Rubber Roofs

Rubber roofing is not seen on homes as often as other types of roofing materials, but offers a number of advantages to rubber roofing that make it a very attractive option. As with any roofing material, there are benefits and drawbacks to choosing an IB or EPDM roofing membrane. Understanding the basics, costs and benefits can help you decide if rubber roofing is an option for your home.

Rubber Roofing Basics

There are two main types of rubber roofing – rubber roof shingles and rubber whole roof sheeting. Each works better in specific situations and has its own benefits and drawbacks.

Rubber Roofing Shingles
These look and function just like other types of shingle roofing, except that they are made from synthetic rubber. They are lightweight, easy to cut and shape to fit particular areas, and are installed on a roof just like any other type of shingle.

Whole Roof Rubber Sheeting Or Membranes
These membranes are custom-made to specifically fit a particular size and shape of roof in one complete piece. It is a more expensive option than shingles, but offers the advantages of being leak-proof since there are no seams. Both IB and EPDM are types of sheeting or membrane. Due to the large pieces of sheeting, it is heavier to transport and install, but can be a great option for small, flat roofs.


Rubber Roofing Prices

EPDM Membrane
$5 – $8 psf installed
Expect to pay $500 to $800 per square.

IB Membrane
$9 – $11 psf installed
Expect to spend $900 to $1100 per sqaure. More on rubber roofing prices.

Rubber Roofing Benefits

Energy efficient
Rubber provides great insulation and can withstand extreme temperatures. It also reflects sun and heat away from the house. These are considered cool roofs.

Lightweight
Easy to transport and to get onto the roof.

Virtually Impenetrable
Rubber roofing is almost leak proof. Care still needs to be taken around seams and in places where rubber may crack or split. Liquid sealers can be applied that dry and protect from leaks even more.

Pliable
Rubber roofing can be easily cut or molded in places that would be difficult to cover with other materials.

Low Maintenance
The material requirse almost no maintenance, except for occasional re-sealing if cracks or tears occur.

Extremely Durable
Will last longer than most other materials, as much as twice as long.

Fire Resistant
Good in places prone to wildfires.

Dent Resistant
Good in places prone to hail.

Waterproof
Rubber is not damaged by exposure to water and does not allow water to penetrate.

Easy To Install
The shingles are relatively easy to install, although single-ply rubber roofing sheets may require additional expertise. Rubber roofs can usually be installed right over existing roofing, with a layer of insulating foam between the two. This increases energy efficiency and reduces time and cost of installation.

Easy To Fix
Rubber roofing can be fixed with spare pieces of rubber and adhesive, special tape that covers small cracks, or a liquid sealer that can be applied anywhere and dries like rubber.

Environmentally Friendly
They are typically made from recycled materials.

Drawbacks

Cost
The material tends to be expensive when compare to a torchdown roof, especially whole roof rubber sheeting. Shingles can be comparable in price to a wood shake roof.

Aesthetics
It is generally not as attractive as other options.

Expansion And Contraction
Since rubber expands and contracts due to temperature changes, it can result in cracks, splits and fissures. The shingles can rip or tear over time. The good news, however, is that repairs are easy to make.