Resilient roofs for resilient buildings

The impact of extreme weather caused by climate change is becoming one of the major business risks of today. More frequent hail storms, hurricanes, record high and low temperatures, droughts and flooding - among others - are affecting us all and the buildings we occupy. Finding solutions to mitigate these risks is of the highest importance.

Here is where the concept of “resilient buildings” comes in place. Resilience is certainly a word we have heard a lot in recent months. Its generic definition is “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties”. In building construction, resilience is the ability to absorb or avoid damage without suffering complete failure and being able to recover quickly from adverse events. Resilient buildings are therefore more attractive to building owners and tenants alike.

The role of the roof

Roofs are a building’s first line of defence, so any discussion on resilience must include the careful consideration of the complete roofing system. It is not just about the roof offering protection against cataclysmic weather, but also its ability to withstand extreme UV radiation, heat or cold, and its capacity to recover quickly from disruption and fatigue resistance.

A resilient roofing system plays therefore a vital role in achieving a building’s resiliency. If the roof fails, everything under it is subject to failure and it will require a longer time to bring the building back to service.

In a nutshell, a resilient roofing system embraces the use of durable materials, together with robust design and performance. It offers, among others:

  • outstanding weather resistance in all climates, namely UV resistance and the ability to withstand extreme heat and cold.
  • excellent impact and hail resistance
  • ability to withstand fatigue due to building movements
  • ease of maintenance and repair in case of damage

Why Firestone’s RubberGard EPDM?

Firestone’s RubberGard EPDM roofing membrane is a uniquely valuable component of a resilient roofing system. It is made of a synthetic rubber compound, designed in such a way that each polymer is dosed in the ideal proportions to increase the mechanical and weathering properties of the membrane. This makes it virtually immune to the various factors that speed up wear and tear, such as UV radiation, heat, hail and building movements.

RubberGard EPDM remains stable over time, with its mechanical properties unchanged, even after many years of service. It also possesses the inherent ability to recover and return to its original shape and performance after a severe weather event, such as a hail storm.

RubberGard EPDM is also a very sustainable roofing material with a low environmental impact throughout its complete life cycle – from raw material, to production, use and disposal. In the event of damage after severe weather conditions, or other situations such as vandalism, the membrane can be easily repaired following simple procedures and using simple tools, even decades after its initial installation. This ease of repair further extends its service life.

Since its introduction in 1980, RubberGard EPDM has been used on roofs in various geographic areas and all types of climatic conditions, from the ice-cold Alaska to the extremely hot Arabian Gulf, and is consistently performing well. Studies suggest that a properly formulated EPDM roofing membrane can achieve a service life of more than 50 years*. The first roof covered with RubberGard EPDM in Wisconsin (USA) in 1980, is a living proof of this durability, standing strong even after 40 summers and winters and enduring extreme weather conditions – a true example of a resilient roof.

*“Evaluation of the useful life of EPDM roofing membranes”, SKZ (Süddeutsche Kunststoff-Zentrum).