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Rubber Roofing – What You Should Know

Rubber Roofing – What You Should Know

Rubber Roofing – What You Should Know

If you have a flat roof or a roof that has a pitch of less than 4 in 12, you may find yourself more limited in what it is you can install there. One of the most popular options for installing on this type of roof is rubber roofing. Rubber roofing comes in both rolls and shingles, and can be used in combination on a flat roof to create a lightweight, inexpensive, and attractive roof option.

What Is Rubber Roofing?

Rubber roofing is a material made up of a combination of recycled tires, slate dust, and saw dust. It typically comes in rolls which are installed in long, overlapping sheets on flat roofs, but it is also available in shingles that have an appearance like slate tiles.

Installing a Rubber Roof

For many years the only way you could cover a flat roof was with rolled rubber roofing. This is still the case for the primary or base roof. The rolls are applied to a completely cleaned, stripped roof deck that has been coated in adhesive. The rolls are cut to fit, then unrolled across the roof and smoothed out to avoid air bubbles.

If you have a flat roof and want a more attractive option, it is possible to apply rubber shingles on top of the rolled rubber roof. The seams must all be taped and sealed, and then the rubber shingles can be nailed down on top in rows.

Inexpensive and Durable

Rubber roofs are one of the more inexpensive and durable options for flat roofs. Because the rolls have few if any seams, they rarely leak or need much in the way of maintenance. When properly installed and cared for, they can last up to 20 years.

Rolled roofing is one of the least expensive options for a flat roof. The rolled material costs roughly .80 a square foot, and costs very little to install. If you choose to use the shingles as well as the rolls, the shingles can cost more than typical asphalt shingles, but less than the slate they resemble, as well as less than most metal roofing options with an average cost of around $6 a square foot.

Easy Maintenance

Another benefit to using rubber roofing – particularly rolled rubber roofing – on flat roofs is the easy maintenance. If the rubber does develop cracks or leaks, it is possible to fix these quickly yourself with a coat of liquid rubber, latex tape, or sealant. You can also install the rubber shingles right over the cracked rolled roofing to help repair it, and give it a more attractive appearance at the same time.

Keep in mind that rubber does expand and contract with fluctuating temperatures. It cannot be installed or worked on in less than 40 degree weather, and whatever maintenance type you select will have to account for additional movement in the future to avoid new cracks.

A Good Option for Flat Roofs

Flat roofs have very few options for materials due to their low pitch. Rubber roofing helps to make this problem easier to solve with an inexpensive, low maintenance, and sometimes attractive material.


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