The Truth About Rubber Roofing: Pros and Cons

By Angelina Zhuravleva  •  August 06  •  5 min
The Truth About Rubber Roofing: Pros and Cons

You're on the right track if you're considering using a rubber roof for your home or business. Rubber roofing is an excellent option due to its remarkable durability and resistance to weather. However, before deciding, it's important to weigh its potential downsides too. Although rubber roofing, typically made from materials such as EPDM, TPO, or PVC, may seem obvious, it still has limitations.

Explore rubber roofing advantages and disadvantages to make a well-informed choice when selecting a rubber roofing material.

What Is Rubber Roofing?

Rubber roofing, as the name suggests, is predominantly made from synthetic rubber compounds. The most common materials used in its composition are Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM), Thermoplastic Olefin (TPO), or Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC).

EPDM is a robust synthetic rubber roofing material., primarily used in flat or low-slope buildings. It's known for its superior durability and cost-effectiveness.

The TPO roofing system comprises a single layer of thermoplastic polyolefin membrane. This membrane is made up of a blend of polypropylene and ethylene-propylene rubber, and it's known for its resistance to ultraviolet light and chemical exposure.

PVC roofing is another popular choice, particularly for flat or low-slope roofs. The material is praised for its strength, durability, and resistance to moisture, wind, fire, and chemical erosion.

Rubber roofing comes in the form of a roll. It is a single-ply material consisting of one layer of rubber material. The material is installed by rolling it out onto the roof or fitting pre-made sheets, providing a seamless covering. This seamless nature of rubber roofing makes it highly resistant to leaks.

In addition to being durable and leak-resistant, rubber roofing is eco-friendly as it's often made from recycled materials. At the end of its life, it can be recycled again. It's also energy-efficient, as it helps regulate indoor temperature, reducing the need for heating or cooling.

Durability: Rubber Roofing Stands the Test of Time

Rubber roofing is an excellent choice for those seeking durability. It has an impressive lifespan, often coming with 20-year warranties and lasting up to 30 years. Additionally, it's a sustainable option, made from recycled tires and other materials. It is fully recyclable at the end of its lifetime. Rubber roofing may have a higher initial cost, but it offers long-term value, durability, and peace of mind. For those seeking a roof that can stand the test of time and provide maximum protection, it is definitely worth considering.

Low Maintenance but High Cost: Weighing the Pros and Cons

Before installing rubber roofing on your home, it is important to consider its benefits and downsides. The strengths of rubber roofing in its durability, sustainability, and energy efficiency, making it a resilient and eco-friendly option that can also help regulate your home's temperature. However, it has its drawbacks. Higher initial costs, the need for specialized installation, and a different aesthetic that might not fit every home's style are factors that merit consideration. Lastly, like any material, it has specific vulnerabilities that might be exposed depending on your home's environment. So, as you ponder the pros and cons, consider your budget, aesthetic preferences, and local conditions to ensure rubber roofing is the right fit for your home.

Low Maintenance

Rubber roofing is nearly maintenance-free. But you have to check it for signs of damage such as cracks, blisters, or punctures.

EPDM is a durable material that may require regular sealing around the edges and other joints.

Maintaining TPO roofs is a breeze as they require minimal upkeep. You can effortlessly clean them using a pressure washer or a leaf blower.

PVC roofs are incredibly durable against punctures, UV rays, and heat. However, it's important to regularly check for any weak spots in the seams over time.

High Cost

While rubber roofing may save you money in the long run, the initial cost to install a rubber roof is relatively high. Rubber roofing materials and installation fees can cost 2 to 3 times more than asphalt shingles. The exact cost will depend on the size and slope of your roof and the material you selected. For many homeowners, the upfront cost is a deal breaker, even with the promise of longevity and energy savings.

Not Suitable for All Roof Types

A roofer is unrolling an EPDM membrane

Rubber roofing is typically only installed on flat or low-slope roofs. It won't be suitable and practical for steeply-sloped roofs, especially with many angles, edges, or protrusions. Rubber roofing is also heavy, so the underlying roof structure must support the additional weight. Some roofs may require reinforcing before rubber roofing can be installed.

Prone to Damage

While rubber roofing is durable, it can still be punctured by sharp objects or susceptible to damage from UV exposure over time. Punctures need to be repaired quickly to prevent leaks. And while rubber roofing can last 50 years or more, UV protectants may need to be reapplied every 5 to 10 years to prevent cracking. Neglecting damage can significantly reduce the lifespan of a rubber roof.

Weighing all the pros and cons, rubber roofing deserves consideration if you want an eco-friendly, low-maintenance option. But for many homeowners, the higher upfront costs and potential downsides mean other roofing materials may be better alternatives.

Common Misconceptions About Rubber Roofing

While rubber roofing is low-maintenance compared to some other options, it's not maintenance-free. You'll still need to inspect your roof regularly, ideally once a year. Check for any punctures, leaks, or signs of weathering and have them repaired promptly.

Rubber roofing can last a long time, but not forever.

Rubber roofing membranes can last 10-30 years, sometimes longer. However, no roofing material lasts indefinitely. Rubber roofing will eventually deteriorate and break down due to sun exposure and weathering. Signs it's nearing the end of its lifespan include cracking, chalking, and damage that's becoming more difficult to repair. When it's time for replacement, rubber roofing can be re-covered rather than doing a complete tear-off, saving time and money.

Rubber roofing works on more than just flat roofs.

While excellent for flat roofs, rubber membranes can also work on low-slope roofs like barrel roofs or roofs with gradual angles. Installation may require additional steps, like adding a slip sheet and securing the membrane in place with adhesives and fasteners, especially on steeper surfaces. However, rubber roofing should typically not be used on roofs with a pitch greater than 2:12.

Directorii: Top-rated Rubber Roofing Contractors Near You

If you're seeking reliable and trustworthy roofers near you, your search ends with Directorii. We offer a comprehensive resource dedicated to exclusively featuring top-rated, pre-screened roofing specialists. Our platform simplifies your search process, making finding, comparing, and hiring roofing companies in your area effortless. Furthermore, every job registered on our service is backed by a $20,000 guarantee, ensuring your peace of mind.

Ready to dive into the world of roofing and discover the best cost options? Look at our informative article on roofing costs to make well-informed decisions for your upcoming project.