Ethylene propylene diene terpolymer, or EPDM, is a highly durable and environmentally friendly synthetic membrane that works best for flat and low-pitched roofs. This roofing often becomes an addition to commercial properties, garages, mobile homes, and campers. However, it is also widely used for modern residential homes and additions.
Made of a mix of ethylene and propylene, EPDM comes in membrane rolls of different thicknesses (45 - 60 mils) and widths (7.6 - 50 feet). It is highly flexible, which makes it immune to temperature changes as it expands and contracts without losing its integrity. And finally, the long service life (25+ years) and energy efficiency (lighter options reflect sunlight while black ones absorb heat) put EPDM in the row of the most sought-after rubber roofs available on the market.
Fortunately, the multiple advantages of this membrane roofing do not translate into exorbitant costs. The EPDM roof cost varies from $7.300 to $9.000 for a standard 1.500-square-foot roof, including material and labor, which is quite affordable compared to traditional roofing options. However, the high-end cost for the same size roof may go as high as $17.000, depending on the specific type of EPDM, installation method, size, and structure of the existing roof.
Average price range
$7.300 - $9.000
Read on to discover major and minor factors affecting the final EPDM roofing cost. We've analyzed every aspect that makes up the total roofing project estimate so you can make up your budget with confidence.
The average EPDM roofing cost per square foot
If you want to calculate the preliminary price of mounting an EPDM membrane on your roof, you need to consider two main components - the total roof area and the roofing cost per square foot, given local labor rates.
Calculating the size of a flat roof is relatively easy since it doesn't involve any slopes or pitches. First, measure the length and width of your house. Then, multiply the received numbers to get the area in square feet. For instance, if your home is 40 feet long and 62.5 feet wide, the overall size is 40 x 62.5 = 2.500 square feet.
Considering that the national average cost of EPDM roofing per square foot is $7 for the material and labor, you will need to spend around $17.500 for the whole project. And as contractor rates vary greatly by state and season, a total estimate for a 2,500-square-foot roof can be as low as $8.750 or as high as $25.000.
The cost of EPDM roofing per square foot
Cost per sq. ft. (materials alone)
$0.50 - $3.50
Cost per sq. ft. (labor alone)
$3 - $7
Cost per sq. ft. (material and labor)
$3.50 - $10.00
EPDM rubber roofing cost by width and thickness
EPDM roofing comes in various widths to accommodate different project sizes and requirements. Generally, the material width ranges from 7.5 to 50 feet, with 10 feet being a standard width for residential projects. EPDM of more than 20 feet in width is used for larger commercial and industrial projects, providing more coverage with fewer seams. You can also order this rubber roofing in custom width to ensure a precise fit for unique roof shapes and sizes.
EPDM thickness determines the roof's longevity and cost. That is why this factor requires particular attention. Generally, the thicker material you pick, the longer you expect it to last. The thickest EPDM roofing is 90 mil. It ensures ultimate protection against wear and tear, minimizing leaks and punctures. The service life of extra-thick rubber roofing is over 25 years which is undoubtedly a good result for a flat roofing system. The thinnest and cheapest EPDM roofing is just 1.1 mm or 45 mils thick. This roofing variation is light and commonly used for covering garages or mobile homes. It is relatively easy to install and repair, but it may not be the best choice for areas with heavy foot traffic or high potential for punctures.
Here is how the EPDM roofing material cost may vary by the thickness:
Cost per sq. ft.
$0.50 - $0.70
60 - 75 mil
12 - 17 years
$0.75 - $1.50
$1.30 - $2.00
EPDM rubber roofing cost by installation type
Rubber roofing, namely EPDM membrane, has different installation approaches that vary by project extent and requirements. The standard methods include adhering by means of glue or self-adhesive, covering with ballast materials like rocks or gravel, and attaching a membrane to the substrate using mechanical fasteners. Read on to discover more information on the specified installation methods and their average cost per square foot.
