Rubber Roofing Explained: Cost, Types, Pros, and Cons (2022)

Rubber Roofing Explained: Cost, Types, Pros, and Cons (1)

Source: Huddersfield

Whether you’re on the hunt for trusted flat roofing material, a more durable alternative to asphalt shingles, or even a protective layer over your existing roof, rubber very well might be your answer.

Rubber roofing can refer to any of three compounds of single-ply, membrane roofing materials suited for low-slope roofs – EPDM, TPO, and PVC – as well as rubber shingles. Each of these types of roofing comes with distinct benefits, drawbacks, and costs.

Fortunately, we know a thing or two about rubber roofs, and as it just so happens, we’ve already highlighted the costs, pros, and cons of EPDM, TPO, and PVC in our review of the best flat roofing materials.

In this article, we’ll dig deeper into the positives and negatives of these rubber roofing materials. Then, we’ll explore the ins and outs of rubber shingles and whether they suit your new roof project.

On This Page:

  • How Much Does a Rubber Roof Cost?
  • Types of Rubber Roofing
  • What About Rubber Shingles?
  • Rubber Roofing: in Summary

How Much Does a Rubber Roof Cost?

Single-ply rubber roofing costs anywhere from $5.50 to $10 per square foot.

The final cost largely depends on the specific material. The thickness of said material and whether the installer fully adheres (glues, more expensive), mechanically fastens (screws, more affordable), or uses ballast (layers of stone, the most affordable), also plays a role in pricing.

Additionally, project costs will increase if you need to tear off existing materials and add decking or insulation during the roof replacement. Penetrations such as skylights, HVAC units, and chimneys will also add to costs as they introduce more roof installation complications.

Talk to local pros to get quotes on your rubber roof installation project

Types of Rubber Roofing

Rolls of rubber sheets are mainly used on flat roofs. Even so, they can also work in pitched settings as a primary material or atop an existing structure, particularly metal roofs. Rubber shingles, on the other hand, should only be used on pitched roofs.

Single-Ply Roofing

EPDM Roofing Costs, Pros, and Cons

Installation cost per square foot: $4.50-$10.50.

(Video) Comparing Roofing Materials | Ask This Old House

Rubber Roofing Explained: Cost, Types, Pros, and Cons (2)

Image source: Heidler Roofing

What We LikeWhat We Don't Like
60 year lifespanBlack color absorbs heat
Easy-to-installNot the prettiest in some cases
Fire and hail resistantPotential for shrinkage
Affordable

Ethylene Propylene Diene Terpolymer, a synthetic rubber that everyone calls EPDM even though it’s a Terpolymer, not a Monomer, is technically the only roofing system among the three single-ply options we compare in this article chiefly made of rubber.

Polymers and definitions aside, EPDM rubber roofing is tried and true.

Many roofers prefer EPDM because it can be installed using a singular, seamless sheet for many projects as opposed to multiple, layered rolls.

Many building owners prefer EPDM because it’s fire-resistant and holds up well to hail. Of course, there’s also EPDM’s persuasive track record. A 2010 study by the EPDM Roofing Association showed that 30-year-old EPDM membrane samples could last another 20-plus years through aging tests.

With pricing between $4.50 and $10.50 per square foot, EPDM roofs are also the most affordable of the bunch.

So, what’s not to like?

For starters, EPDM roofs can shrink under the right conditions. This exposes the layers underneath the rubber roofing membrane and potentially allows water to creep into the structure.

Secondly, EPDM usually comes in black, which means buildings baking in the beating sun will only get hotter with an EPDM roof. A black roof also might not suit every building aesthetically.

TPO Roofing Costs, Pros, and Cons

Installation cost per square foot: $5.50-$13.

