Top 10 Rubber Roofing Facts

Kevin Lyman Roofing Co. has been installing rubber roofs in southern New England since Top Gun was a hit movie with Tom Cruise, and the Beach Boys' song Kokomo was a big hit. For quite awhile is what we're saying! Here are some things about rubber roofing that people always want to know:

1. It is Available in Different Colors:

By far the most common color for EPDM roofs is black. What many people dn'y know is that they can also be installed in white. Unlike the Carbon added to black EPDM rubber, Titanium Dioxide is added to white rubber to make it that color. White rubber is a little more expensive than black rubber, which is why it is less popular, however it can help with air conditioning costs because it is far more reflective of heat. 


2. There Are 3 Ways to Install Rubber Roofing

  1. Ballasted Roofs - In this situation the rubber membrane is only glued on the edges and held in place by adding a layer of stone ballast over them. This is the cheapest option for installation, but we do not recommend them. They have the shortest lifespan of any installation method because they are subject to the pressure of shrinking and expansion because they are laid loose. Aside from this they are difficult to maintain because leaks need to be searched for beneath a sea of stone. Learn more in the linked blog post.
  2. Mechanically Fastened - This type of installation also uses minimal gluing, and instead relies upon aluminum bars fastened to the edges of the rubber sheets in order to hold them in place. We find this method to be insecure. In fact we once encountered a dangerous situation where the wind had pulled up a sheet of rubber on one of these roofs and it was billowing in the wind, only partially attached. We do not install this style, nor do we recommend them.
  3. Fully Adhered - Fully adhered refers to the sheets of rubber being fully adhered to the roof with specially formulated glues. We find this installation method to be secure and long lived. It is the only way we will install rubber roofs.  

3. They Have a Long Lifespan

EPDM rubber roofs only began to be installed in the 1960's, and have even vastly improved since that time. They are known to last 30 to 40 years with proper maintenance, and it is speculated that the new formulas could keep them in use for up to 50 years. But we will have to wait to find that out.

4. They Don't Require Maintenance

EPDM rubber roofing requires no regular maintenance, We do recommend removing leaves from them if you are in a place where they build up in the autumn. Aside from that they need only be worked on when they are leaking. 

5. They Are Easy to Repair

Finding the source of a leak on a flat roof is a simple task for experienced professionals, because it is usually at a seam between 2 sheets of rubber. Repairing it has become a very simple task thanks to modern adhesives. Just clean the area, apply adhesive, and lay a patch over it. It is similar to patching a bicycle tube. 

6. They Can Be Coated

Want a specific color for your roof? Acrylic coatings can be applied without a problem. The only necessary preparation is cleaning. Latex coatings can also be used in some cases, depending on the manufacture of the material.

7. They Offer Strong Weather Resistance

Like no other roofing material EPDM rubber resists the constant strains of heating from the sun and freezing in the snow, as long as it is fully adhered. This is not the case with ballasted or mechanically fastened roofs. They are also resistant to hail damage. 


8. They Are Cost Effective

Though fully adhered rubber roofing costs a little more than the other two methods of installation it is quite worth it. The length of life they get far outweighs the slightly lower price of the other installation methods.

9. They Are Very Popular

Over 1 billion square feet of EPDM rubber is installed in America annually, and it accounts for 35% of the total roofing market. 

10. EPDM Rubber Has Other Uses

EPDM rubber has been used for pool linings, terraces, and even RV roofs!


It's easy to see why we stand by this type of roof instalation. Have more questions? Don't hesitate to reach out to us!

Brian Lyman