What is EPDM and what are the pros and cons?

31 January 2023
Wat is EPDM en wat zijn de voor- en nadelen

EPDM is short for Ethylene Propane Diene Monomer. It is a synthetic rubber used as an alternative to traditional lead used in buildings. EPDM is much more flexible and resistant to extreme weather conditions than traditional lead.

How is EPDM made?

EPDM is obtained by the polymerisation of various unsaturated hydrocarbons. EPDM has become a popular lead alternative in recent years.

i-Form is the EPDM lead replacement developed by IPEX. It consists of 3 layers:

  • A top layer of EPDM rubber

  • An core of special aluminium expanded metal

  • A bottom layer of EPDM rubber with a protective foil

What is EPDM used for?

EPDM is a popular choice for sealing joints in buildings and roofing, because it is lightweight and easy to install. For example, EPDM is used for prefab assembly of dormer windows, window frames, solar panels, and to seal ducts exiting the roof, such as chimneys.

Our EPDM range includes products such as:

  • Joint tape

  • Foam tape

  • Foil sheet

  • Joint profile

  • Spacers

  • Plugs

  • Washers

  • Flexible pipe seals

  • Flexible roof boots

  • I-form flashing, EPDM in stead of lead

EPDM: outstanding resistance to weathering

EPDM is resistant to UV rays, meaning that the material does not discolour or crumble in the sun. EPDM is resistant to temperatures ranging from -40 degrees Celsius to 120 degrees Celsius.

On top of that, EPDM is resistant to basic substances, such as copper oxide and ammonia. Acidic fluids such as natural fatty acids found in rainwater. Salts, except petroleum products. EPDM is also highly resistant to ozone.

Environmentally friendly

One of the many benefits of EPDM is that it is environmentally friendly. While lead products may produce waste, EPDM is fully recyclable.

What is the lifespan of EPDM?

EPDM will last 50 years or more. It is wear-resistant and very elastic. EPDM increases air and water tightness compared to traditional building materials. It absorbs vibrations, so it reduces noise nuisance caused by wind gusts.

How thick is EPDM?

EPDM is usually between 1.14 mm and 1.52 mm thick. Within this thickness range, flexibility and strength are in balance, making EPDM suitable for many different types of roofing. EPDM is UV resistant, weather resistant and has a long life.

Does EPDM have any downsides?

EPDM can react with certain chemicals, such as solvents, which can damage the material. EPDM is not suitable for certain types of roofs. For instance sloping roofs with a pitch of less than 1:20 or roofs with many skylights. It is less aesthetically pleasing, which is why EPDM is not the preferred choice for parts of buildings where aesthetics come first.

What are the benefits of EPDM for the building industry?

There are plenty of reasons why a contractor would choose EPDM as a roofing material.

  • Benefits compared to lead:

  • Flexible, easy to bend and cut to shape

  • Weatherproof

  • Uv resistant

  • Temperature resistant

  • Environmentally friendly

  • Long life

  • Easy to glue (IPEX also supplies adhesive tape, if desired)

Other benefits

  • Easy to install, you do the job much quicker

  • Lightweight, so less body strain for the installer

  • Relatively cheap compared to other roofing materials

  • Resistant to steam, so perfect for use in factories

In short...

EPDM has many advantages over lead in terms of flexibility, weather resistance, UV resistance, resistance to high and cold temperatures, environmental friendliness and durability. That makes EPDM a great alternative to traditional lead. That is why many constructors switch from lead to EPDM.

IPEX Group, specialist in EPDM and fixing systems

With 25 years' experience in custom roof and facade fixings, IPEX is the best partner to help you to build a beautiful building. We can deliver quickly in all kinds of combinations and in thousands of colours, from our own factory. Our sales team is happy to help you order the right products. Let us take away the hassle, so you can focus on building.

Do you have questions about colouring screws, blind rivets or pop rivets? Please feel free to contact us.