Rubber Roofing Explained: Cost, Types, Pros, and Cons (3)

Image source: Central Homes Roofing

What We LikeWhat We Don't Like
AffordabilityUncertain track record
Color optionsLifespan TBD
Energy efficiencyLengthy installation
Heat-welded seamsInstallation requires experience

First introduced to the United States in the 1980s, TPO, or Thermoplastic Polyolefin, is relatively new in the membrane roofing space.

Unlike EPDM, TPO has color options. A white TPO roof system can improve energy efficiency in hot climates.

(Video) EPDM vs TPO Flat Roof - What's The Difference?

Installing TPO typically involves the use of a hot air gun to weld any seams along the surface. These heat-welded seams are low maintenance and last longer than the tape or adhesive sealants used to protect EPDM roof seams.

On the downside, heat-welding requires more skill and time compared to EPDM roof installations, thus increasing labor costs. Should those seams need repairs, you will need the specialized hot air gun once again. In turn, TPO is not a DIY-friendly roofing material to install and care for.

Apart from the challenges created by heat-welding, most qualms regarding TPO start with reliability. TPO did not gain widespread use until the late 1990s, and TPO quality standards only began taking shape in the last two decades.

During that time, contractors and the Midwest Roofing Contractors Association pointed out numerous problems with TPO membranes ranging from splitting along fasteners to deterioration following UV exposure.

However, as performance data of TPO roofing continually come to light, we can say with a greater degree of certainty whether this roof material is legit. One such study published in 2020 showed that 15-year-old TPO roofs meet the 2019 quality requirements of brand new TPO membranes in most instances.

Promising? Yes.

Proven? It's too early to tell.

We will say the following regarding most roofing materials, but we want to emphasize that you should choose both a warranty-backed TPO product and installer for your peace of mind.

At the end of the day, building owners and contractors will keep TPO on their radar because of the attractive price between $5.50 and $13 per square foot.

PVC Roofing Costs, Pros, and Cons

Installation cost per square foot: $6.50 - $13.

Rubber Roofing Explained: Cost, Types, Pros, and Cons (4)

Image source: TSpark Enterprises

What We LikeWhat We Don't Like
Durability, resistance to elementsHigher cost
20 year lifespanPotential health and environmental concerns
Waterproofing
Recyclable
Color options

Before TPO hit the scene, PVC, or polyvinyl chloride, was the thermoplastic roofing material of choice.

It arguably still is the premier material when taking its exceptional resistance to fire, wind, and hail into account. Similar to TPO, it comes in energy-efficient white, among other colors, and installers heat weld the seams to create a smooth, waterproof seal.

Restaurant owners opt for PVC because it resists harmful grease escaping to the roof that would otherwise deteriorate EPDM.

(Video) ROOF SHINGLES VS RUBBER ROOF | WHAT TYPE OF ROOF IS BEST FOR ME? | 3 TAB AND ARCHITECTURAL SHINGLES

PVC roofs last an attractive 20 to 30 years. Adding to its sustainable value proposition, PVC roofing can be recycled.

The main point of contention with PVC stems from costs. For instance, you could pay as much as 12 times more for a PVC roof than you wood for an EPDM one.

There is also much debate on whether PVC poses significant health and environmental risks during its life cycle.

Environmental organizations stress that PVC emits dioxins during its lifecycle, a known toxic pollutant. In roofing applications specifically, manufacturers often use hazardous chemical phthalates to increase flexibility.

To counter these claims, PVC proponents say PVC roofs reduce energy needs, require fewer fossil fuels during production, and outlast other flat roofing materials to a significant enough degree to outweigh the potential environmental costs.

Either way, PVC persists among the most popular flat roofing materials. Market reports from 2018 show PVC occupies around 20 percent of the single-ply roofing market.

What About Rubber Shingles?

If you seek the inherently durable and sustainable quality of rubber but without the drab, one-dimensional style of single-ply sheets, might we suggest rubber shingles?

How Much Do Rubber Shingles Cost?

At $3 to $9 per square foot to install, rubber shingles offer a not unreasonable price point, especially considering their benefits.

