The most common problems with Rubber Roofs:

March 6, 2023

The Truth About Rubber Roofing

Rubber roofing, also known as EPDM (ethylene propylene diene terpolymer) roofing, or thermoset roof systems offer inexpensive roofing choices and versatility. When paired with a simple installation and ease of maintenance/repair, they can be attractive when compared to some other commercial roof types. EPDM boasts a strong resistance to ultraviolet light and ozone and can be constructed from a single-ply rubber material. Other benefits include great flexibility in colder temperatures, resistance to some acids, solvents, and alcohol.

The most common problems with Rubber Roofs:

Improper installation – shrinkage over time – and the seams.

EPDM rubber roofs are glued down strips of rubber, the roof must be maintained because seams will need adjusting, as they start to pull apart from shrinkage. Even if properly installed after a time, the seams will need to be serviced. The roof should be inspected regularly to make sure the roof is performing the way it should.

Rubber roofing’s most common problem is shrinkage. After just a few years the rubber will begin to shrink causing it to pull away from parapet walls, flashings, and other areas.

Rubber Roof Reviews and EDPM Roof Reviews teach us to be aware of these issues with EPDM Rubber Roofs

Many contractors install the EPDM roofing system because it is cheap and, manufacturers that make this material do not require roofers to be certified or trained to purchase and install it.

EPDM is easy to source. Anybody can get the materials and accessories at a local home improvement store. You also don’t need to purchase large quantities, and there is very little quality control.

Business owners, who are unaware, usually believe that they are dealing with qualified professional contractors. Silicone Roofing Houston has been coating commercial and residential roofs for years with experience in flat and sloping applications, which can solve your rubber roofing issues.

It is important to remember that a flat roof is a completely different type of roof and not every contractor can properly install, or repair a single-ply rubber membrane. Be careful; there are many fly-by-night roofers who will do the install dirt cheap, and when the roof leaks you will never find them.

EPDM Rubber Roofs Will Leak

It is industry knowledge that most business owners don’t know – even when a rubber roof is installed correctly, it will most likely still leak. This is because it is designed to have seams that are glued together, effectively keeping it watertight. Over time, even the best glue dries up and fails. In as little as seven years, the rubber will shrink, allowing the seams to come apart. The roof is left vulnerable to water infiltration at the seams, and your roof is compromised.

Another inherent design problem is that after a few years, when this roofing membrane begins to shrink, pulling away from parapet walls, flashings, corners, drains, and other areas, leaks start penetrating these weak points. Shrinkage is a particularly severe problem on larger commercial roofs.

Even if your rubber roofing membrane was installed correctly, you will still need to perform regular maintenance to avoid leaks and get the maximum service life. Because the seams can start to come apart, they need to be inspected at least once a year to ensure they are intact, and the stretching near drains needs to be measured. A shrinking rubber membrane can pull drains out of their seals in a matter of days during a hot summer. You can prevent all this maintenance cost by coating the roof in Silicone.


  • Silicone is permanent and will not degrade, chalk or crack under harsh UV rays.
  • Silicone forms a seamless membrane that withstands permanent ponding water without softening.
  • Silicone creates a smooth surface that offers excellent resistance to mold, mildew, and staining.

Rubber Roofing EPDM (ethylene propylene diene terpolymer), whose two primary ingredients, ethylene, and propylene, are derived from oil and natural gas is the least Eco-Friendly roofing material.

If you care about the environmental footprint left by the materials you use in your commercial roof applications or home improvement endeavors, you will want to stay away from EPDM roofs.

Rubber is considered one of the least eco-friendly materials in the industry. It is manufactured primarily from oil-based byproducts, such as ethylene, propylene, and others. Thus, it requires heavy energy consumption during the production phase, supports our country’s dependence on oil and increases greenhouse gas emissions.

Black color membranes (most common and cheapest) are not energy-efficient, because they attract UV radiation from the sun and raise the ambient temperature inside the business or residence. Poor energy efficiency in regions with hot, sunny weather, will cost your bottom line. Silicone Roofing Houston understands the challenges of restoring a rubber roof or EPDM roof. A professionally installed silicone coat can cover your leaky rubber roof with reflective white silicone, which will reflect UV light and can withstand pooling water. In some cases it could be cheaper to coat the roof with silicone than repairing your aging rubber roof with more rubber seam sealing kits.