Low Slope Roofing

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Low slope roofing is defined as a roof having a slope of 2% or less. Low slope roofing includes water impermeable or weatherproof types of roofing membranes installed on slopes of less than or equal to 3:12 pitch.

There are two common types of materials used on low slope roofs:

  • Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM)
  • Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO)

Each type of low slope roofing material offers different benefits to address different issues. If you’re interested in how either of these materials will work for your low slope roofing installation or replacement, contact our team at Sundown Exteriors.

Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM)


EPDM is a synthetic rubber most commonly used in a single-ply roofing system because it is readily available and simple to apply. Seaming and detailing has evolved over the years and is fast, simple, and reliable. There are many types of EPDM membranes available, including factory-applied tape, resulting in a faster installation.

EPDM is available in both black and white. It is available between widths of 7.5 feet to 50 feet. There are also various thicknesses available.

This type of asphalt shingle varies in appearance more and also features a more multi-dimensional texture, which allows them to last up to 30 years. In addition to its multi-dimensional texture, architectural shingles are installed in two or more layers for added durability.

The main appeal of dimensional shingles is the overall design and appearance. This style of shingle looks great and lasts longer, making it well worth the additional investment.

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Advantages of EPDM

When considering which material to use for a low slope roofing installation, it’s important to compare and contrast the advantages of EPDM and TPO. Choose EPDM if you’re looking for a material that is:

  • More affordable to install and repair
  • Long-lasting for 30 or more years
  • Lighter weight
  • Fast and easy to install
  • Resistant to weather damage like hail and heat
  • More energy-efficient
  • Able to withstand extreme temperatures
  • Fire-resistant
  • Resistant to high winds

Maintaining EPDM

With the incredible amount of benefits that EPDM offers, it’s a fairly easy roofing material to manage. Like all roofs though, regular roof inspections are important in order to maintain the integrity of your low slope roofing system.

When you choose EPDM, we don’t recommend you try installing it yourself. EPDM needs to be professionally installed in order for it to be fully protective.

If you’re installing a low slope roof on an area that has regular foot traffic or is surrounded by trees, opt for a thicker membrane. EPDM can be punctured easily, so a thicker membrane will better protect your roof from debris.

EPDM is a very plain-looking roofing material, so we recommend having it installed with a ballast, such as rocks, to give it more texture. A ballast is something that holds down the EPDM, so rocks or pavers can add appeal to an otherwise rubber surface.

When working on or around a roof that is installed with EPDM, avoid using petroleum-based products. EPDM has a poor resistance to natural gas and oil, and can break down quickly if it comes into contact with it.

Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO)


This single-ply roofing material can be fully adhered, mechanically fastened, or ballasted. TPO does not degrade under UV radiation, ozone exposure, or after contact with chemicals. It is created using different types of rubber, and is available in white, gray, and black.

Similar to EDPM, TPO is available in a variety of widths and thicknesses to address your low slope roofing needs.

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Benefits of TPO

TPO and EPDM are similar materials, so they offer similar benefits. Choose TPO if you want a low slope roofing materials that is:

  • More affordable than traditional roofing materials
  • Easy and fast to install
  • Resistant to mold, mildew, and other algae growth
  • Long-lasting for 20–30 years
  • Energy-efficient
  • Environmentally-friendly

Taking Care of TPO Roofing Material

Before choosing TPO as the material for your low slope roofing installation or replacement, it’s important to consider how often it will need to be maintained, and what to expect from the material for the duration of its lifespan.

TPO offers less resistance to extreme temperatures, meaning it can crack easily as the material expands and contracts with the heat and cold. These cracks can leave your roof vulnerable to moisture damage, so be sure to have it inspected and repaired regularly.

Find Out Which Low Slope Roofing Material Is Right for You!

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Had a new roof and gutter guards on home and garage replaced 2 months ago. Very professional service and presentation. Contract presented along with license and insurance information along with paperwork showing carried workman’s comp on employees. All work done within promised time frame. Perfectionism noted on completion of job and cleanup perfect. Employees very respectful and hard workers. Would recommend them and would use them again in the future if needed. Good job, thank you!