PROS AND CONS OF RUBBER ROOFING

Rubber roofing is something a lot of homeowners have probably never heard of or certainly never considered for their own home. But perhaps it is the time that many of them did.

This article is not designed to encourage the homeowner to buy one particular type of roof, but rather to arm the homeowner with enough facts and knowledge so the homeowner can make in informed roofing decision.

A rubber roof, known in the roofing business as an EPDM (ethylene propylene diene terpolymer) roof, has a lot of advantages and only a few disadvantages. One of the big advantages to rubber is the cost. Although a homeowner must use a licensed installer to lay down this roof, the cost of the entire job still favorably compares to the cost for other types of roofing. Not only is the roofing material itself less expensive than most other choices, but the product is also lightweight, and installation is fast and easy, reducing labor and installation costs. The rubber is glued into place, negating the use of heat, which can adversely affect a homeowner’s insurance policy.

Rubber is also long-lasting. Most of these roofs are laid in a single piece, which means there are no seams or very few, depending on the exact layout of the roof. Few seams mean few places for water to seep under the roofing and destroy the home. And because modern rubber is not susceptible to the sun’s UV and ultraviolet rays, a properly-installed rubber roof can last 50 years or even longer. Rubber can withstand high winds and even hail up to three inches in diameter. Many rubber roofs laid down in the 1970s are still in use today.

Another large advantage of rubber is that if the roof ever does have a leak, repairs are fast, easy and extremely inexpensive. In many cases a tube of liquid rubber is all that is needed; in other cases, a special tape designed specifically for repairing rubber will do the job. In any event, repairing one of these roofs, if and when it should become necessary, is almost never a problem.

Maintenance is another advantage. Almost all roofing materials require some maintenance over the years, but rubber requires little if any care. The most that a homeowner may wish to do is to repaint the roof with acrylic paint once every 10 to 12 years.

Another large advantage of rubber is that if the roof ever does have a leak, repairs are fast, easy and extremely inexpensive. In many cases a tube of liquid rubber is all that is needed; in other cases, a special tape designed specifically for repairing rubber will do the job. In any event, repairing one of these roofs, if and when it should become necessary, is almost never a problem.

Maintenance is another advantage. Almost all roofing materials require some maintenance over the years, but rubber requires little if any care. The most that a homeowner may wish to do is to repaint the roof with acrylic paint once every 10 to 12 years.

Rubber roofs come in a variety of thicknesses, from 45mm all the way up to 90mm. Which size is right for any particular home depends on the location of the home, the pitch of the roof and several other factors. Homeowners are encouraged to talk to the knowledgeable roofing experts at United Home Experts to learn which thickness is right for their home and to ask any other roofing questions. The experts at United Home Experts sell and install a wide range of roofing products, so their honest answers are never based on commissions.

Rubber is also one of the “greenest” choices that a homeowner can make. The rubber itself takes less energy to produce than most other roofing materials and is often made from recycled materials, to begin with. And the roof is 100% recyclable at the end of its long life.

Rubber is fire resistant. Not only is such a roof almost impossible to set afire, even with a lightning strike, but the rubber is actively resistant to all forms of fire and can slow a fire to the point that help has time to arrive. Homeowners should check with their homeowner’s insurance to see if there is a rate reduction for installing an EPDM roof.

EPDM roofs are also extremely energy efficient. An EPDM roof reflects the sun’s heat, especially the lighter-colored roofs designed for residential use, saving the homeowner considerably on air conditioning costs. EDPM also insulates the home, trapping in heat to reduce energy costs and utility bills in the colder months. The homeowner does not have to worry about the rubber freezing or cracking under extremes of cold weather. Modern EPDM roofing is designed to take both extremes of cold as well as heat.

One of the primary drawbacks to a rubber roof is its appearance. Most EPDM roofs are black. However, many manufacturers now make a white or off-white for residential use, and it is very easy and inexpensive for a homeowner to have an EPDM roof painted almost any color with an acrylic paint. The use of an acrylic paint is actually recommended as it prolongs the life of the roof even longer.

Some manufacturers are also producing EPDM roofing in long thin strips, which can be cut to resemble shingles. These faux shingles must still be installed by a professional, but they can go a long way to making an EPDM roof look almost identical to most other roofs in a neighborhood. And, of course, rubber shingles can be painted almost any color to resemble other types of roofs while still providing the homeowner with 50 years or more of unsurpassed protection.

Finding the right roofer can also be a problem. Many roofers pretend to be proficient in installing EPDM when, in fact, they are not. Using the wrong roofer to install a rubber roof can lead to problems down the line due to incorrect installation and can even negate a warranty on the rubber itself.

Virtually the only negative for a rubber roof is appearance, and even that drawback can be overcome with the use of rubber shingles or acrylic paint. With each passing week, new tweaks are being made in the fast-changing world of rubber roofing, so it behooves a homeowner to speak with the roofing experts at United Home Experts for the very latest information on rubber roofs.

Homeowners here in the Northeast can easily protect themselves against this problem by consulting the well-known and well-respected roofing masters at United Home Experts.

They are excellently trained and very knowledgeable when it comes to rubber roofs and their work is fully guaranteed and meets all warranty requirements. They are happy to answer any and all questions without any obligation whatsoever.

8 replies
  1. Charlotte Fallon
    Charlotte Fallon says:

    This is a great article, thank you for this. We can use these pros and cons when dealing with our clients as well as some of our own we have. Thank you for this!

  2. Cory Beevers
    Cory Beevers says:

    This is a great post thank you for this. I was reading another article on the Pros and Cons of Rubber Roofing and it was not half as good as this. I shall use some of these points when speaking to my clients as well as some of my own.

  3. Randy Constan
    Randy Constan says:

    Unless it is something specific to one type of EDPM rubber, I’ve been told of another drawback you never mentioned. One supplier told me: “the oils in petroleum based products will cause EPDM to swell and fail. EPDM should be bonded over 5/8” plywood, 5/8” OSB board, or polyisocyanurate board with a fiberglass backing” So that means unless you plan to rebuild your whole roof, it can’t be installed. Are there exceptions? What you you first coated an existing roof with one of those 100% silicone coatings? Would that serve as a protective layer?

  4. Deb Pearl
    Deb Pearl says:

    My family is considering replacing our roof for quite awhile, we just aren’t satisfied with the look of our roof, and wanted to try to look for different options. I never knew that rubber roofing was even an option! I’m glad you talked about how inexpensive it is! I will definitely consider this as an option for our roofs. Thanks so much for the information about it!

  5. United Home Experts
    United Home Experts says:

    Thanks for reading, Deb! And best of luck in your roof replacement. Let us know if we can be of further assistance.

  6. Bob Boskey82
    Bob Boskey82 says:

    The percentage of EPDM added to the roofing at the compounding stage confers the ozone, UV and other environmental properties. There is no industrial standard for the percent of EPDM to commercially call it EPDM. It can be 3% to say, 15% and the environmental properties will vary considerably. Be sure you get a percent EPDM from the manufacturer.

  7. Susan Ford
    Susan Ford says:

    My house has a rubber roof over an extension added by the previous owner. My inspector advised that the roof is flat causing water to pool. Is there a fix?

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