Rubber Membrane Roof 101: Why Choose It and What to Expect

a man applying a layer of rubber coating

The roof on top of your building is arguably the most important exterior fixture that demands your full attention. More than a visual structure that adds to the overall look of your home or business, it provides you with the protection you need against the weather as well as hazards like fire and water leaks. Repairing or replacing a roof can be an exhaustive process that takes its toll on your budget. Get a roof that lasts longer and gives you a better buy for your money by choosing a rubber membrane for your next rooftop upgrade or repair job.

What Is a Rubber Membrane Roof?

Rubber membrane roofing is exactly as its name implies: a roofing material that is made out of rubber membranes. A rubber membrane roof is typically applied in a single layer. However, some roofing companies will use two or three plies of rubber for some industrial or commercial projects.

A rubber membrane roof can last for years longer than an asphalt shingle roof and guard against wear and tear as well as weather elements that compromise other roofing materials. While initially more expensive to buy, a rubber membrane roof lasts for decades, giving you a solid return on your upfront investment.

However, a rubber membrane roof is not ideal for all kinds of buildings. Given its texture and finish, once it is fully applied, it creates a waterproof seal that encourages water runoff. As such, it is typically used on rooftops that are flat or semi-flat with low pitches that otherwise would not be able to drain precipitation thoroughly. While you could use it on a pitched roof, a rubber membrane roof suits buildings with flat rooftops better. You get the benefit of better protection against water and humidity as well as a roof that is designed to last upwards of 20 years.

The Pros and Cons of a Rubber Membrane Roof

a roof covered in a rubber membrane

Before you decide if a rooftop made out of a rubber roofing membrane is right for your building and budget, you should learn about the pros and cons of a rubber membrane roof. The major advantages of this type of roof include:

  • Environmentally friendly since it contains mostly recycled materials.
  • Weather resistant to heat, cold, humidity, and other elements.
  • You can quickly apply it to most homes in a single layer.
  • Most repairs to rubber roofs can be done quickly and affordably.
  • Requires little maintenance.
  • Comes in a variety of colors including black, brown, and gray.

The primary advantage, however, centers on the fact that a roof made out of rubber roofing membrane can last for decades and save you the cost of frequent upgrades and repairs. Even if you pay more upfront for a rubber membrane roofing cost, you get a good return on your upfront investment.

The Disadvantages of a Rubber Membrane Roof

Along with the upfront rubber membrane roof cost, this type of roofing also comes with a few noticeable downsides. The major disadvantages found with a rubber membrane roof include:

  • The rubber must be applied with heat, which may not be allowed by some home insurers must be professionally installed.
  • Rooftop structures like HVAC fixtures, pipes, chimneys, and stacks can compromise the integrity and cause leaks.
  • Falling debris like tree limbs as well as satellite dishes and foot traffic can damage the rubber membrane.

However, the most noteworthy disadvantage of this type of roofing lies in the fact that roofers do not need special certification to install it. They can say that they are qualified to lay a rubber roof even though their only expertise comes from watching training videos or attending a workshop on rubber roofing.

Even more, most states allow roofers to buy rubber membrane roofing from any home improvement store rather than a specialized roofing material supplier. You may not know what kind of quality to expect from the rubber that workers put or apply on your roof.

What to Expect from a Rubber Membrane Roof

a roof coating system

Even with these pros and cons in mind, you may wonder just what to expect from a rubber membrane roof. Is it truly worth your time and effort or should choose another roofing material for your home or business?

The biggest expectation that any home or business owner should have when it comes to a roof covered with single ply rubber centers on the rooftop’s longevity. Rubber is not your run-of-the-mill asphalt roofing material. Unlike asphalt, manufacturers create rubber to last and resist a host of elements that would severely damage asphalt shingles. Rubber can tolerate the heaviest or hailstorms and wind, the most intense heat, and the coldest of winters. It survives the most difficult of elements without cracking, warping, denting, melting, or sustaining other damages.

You also should expect your rubber membrane roof to help lower your energy costs. It keeps out the elements that may have caused you to turn up your air conditioner or heater. This is due to the fact that it resists heat and cold. In return, you pay less for your utility expenses. You also lessen the carbon footprint you or your business inflicts on the environment.

Summing It Up

Finally, you should expect to get a good return on your investment with a rubber membrane roof. Even if you pay a bit more upfront, that investment is going to pay off when you save money on repairs and replacement of shingling. You also save yourself the expense of replacing the entire roof anytime soon. This is due to the fact that rubber membrane roofs are durable and they last for decades.

A roof made out of the most durable and practical of materials is an asset to your home or business. Out of all of the materials available today, rubber membranes are many building owners’ preferred choice. Discover why rubber roofs are becoming increasingly popular today. Learn how this material can benefit your building and your budget by giving you the best return on your roof repair or replacement investment.

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