Rubber Roofing Shingles – Types, Materials, Pros, Cons, And Lifespan

Here, I’ll be telling you all you need to know about rubber roof shingles, the types, and how they are installed.

Keep reading!

Rubber Roofs For Houses

Rubber roofs have become popular over the years. This is because they have special advantages that other roof types don’t.

If you’re planning to redo your roofing, and you’re considering using rubber roofs, then you’ve come to the right place.

Pros And Cons Of Rubber Roofing

Are rubber roofs good? Yes.

The good thing about rubber roofing is that it caters to so many rooftop applications. They are especially ideal for flat and low-sloped roofs.

Another advantage of using rubber roofing is that it offers your building excellent water-tight protection. This is very advantageous if you have a flat or low-pitched roof.

This type of protection cannot be offered by traditional shingles. Even though they can protect against moisture on steep roofs, they aren’t that good on flat roofs.

Types Of Rubber Roofing

Tanks to its many advantages, you will find that most modern roofs are made with one or more types of rubber roofing membrane.

It would interest you to know that not all rubber roofing is made of actual rubber. Some are made with plastic PVC material, which some people confuse for rubber.

To add to that, not all rubber roofs have the same quality, and you should keep this in mind when going out in search of the right type of roofing for your home.

Each of these rubber roof types has its strong points. They also have their disadvantages, so you can make your decision based on which suits your unique situation.

Consider these rubber roofing options.

EPDM Rubber Roofing

Ethylene propylene diene terpolymer, also called EPDM for short, is one of the most common roofing materials in the market.

One of the reasons why it is so popular is its ability to last for many years. In fact, no rubber roofing type can last longer than EPDM.

That aside, EPDM is also one of the oldest types of rubber roofing being used to this day. This is a testament to its quality and toughness.

It is also the cheapest type of rubber roofing. So you might want to consider it if you’re on a tight budget.

Generally speaking, below are the 3 main types of rubber roofing.

  1. Single-Ply membranes

If you’re looking for a more modern type of rubber roofing, then you could try single-ply membranes. It is great for commercial buildings and it has grown in popularity.

A popular example of single-ply membranes is  Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC)

  1. Built-up roofing

Built-up roofing or BUR is another old type of rubber roofing. And it is installed by placing many layers of roofing felt over the other.

The felts are made with asphalt and are embedded in Bitumen to form a monolithic roof membrane.

  1. Modified bitumen

Modified bitumen has been in use since as far back as the 1960s, and it was created as a substitute for BUR.

What makes it different from BUR is that it is created with an extra layer of cap sheets or polymer.

Thanks to these materials, modified bitumen has more elasticity when under cold temperatures. This feature prevents it from breaking in icy conditions.

Rubber Roof Materials

As I have mentioned earlier, not all rubber roofing is made of actual rubber. Some are made with plastic polymers (sometimes mixed with rubber).

The materials used to make rubber roofs are eco-friendly, which means they don’t produce toxic fumes or gasses. Typically, they are made with materials from recycled tires, slate dust, and sawdust.

Thanks to its elasticity, rubber roofing does not become brittle during the winter. And this makes it better than other roofing types when it comes to water-tight protection and long-lasting ability.

How Long Does A Rubber Roof Last?

EPDM rubber roofing can last for as long as 25 years before it would need fixes or replacement. A good quality TPO roofing can last even longer than that if it is reinforced with fiberglass.

As for modified bitumen roofs, they can last for up to 12 years before they would need fixes or replacement. While built-up roofs (BUR), have a lifespan of about 20 years.

Tips To Maintain Your Rubber Roof

Rubber roofs may have long lifespans, but you’ll definitely get the most out of them if you practice regular maintenance.

Here’s what you can do to keep your rubber roofs in good shape.

  1. Practice regular inspection

You could take a look at your sloped rubber roof from the ground, but climbing up a ladder will give you a much better view.

Inspecting your roof is very important especially after heavy rainfall or storm. You can call a professional roofer to take a look if you don’t feel comfortable climbing up a ladder.

Clear out any debris you find there and check to see if the seams are beginning to lift.

  1. Remove debris

There is no way your rubber roof will go for months without accumulating some dust and other forms of debris. And this is why you should climb up a few times a year to sweep off the dirt.

You would want to get rid of all the leaves, pieces of tree branches, and abandoned bird nests that have fallen on your roof.

A broom and a ladder are the only tools you need. But make sure you’re safe by putting on non-slip boots and a hard helmet.

Once again, call a roofing professional if you’re not okay with climbing up a ladder.

  1. Clean the gutters

One of the most vital parts of roof maintenance of any kind is ensuring that your gutters are clean and unclogged.

Debris accumulation can stop roof water from flowing down and cause it to settle on your roof. Even though rubber roofs are great at water protection, why put them under the stress?


Rubber roofs are durable and can easily be installed by a roofing professional. They can also last longer and are affordable, it might just be the right type of roof for you.

I hope this article has been helpful.

Take care!