Rubber Roofing: Durability, Synthetic, And Installation
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Rubber Roofing Guide (Durability, Synthetic, & Installation)

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Posted By: Roof Troopers

Rubber roof installation - modified bitumen

Rubber roofing, also known as EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) roofing, has been gaining popularity among homeowners for its durability, cost-effectiveness, and ease of installation. 

Whether you’re considering rubber roofing for a new project or as a replacement for your existing roof, this guide will provide you with essential insights into the world of rubber roofing. We’ll explore its durability, synthetic options, and the installation process, helping you make an informed decision for your home. 

What you’ll find in this blog:

  • The basics of rubber roofing, including its durability and maintenance requirements
  • 3 synthetic rubber roofing options 
  • Rubber roofing installation process in 5 easy steps
  • Advantages + disadvantages of rubber roofing

Ready to become an expert on all-things-rubber-roofing?! Read on!

Rubber Roofing: A Brief Overview 🌐

Closeup of EPDM roofing material

Rubber roofing, specifically EPDM, is a type of synthetic roofing material that has been used in commercial and residential applications for several decades. 

Here’s a quick overview:

  • Material Composition: EPDM roofing is made of a synthetic rubber compound, usually derived from oil and natural gas. It’s designed to be durable and resistant to the elements.
  • Durability: Rubber roofing is known for its exceptional durability, with a typical lifespan of 20 to 30 years or more when properly maintained. (We’ll expand on this in the section below.)
  • Installation Options: Rubber roofing can be installed using various methods, including fully adhered, mechanically attached, or ballasted.
  • Maintenance: It requires minimal maintenance, making it an attractive option for homeowners seeking low-maintenance roofing solutions.

Durability and Longevity of Rubber Roofing 🔨

One of the primary reasons homeowners opt for rubber roofing is its durability. Here’s what you need to know about its lifespan and longevity:

  • Resistance to Elements: Rubber roofing is highly resistant to weathering, UV radiation, and temperature fluctuations. It can withstand extreme heat and cold without cracking or deteriorating.
  • Seamless Sheets: Rubber roofing sheets are typically installed in large, seamless sections, reducing the risk of leaks and water infiltration.
  • Low Maintenance: Routine inspections and minor repairs are usually sufficient to maintain rubber roofing’s integrity over the years.

3 Synthetic Rubber Roofing Options 🔄

In addition to traditional EPDM rubber roofing, there are synthetic rubber roofing options that offer enhanced features and benefits. Let’s explore a few of these alternatives:

1. TPO (Thermoplastic Olefin) Roofing

TPO roofing is made from a blend of rubber, ethylene, and propylene. It offers excellent UV resistance and energy efficiency. It’s also known for its durability and can last 20 to 30 years or more.

In terms of energy efficiency, TPO roofing reflects sunlight, reducing heat absorption and lowering cooling costs.

2. PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) Roofing

Closeup of PVC roofing installation by contractors

PVC roofing is made of layers of PVC material, polyester, and reinforcement scrim. It’s highly resistant to chemicals and pollutants. This type of roofing has a lifespan of 20 to 30 years and is particularly effective in areas with heavy industrial pollution.

As a bonus, PVC roofing is resistant to chemicals, making it a suitable choice for facilities with chemical exposure risks.

3. Modified Bitumen Roofing

Modified bitumen roofing is made from asphalt and rubber modifiers. It’s installed in layers, making it durable and waterproof. Because it’s very durable, it can last 20 to 30 years and offers excellent resistance to hail and wind.

Regarding the installation process, it’s typically installed with heat-welded seams or by applying adhesives, providing secure waterproofing.

Rubber Roofing Installation Process 🛠️

Now that you understand the durability and synthetic options let’s take a closer look at the installation process of rubber roofing in 5 steps.

1. Preparation

The existing roof should be inspected for any damage or issues that need to be addressed before installation. During this step, the roof surface is cleaned to remove debris, dirt, and loose materials that could affect adhesion.

2. Substrate Preparation

The roof deck, usually made of plywood or OSB, is inspected for structural integrity during this step. Repairs are made as needed. Also, insulation boards are installed to provide thermal resistance and improve energy efficiency.

3. Membrane Installation

Roofing contractors install rubber roofing membrane

During the membrane installation, the first layer of adhesive is applied to the cleaned and prepared roof deck. Then the rubber roofing membrane is rolled out and adhered to the adhesive layer. Seams are overlapped and adhered to create a watertight seal.

4. Detail Work

Flashing is installed around roof penetrations such as vents, chimneys, and skylights to prevent leaks. Likewise, edge trims are installed to secure the membrane’s edges and provide a finished appearance.

5. Final Inspection and Testing

During this step, a final inspection is conducted to ensure the entire roof is properly installed and free of defects. The seams are also inspected and tested for tightness and integrity.

Advantages of Rubber Roofing 🌦️

Rubber roofing offers several advantages that make it an appealing choice for homeowners:

  • Durability: Rubber roofing can last for decades, providing excellent long-term value.
  • Low Maintenance: Minimal upkeep is required to keep rubber roofing in good condition.
  • Energy Efficiency: Some synthetic rubber options offer energy-saving benefits by reflecting sunlight and reducing cooling costs.
  • Waterproof: Rubber roofing materials create a seamless, waterproof barrier that prevents leaks.
  • Resistant to Weathering: It can withstand extreme weather conditions, including high heat and cold.
  • Environmentally Friendly: Rubber roofing is often recyclable and can contribute to sustainable building practices.

Disadvantages of Rubber Roofing 🤔

While rubber roofing has many benefits, it’s essential to be aware of some potential drawbacks:

  • Initial Cost: The upfront cost of rubber roofing can be higher than traditional asphalt shingles.
  • Installation Complexity: Proper installation requires expertise, so it’s crucial to hire experienced roofing contractors.
  • Color Options: Rubber roofing typically comes in black or dark colors, which may not be suitable for all architectural styles.
  • Punctures: Sharp objects or heavy debris can puncture rubber roofing, although repairs are usually straightforward.

Maintenance Tips for Rubber Roofing 🔧

Maintaining your rubber roofing is relatively simple, and routine inspections can extend its lifespan, so always make sure to check your rubber roof periodically for signs of damage, punctures, or loose seams. Likewise, you’ll want to remove leaves, branches, and debris that accumulate on the roof to prevent damage and clogging of drainage systems.

Also, make sure to minimize foot traffic on the roof, seal seams, and trim trees to prevent further damage to your roof.

Is Rubber Roofing Exactly What Your Home Needs? 🏡

Rubber roofing, including EPDM and synthetic options, offers homeowners a durable and cost-effective roofing solution. Its longevity, resistance to the elements, and low maintenance requirements make it a compelling choice for those seeking a reliable roofing material. 

However, it’s essential to consider the specific needs of your home, budget, and aesthetic preferences when choosing the right roofing material. By understanding the durability, synthetic choices, and installation process of rubber roofing, you can make an informed decision that enhances the protection and longevity of your home.

Contact the exceptional team of roofers at Roof Troopers today. We’ll happily answer all your questions about rubber roofing and kickstart your next project with a free quote!


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