What Are The Disadvantages of Rubber Roofing?

Rubber roofing has been increasing in popularity. But are there disadvantages people are unaware of?

A rubber roof on an extension of a house with trees around the extension A rubber roof on an extension of a house with trees around the extension

What is EPDM Rubber Roofing?

Rubber roofing often refers to a synthetic rubber roof made from Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM). It is a single-ply membrane that uses adhesives to be fitted onto a low-pitched or flat roof.

It is renowned for being a quick and easy system to install that can withstand extreme temperatures, UV radiation and weathering, making it ideal for waterproofing and sealing applications - perfect for your roof. 

There are many advantages to installing rubber roofing, but as with anything, are there any disadvantages to consider?

Disadvantages of Rubber Roofing

There are a few perceived disadvantages to rubber roofing speculated in the roofing industry. However, they are not as unfavourable as some make it seem. 

Does EPDM Cost More Than Traditional Flat Roofing?

If you look at the initial outlay, EPDM rubber roofing materials can be more costly than other traditional types of flat roofing. The installation also requires new OSB boards to ensure peak performance.

However, if you factor in that an EPDM rubber roof will last you upwards of 50 years, a rubber roof will work out cheaper than most other flat roofing alternatives. It may even outlive your structure! 

As rubber roofs are quick and easy to fit, there may also be a time and labour-saving aspect to the installation. 

The longest-lasting EPDM rubber roofing to this date is ClassicBond. It was first manufactured in the United States by Carlisle-Syntec during the 1960s, and many of those installed then are still standing today!  

Is 1.2mm Too Thin and Will Tear Easily?

The ClassicBond EPDM rubber roofing membrane is available in two thicknesses: 1.2mm and 1.5mm. Many assume these thicknesses are ineffective at protecting their roof and may damage easily.

1.2mm may seem thin to most, but for a single-ply roofing membrane, EPDM is one of the thicker systems available. Compared to other TPO/PVC roofs, which have an average thickness of 0.4mm. Furthermore, ClassicBond EPDM rubber complies with all building regulations and fire ratings. 

EPDM rubber roofs will protect your roof from most damages, which you can see in our video, where we perform 5 drop tests with different objects that could damage your roof. On the rare occasion that your roof gets damaged, it is a reasonably easy repair that most homeowners can complete themselves, as seen in this Easy How-To video.

Many EPDM rubber roofs were installed over 50 years ago and are still standing today. These membranes can withstand extreme temperatures of -40ºC to +120ºC and are UV stable, making them very durable against most environmental climates.

A rubber roof with a rooflight in the centre of it that has rain on it A rubber roof with a rooflight in the centre of it that has rain on it

Does EPDM Come In Different Colours?

EPDM rubber roofs are known for their limited colour choice. The rubber membranes currently only come in slate grey and black.

However, you can choose from 3 trim colours - black, grey and white. The membrane colour will not affect the aesthetic looks of your roof, as all you can see from ground level are the trims.

If a different coloured roof is needed, you can paint over EPDM with acrylic paint to give you the desired look. 

As It Comes In One Piece, Will It Be Heavy?

Being a singular sheet is beneficial in most instances. However, it can be a potential issue for complicated roofs with multiple protrusions, like skylights and vents. In such scenarios, it may be easier to install a roof system that comes in smaller rolls, such as Resitrix and ClassicBond Pro.

There is also the worry of the rolls being too heavy to lift onto the rood as they come in one piece. This can be an issue for typically larger rolls over 50m2. However, we have kindly come up with 3 easy solutions to get your heavy rolls of EPDM rubber onto your roof. 

Furthermore, in most scenarios, a single-piece membrane is a massive advantage, making installation quicker and easier. Since the membrane is cut to size, it also reduces any wastage. 

You can also use the membrane as a temporary tarpaulin to protect your roof until you are ready to install it, meaning you will not need to spend on an extra plastic sheet. Unlike other roofing systems, no special tools are required (e.g., flame torch), resulting in a safer and simpler installation. 

Will EPDM Absorb Heat?

It is known that dark colours absorb heat. Hence, many people in warmer climates tend to paint their houses white or light-coloured to keep their homes cooler. 

So, many assume the dark grey and black colour of EPDM rubber roofs cause their structures to heat up and cause overheating due to the dark colours absorbing and retaining the heat, possibly damaging the membrane.

However, this is not the case with EPDM rubber roofing. With its UV-reflective property, the rubber will not get damaged by the UV rays of sunlight. Also, the dark colour absorbing heat is actually beneficial for UK buildings due to the low temperatures experienced here. 

Three separate dormer extensions with EPDM rubber membranes on them Three separate dormer extensions with EPDM rubber membranes on them

Considering Rubber Roofing?

EPDM rubber roofing systems are one of the most long-lasting options that can be easily installed and repaired if any damages occur. It works out as a cheaper alternative to felt roofing, as EPDM rubber roofing can last much longer, meaning you will not have to replace it soon after installation. 

If you think rubber roofing is your solution, we have a tool to make your experience seamless. Just input the dimensions of your roof into our ClassicBond Kitbuildr to get a quote on your roof in minutes. 

Compatible Systems:
  • The ClassicBond One Piece EPDM system is great for large or small flat roof areas and is normally bonded on to a timber deck in one piece so no joins!
    Find out more!

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