The Roofing Resource Blog

Rubber Roofing Replacement-Low Cost High Value Option

Tue, Nov 25, 2014 @ 04:43 PM | Perry


Today’s flat roofing market is full of roof replacement options at a variety of price points. But just as the installed cost varies so does the value propositions and long term functionality of the different products available. 

Here is a closer look at the three rubber roofing replacement options building owners have.  

Rubber Roof Tear Off

Option 1. Tear off the old rubber roof and insulation and start again

While tearing off an existing rubber roof and the insulation below is definitely an option, it is an expensive and invasive way to go. Not only does the tear off account for around 50% of the total cost of a flat roofing project, a tear off takes much more time, exposes the building to the elements, makes much more noise, can be very disruptive to the building’s activity, and it is messy. 

Option 2.  Apply a Coating to the Existing Rubber Roof 

 Coatings can preform and function as advertised but only when applied under strict conditions. The problem is that these near perfect conditions rarely happen in the real world and when they do they rarely last very long. For a flat roof coating to work the existing roofing needs to be very clean and dust free, dry, and the temperature needs to be warm. Coatings will need at least 24 hrs of daytime after application with no rain, dew, condensation, or frost to properly cure out and most coating have a multiple step process to follow with multiple coats to achieve warranty or guarantee status. 



Option 3.  Lay new PVC membrane over existing rubber roofing

Covering an existing rubber roof with a PVC membrane is a low cost but high value proposition. Not only is all the cost and headache of a tear off saved, the cost of the roofing insulation is also spared. Many building owners even decided to add insulation the building during the re-roofing lay over project with the money they saved from not doing a tear off. New PVC membranes are designed and engineered to lay over top of EPDM rubber and provide 15, 20 or 25 year warranties. Lay overs are quick, clean, and much less expensive than traditional roofing methods that involve tear offs. 

Covering a black rubber roof with a with white PVC membrane can reduce roof top temps by 50 to 80 degrees meaning an over all summer time cooling saving of up the 15%

What if your rubber roof is covered with Stone?

A PVC lay over can still be done but the rock will have to be removed. Large vacuums trucks pull rock from the rubber roof and leave surface clean and suitable for a PVC lay over. 


Who can do a lay over?

Anyone with a rubber roof that needs replaced. The two requirements to install the new membrane directly over top of the old rubber is 1) that the existing insulation not be saturated with moisture and 2) that the deck is not rotten or rusted to the point that it cannot hold a screw. This is why protecting your rubber roof from excessive leaking until you are ready to replace it is very important. If your roof becomes saturated you’ll have no choice but to tear it off and start again. 



Topics: Rubber Roofing, Flat Roofing