Rubber roofing is made from a synthetic material called ethylene propylene diene monomer, or EPDM, which is manufactured as a single sheet of rubber membrane. These sheets are typically sized to fit your roof so that there are no seams or welds that can result in leaks or splitting. Today, manufacturers make rubber roofing products from recycled material, which reduces the environmental impact of producing this roofing product.
Rubber roofing requires almost no maintenance. The EPDM membrane does oxidize, but slowly, and cleaning your roof at least four times each year will aid in slowing the process further. Rubber roofing requires only a rinse with clean water to remove surface dirt and debris. You may also use a cleaning product designed for EPDM material that you can purchase at any roofing supply store. Mix it with water, and scrub stuck-on material with a medium-bristle brush. After using a cleaning agent, rinse thoroughly with water. Rips in rubber roofing membranes can be repaired using peel-and-stick repair kits, which are available in a range of sizes.
Rubber roofing is designed to last 20 years or more, although most manufacturers offer a 10-year warranty. Warranties typically do not require the use of any protective treatment or coating to be valid. In fact, using certain products that may damage the roof may void your warranty. Rubber roofing has high elasticity and tensile strength and is resistant to UV rays from the sun. It holds its flexibility at extremely low temperatures as well. However, it can be damaged by oil-based products, such as mineral or vegetable oil, petroleum products, hot bitumen, citrus-based products and grease. These products must not come in contact with a rubber roof, or damage can result.
The main function of rubber roofing is providing a waterproof barrier between your roof and the elements. It is installed over any flat, clean roof surface that free of loose material, oil or grease that might damage the membrane. Commercially, rubber roofing is used to cover roof surfaces such as schools, hospitals and warehouses. Rubber roofing is also commonly used as a roofing material for mobile homes.