If you’re preparing for a new construction project or need to replace a damaged roof, do you know which material is best for your needs? There are three types of rubber roofing (EPDM, TPO, and PVC), which are long-lasting options that offers many benefits you may not have considered.
RUBBER VS. TRADITIONAL ROOFING
Rubber roofing is made of rubber or plastic polymers or a combination of both. Materials are eco-friendly, made from recycled tires, sawdust, and slate dust. Rubber roofing is used to reduce leaking and to produce more impenetrable sealing. Single-ply synthetic membrane roofing is strong, waterproof, and pliant. Rubber roofing can go where typical asphalt roofing cannot due to its flexible nature.
Rubber shingles can be more expensive than asphalt shingles, but they are cheaper than slate shingles and equivalently fire resistant. The total price may vary depending on the specific material you choose as well as roofing contractors’ labor costs in your area, but rubber shingles typically cost about $4.25-$8.25 per square foot—equaling approximately $425-$825 per square when installed—while asphalt shingles are around $100-$150 per square; however, rubber can last twice as long and save you a lot of money in energy efficiency over the years.
MORE ADVANTAGES TO RUBBER
Your rubber roof will last you a very long time, and you’ll be surprised at how little maintenance and upkeep are needed. Most houses have asphalt shingles that typically last 15-20 years and require quite a bit of attention throughout that time. Rubber roofing, on the other hand, can last 30-50 years, requiring little maintenance. If installed correctly, you might never experience any cracking or leaking at all. If you do find that you have a crack or leak, you can most likely fix it simply by covering it with a latex sealant.
Rubber shingles or rolls are much stronger and less likely to crack during extreme weather conditions than asphalt roofing. They are especially beneficial for flat or low-pitch roofs that traditional shingles have trouble effectively protecting due to the lack of gravitational pull. When roofs are flatter, water damage is common, as water does not run off as quickly as on steeper roofs, allowing it to be blown underneath shingles that are not well sealed.
In addition to being weather resistant and completely waterproof, rubber roofing is also very resistant to thermal shock. If installed properly, rubber roofing shouldn’t crack or become brittle due to hot or cold temperatures. It’s able to withstand hail and other extreme weather conditions and shows very high resistance to ultraviolet radiation and cyclic fatigue.
RUBBER ROOF INSTALLATION
Rubber roofing installation is a much easier and quicker process than asphalt or slate roofing installation. A seamless roll is generally the most cost effective and energy efficient form of rubber roofing. It is very unlikely to leak or crack because there are no seams for water to flow underneath. Shingles need to be nailed down like traditional shingles would, and they cost more than rolls. Rubber shingles, however, are much lighter than slate or asphalt shingles, which makes them easier to move and place.
To apply the roofing, first strip down your current roofing to the plywood base. If you’re using a roll, measure and trim it to the shape of your roof, cutting space out for chimneys, vents, etc. Then sweep off your roof to get rid of dirt and debris, apply adhesive, and place the roll appropriately across your roof. Be sure to check for air bubbles underneath. If you’re applying shingles, nail down in rows as you would asphalt shingles.
Sometimes rubber roofing is placed on top of old shingles with a layer of foam insulation in between. The rubber roofing then serves as a waterproof membrane. Doing it this way can save time, labor costs, and also reflect heat from the sun away from the roof, keeping your home cooler. Keep in mind, however, that if you don’t first strip your roof down to the base, manufacturers usually will not recognize your warranty.
If you’re still not sure whether rubber roofing is the right choice for your home, download our ebook to learn more about other options and determine the best fir for your needs!