Pros and Cons of EPDM Rubber Roofing

As with most things, there are both advantages and disadvantages to using EPDM rubber for your roofing needs. By laying out the pros and cons of a rubber roof, you will be one step closer to making an informed decision on the best materials for your needs.


  • EPDM rubber roofs are made out of recycled materials, making them environmentally friendly.
  • Since EPDM rubber reflects heat, it cuts cooling costs in the summer, making it economically friendly. It also acts as an insulator to help cut costs in the winter.
  • Rubber is waterproof, making it a great material for keeping water away from your housing structure.
  • Rubber roofs last a long time before needing to be replaced, typically 30-50 years. They hold up well against wind, water, and even fire, as most are fire retardant. They are also ozone and UV stable, making the materials themselves nonperishable.
  • Repairs are done simply and inexpensively. Most homeowners are able to do the repairs themselves.
  • Rubber roofing shingles are available in a variety of textures and colors giving, homeowners the option of keeping the look of a traditional roof with the benefits of a rubber one. 
  • Rubber weighs a lot less than slate or cedar. This gives the roofer an advantage when hauling the materials to and from the roof for installation. 
  • Since rubber roofing does not rely on gravity like traditional shingles do, it is ideal for flat or low pitched roofs.
  • It can be purchased in 50 feet sheets, thus creating no seams and practically “shrink wrapping” your entire roof.
  • It shifts with your house as your home settles over the years.


  • Rubber roofs must be installed by a professional who has experience working with rubber and flat roofs, which can be difficult to find and quite costly. Since rubber has only been used for the past 40 years, not many roofers have the experience required to do the job right. The ones who do have the know-how are able to charge more than traditional roofers since they have a monopoly on it.
  • Piping, residing HVAC units, chimneys, and stack lines all pose an additional threat to the integrity of your rubber roof. These are the areas where you are most likely to see leaks later on and will have to be resealed.
  • Rubber is not delicate, but it is not indestructible either. It can be easily damaged by a falling branch, satellite dish, or foot traffic.  Although it is easy to repair, sometimes it can be difficult to find the exact location of the leak, as well as all of them if they are minimal.
  • Many roofers claim to have experience installing rubber when in fact they have only done it a few times or have merely sat in on a training program, as there is no special certification needed and they have access to the materials through their regular roofing supply store. An improperly installed rubber roof can leak right from day one.