This price range aligns closely with wooden shakes and metal roofing, for reference.

Pros of Rubber Shingles

Rubber Roofing Explained: Cost, Types, Pros, and Cons (5)

Image source: TSpark Enterprises

Style

Rubber shingles can look indistinguishable from sought-after materials like stone slate or wood shake. The former is notoriously expensive and difficult to work with, so rubber shingles offer a budget-friendly alternative while maintaining their highly regarded look.

Rubber Shake vs. Real Shake

Rubber Roofing Explained: Cost, Types, Pros, and Cons (6)Rubber Roofing Explained: Cost, Types, Pros, and Cons (7)

Image source: Enviroshake & Hanson Roofing

Rubber Slate vs. Real Slate

Rubber Roofing Explained: Cost, Types, Pros, and Cons (8)Rubber Roofing Explained: Cost, Types, Pros, and Cons (9)

(Video) Metal Roofing Vs. Shingle Roofing

Image source: EcoStar & Ryan Restorations

Sustainability

Rubber shingles help reduce waste in two ways. First, they're manufactured from recycled plastic and tires that would otherwise contribute to landfill waste or fuel recovery from combustion.

Second, rubber shingles are recyclable themselves, which further diverts more waste away from landfills.

All-Around Durability

Generally, rubber is fire, impact, and wind-resistant – key attributes homeowners and insurance providers look for in roofing material.

A 2018 study on roofing tiles made from recycled tires and plastics in Argentina showed that they boasted better insulation, as well as higher resistance to freezing, hail, bending, and water absorption than their ceramic tile counterparts.

Water resistance, in particular, is key for any roofing material. This essentially means no rotting and mildew.

Cons of Rubber Shingles

Smell After Installation

Some say there can be a lingering rubber odor after installation. Euroshield, one such manufacturer of recycled rubber shingles, says this smell "goes away over time after exposure to the elements."

Cost

Rubber shingles certainly beat stone slate in terms of pricing, but asphalt shingles will almost always run you the least amount of money. If you have a tight budget, rubber shingles might be too much of a stretch.

Rubber Roofing: in Summary

If you’re looking for a single-ply roofing membrane suited for flat roofs, EPDM, TPO, and PVC are among the most popular and worthwhile options. The optimal choice will rely on your budget and specific roofing needs.

On the other hand, rubber shingles should primarily appeal to those seeking an eco-friendly and reasonably affordable alternative to a more traditional type of roof like stone slate.

Find the best rubber roofers near you

FAQs

What are the different types of rubber roofing? ›

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.

What does it cost to put on a rubber roof? ›

Rubber Roof Installation Costs

The average range of cost to install or replace a rubber roof is between $6,000 and $18,000, with the average being around $12,000. And as you know, all sorts of factors come into play that can affect that price, such as the materials, labor, obstructions, and customizations of the roof.

Is TPO or EPDM more expensive? ›

TPO roofing membranes are more expensive than EPDM. Regardless of which membrane you choose, it is better to spend more money and invest in a thicker membrane. Both EPDM and TPO roofs perform better and last longer if they are thicker.

How long does a rubber roof last on a house? ›

Rubber roofing, when installed professionally, can last 25 years or more. TPO and EPDM roof systems have similar lifespans of 20 to 25 years. High-quality TPO roofing that is reinforced with fiberglass can last even longer.

Which is the best rubber roof? ›

Ethylene Polypropylene Diene Monomer (EPDM) is one of the most versatile rubber roofing options on the market. Considered to be one of the best materials for flat roofs, rubber is a popular choice for industrial and commercial applications thanks to its ability to withstand extreme weather conditions.

What is better EPDM or TPO? ›

TPO has better dimensional stability than EPDM. EPDM is more likely to shrink which can cause a variety of problems on your roof.