Adhering. A fully adhering installation approach involves bonding the EPDM membrane to the surface beneath it (usually an insulation layer) utilizing a compatible adhesive. This method provides a smooth and aesthetically pleasing finish, reduces the possibility of membrane flutter, and increases the resistance to wind uplift. Adhering requires more time and effort than other installation approaches, but it ensures your rubber roofing will last for decades with fewer to no tears. Adhered EPDM cost varies from $2.75 to $3.50 per square foot, depending on material width and thickness.
Ballasting. This is one of the most cost-effective rubber roofing installation methods that involves laying an EPDM membrane over the substrate and covering it with ballast materials like concrete pavers or river-washed stones. The weight of the ballast holds the membrane in place, preventing damage by high wind, hail, or tree branches. Ballasted roofing systems are easy and cheap to install, approximately $1.40 - $2.30 per square foot. Nevertheless, they should be properly maintained and are not recommended to install in windy or hurricane-prone climates.
Fastening. An EPDM roofing system attached to the substrate by metal plates and screws is called mechanically fastened. Screws are placed at regular intervals, typically along the seams, creating a watertight seal. Fastening is one of the most common installation methods that offers an optimal price-quality ratio by creating reliable resistance from moisture and wind and ensuring the long service life of a roof. You should expect to spend $1.85 - $3 per square foot for a mechanically-fastened EPDM roofing system.
Cost per sq. ft.
$2.75 - $3.50
$1.40 - $2.30
$1.85 - $3
EPDM roofing installation costs by the type of construction
When estimating the EPDM rubber roofing project, remember that the price depends not only on the roof size but also on the type of structure planned to be covered. If you want to install an EPDM membrane on your garage, RV, or mobile home, the following overview of actual material and labor costs will serve as a roadmap.
EPDM roofing cost calculator by structural type
Average cost installed
$1.100 - $5.000
$3.000 - $8.000
$1.200 - $3.500
Labor cost to install an EPDM roof
The lion's share of the rubber roofing project comes to installation, while the material itself costs pennies. That is why when budgeting for an EPDM roof, consider that labor accounts for up to 60% of the total estimate.
According to the latest data we've collected by analyzing hundreds of rubber roofing deals made through the MyHomeQuote system, contractors charge $3 to $7 per square foot or $40 - $60 per hour for installing EPDM roofing. Nevertheless, the cost might be as low as $1.50 per square foot for projects requiring minimal labor investment.
Please note that not only fitting a new roofing material on the prepared roof surface costs you money. Roofers also charge for removing and disposing of old roofing. Depending on the material type, this service typically costs $1 - $2.50 per square foot. Other services that add to the cost include the replacement of damaged sheathing ($2.50 - $7.50 per square foot, including material and labor), installation of insulation material ($1 - $3 per square foot, depending on the insulation type), and sealing ($1 - $2 per square foot).
Please note that installing an EPDM membrane is not rocket science. This material is rolled out on the surface and bonded using adhesive, fasteners, or ballast materials. Nevertheless, roofers charge decent sums for their mounting services. That's because the process requires certain precautions, experience, and knowledge. In addition, poorly installed rubber roofs serve no more than ten years, becoming victims of leaks.
It's worth spending more money to have your new rubber roofing system installed correctly than to cut corners on labor quality and return to repairs in a few years. Fortunately, with MyHomeQuote, you always have a pool of professional roofers at your fingertips. Just share the details of your project with us, and we will contact you with preliminary quotes from vetted roofing contractors operating in your region.
What are the pros and cons of EPDM roofing?
EPDM is the top choice when it comes to rubber roofing as it is the least expensive and complicated to install while offering a long service life and good weather resistance. However, like any roofing material, it has its own advantages and downsides. Check them out below to decide whether EPDM is right up your alley.
An affordable cost of EPDM roofing material
Compared to other rubber roofs like TPO and PVC, EPDM roofing tends to be more affordable in terms of material cost and installation. This makes it an excellent option for budget-conscious homeowners who want to maximize their roofing investment.
