Is Fibreglass roofing better than EPDM

August 2, 2018

Well here's a question we get asked quite frequently.

 

In frankness it's all in personal perception and the project you are envisaging.

Both systems have first class waterproofing qualities.

 

So in a line the answer is yes and no - depends on circumstance really. Each system has its fans. Whose to say which is best? 

 

Roofing Kits Direct provide both systems and so we are not biased. Below are appraisals of the two systems where we have tried not to be influenced by personal opinion nor rumour.

 

Remember your building or roofing contractor may have a preference -  if so they are likely to do a better job using materials they are familiar with.

 

 

Life expectancy and Longevity.

Very good for both products, 25 - 30 years for fibreglass and up to 50 years for rubber.  Rubber is more susceptible to accidental sharps damage and vandalism however both are easily repairable for isolated minor damages.

 

Certification

Fibreglass  - NHBC approved, Fire retardent

EPDM  - BBA approved - NHBC approved - Fire rated

 

Cost

Fibreglass costs a little more than EPDM, both are more cost effective in the long term than Felt. Fibreglass is better suited for foot traffic elements such as balconies and elevated decks. However Rubber can be easily over paved using geotextile fleece and paving slab supports. 

 

Suitability

Fibreglass

  • Green roofs

  • Lightweight 

  • Visually attractive

  • Colour options

  • Strong

  • Jointless under 50 sq.m

  • Complex shape compatible

  • Large roofs require expansion joints

  • No hot flame required.

EPDM

  • Green roofs

  • Lightweight

  • Flexible

  • Strong

  • Complex shape requires joins

  • Suits uniformly shaped roofs

  • No hot flame required.

  • Visually standard

 

Damage resistance

Fibreglass has a very high resistance factor even to vandalism - EPDM is very durable but may have issues with sharps and vandalism.

 

Repair Profile

Both are very easily repaired, done well a fibreglass repair is almost invisible. Rubber repair has a higher visibility.

 

Appearance

Fibreglass is first class and easily cleaned ans at RKD comes in Light and Dark Grey. Rubber is black, as you would expect and has a good clean appearance. Also rubber is easily cleaned

Both systems use edge trims to provide clean and professional looking finishes.

 

 

So let's look at the pro's and cons

 

Fibreglass

Pros

  • Visually

  • Complexity compatible

  • Foot traffic compatible 

  • No joins

  • Resistant to sharps

  • Good repairability profile

  • Not hot flames required

  • Good Longevity

  • Small roofs good for DIY

 

Cons

  • More expensive than EPDM

  • Mandatory to be dry throughout installation

  • Mixing ratios to be considered

  • Large roofs require expansion joints

Rubber

 

Pros

  • Cost effective

  • Easy to install

  • One piece

  • Can be joined

  • Good repairability profile

  • Not hot flames required

  • Great longevity

  • Good for DIY

​​Cons

  • Complexity means joins

  • Requires additionals for foot traffic

  • Needs to be dry

  • Potential shrikage

  • Susceptible to sharps

 

Roofing Kits Direct believe both systems are very high quality and value for money, which is why we sell them. They can be installed easily by a competent DIYer when the roof is of small - med size. If the roof is straightforward EPDM installation is a little quicker.

 

RKD would express a preference for both these systems as opposed to felt - but then we would wouldn't we.