Which is better EPDM or PVC? ›

Comprised of synthetic rubber, an ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) roofing membrane offers superior weather resistance while remaining a cost-effective option. PVC, on the other hand, delivers exceptional seam strength; in fact, heat-welded PVC seams are stronger than the PVC roofing membrane itself.

What do you put under rubber roofing? ›

There are three different types of single-ply underlayment: thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM). If you're considering EPDM rubber membrane for flat roof installation, here what you need to know.

How often should a rubber roof be replaced? ›

The Average Lifespan of a Roof

Composition Shingles: 12-20 years. Asphalt Shingles: 15-30 years. Wood Shingles: 20-25 years. Rubber Roofs: 30-50 years.

How can you tell EPDM from TPO? ›

Determine whether your RV roof has an EPDM or TPO RV roof - YouTube

Can you walk on TPO roof? ›

Flat Roof Surfaces You Can Walk On

Whether its BUR (Built-up Roofing), TPO (Thermoplastic polyolefin), Modified Bitumen, or Single Ply Roofing, your roofing professional can apply the right waterproofing membrane to make it possible to walk on.

How much does EPDM cost per foot? ›

For EPDM roofing membrane, you can expect to spend somewhere between $3.25 and $14.75 per square foot for the material and installation. In most cases, the price will average about $4.50 and $5.50 per square foot. Check with your local roofers to get an estimate for your home.

Is a rubber roof better than shingles? ›

Despite their higher costs, rubber shingles are usually better for their overall durability, lack of maintenance requirements, and long-term cost-effectiveness. Schedule a free estimate with 1-800-HANSONS if you're looking for high-quality rubber roofing.

Do rubber roofs need to be coated? ›

You don't need to coat a rubber roof. The EPDM membrane is a waterproofing sheet and is the final and top layer. An EPDM rubber roof sheet is incredibly durable and boasts a number of properties that keeps it protected from weather conditions.

What is the best roof to put on a mobile home? ›

Asphalt is a good insulator but it can leak very easily on a mobile home can lead to leaks too easily on mobile homes. TPO Membrane roof overs are energy efficient in all weather and when it comes to cost, TPO wins out. It is low in cost to install, cheap to repair, and long-lasting.

Does a rubber roof smell? ›

The smell of a roof isn't something you think about normally, but you'd be surprised at the effect it can have. While some roofs don't have any specific scent, cedar has that natural, woodsy scent that makes one think of mountains and forests. Rubber–especially brand new rubber shake shingles–will have a powerful odor.

Discover the cost, types, benefits, and drawbacks, of rubber roofs both an essential flat roofing material and sustainable alternative to shingles.

Rubber roofing can refer to any of three compounds of single-ply, membrane roofing materials suited for low-slope roofs – EPDM, TPO, and PVC – as well as rubber shingles.. EPDM Roofing Costs, Pros, and Cons Installation cost per square foot: $4.50-$10.50 .. TPO Roofing Costs, Pros, and Cons Installation cost per square foot: $5.50-$13 .. What We LikeWhat We Don't Like AffordabilityUncertain track recordColor optionsLifespan TBDEnergy efficiencyLengthy installationHeat-welded seamsInstallation requires experienceUnlike EPDM, TPO has color options .. One such study published in 2020 showed that 15-year-old TPO roofs meet the 2019 quality requirements of brand new TPO membranes in most instances.. PVC Roofing Costs, Pros, and Cons Installation cost per square foot: $6.50 - $13 .. At $3 to $9 per square foot to install , rubber shingles offer a not unreasonable price point, especially considering their benefits.. Style Rubber shingles can look indistinguishable from sought-after materials like stone slate or wood shake.. Water resistance, in particular, is key for any roofing material.. If you’re looking for a single-ply roofing membrane suited for flat roofs, EPDM, TPO, and PVC are among the most popular and worthwhile options.. On the other hand, rubber shingles should primarily appeal to those seeking an eco-friendly and reasonably affordable alternative to a more traditional type of roof like stone slate.

