An Introduction to EPDM Gutter Membrane Systems


Even the best gutter systems can’t protect your home from water completely. When a heavy thunderstorm rolls through, your gutters won’t be able to funnel the deluge of water away from your home quickly enough. The water will rise right up to the edge of the gutter, either splashing over the side a bit or pushing up against the edge of the roof. The water will seep between the gutter and the fascia, contributing to rot in the fascia, the eaves, the trim, and the shingles at the edge of the roof.

If your gutters become clogged with debris, the problem is exacerbated. A dam of leaves and pine needles will send pools of water over your roof and submerge your fascia. The rotting will be accelerated, leading to damage to your roof, walls and more.

Installing a seamless gutter system can help minimize clogs, as can cleaning your gutters regularly. However, you’ll need extra protection for your fascia and roof.

The EPDM rubber membrane system is a protective layer for your roof, which wraps all the way around the edges, even under the gutters. It provides a waterproof layer that protects your home from rot, pest damage and more.

Waterproof Materials

The EPDM system takes its name from the material from which it’s made: EPDM polymer. EPDM, or Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer, polymer is chemically altered to become EPDM rubber. The resulting product is flexible, waterproof, and resistant to temperature extremes, UV lights and air pollution.

Not only will EPDM rubber keep out water, but it also won’t crack or break down thanks to extreme temperature changes — such as very hot summers or very cold winters — and it won’t dry out under the hot sun.

Because EPDM is so watertight, it is an ideal choice for flat roofs or other roofs who have poor drainage and are susceptible to pools of standing water.

Membrane Application

EPDM rubber membranes are installed as sheets. The sheets are attached to the roof sub decking before the shingles or tile are installed in the final step.

Because EPDM rubber membranes are stretchy and flexible, they can be wrapped or stretched to cover any surface, no matter how irregular. The membrane will be wrapped over roof edgings and walls so that no cracks are left behind to let in even a drop of water.

This feature is especially important around the gutters. The EPDM membrane is wrapped over the edge of the roof and the fascia, providing a complete barrier behind the gutter system. The fascia covering and trim are installed over the membrane, and then the gutters are hung. You won’t see the membrane, but it will provide constant protection for your home.

Some EPDM membrane is installed in sheets that have to be joined and sealed. However, some companies manufacture custom sheets to fit the exact dimensions of your home. The seamless application ensures that there are no weak points that could allow in water or pests. You get 100% coverage and don’t have to worry about ongoing maintenance.


The lifespan of an EPDM membrane system depends on the manufacturer that provides it and the exact chemical composition of the material. Some EPDM membrane systems are designed to be stronger or thicker than others.

On average, an EPDM membrane system should last you between 20 and 30 years. These are the typical warranties on EPDM membrane systems, so the actual life span could be longer if you maintain your roof and gutters.

Other Benefits

EPDM membranes are a thick, additional layer of protection for your roof. Therefore, the membrane also helps to insulate your home and bring down your overall heating and cooling costs. The internal temperature of your home will remain more constant, creating a more comfortable environment for you and your guests and saving you some money.

EPDM membranes are also quite affordable. With a modest investment, you can provide superior protection for your home and can increase the overall value of your home. Buyers will love knowing that the house has improved protection and energy efficiency.

If you are ready to re-roof your home, consider an EPDM membrane system to protect your roof and reinforce your gutters. You won’t have to worry as much when you fall behind on cleaning your gutters or have a huge storm come through your town. You can rest easy knowing that your home is protected against the elements for many years to come.

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