EPDM or Torch Down?

I am looking to replace the roof on an older building, it is a low slope commercial building in missouri. I have received quotes for “torch down modified bitumen” and EPDM rubber .060. Here are my questions:

Which is better bitumen or rubber?
why am i getting different warrantees even with same manufacturers? (mulehide, and firestone)
If rubber is better, is it really 10,000 dollars better?

Any other info you can offer would be greatly appreciated as I am tired of dumping buckets!

Thank you for your knowledgeable assistance.

Corey Cantwell

well…you will still dump buckets with torchdown. plus they could burn your building down doing it. i like epdm myself. better flashing details and less seams. it is on my warehouse. get more epdm estimates and see if they vary greatly as well. you should get like 5 estimates for the same scope of work, throw out the high and low bids and pick who you trust from the middle 3.

ONLY IF MARHALL DOES IT! LMAO Seriously, he cannot know how to do the system if he really typed this himself. Plumbers burn more buildings down sweating pipes, but nobody hears about that. LOL

It sounds to me like the company wants to offer options, but does not like to do EPDM, or doesnt ave a lot of experience with it.

Who dumps buckets with torch applied?!

Throw down your club and spotted tunic the archaic days of hot mop are gone. No reason to use hot tar on a new torch applied roof ever.

That being said, it’s going to come down to a matter of price and roof traffic. Both systems are good but I’d favor a 3-layer Torch APP in a moderate to high traffic areas. EPDM is a solid roof solution but doesn’t fair well when its walked on all the time.

pitch rules…

Hey, batta batta batta… SWING! & A miss…

Oh, wait. Not that kinda pitch.

EPDM for me; sounds like the only traffic will be for maintenance purposes.


In my area I will give you the best value for your money. If you tell me you are getting 5 bids. Mine will not be one of them.

I can not believe that you tell people to waste so many roofing contractors time.

Ever been to 5 different auto dealers to look for a vehicle? It’s the nature of the business. :arrow:

I am not afraid to compete against 10 other quotes because I am confident in my product, my service & my commitment to the process.

That doesn’t mean I’m going to get 100% of the bids I place, however if I was afraid of the competition then I couldn’t sleep @ night because who knows… after I leave a jobsite any number of things can happen; additional estimators / roofers / salespeople are one of them (not all customers are there to meet & greet @ the time of inspection considering that we do our work during the same time they are probably not around).
I don’t have enough time to ONLY meet with a customer onsite to do measurements & hand out estimates.

Granted, sometimes I will drive a couple of blocks out of my way to look at a roof & see if they have done the work or not (one recent one was only 3 blocks from my house & the 2 man ‘tag team’ they hired took 5 days to do a tear-off, 2 decking repair & 30 +/- square dimensional lay. The customer will STILL have a leak @ the roof to patio joint because the underlying problem wasn’t addressed…

Cost was obviously the over abiding decision factor for these customers & my commitment to quality was not as important to them it seems. I have no idea what their quote was in relation to mine.

If I were to take rejection so deeply that it hurt my psyche then it might be better to take a job @ a hamburger joint & hope nobody changes their mind from “hamburger” to “cheeseburger”… :wink:

Thanks for the replies so far guys.

I thought I would add the following…

No there isn’t much traffic on the roof, except my neighbors, I hate them. LOL sometimes I catch them on my roof watching fireworks or just drinking.

I also need to keep weight in mind, the metal of the roof is not at all new. I don’t really want to put three layers of bitumen down do I?

Also, I have recieved samples of bitumen and rubber, the bitumen looks like it’s the same as asphalt but with additives to make it pliable and able to be rolled into sheets. is that right?

The rubber looks very durable, even when walked on…

Also if you are in the Southeast Missouri area and you would like to bid just call me at 573-335-9955 12pm-6pm EST

I’ve put down a lot of both types of roof systems, and without a doubt you will want to go with the modified bitumen since it is a more forgiving system. My preference would be a built-up roof membrane with a modified bitumen cap sheet. The redundancy and thickness of the material is what will protect your building interior. And no, EPDM should not cost more than the mod. bit. roof system.

OK I just talked to one of the bidders.

He said he doesn’t have to have the insulation board on top of the existing tar roof under the rubber. This means that the factory will not warrantee the product’s installation. BUT he says we’ll have a “ten year LIMITED factory warranty on the rubber”

Is this typical?

He also told me that to get the full factory warrantee I would be paying a lot more. I assume that is for the extra material (fiber board) and labor, correct?

I have other bids that offer warrantees with no dollar amount limit, but I’ll be paying around 10,00 dollars more for them to do it.

I’m so confused\worried\frustrated!

Thanks again for your help,


With regard to the limited 10 year warranty for the EPDM (rubber), it is ONLY a material warranty against manufacturing defects. Furthermore, most manufacturers will NOT warranty residential low-sloped roofs.

You said you compared the mod. bit. to the EPDM, did you try to stick a nail in the two membranes? Poke them with a piece of broken glass? Trust me, you will be much better off with the mod. bit. than you will be with the EPDM roof. And personally, I wouldn’t want an EPDM roof on any of my roofs unless I was the one installing the product. Too many things can be done wrong and lead to leaks. Also, if you have neighbors on your roof I would certainly steer clear of EPDM. And for what it is worth, damage caused by others is not covered under anyones warranty.

But tarmonkey, why not a redundant watgerproofing in a 2 ply mopped base with a FR cap for a 20 year ndl?