A simple installation and repair of EPDM roofing
EPDM membrane is lightweight and flexible. In addition, it comes in large rolls that make it quick and easy to install on the site, saving on labor costs. Besides, EPDM membrane has fewer seams to fail than traditional roofing systems, which makes leakage issues less common. However, if repair is required, it is usually a straightforward process that can be performed without requiring complete roof replacement.
Durability of EPDM roofing
Thanks to their resistance to harsh weather conditions and the ability to expand and contract without cracking, rubber roofs made of EPDM ensure long-lasting performance, especially compared to other materials in the same pricing segment. As a rule, they serve up to 25 years with minimal maintenance.
Lighter weight of EPDM roofing
This rubber membrane is significantly lighter than traditional roofing options made of metal, slate, or asphalt shingles. For example, the weight of a fully-adhered EPDM membrane of 60 mil thickness is around half a pound per square foot, while metal panels weigh about 30 pounds per square foot, and asphalt shingles weigh 4.5 pounds per square foot.
Eco-friendliness of EPDM roofing
EPDM is a synthetic rubber material that can be recycled at the end of its service life. Its components can be reprocessed into new roofing materials or other rubber products, reducing waste and lessening the demand for raw materials. Besides, the material absorbs heat, saving energy and minimizing the need for additional heating in colder climates.
Fire resistance of EPDM membrane roofing
EPDM membrane roofing is inherently flame-retardant due to its chemical properties, which can slow down a fire's spread. On top of that, EPDM roofs with fire retardant coverage have the highest class A fire resistance and can be installed in areas prone to wildfires.
Wind resistance of EPDM membrane roofing
Rubber roofs made of EPDM are made to be resistant to hurricane winds, hail, and heavy rain. The membrane comes in a single roll with a few seams that are fully adhered, creating a smooth surface with no edges that can be picked up by the wind.
Poor appearance of EPDM membrane roofing
Rubber roofs are much less attractive than wooden or metal ones, making them less popular for residential properties. They come in large rubber sheets with no design or pattern on them. Besides, the EPDM membrane is typically only available in black or white colors, fitting a limited number of home exteriors. However, rubber roofs with ballast have a better appearance than adhered or fastened ones.
EPDM membrane roofing is not DIY-friendly
While installing an EPDM membrane is simpler and less time-consuming than other rubber roofing systems, it is not recommended to be handled by DIYers. Even minor installation mistakes can result in massive leaks. That is why it is always best to entrust EPDM roofing installation to certified professionals.
EPDM roof's seams are prone to failure
One of the critical drawbacks of EPDM roofing is the seams that join the membrane sheets. They weaken over time, becoming vulnerable to water penetration and roof leaks. Proper installation and maintenance are essential to avoid these issues.
EPDM roofing is vulnerable to punctures
Depending on the thickness of the membrane, EPDM roofing can be damaged by foot traffic, falling debris, hail, and other external factors. Nevertheless, EPDM roofs with 75 - 90 mil thickness levels are almost immune to punctures and can be installed in hurricane-prone areas or on industrial buildings.
EPDM roofing is prone to oil staining
An EPDM membrane can be stained and damaged by oils, solvents, greases, and other petroleum-based products. When soaking into the membrane, these chemicals break it down from the inside out, reducing its lifespan. If your roof is likely to encounter these substances, another roofing material might be a better choice.
Rubber membrane roofing does not have a high upkeep demand and can remain intact for up to 25 years with occasional inspections and cleaning. Plus, coating an EPDM roof with acrylic paint is advisable once in 7 - 10 years to keep it aesthetically appealing and fresh.
Is EPDM roofing suitable for pitched roofs?
No, an EPDM membrane fits only flat and low-sloped roofs with a pitch of less than 4:12. If you are looking for membrane roofing for a pitched structure, go for rubber tiles or shingles.
Is EPDM roofing worth the investment?
EPDM roofing can be worth the investment due to its longevity, low maintenance, environmental friendliness, and cost-effectiveness. However, it's essential to consider your property's specific needs and circumstances before coming to the final decision.