How Long Does a Rubber Roof Last?

Rubber roofs outperform other roofing materials in terms of longevity for a variety of reasons. Firstly, EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) roofing is engineered to withstand hail, ozone, ultraviolet rays, and wind exceptionally well. It also exhibits high resistance to extreme temperatures and fire, making it a preferred choice in commercial settings.

But just how resilient are rubber roofs? A professionally installed rubber roof, if maintained correctly, can last between 40 and 50 years. Naturally, the lifespan of rubber roofs can be extended further with appropriate drainage considerations during installation. Your roofing contractor should install your rubber roof to ensure efficient water drainage from the rooftop, which may involve special flashing to direct water away from susceptible areas.

How Long Does a Rubber Roof Last? – Rubber Roof Lifespan

After the successful installation of your rubber roof, its exceptional durability ensures a long lifespan often spanning decades before requiring further upkeep. So, what’s the typical lifespan of a rubber roof? Generally, installed rubber roofs can last between 40 to 50 years, depending on the applied coating’s thickness. After this period, the process can be renewed by applying a fresh rubber roof coating over the existing flat roofing material.

Routine maintenance and checks can significantly extend the lifespan of your rubber roof. A visual examination can reveal initial signs of damage caused by weather conditions, dropped debris, or foot traffic. A skilled roofing contractor will also look out for blisters and scrutinize elements that influence water flow, ensuring water is correctly draining off the commercial roof as designed. Additionally, inspectors should undertake small repairs and remove debris from drainage paths to guarantee efficient water flow.

Periodic cleaning of the roofing membrane using a broom and a suitable cleaning agent can also be beneficial. However, avoid using petroleum-based cleaning products as they could harm rubber, or EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) roofs.

Rubber Roof Lifespan

The only factor that might prevent your rubber roof from lasting up to 15 years is improper application of the coating. The applicator may have used too much or too little of the coating, applied it at an inappropriate time (like before a rainstorm), or failed to prepare the surface adequately. In such cases, the roof might deteriorate more quickly than if correctly applied.

A majority of rubber roof coating products are backed by a warranty; ensure you understand what’s covered under it. If there are signs of questionable quality, you might question again — “What’s the lifespan of a rubber roof?” Remember, it should ideally last for an average of 15 years. If it doesn’t, you might be eligible to have your roof redone under warranty.

Benefits of Rubber Roof

If you’re a contractor or have some knowledge about roofing, you might be familiar with EPDM, an acronym for Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer, often referred to as rubber roofing. Many contractors advise commercial property owners to consider rubber roofs.

Rubber membrane roofs offer superior longevity, durability, and cost-effectiveness per square foot, positioning them as one of the top choices for replacing any impaired roofing material.

Despite having a few drawbacks, there are ample reasons why EPDM roofs are frequently chosen for commercial properties.

Ease of Installation

When rubber roofs are correctly installed, they provide a seamless surface. A roof without seams is more resistant to moisture and virtually eliminates the risk of leaks.

Other types of roofing may pose the risk of shingles or individual panels peeling off, thereby exposing the underlying roof to potential leaks. However, this concern is significantly mitigated with a seamless rubber roof installation.

Rubber roofs share similar characteristics with PVC, TPO, and other more costly roofing materials. Ultimately, the effectiveness of these roofs largely depends on the quality of the installation.

Benefits Of Rubber Roof


A typical rubber roof weighs approximately two pounds per square foot. While this makes it lighter than materials like modified bitumen, it doesn’t compromise its durability.

The lighter weight contributes to less long-term strain on the roof, which can significantly enhance the condition of your commercial roof throughout the building’s lifespan.

Furthermore, the lighter weight facilitates easier transportation and installation. Heavier materials can be challenging to move up and down ladders or stairs, but rubber material is substantially more manageable, making the overall installation process somewhat simpler as well.


As previously noted, rubber roofs boast impressive durability, comparable to that of PVC and TPO. The robustness of EPDM is such that it can even accommodate features like rooftop gardens. Thanks to its seamless nature, it effectively seals out moisture, hindering the development of fungi or other organisms that could harm the roof.

With correct installation and regular annual preventive maintenance – including inspections for potential facade cracks that might let moisture in – your commercial rubber roof should have a lifespan of at least 40 years, if not longer.

Professional Rubber Roof Installation

The initial step towards installing a rubber roof should be to engage the services of a commercial roofing contractor. These professionals come with extensive experience in the installation of such roofs, significantly reducing the likelihood of errors.

However, if you’re determined to undertake the task yourself, there are specific procedures to adhere to, guaranteeing your rubber roof is correctly installed.

Rubber Roof Installation Steps

Rubber Roof Installation Steps

Roof Cleaning

Before proceeding, it is crucial to ensure proper preparation of the roof. This involves meticulously cleaning any debris or dust that may hinder the adhesive properties of the EPDM membrane. The membrane’s effectiveness lies in its ability to securely adhere to the surface of the roof.

Gutter Inspection

To proceed, you should examine the sections of your roof that have gutters. If necessary, you can add a batten to extend the roof towards the gutter in these areas. This will redirect rainwater drips to the gutter, preventing any potential damage to the underlying supporting wall and fasteners.

Secure Flashing

Ensure proper preparation of the wall areas intended for flashing. This redirects moisture away from the wall, directing it towards the rubber membrane. Additionally, remove any excess brick mortar using a suitable tool like a mortar chisel. These steps are crucial to ensure secure attachment of the flashings.

Apply Rubber

To complete the installation, it is essential to properly prepare and apply the rubber layer. The seamless bond between the rubber membrane and the roof is crucial for a secure seal.

Ensure an even application of the rubber, taking care to unfold it after applying the adhesive. This step guarantees that the rubber adheres to the membrane and prevents it from drying out without proper attachment. Once finished, trim any excess rubber to achieve a perfect fit.