Asphalt roofing is often thought of as the standard choice of materials, but have you ever thought of a rubber roof? Rubber roofing is one of the best options, especially when it comes time to replace your roof. It’s incredibly durable, eco-friendly, and has a long lifespan. Rubber is quickly becoming the new popular choice …

Asphalt roofing is often thought of as the standard choice of materials, but have you ever thought of a rubber roof?. Rubber roofing is one of the best options, especially when it comes time to replace your roof.. Roof slope The slope of your roof will affect what type of roofing material is compatible or is the best choice.. This brings us to rubber roofing, a material that, while not immediately considered for roofing, has just as many benefits.. Rubber shingles Choosing rubber shingles is particularly beneficial if you own a flat or low-sloped roof.. Appearance-wise, rubber roof shingles offer all the appeal of traditional shingle roofing.. It has the longest lifespan and lowest rubber roofing cost, making it perfect for a new roof.. PVC has been used as a rubber roofing material for over 50 years, making it a time-tested roofing material.. Lower repair cost: Rubber sealant kits are readily available to repair any damage to a rubber roof.. Rubber roofs can also have a seal applied to the entire roof to extend its lifespan and help prevent any damage.. Less maintenance: Most roofs require at least some maintenance, but rubber roofs barely require any.. As with any roof, there are some cons when it comes to rubber roofing.. The size, slope, and pitch of a roof, for example, will affect how much rubber roofing is needed and how much it will cost.. Rubber roofs can be installed over an existing roof, but keep in mind there are building codes.. Some areas only allow two roofing layers to exist before the entire roof must be stripped before a new roof can be installed.

Like any other roofing material, rubber roofing has its own pros and cons that you need to consider. If you want to find out more, keep on reading!

Rubber roofs can be applied either as a single-ply membranes or multi-ply membranes.. It’s also extremely lightweight compared to other types of shingle, so you won’t have a difficult time installing your new rubber roof .. Because they are extremely durable, you won’t have to spend as much money on repairs or maintenance in the future!. It also required fewer seams than other types of roofing, which saves time and money during installation.. The material might not last as long as other types of shingle either.. The single ply membrane roof is also lightweight, which makes it excellent for flat and low-pitched roofs that are at risk of wearing or tearing.. The BUR roof has the same advantages as the single-ply membrane roof, but it is even more durable and can last up to 30 years with proper care.. However, BUR roofs are more expensive to install than single-ply membrane roofs because they require additional layers of asphalt and gravel.. However, like BUR roofs, Modified Bitumen roofs are more expensive to install than normal single-ply membrane roofs because the latter only requires the application of one layer of rubber instead of modified bitumen which can require up to four layers or more depending on how it is applied.. For example, most rubber roofs have a life expectancy between 20-25 years or more when they are installed properly on homes with flat rooftops in climates that do not receive excessive amounts of precipitation.. All three types of rubber roofing require little maintenance once they are installed and will last a long time if proper care is given.. The rubber roofing should be checked regularly for any cracks, holes or other damage that could cause leaks or allow moisture into the home or structure underneath it which can accelerate wear and tear on the roof.. Rubber roofing is extremely durable and resistant against cracking, peeling, or wearing down over time.

Special Thanks to Carlisle SynTec for this image. What is EPDM Rubber Roof? EPDM stands for Ethylene Propylene Diene Terpolymer. The Terpolymer is composed of three different Monomers, hence the…

