Selection of Flat Roofs

Classic Bond or Firestone? It’s a question that crops up a lot for those of us looking to cover our roofs with brand new EPDM. A natural one, considering both are world-leading manufacturers and both boast membranes that are strong, durable, and versatile enough to suit virtually all domestic flat roofs.

However, there is no need to just rely on guesswork or gut feeling. Below we’ll talk a bit about the history of these two manufacturing goliaths and go through some of the key differences that may sway you one way or another.

The History of EPDM

EPDM can trace back its origins to the 1960s when it saw a boom thanks to its incredibly cost-effective design. At the time (and still today) it was seen by many as one of the best roof coverings available on the market. This original innovator was none other than Classic Bond who, since that first introduction sixty years ago, has gone on to sell over ten billion square feet of membrane.

Of course, they weren’t the only manufacturers for long. It was in the 1980s that Firestone joined the market themselves and, now a part of Holcim, counts itself a key player in the world’s global leader of building solutions. Whilst they have only covered a respectable one and half billion square meters, firestones commercial-grade FireGuard™ can be seen in use across buildings all over Europe. Including the Royal De Ree in Holand, which is also equipped with over ten thousand square meters of solar panels perfectly incorporated into the membrane – a testament to firestones quality.

What Classic Bond & Firestone Have in Common

It may seem that Firestone and Classic Bond are as good as each other, and there is some truth to this. With both their membranes being EPDM, there is naturally a lot they have in common. Life expectancy for one. Both are touted to last for over 50 years if installed correctly, and both are durable enough to back up that claim – resistant to tears, rips, and splits. This comes as by-product of the rubber’s elasticity, though it’s worth noting that until the 2030s only Classic Bond will have proven it can last this long.

Both are also very sustainable. As a natural result of their long life yes, but also because they can be fully recycled after their use and are flexible enough to be compatible with a variety of green roof systems and (as illustrated by the Royal De Ree) solar panels. Though it’s not only the planet that these systems benefit. They can also lighten the load on your wallet as both possess extremely limited maintenance requirements, with tests on Classic Bond proving they work as good as new even after thirty years of exposure.

It’s also difficult to see much difference when it comes to the membrane's installations. Both can be applied without the use of fire, instead of using cold adhesive, not just by professional tradespeople but skilled DIYers as well. Besides this, both also supply a wide array of dedicated accessories, trims, flashings etc. to help make the process even simpler.

What is the Difference Between Classic Bond & Firestone?

Having trouble picking your favourite? That’s common, at first glance it is hard to tell the difference but there are some key elements that separate the two. Key elements that should help you decide which is right for your roof.

Thickness

Both Firestone and Classic Bond are available in two thicknesses. 1.14 & 1.52 mm for Firestone and 1.2m & 1.5mm for CB. It is simple to consider these as a mark of their protective quality, with a thicker membrane able to withstand extreme exposure for longer. However, it is important to remember that this is all relative to the location of your roof.

Much like a high megapixel camera can’t be differentiated from a lower one if the sensor size is small, a thick membrane won’t necessarily demonstrate this improved protection if only ever exposed to temperate weather. Of course, a thicker membrane will always last longer regardless, but that doesn’t mean it is always the better choice – especially if you are working on a budget.

In reality, when applying this to Firestone and Classic bond, the difference between the two is minute enough that it will rarely come into play in most applications.

Weight

This is much the same as with their thickness. Firestone’s RubberCover™ clocks in around 1.4kg per m2 with Classic Bond coming in slightly lower around 1.22kg. Whist not a massive increase, it is important to remember to scale this up when shopping for yourself, to whatever square footage your project calls for.

Certifications

Both have been BBA (British Board of Agrément) certified and approved by the NHBC so you can be sure of their construction quality. Since 2019, Firestone’s RubberCover™ has also received a DTA (Technical Application Document) certification from CCFAT, further demonstrating their dedication to creating high-performance waterproofing.

For more information, you can view these BBA certificates below:

Coverage

Again, both membranes have similar coverages though not exactly the same. In both cases, across both thicknesses, Firestone and Classic Bond are available in rolls up to 30,500mm in length (or 30.5 meters), with Classic Bond able to go to 15,240 on width in with both their 1.2 and 1.5mm models. Firestone is only available in this size for their thicker membrane, with RubberCover™ 1.14 topping out at a width of 12,200mm with a max coverage of 150 m2.

Price

This is the big one and perhaps the simplest way to choose between the two. As you might have guessed, having somewhat of a deeper pedigree Classic Bond is the slightly more expensive option. Though not by a massively significant margin. Taking a rough cut of 5050 x 5050mm for example, the cost difference between the two is only around £13 (£275 for Classic Bond and £262 for Firestone*). However, as with their weight, it is important to remember to scale this up as the gap in price will only increase as their size does.

Conclusion: Is Classic Bond or Firestone Better for My Roof?

If this article has demonstrated anything, it’s that both Firestone and Classic Bond produce brilliant EPDM roof coverings. Both are durable, both are long-lasting, and both are good for the environment. The key factor when choosing between the two will likely be the price. Classic Bond is slightly more expensive but, while both have certifications of quality, CB has twenty years of solid proof of this quality over Firestone.

Any Questions?

If you have any other questions about EPDM or are currently looking to start up your next project and need a hand picking out the perfect products, our award-winning team is here for you. Simply call us on 01295 565 565 or chat to us online, we’ll be happy to help.

*correct as of January 2022