5 Steps To Get Into Rubber Roofing
The secret is out…
Rubber roofing is here to stay and now is the best time to up your game by offering your customers this popular flat roofing material. As the need for sustainable products increases each year so does the demand for this long-lasting material.
If you want to keep up with demand, stay relevant or even just expand your skillset, this blog is for you. Learn about the 5 steps you need to take so you can start installing rubber roofing like a pro.
Step 1: Work Out Which Rubber Roofing System Is Best For Your Project
The market is saturated with so many rubber roofing systems. Their qualities and uses vary so it’s important to understand which system will be best suited for your project. To give you a brief overview, we’ve summarised some of the most popular rubber roofing systems in the UK today.
The original EPDM.
ClassicBond was first installed over 50 years ago. This very roof is still going strong today. Its proven track record and affordable price are just some of the reasons why it’s most homeowners' first choice. This system is formed in one piece that’s cut to size for your project to make installation super quick.
Another great advantage of using ClassicBond is the fact that it’s BBA certified making it a great option for small to medium-sized domestic and commercial flat roofs.
Elevate (Formally Known As Firestone)
An extremely similar system to ClassicBond.
This rubber roofing system shares many similarities with ClassicBond from installation to uses, to the overall formation of the membrane. The main difference between this system and ClassicBond is the fact that ClassicBond was first installed 20 years earlier in the 1960s in comparison to Elevate which was first installed in the 1980s. There are also some other minor differences which include colour and thickness. Just like ClassicBond Elevate is extremely durable and has BBA certification.
The stronger older brother of ClassicBond.
ClassicBond Pro has fleeced back reinforcement meaning it can be installed over most roofing substrates. The labour time that can be saved on medium to large roofs is massive. Unlike the other systems mentioned, it comes in easy-to-manage rolls making it perfect for detail work on both domestic and commercial flat roofs.
An exceptional hybrid system that’s best suited for medium to large roofs.
Resitrix is reinforced with glass fibres for extra strength and has a bitchumus backing to make overlay projects a breeze. It’s available in manageable rolls to make heavy-detail work projects run smoother. The showstopper part of this system is the fact that it’s suitable for light foot traffic and green roofs.
Cost–effective yet durable.
This system is specifically designed for outbuildings making it ideal for sheds and small garden rooms. Just like ClassicBond, it’s formed in one cut-to-size piece. The downside to this system is, it’s not BBA certified so it’s not suitable for any buildings that must conform to building regulations.
We’ve written a guide that breaks down some of the most in-demand rubber roofing systems so you can find the best one for your project.
Step 2: Learn Learn Learn
The saying "the more you learn, the more you earn”, represents rubber roofing so well. Knowledge is key to becoming confident. We recommend learning from multiple sources so you can not only learn about installation but also about the materials themselves.
Our Online Training Centre is free and available 24/7.
- Step-by-step guides with pictures
- Handy information manuals
- Easy-to-follow installation videos
- Dedicated section for commonly asked questions for roofers
We’ve made it super easy for you to learn about your chosen system as our Online Training Centre allows you to filter all resources by your preferred systems.
Youtube is also a fantastic resource when it comes to getting clued up. In particular, Roof Scout’s videos are extremely useful. The main man Sam has over 5 years of experience fitting rubber roofing and gives his insider knowledge in short yet informative videos. Another brilliant Youtube channel that has a great knowledge of rubber roofing is Build With A&E. They have a super informative playlist dedicated to rubber roofing, along with lots of other building-related content that is worth watching to stay in the know.
Step 3: Get Your Rubber Roofing Tools
Having everything you need when you need it, is so important… time is money after all. With every roofing system, there will be specialist tools that are needed for each project. We’ve put together a list of essential tools you’ll need when installing a rubber roof.
4 Essential Tools For Rubber Roofing
If your project has any sort of detail work you’ll need a seam roller. This tool is also essential if you are installing rubber roofing systems like ClassicBond Pro, or any others that are available in rolls.
Seam rollers are used to compress the rubber roofing membrane to ensure the area is watertight. This is an extremely easy tool to use and is widely available across the UK. We recommend purchasing a high-quality seam roller to ensure it can be used again and again.
Penny rollers are scaled-down versions of seam rollers and are used to get into angles and corners. Just like seam rollers, this tool is used to compress the rubber roofing membrane whilst doing any detail or seam work.
As this is a tool you will regularly use it's worth investing in a good quality option to ensure this serves you well for every project you do.
Paint rollers are an essential tool for rubber roofing systems that use adhesives like ClassicBond and Skyguard. We recommend buying both a large and small roller for your projects to ensure you can quickly apply adhesive to the deck whilst making sure you get into every nook and cranny.
If you are installing rubber roofing systems like ClassicBond or Elevate, 100mm rollers are a good option for applying contact adhesive around the perimeter of the deck.
