Every industry has its shorthand. Airline pilots “squawk,” stagehands “fly” scenery, and roofers use BUR and EPDM for protecting Tulsa commercial buildings. You may have heard some of these terms but never been sure exactly what roofers were talking about. Now you can know.


Built up roofing is one of the oldest, most successful roofing methods around. Exactly as its name describes, your building’s commercial roof is built up from varying layers of water-resistant and windproof materials, like a giant club sandwich:

  • A reflective roof coating (sprayed or brushed on)
  • Asphalt
  • A ply sheet for strength
  • Cover board
  • More asphalt
  • Rigid insulation
  • Roof deck

Choose the number of layers you need for your roof; the more layers, the longer the installation and greater the cost, but the longer the roof will last. This type of roof is the earthy essence of roofing; it depends on basic materials, usually topped with gravel or crushed stone for ballast. This is what many people call a “tar and gravel” roof.


Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM), or Ethylene Propylene Diene Terpolymer is, according to the EPDM Association, an “extremely durable synthetic rubber roofing membrane,” made up of ethylene and propylene. It is only available in black or white, in two thicknesses, in many widths up to about 50 feet.

EPDM’s great durability, and resilience to puncture and wear, make it an excellent choice for small- to mid-sized Tulsa commercial roofs because they can often be installed with no seams. For larger areas, seams are sealed with tape or adhesive.

Comparing Costs

Installation of these two dependable roofing materials is very different; EPDM is either fully adhered or mechanically adhered. BUR is adhered with the hot asphalt between layers.

Experts at Roofing Calc tag EPDM’s cost at $4 to $7 per square foot, installed. BUR is similar, at $5 to $7 per square foot. By contrast, PVC is typically $7 to $10 per square foot.

The variable most important to either BUR or EPDM installation is the experience and craftsmanship of the roofing contractor’s work crew. Trust so expensive a capital investment to a local, high-quality commercial roofer.

With a quick call or online contact to Perfection Roofing Inc., you can get more than a mini-education in the different roofing solutions available for your business. Contact us today and find out if BUR, EPDM, TPO or PVC is right for you.

How Leaky Roofs Result In MoldFrom Night To Day With A Simple Roof Coating