In mid-January the EPDM roofing was installed, topping off the whole roof assembly. Getting the roof finished and protected from the elements before any weather could hit was an enormous relief.
Many houses use asphalt shingles or metal roofing, but these traditional materials aren’t appropriate for low-angle roofs in cold climates because snow and ice can back up under their seams, expand, and destroy the roofing. Most low-angle (aka “flat”) roofs use single-ply sheet roofing. There are three main products on the market: EPDM, TPO, and PVC. All of these materials come in rolls and are attached with heat, glues, or mechanical fasteners. Each material has its advantages, but I decided on EPDM because it is affordable, reliable, and has a long track record of success in Alaska and beyond.
EPDM is a tough, extremely stable and resilient synthetic rubber. In addition to roofing, it is often used to make gaskets, car parts, and pool liners. The EPDM material used on my house had a “peel-and-stick” backing, and seams were reinforced and glued. EPDM comes in two popular thicknesses for residential use: 45-mil and 60-mil. 60-mil is slightly more expensive but significantly more durable, making it a worthwhile upgrade for my project.
The biggest knock on EPDM is that it’s not attractive, but personally I’m a fan of the clean and pragmatic look. And the top of my roof isn’t really visible from the lot anyway.
It’s possible to install EPDM on your own, but I hired a crew because I wanted to move quickly to protect the roof assembly and because installation in winter requires much more skill. A propane torch had to be used to melt ice off of the decking and warm the glues to a proper curing temperature. It was money well spent. Thanks to Rain Proof Roofing in Anchorage for giving me a fair quote, moving quickly, and answering my many questions. The installers clearly cared about their work and seemed excited to discuss the material and installation process.
Photos taken January 13, 2021. Posted February 3, 2021.
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