EPDM Rubber is easy to install because it doesn’t require any heat welding or specialized tools .. EPDM rubber roof system is expected to last anywhere from 20 to 30 years which is about the same lifespan as asphalt shingles.. EPDM is more elastic than some of the other roofing low slope roofing materials like TPO, PVC, etc.. They even make some EPDM with fire retardant compounds that help put out the flame.. EPDM has good resistance to impact damages especially if it is reinforced like the FleeceBack roof system.. Most EPDM rubber is black which means it absorbs UV rays and heats the roof.. The adhesive between the seams can break as the EPDM rubber expands and contracts with the changes in temperature.. It’s black and looks like an inner tube that doesn’t look as good as the TPO or PVC which is a clean elegant white look.. Below I have placed a nice little chart with links to other Pros & Cons lists for the other 6 low slope roofing options.. If you are interested in other roofing options I recommend you take a look at this article which I spent several months writing.. It is a rubber based material that is used in a variety of applications ranging anywhere from roof systems to cars.. You can’t put shingles over EPDM because EPDM rubber is used on a low slope roof.

Rubber roof shingles have become one of the most popular alternatives to traditional asphalt shingles. This is mainly due to their superior durability that helps your roof withstand the harshest weather conditions.

Rubber roof shingles have become one of the most popular alternatives to traditional asphalt shingles.. roof, installing rubber shingles costs an average of $11,760-19,040, including all labor and materials.. Lightweight material: rubber shingles are much lighter than natural slate roofing .. Cost: compared to cheaper roofing products such as asphalt shingles, rubber shingles may not be a worthwhile investment, especially if you are not planning to stay in your home beyond 5-7 years or if you are looking to replace a roof on an inexpensive rental property.. Unlike asphalt shingles that contain many materials that harm the environment, rubber shingles are completely environmentally friendly.

Roofing tiles have come a long way since they entered the U.S. around the 17th century. The most common types so far have been clay, slate, and concrete. It was not until recently that lighter and cheaper alternatives such as rubber entered the scene.But how does this new entrant compare to other roofing options? Below, ... Read more

Why would you consider rubber roof tiles as an option?. Although a rubber tile roof is cheaper than conventional tiles, it is still more expensive than asphalt shingles and wood shakes.. Most rubber roof tiles come from recycled tires.. Rubber tile roofs have their disadvantages as well.. Rubber tiles mimic clay, slate, and other roofing materials.. Rubber tiles are also thinner than the actual tiles they mimic.. So, how long do rubber roof tiles last?. In truth, there are no 50-year old rubber roof tiles.. Rubber roof tiles are not fireproof.. A rubber tile roof will not cut it there.. There are several things to consider before installing rubber roof tiles.. The quality of a rubber roof tile will depend on the manufacturer.. So, are rubber roof tiles any good?. A rubber tile roof is an excellent alternative if you love the look of conventional tiles but cannot bear the high cost and weight.. There is still much to learn about rubber roof tiles since they have only been around for a while.

If you want to update the roof for your business, EPDM rubber roofing is a popular option. This guide will explain the pros and cons of EPDM roofing and if you should have it if you’re an Akron business.

And, that means it’s important to choose a commercial roofing system made of strong, durable, light-weight and cost-effective roofing materials.. Apart from the reflective layer, a typical EPDM roof has three other layers:. The fire-resistant layer or AFR layer The polyester fabric reinforcement layer at the top The elastomeric layer at the bottom. Collectively, these layers make up the high-density rubber roof that businesses across the world love and make EPDM roofing strong, flexible and fire-resistant.. Here are a couple of benefits of EPDM roofing.. In business, time is money, and you don’t want to lose any time on roof replacement that you could use to make money.. The reason why EPDMroof installation costs remain so affordable are because the roofing systems are easy to install.. EPDM roofs are very easy to install, but you typically can’t install them on your own (unless you have previous commercial roofing experience).. This is just fine for most commercial roofs, but if you’re a business that wants to use the roof as an outdoor space, you’ll likely want a different type of roofing for your building.. You’ll cut your roofing costs quite a bit when compared to other systems and you’ll get a long-lasting roof that requires minimal repairs and maintenance.. However, to experience the full range of benefits that EPDM rubber roofs offer, talk to a reputable roofing company.. Your commercial building’s roof is only as good as its installation or roofing contractor!

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