chart
This table gives you a brief overview of some of the most popular EPDM systems on the market in the UK, all in an easy-to-compare format.
EPDM System Installation Comparison Chart
Compare installation times, difficulty and more for these popular EPDM systems.
What Is Skyguard?
Skyguard is loved for its low price, durability, and easy installation. It’s perfect for any outbuildings that don’t need to conform to building regulations.
Why Doesn’t Skyguard Conform To Building Regulations?
Skyguard is 1.0mm thick, and the minimum thickness of EPDM systems for UK building regulations is 1.14mm. We would recommend only using Skyguard for projects that don’t need to abide by these regulations, such as sheds and certain garages or garden rooms.
Is Skyguard A Better Investment For Sheds And Other Outbuildings In Comparison To Shed Felt?
Skyguard is considered a great investment for outbuildings as generally the membrane will outlive the average shed, as it has a life expectancy of 50 years. This is a massive positive in comparison to the standard shed felt which is often supplied with the sheds as this tends to only last 5 years.
Are Special Tools Required For Installation?
Not only is Skyguard great value for money it also doesn’t need any special tools, making it a cheap and cheerful option. All you need to install this system is a standard decorating roller, scissors and an adhesive gun.
Check out Skyguard’s video to see how easy installing this EPDM system is.
Each Skyguard membrane is pre-cut and pre-joined, meaning large areas can be covered quickly. As the material is in one piece it does mean that it’s not suitable for complicated roofs that have detail work such as flues and skylights.
It’s also important to bear in mind that Skyguard is not an overlay system and therefore needs brand-new boards to be installed onto the deck. As with a lot of flat roofing systems, the boards must be bone dry before installation.
Here’s a Summary Of Skyguard So You Can Work Out If It’s The Right EPDM System For Your Project
What Is ClassicBond?
ClassicBond is the original EPDM that pioneered rubber roofing in the 1960s. The original roof was fitted over 50 years ago and is still watertight today making it one of the main reasons why millions love this system. Not only do people love its proven track record but it also comes with BBA certification and a fire rating.
What Types Of Roofs Is ClassicBond Most Suited To?
ClassicBond is a great option for both commercial and domestic roofs and is perfect for simple small to medium roofs. The membrane is cut to size and comes in one piece, making it quick and easy to install. RoofScout has a great video showing you exactly how to install this EPDM system.
The one-piece membrane does however mean it’s not suitable for roofs with lots of detail work such as protrusions and skylights.
It’s important to remember that this EPDM system isn’t reinforced so when it comes to installation on large roofs over 100m2 additional precautions must be made. You must install mechanical fixing like Russ Tape around the perimeter of the roof. Contact Adhesive which is a stronger adhesive must be used throughout. This increases the labour time and overall cost of the job. This method of installation is also trickier to do for first-time installers.
Another thing to bare in mind is, just like Skyguard, ClassicBond is not an overlay system so it is important to factor in the cost of materials and labour for brand-new boards to be installed onto the deck before installation.
Which Thickness Is Best For My Project?
ClassicBond is super hard to tear and is available in two thicknesses. The standard ClassicBond is 1.2mm thick and is a cost-effective option for roofs that will not have anything installed on top.
ClassicBond also offers a premium thickness of 1.5mm that is best suited for roofs that will have materials installed on top: such as decking, ballast and screeding. The premium thickness is also a good option for green roofs.
Check Out Our ClassicBond Overview So You Can See If This EPDM System Is Best For Your Roof…
What Is Elevate (Formally Known As Firestone)?
Elevate is an alternative system to ClassicBond and was first installed in 1980. Just like ClassicBond, the original roof is still going strong today. Its durability and easy installation are just some of the reasons why this EPDM system is loved.
What’s The Difference Between Elevate And ClassicBond?
Both are market-leading EPDM systems. They are extremely similar in terms of durability, installation and use, however, there are some minor differences.
ClassicBond was the original EPDM system launched in the 1960s whereas Elevate is a copy product that was launched 20 years later in the 1980s. From a looks perspective, both have a smooth slick finish however Elevate is black in colour whereas ClassicBond is a slate grey.
Another key difference is the thickness of their membranes. Elevate’s most popular membrane is 1.14mm thick making it slightly thinner than ClassicBond’s standard membrane which is 1.2mm. They also have a premium option which is 1.52mm thick, making it 0.02mm thicker than ClassicBond’s premium option. The last difference between both systems is generally the deciding factor for most homeowners. ClassicBond has been BBA certified with an expected service life of 35 years whereas Elevate has an expected service life of 30 years.
In terms of similarities, Elevate can be used on the same projects as ClassicBond. Installation is exactly the same, making it a great option for tradespeople who don’t want to purchase specialist tools. Just like ClassicBond, Elevate also has a fire rating and is available cut to the size of your project. Each membrane is extremely hard to tear and puncture however just like ClassicBond this system must be installed on brand-new boards.
Here’s Everything You Need To Know When You're Getting To Grips With Elevate EPDM…
What Is ClassicBond Pro?
ClassicBond Pro is a premium EPDM system that has fleeced reinforcement for extra strength and durability. Its reinforcement also means no extra precautions are needed on larger roofs.
