Rubber roofing (EPDM single ply membranes) it the most common flat roofing system in New England (MA, CT, NH, RI, etc.) and the rest of US flat roofing marker – most people refer to a flat roof as “rubber roof”. The main reason for such popularity of rubber roofs is the lower initial roof price. However, rubber roofs have many inherent problems, which cannot be solved by technology, because of the rubber roof’s design, as well as issues with unprofessional roofing contractors claiming to be “rubber roofing pros“.
What you need to know about Rubber Roofing:
There is much confusion about rubber roofing, as well as misunderstanding of its benefits and limitations. In this article we will try to clear up the confusion and show you that rubber roofing is NOT the best flat roofing material, and there are better and cheaper alternatives to rubber.
If you have a leaking rubber roof in Massachusetts, Connecticut or Rhode Island we can give you a roofing price quote to replace your rubber roof with our flat roofing material of choice – a new, lifetime PVC Flat roof manufactured by IB Roof Systems. We can also repair your rubber roof at a relatively low cost, using only the best materials that rubber systems have, and extend the life of your rubber roof by a few years. One example of such materials are peel-and-stick flashing and seam tapes. We do not use black rubber glue as it is outdated, and leaks much faster.
- Why homeowners should avoid rubber roofing – The truth about the residential flat roofing market, why you should stay away from rubber, and carefully choose your roofing contractor.
- Alternatives to rubber roofing – Find out what other, better flat roofing products are available for a similar cost, but without the EPDM’s inherited problems.
- Residential rubber roofing – Learn why rubber roofs should NOT be used on a roof of your home.
- Commercial rubber roofing – Limitations of EPDM rubber in the commercial flat roofing applications.
- Why rubber roofs are so popular – Quick history of EPDM rubber in US flat roofing market, and the key to its popularity
BAD Rubber Roofing Video – this why you don’t want to have a flat rubber roof:
EPDM Rubber roofing and flat roof homes.
Homeowners with flat roof homes often find themselves in a situation where their roof starts to leak rather unexpectedly – i.e. only after a few years since the roof was installed. This for the most part happens to homes that have a rubber roof on them. While most flat roofs will only last 10-15 years, older systems such as Tar & Gravel, Bur and in some cases Modified bitumen roofs are usually installed by roofing contractors that are somewhat specialized in their scope of work – these are “the old-timers” or former union guys that decided to try their luck working for themselves, and they actually went through special training and have years of experience. The problem is that roofing systems they install do not last long for many reasons outside the scope of this article.
Homes that have a rubber roof begin to leak well before their minimal life expectancy is reached because in many cases they are roofed by your typical shingle roofing contractor that is so confident in his/her abilities, and a rubber roof is merely a roof with a low slope.
Why rubber roofs are so popular?
The truth is, rubber roofs (EPDM) are the most used flat roofing products in the US / Canadian commercial roofing market. Rubber roofs we first put in service over 40 years ago, and since gained popularity among roofing contractors and their customers. The reason for such success lyes in the condition of the flat roofing market at that time and the available alternatives.
Back in 1960′s oil was still very cheap, it was more than a decade before the oil crisis of the 70′s and there wasn’t that much demand for oil. The oil refining process was far from being efficient and the industry was looking to get rid of many by-products of the oil refining process.
At the same time, the flat roofing industry was the same as at the turn of the 19th century, and the most common product to use on a flat roof was either a BUR (built-up roofing, using multiple layers of tar paper, saturated in hot tar or hot asphalt) or Tar & Gravel roofing, which was essentially a BUR roof with gravel added for additional protection. Flat roofing technology has not changed for 100 years and contractors needed a new, easier to install and cleaner product, hence, the EPDM was born.
EPDM consists mainly of oil (carbo-hydrate) based by-products with some modifiers and stabilizers added to extend its service life. Rubber roofing was cheap to produce, easier to install than conventional (BUR) roofs, did not require any special equipment to put it down and the membrane could potentially last for decades, as it was UV stable and did not break down when exposed to the weather.
Because rubber roofing was cheap, quick to install, and offered a potentially long service life, and with lack of any opposition from better roofing products, it quickly became the king of flat roofing and the pioneer of the single-ply flat roofing market.
DIY epdm rubber roof repair – Our original article on how to fix a rubber roof with EPDM rubber adhesive (no peel-n-stick tapes)
Rubber roof repair guide – A part 2 of our Do-it-yourself guide teaching you how to fix EPDM rubber roofing systems with primer and seam tape.
Read part 2 – Why homeowners should avoid Rubber Roof for their homes, see examples of HORRIBLE RUBBER ROOFS, and learn how roofers are “trained in EPDM roof installation” (which is a complete joke)!
Written by Leo - roofer with a vision. Follow Leo on Google+
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