If you're looking for the pros and cons of rubber roofing, we've got you covered. Rubber roofing is a form of flat roofing that has been on the rise in popularity in recent times.
It's well known for its high durability, affordability, and ease of maintenance and repair. Some also praise it for its surprising environment-friendliness, which is impressive for any synthetic material, and for its ability to add comfort to a home.
But rubber roofing does come with some downsides! It doesn't have an appealing aesthetic and can appear bland next to wood or stone.
It lacks true waterproof qualities and requires an expert hand to install. For many, these downsides are easy to brush off given the many upsides, but it's still something that has to be considered.
There are further decisions to be made about the exact type of rubber roofing used. There are three kinds of roofing of this material, namely PVC, EPDM, and TPO.
Rubber shingles, though less popular, are also often used. But before you can begin to decide between them, you must first consider whether or not rubber roofing is right for you in general!
Here are the pros and cons of rubber roofing.
8 Pros And Cons Of Rubber Roofing You Need To Know
Pros Of Rubber Roofing
1. It's durable
Rubber roofing can last you up to two decades before displaying signs of obvious wear and tear.
Modern formulas of rubber have improved this even further, and with proper installation, you can wind up with 50 years of reliable roofing with this material! It outlasts many common flat or low-sloped choices.
Multiple newer forms of rubber roofing also have UV damage protection, providing additional safety. Many can withstand weather damage, such as strong winds, high temperatures, or even hail up to a certain limit!
They also have a high fire-resistance rating and are reasonably waterproof when installed and maintained well. EPDM and PVC rubber are the best materials for durability.
TPO roofing, while reasonably durable, is not particularly known for its high resilience and can become damaged more quickly.
2. It's environmentally friendly
A lot of people naturally assume that rubber is bad for their environment. But that's not the case with roofing! Rubber roofing is typically made from pure recycled rubber.
This means that it's very environmentally friendly and doesn't require a lot of energy to make. It also doesn't release a lot of toxins, so it's safe for a lot of people to use in their homes.
The high durability then further reduces the risk of waste. This eco-friendliness is true for EPDM and TPO rubber roofing.
However, there are some concerns about the environmental risks of PVC. PVC releases components known as dioxins that are pollutants and can be hazardous.
However, at the same time, many also believe that the reduction of energy requirements in the construction of PVC rubber roofing outweighs its downsides.
In other words, even if these materials contain the usual typical chemicals of various other substances, they're so environmentally friendly to make that it evens out.
3. It can make a house more comfortable
It's hard to imagine that a roof's material can add to the overall comfort of your living environment, but it's true!
Rubber roofing is great at keeping heat outside, reducing your energy costs in managing indoor temperatures. When paired with good insulation, it'll be a decent protector against colder weather, too!
If you want to up the energy savings even more, you can opt for light colors with your rubber roofing. This helps to further reflect heat instead of trapping it so you can leave the air conditioning off and keep your fans low.
This is true for all types of rubber roofing. PVC roofing, especially, has tons of different color options that give you the chance to pick ones that suit your local climate.
It's worth noting that EPDM roofing often comes in black and dark colors, so you have to be sure to pick light sheets to really get this benefit.
4. It's Affordable
Rubber is extremely affordable to install when compared to wood shingle or metal roofs. It's also relatively simple to install, so if you're a handy person, you may be able to set it up yourself.
Some types of rubber roofs do need professional or trained labor, of course. Luckily, even when hiring professionals, you'll be pleased to note that you could pay as little as $0.70 per square foot for such services.
The cost can vary, though, peaking at $5.55 on average or $14 if you're going for luxury options. The most affordable types of rubber roofing are EPDM and TPO.
PVC roofing, however, has higher costs. But on the whole, rubber is still more inexpensive than many other common materials.
The affordability of rubber roofing also follows it into areas like maintenance and repairs. That's why it's our next point here!
5. It's easy to repair and maintain
Rubber roofing doesn't require a lot of maintenance. You don't need to properly evaluate them more than once a year.
A professional inspection annually can be helpful, but you can learn to do that yourself. Cleaning doesn't have to be frequent, either, and most rubber roofs do well with one full clean a year to stay in top condition.
In addition, when rubber roofing does need some attention, it's not going to break the bank. Their high durability means they don't need to be fixed after most storms or high heat conditions.
Most issues can be quickly fixed with rubber sealant, which is easy to purchase and use on your own.
Cons Of Rubber Roofing
1. It doesn't have an attractive appearance
Let's face it: rubber roofing doesn't usually look pretty! Homeowners often dislike this type of roofing because it can diminish curbside appeal.
Rubber is a synthetic material, which means it already lacks the natural appeal of materials like wood and stone. It can appear very dull or even feel cold and lifeless.
Modern changes to the way we make rubber roofing have allowed for more interesting aesthetics. There are digitally-patterned options, for example, that PVC rubber roofing offers.
The different colors that rubber can come in also allow you to be a bit more shrewd in trying to develop a nice appearance. You can work to counteract the dullness of rubber roofing by opting for rubber shingles instead.
This lesser-known type of rubber roofing involves the use of recycled rubber to replicate the look that you get from wood shake or stone slate shingles.
It's more expensive than basic flat rubber, but if curbside appeal is a big deal to you, it can be worth it. At the very least, it'll be less expensive than stone or wood but will have the same overall appearance!
2. It's not totally waterproof
To some degree, all roofing materials are resistant to water and moisture. It's definitely true that rubber roofing can withstand storms, heavy rain, and most watery conditions when installed and cleaned well.
But the fact is that rubber isn't a completely waterproof roofing option. It has to be installed with underlayment in order to properly keep out moisture.
Certain rubber materials, like EPDM, can shrink under certain conditions. It is membrane-based, so poor installation, bad maintenance, and general wear and tear can cause it to contract.
This allows water and moisture to seep into the new gaps, causing further damage. Extreme cold can lead to additional cracking.
On the flip side, PVC and TPO roofs can be much more resistant to water seepage. This is because their seams are heat welded.
However, they usually still need to be made more watertight with additional layers.
3. Some types of rubber roofing need trained installation
EPDM rubber roofing is the only type that you can truly, safely, attempt to install on your own if you're a handy person with a good set of skills.
But the fact is that trained labor is usually highly advisable when you're setting up rubber roofs. It's often affordable, but the necessity for professionals can be a turn-off to those who prefer to construct things on their own.
Incorrect installation of any form of rubber roofing can lead to issues that entirely ruin their benefits. You need to put in the effort to find a truly qualified contractor in order to ensure a smooth operation that has long-term resilience.
Rubber roofing has far more upsides than downsides, which is why it's become an increasingly popular option for roofing material.
- It's not entirely waterproof and needs underlayment, but its high durability and resistance to extreme weather make up for that in spades.
- It requires professional installation most of the time, but its affordability and ease of maintenance and repair make that doable.
- And, while it's not attractive in appearance in all cases, that gets overlooked in favor of the environmental and energy benefits.
If you plan to use rubber roofing on your home, you should do what you can to consider the different possible materials. Do your research to ensure you know which one is right for you!
It's also highly advisable that you don't attempt to DIY this project unless you have experience in this field. Leaving it to the professionals is the way to go!