This system is well known for its quality as it’s 3mm thick making it one of the thickest EPDM systems on the market currently. Many tradespeople feel that the thicker options of EPDM tend to lay better due to their added weight. The quality of this system has been recognised by trade and has BBA certification as well as a fire rating.
This major increase in thickness does however come with a hefty price tag as it’s generally double the price of ClassicBond and Elevate. Due to its price, it’s generally not considered for smaller roofs like garden rooms or minor extensions.
Can ClassicBond Pro Be Installed Straight Over The Current Roofing Substrate?
A massive positive for ClassicBond Pro installers is the fact that it can be installed straight over most roofing substrates, including felt. This can drastically reduce labour time as no stipping is required. It can also reduce the cost of the job as new boards are not needed and skip-hire generally won’t be required.
Although this system isn’t the cheapest on the market for small and simple roofs, its overlay capabilities make the price worthwhile for most projects.
Getting To Grips With Installing ClassicBond Pro
For installation, you generally don’t need any special tools however you do need a seam roller and penny roller. It does take longer to install than other systems due to the need for installing reinforcement patches. These patches are needed wherever the joins meet an angle change. Most ClassicBond Pro installers generally say it takes 5 minutes per patch to install; however, this is a cost you will need to factor into your quote.
Check out RoofScout’s video to see exactly how this EPDM system is installed.
ClassicBond Pro is available in easy-to-manage 18.5m² rolls making it easier to transport onto the roof as opposed to ClassicBond and Elevate which come in one large membrane. Its roll formation makes it super easy to work around lots of detail work and also reduces the risk of wastage.
Each roll comes with pre-applied 3” seam tape meaning there is less room for human error. Something to bear in mind is the fact that joins will be visible close up throughout the roof, so it’s not always a great option for roofs that are visible. These joins do however become less visible over time.
This EPDM system could take you double the amount of time to install in comparison to systems like ClassicBond. It is however relatively easy to use and the impressive quality makes it a super option for both domestic and commercial roofs.
An Overview To Make Understanding ClassicBond Pro Simple
What Is Resitrix?
Glass fibre reinforcement, bitchumus backing, non-slip finish and self-adhesive application… a system that truly lives up to its top-quality status. Resitrix is a premium hybrid system that many tradespeople refer to as the Rolls Royce in the world of EPDM. It’s 2.5mm thick making it incredibly strong and has BBA certification as well as a fire rating.
What Types Of Roofs Is Resitrix Most Suited To?
It’s suitable for a range of projects in particular large roofs which require installation over the current roofing substrate. It’s also a great option for roofs with lots of detail work as it's available in 10m2 rolls meaning wastage is kept at a minimum.
What really sets Resitrix apart from the competition is the fact that it has a non-slip finish, making it a perfect option for roofs with light foot traffic like walkways and fire exits. Another major positive for Resitrix is, it’s 100% root resistant and is one of the only EPDM systems on the market that can own this claim. This amazing defence against roots makes it a perfect option for green roofs, not to mention that it also has FLL certification for green roof projects.
Not The Cheapest…But Savings Can Be Made By Using Resitrix
In terms of price, this system is more expensive than most entry-level EPDM systems however the pros definitely outweigh the cons. There’s also time and money to be saved using Resitrix… Extra precautions aren’t needed for larger roofs as well as time and money isn’t being spent stripping the deck before installation.
Unlike most EPDM systems, adhesives aren’t required for installation however seams and detail work will need to be heat welded with a heat gun to ensure the roof is watertight.
Heat guns are an essential tool to have for Resitrix and it’s important to factor in the cost of buying a heat gun and getting power onto the roof. Generally, a decent heat gun will set you back about £500 however, a good quality heat welder is worth the investment as it ensures installation runs smoothly. If you're using Resitrix as a one-off installation you can however buy a basic heat gun that does the job for around £70.
Learning to install this system does have a steeper learning curve in comparison to other EPDM systems, especially for those who are not familiar with a heat gun. Once you have got to grips with using this type of tool it makes installation a lot quicker and easier.
Check out RoofScout’s video so you can get learn the tips and tricks of the trade to get you installing this premium EPDM system like a pro.
Resitrix At A Glance
The Bottom Line
EPDM systems are quickly becoming a sought-after option for both homeowners and tradespeople. Durability and ease of installation are just some of the reasons why this material is growing in popularity each year.
The systems you have learned about today all have unique qualities which make them ideal for different types of roofs. When it comes to picking an EPDM system for your next project it's important that you understand the needs of the project and your customer so you can find the perfect system.
Here’s A Quick Overview Of Each System You Have Read About Today
Now You’re In The Know, You’re Ready To Go
To price up the materials you need for your next project, try our Kit Calculators to get a price in minutes. Simply enter your dimensions and roof details and we’ll do the hard work for you.
We are also able to provide you with a quote from a rough sketch, fill in our online form below and we’ll send over your quote.
We love speaking to our customers so, if you would prefer to speak to someone about your project, give us a call 024 7666 7234 and we’ll be happy to help.