If you are using the rubber roofing system Resitrix you’ll need to buy a heat gun so you can melt the bituminous backing. You can get an entry-level heat gun for just under £75 which is a great option if you will be doing the odd Resitrix job here and there. If you will be installing Resitrix on a regular basis we would recommend investing in a reliable heat gun to ensure installation runs smoothly.
To explore more rubber roofing tools check out our website for an extensive range of tools which can be filtered by your preferred system.
If you are completely new to the world of roofing there are some basic items you won’t want to go without.
Here’s Our Top 3 Things A New Flat Roofer Should Never Go Without
Leaf blowers aren’t just for landscapers and gardeners.
Flat roofs are renowned for capturing rubbish, dust and debris. The leaf blower will quickly become your best friend when it comes to getting the bad stuff gone quickly. We recommend investing in a powerful leaf blower to ensure the job is done with minimal time and effort.
Garden Tool Box’s blog compares the best professional leaf blowers on the market and is super useful for helping you pick.
An essential item for any rubber roofer, if forgotten it can make a day of work unsafe, painful and uncomfortable. This isn’t an item to skimp on, we recommend taking the time to research the most suitable kneepads for you as they are well worth the investment.
Home Inspector’s Secrets have a great beginner's guide to knee pads. They give you information on not only their industry top picks but tips on how to wear them so they are comfortable and supportive.
Roofing is always weather-dependent but rain showers don’t always mean a day of work is cancelled. Protecting the roof during rain showers will allow you to continue with the job once the rain has stopped. Skyguard and ClassicBond come in one piece so they can be used as a makeshift tarpaulin if rain occurs. However, when using rubber roofing systems which are available in rolls we recommend purchasing a good quality tarpaulin to keep the roof and deck dry.
Step 4: Save Money Whilst You Make Money
Setting up trade accounts with your favourite suppliers is well worth your time. Not only will you get what you need at trade prices but many trade accounts keep you up to date with sales and promotions, so you can save even more.
Our Trade+ account is easy to apply for and can be done online from the comfort of your home. You’ll get a 10% lifetime discount and many more perks just by signing up for a free account.
Step 5: Price Up Your Rubber Roofing Materials
When measuring up for your project be sure to make a note of if there is any detail work like skylights and drains… If there are ensure you take measurements for this. It’s also important to make a note of the type of edge for each length and width so you can ensure you have all the materials you need.
Here are the most common roof edges you can expect to see...
- Kerb - Prevents water from running over the edge.
- Wall - Edge up against a wall
- Gutter Drip - Water must run off this edge
- Slope Onto - Water runs onto this edge from another roof
- Slope Off - Water runs off this edge onto a sloping or pitched roof
- Parapet - Edge is formed by a parapet wall
- Rubber Join - Edge joins to a rubber roof
- Felt Join - Edge joins to a felt roof
The quickest and easiest way to price up your materials is by using our online Kit Calculators. All you need to do is input your measurements and roof edge details to get a quote quicker than you can make a brew. Your materials can be added to your cart in one click or they can be emailed to you for a later date.
[BONUS TIP] Get Hands-On Training To Get You Fitting Rubber Roofing Like A Pro
If you’re anything like me, you’ll know you learn best when you have a proper go. If that’s you, invest in your future with a professional training course. We recommend you choose a training course that is system specific so that you can get in-depth knowledge for your project. It’s important that you can learn from a trusted provider and preferably one that gives membrane guarantees so you have extra peace of mind whilst on the roofs.
Our professional training course is a full day jam-packed with learning. We have a demo roof for you to test your skills on whilst getting support from our training manager who has 10 years of experience fitting rubber roofing. Not only that you’ll be able to apply for 20-year membrane guarantees.
Are You Ready To Start Your Rubber Roofing Journey?
Rubber roofing is one of the easiest flat roofing materials to install as opposed to materials like PVC and built-up roofs.
We believe that the demand for this type of roofing will increase each year as society shifts more into conscious buying. With the need for these materials continually growing it’s always a great idea to set aside time to grow your knowledge whenever possible through online and in-person training… After all, knowledge is key.
Here’s a quick recap of what you need to do to be on your way to becoming a pro rubber roofer.
- Step 1: Understand your customer's and project needs. Get to grips with the most popular rubber roofing systems on the market and work out which system is best for your project.
- Step 2: Pick your most suited system and regularly spend time learning everything you need to know from resources like our Online Training Centre and informative Youtube channels like RoofScout and Build With A&E.
- Step 3: Get all of the tools you need for your project and don’t forget to buy a leaf blower, knee pads and a large tarpaulin
- Step 4: Save money on your materials by setting up trade accounts at your favourite merchants
- Step 5: Work out the materials you need and price up your job
- Bonus tip: Get hands-on training before you start your project. Check out our professional training courses so you can feel confident and have the power to apply for guarantees for extra peace of mind. Call us today on 024 7666 7234 to book your full day of training.