Rubber Roofing Products

Published: Oct. 12, 2018

How is Rubber Roofing Made

Ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) membranes also known as rubber roofing by contractors is a material composed of a combination of recycled items that include rubber tires, slate and sawdust. Rubber roofing is supplied in rolls that are installed on flat roofs as long, overlapping sheets. They are attached using a strong roofing adhesive. Seams are overlapped to aid in home insulation and prevent air leaks. Rubber roofing shingles are also available. Rubber roofs are available in a variety of thicknesses ranging from 45mm to 90mm.


Rubber roofing was first introduced to the roofing industry in 1962. However, it wasn’t until the 1970s when the use of EPDM single-ply roofing membranes was on the rise. The 1973 Middle East oil embargo was a cause of a price hike in asphalt roofing. EPDM or rubber roofing was an easy-to-install and cost-effective solution at the time.

Countless enhancements were made to the rubber roofing materials and the first area of improvement was in the seaming technology in the 1970s. From 1962 to the 1980s, wall and penetration flashings were made from uncured Neoprene. Uncured EPDM flashings were introduced by the mid of the 1980s.

In 1992, upgrades were made to wall and curb flashing details. 20 years later, double-sided seam tapes and customized primers were available. Seaming was taken to the next level in 2005, with rubber roofing sheets and factory-applied tape being used.

Since being first introduced, there have been countless enhancements to rubber roofing and it has become more robust than ever before.


  • Increased Longevity: Rubber roofs can last anywhere between 20-30 years. In ideal conditions prone to good weather, rubber roofing can last up to 40 years.
  • Cost-Efficiency: Rubber roofs are cost-effective and work out to be around $0.4 per square foot. The single-ply membrane is the most cost-effective roofing material available.
  • Easy-to-Install: Compared to alternative roofing materials, rubber roofing is easier to install. A large rubber roll can easily be measured, cut and secured with adhesive.
  • Low Maintenance: In the event of a leak or damage, rubber roofs are easy to repair. Sometimes, all it requires is liquid rubber or a heavy duty rubber repair tape.
  • Increased Durability: Rubber roofs can withstand strong hailstorms with ease. Since large rubber rolls have no seams, they offer durability and prevent leaks.
  • Fire Resistant: Rubber roofing is very fire resistant. Sometimes, customers can get discounts on their homeowner’s insurance policy for the installation of a rubber roof.
  • Energy-Efficient: Rubber rooftops work as good insulators, helping reduce the heating and cooling costs.
  • Environmentally-Friendly: Rubber takes very little energy to produce and is often made of recycled materials. By the end of their life, rubber roofs are 100% recyclable.


  • Curb Appeal: Rubber roofing generally has a common black colour and hence lacks curb appeal. However, customers can paint their roofs every 10 years to a different colour at an affordable price.
  • Installation Considerations: While large rubber rolls are easier to install, rubber shingles take more effort and time to install and require the expertise of a professional.
  • Finding a Roofing Contractor: It can be challenging to find a contractor who has the expertise to install a rubber roof. Using an inexperienced contractor can be a cause of many problems in the long run and can potentially negate a warranty on the roof itself.
  • Not Indestructible: While a rubber roof is very durable, it is not indestructible. Falling objects and foot traffic can cause the rubber membrane to tear.
  • Not Suitable for all Roofs: Rubber roofs are suitable for small-scale residential applications. Also, rubber roofs cannot be installed directly over asphalt, tar or felt paper. To install rubber roofing over an existing roofing, OSB decking or plywood needs to be placed over the roof before anything else.

Alternatives to Rubber Roofing

Metal Sheets:

Covering a metal roof with a layer of insulating foam and re-roofing it with a new metal roof is a good alternative to rubber roofing. In regards to offering the best support, metal roofing sheets are an ideal alternative to rubber roofing.

Tar and Gravel:

Also known as Built-Up-Roofing or BUR, this type of roofing uses alternating layers of waterproofing materials along with tar that is stabilized using stone. Customers should steer away from tar paper and opt for materials like fiberglass for waterproofing.

Roll-on Roofs:

Roll-on roofs are made from the same materials as shingles. These type of roofs are installed like installing a new carpet. Nails are placed along the edges as it is rolled along the surface of the roof. It can last anywhere from 6 to 11 years and is ideal for sheds and barns.

Asphalt Sheets:

Asphalt sheet roofs are installed by using a layer of asphalt and securing the sheets in place with cement and nails. Their lifespan is generally 10 years and they can also be repaired with minimal effort.

Foam Roofs:

To install foam roofs, components of the foam are mixed and then spread upon the rooftop using spray guns. Each pass of the spray gun can spray a single ½ to 1-inch thick layer of foam.

Wind, Rain and Fire Ratings

Rubber roofing offers great waterproofing. In the rare event of a leak, the roof can easily be repaired. Rubber roofs are also fire resistant and almost impossible to ignite. They can actually delay the progress of a fire. Rubber roofs are also wind resistant and can easily withstand hail as large as three inches in diameter. Manufacturers create rubber roofing in accordance with ASTM International’s ASTM D4637 standard that guarantees that roofs will be resistant to hailstone impact and debris penetration.

Solar Reflectance

Rubber roofs are very energy-efficient, especially lighter-colored roofs that are great at reflecting the sun’s heat. These roofs save the homeowner considerably on energy costs and utility bills.


On average, a rubber roof can cost $4 to $8 per square foot and about $6,000 to $12,000 for a 1,500 sq feet flat roof.