ERA | EPDM Roofing Association

Hail: A Study in the Durability of EPDM

Hail: A Study in the Durability of EPDM

April 01, 2015 18:45

Hail damage to commercial roofing results in millions of dollars of economic loss worldwide each year. Owners of properties that are largely self-insured are beginning to realize the importance of installing hail resistant roofing systems and at least one state insurance agency now allows insurance companies to provide a reduction in insurance rates if a hail resistant type roofing material is installed. The members of ERA know from experience that EPDM roof systems hold up well against hail and now there’s scientific evidence available.

In 2007, Jim D. Koontz & Associates, Inc. conducted independent laboratory testing for ERA on many types of roofing materials, including polyisocyanurate, wood fiber, plywood, and OSB board. The testing was performed in accordance with ASTM and other federal and industry standards and included simulation of hail up to three inches of diameter.

The results of the study showed EPDM roofing membranes did not suffer membrane damage and avoided leaking problems endemic to other roofing surfaces in similar circumstances.  The heat-aged and field aged non-reinforced EPDM tested within this study provided excellent resistance to large hail. Of the 81 targets installed over different surfaces 76 did not fail when impacted with hail ice balls up to three inches in diameter.

Based on field and test data, it is clear that EPDM roof membranes outperform other roof systems in terms of hail protection. The impact resistance of both the field-aged and heat-aged membrane also clearly demonstrates that EPDM retains the bulk of its impact resistance as it ages.

As added incentives to potential buyers, EPDM roofing manufacturers and suppliers offer their product in a variety of thicknesses and with three installation options. Owners of critical facilities, such as hospitals, schools, computer centers, airports, and sensitive government buildings have come to realize the importance of installing a hail-resistant roof assembly over critical facilities. The use of non-reinforced EPDM can provide an additional level of long-term protection.

The results from this study and over 50 years of field service, combined with extensive warranty coverage and cost effective options, make EPDM roofing the leading choice, especially when determining roofing options in areas of the country with significant hail fall.

Ellen Thorp

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