Common EPDM flat roof problems include the fact that they do not shed rain or snow as well as sloped roofs. They are also subject to leaking and failing long before their projected life span, which usually happens because the EPDM has not been installed properly.
The adhesives that close the seams of an EPDM flat roof eventually deteriorate, and the seams come apart and allow leakage. In some cases, because the roofer does not give the flashing time to stretch while the roof is being installed, the adhesive breaks and allows water to penetrate to the roof. EPDM flat roofs are also at higher risk for punctures and subject to shrinkage. Black EPDM also absorbs heat, and special light-colored EPDM costs as much as 30 percent more than the traditional black material.
Because of these problems, it is important for a homeowner to find a roofing contractor who specializes in installing EPDM flat roofs, even though EPDM roofs themselves do not require specialized equipment. Homeowners should not be tempted to install an EPDM flat roof themselves.
EPDM, or ethylene propylene diene monomer, is a type of rubber. It is attached to the roof with fasteners, adhesives or ballast such as stone. As of 2015, EPDM costs between $250 to $350 per square foot to install.