A Brief History of EPDM Roofing

July 4, 2019 | General
A Brief History of EPDM Roofing

There is no questioning the popularity of EPDM rubber roofing. You’ll see it on residential and commercial roofs across the country. Its wide usage is due to the long list of benefits that come with this type of flat roofing, and EPDM really has taken the world of roofing by storm.

But, the impressive features of the EPDM roofing you see today, and the high-quality Firestone EPDM RubberCover supplied by Avenir Roofing, hasn’t always been around. EPDM roofing has evolved since its introduction in the 60s. Numerous improvements and changes have taken place to make it a better and more high-performing type of rubber roofing. 

We’re going to go back through time and look at how EPDM roofing has evolved and how this makes it the best solution for so many flat roofs across the globe. 

What is EPDM Roofing?

For those who don’t know, EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) rubber roofing is a synthetic, man-made roofing material made from ethylene and propylene derived from oil and gasses, amongst other ingredients. 

It is an extremely strong and robust material, known for being highly resistant to damage. It’s lightweight, stretchy and gives a smooth, complimentary finish to all roofs. What’s impressive is that this roofing type also has a 50-year life expectancy!

How Did it All Start?

The first use of natural rubber dates back to the late 1700s, but it wasn’t until the 1960s that rubber was used on roofs. It grew rapidly throughout the 70s and 80s, partly due to the Middle East oil embargo which drove up the price of asphalt-based roofs and lowered the quality of the asphalt that was available. 

As EPDM grew in popularity, it fast became known for being very cost-effective and simple to install. It also began to gain its reputation for being extremely weather-resistant due to the cross-linked nature of its makeup and the UV resistance it possesses. 

How Has it Evolved?

Over the years, there has been a multitude of improvements and enhancements made to EPDM rubber roofing, all improving its abilities and performance. 


One of the many advantages of EPDM roofing is that it can usually be installed in one piece, eliminating the need for seams, whereas other flat roofing types require seams every few metres. However, when seams were necessary on EPDM rubber roofs, old seam adhesives weren’t as strong as they are today and the process for creating a seam had quite a few steps. 

Today, there are customised primers and adhesives that have dramatically improved EPDM roofs. Also, the introduction of seam tapes has massively increased their performance. 

Puncture Resistance

EPDM rubber roofs are renowned for being puncture and tear-resistant, but this has dramatically increased over the years. Manufacturers offer membranes with increased thickness, adding to their strength and resistance. 

Read this blog to find out just how strong the rubber roofs of today are.


Flashing details for rubber roofs have also greatly improved over the years. Stronger materials are now being used, meaning that joins and other awkward areas of flashing perform better and better.

Firestone EPDM RubberCover

One of the most up-to-date and high-quality EPDM systems today is from Firestone and is supplied by Avenir Roofing. Because of the advances in rubber roofing, it offers a range of benefits:

  • Extremely durable and long-lasting
  • Seamless sheets installed in one piece
  • Cost-effective
  • Flame-free, simple and quick installation
  • Environmentally friendly


Find out more about rubber roofs in the rest of our blog, or visit our website for more about the products we offer. 

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