Tag Archives: commercial roof maintenance

How Long Should a Rubber Roof Last?

If you are a contractor or are familiar with the roofing game, you may have heard of EPDM. This is Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer which is more commonly known as rubber roofing. Most contractors will recommend that owners of a commercial property invest in these rubber roofs.

Rubber membrane roofs have advanced durability, life expectancy and cost per square foot that makes it one of the best replacement options for any kind of damaged roofing material. And while it certainly has disadvantages of its own, there are more than enough reasons that EPDM roofs are one of the most common options for commercial properties.

How long will a rubber roof last?

Let’s cut to the chase and discuss one of the most commonly asked questions when it comes to a rubber commercial roof: how long do they last? With the right upkeep and weather conditions, your standard rubber commercial roof will last anywhere from 40 to 50 years.

This, of course, includes proper and preventative maintenance as well. There is not a single roof out there that will last half a century on its own with no preventative maintenance done. And while that may sound like a hassle, that preventative maintenance entails simple inspections and patchwork that is done should there be any damage done to the roof.

If your area experiences extreme weather each year, this life expectancy can probably be knocked down by a few years, but rubber roofs are generally very durable and meant to last a long, long time without a ton of maintenance needed.

What are the perks of a rubber roof?

As mentioned, rubber roofs are becoming the go-to choice for commercial rooftops. This is for a few different reasons that we will outline here.

Rubber roofing is more durable and cost-effective.

A good installation is all you need

One of the good things about installing a rubber roof is that if it installed properly, that installation will make your roof seamless. When there are no seams in your roofing, that means that it is more moisture resistant and will be virtually leak-free.

With other roofs, there is the risk that shingles or individual panels could peel and raise up, exposing the roof underneath to additional risk of leaking. But with the seamless install of a rubber roof, you don’t have to worry about those pesky leaks anymore.

Rubber roofs have the same properties as PVC, TPO, and other roofing materials that are more expensive to have installed. Again, this all comes down to the installation. If it is done in a subpar way, you won’t get the full range of capabilities that the rubber roof can offer.


Your standard rubber roof weighs just about two pounds per square foot. This makes it lighter than something like modified bitumen, but it remains more durable. Being lighter in weight also means that it puts less stress on the roof over time. This can do wonders for the health of your commercial roof over the life of the building.

Its lighter weight also means that it is easier to transport and install. With heavier materials, it can be a hassle to get them up and down ladders or stairs, but the rubber material is much easier to transport and makes the overall installation a bit easier as well.


As mentioned previously, rubber roofs are very durable, on a level with PVC and TPO. EPDM is actually durable enough that it can support things like rooftop gardens as well. Because the material is seamless in nature, it is able to lock out moisture and prevent the growth of any fungi or other roof-harming forms of life.

With a proper installation and yearly preventative maintenance – inspections to check for any cracks in the façade that could allow for moisture to enter – your rubber commercial roof should last at least 40 years if not more.

If installed properly, a rubber roof can last 40-50 years.

Properly installing your rubber roof

The first course of action for installing a rubber roof should be to call in a commercial roofing contractor. A contractor or roofer will have a litany of experience when it comes to installing these roofs and the chance that something goes wrong will drop drastically.

If you insist on doing the work yourself, however, there are steps to follow to ensure that the job is done correctly, and your rubber roof is installed properly.

The first step is to make sure the roof is prepared. This means that you need to clean the roof. Any debris or dust that remains could potentially weaken the adhesive of the membrane. The whole point of the EPDM membrane is that it needs to be able to stick to the surface of the roof.

The next step is to inspect areas of your roof where there is a gutter. In these spaces, you may need to install a batten to extend your roof towards the gutter. This will direct rainwater drips to the gutter instead of behind the gutter; this prevents damage to the supporting wall and fasteners that are underneath the gutter itself.

Make certain that you prepare the areas of your wall that would accept flashing – this redirects moisture from the wall towards the rubber membrane – and remove any excess brick mortar using something like a mortar chisel. This will ensure that the flashings attach properly.

Lastly, prepare and install the rubber layer. Again, it is key that the rubber membrane bond with the roof because this is how it seals and becomes seamless. Apply the rubber to the roof evenly and make sure to unfold the rubber after you have finished applying the adhesive. This ensures that it won’t dry out without attaching to the membrane itself. When you are done applying, cut away the excess rubber so that the fit is complete.

Rubber roofing is becoming more common due to greater durability as well as lesser costs to install. If you own a commercial building, you may want to consider having a rubber roof installed to prolong the life of the roof for a long time to come.

How to Spot Commercial Roof Shrinkage

Commercial Roof Shrinkage

The roof is the most important part of any building. It quite literally is the last line protection that you have from the elements coming down on your head. When there are issues with your roof, it causes a litany of problems that can range from small to catastrophic.

There will come a time with your roof where there may be damage, deterioration, or it might just be the ravages of time that has done your roof in. Whatever the cause might be, you will need to pay heed to these things and to take care of them as soon as possible.

There may be one problem that you might not have been previously aware of? That problem? It is known as roof shrinkage.

What is roof shrinkage?

Knowing about roof shrinkage is the first step towards dealing with it. It might seem obvious to state it but roof shrinkage doesn’t mean that your roof will literally shrink over the course of time. Roof shrinkage refers to the shrinking of the membrane of your roof. This coats the roofing materials and provides something of a protective layer for the roofing materials.

This membrane protects your roof from extreme temperatures and weather and even from the damage from objects that could potentially puncture your roof. This membrane can shrink over time. When the membrane shrinks, it can lead to things like rips, cracks, ridges, and tears in the materials of your roof.

If shrinkage goes without repair, it can grow substantially worse and there can be substantial damage to the materials of your roof. Never ignore any potential damage that you may notice. It might be a hassle (and a costly one at that) but implementing these repairs can save you a ton of time and money over a long period of time.

What are the causes of roof shrinkage?

Knowing what the causes of roof shrinkage are can be an important part of preventing it or making certain that repairs are implemented in a timely manner. There are a variety of reasons, but these are just a few of the most common things that can lead to roof shrinkage.


There can be a problem when the membrane is applied to the materials of your roof. For instance, if the oil that is added to the membrane isn’t properly mixed, it might not allow for things like adequate flexibility. What you might not have realized is that larger roofs can be more susceptible to things like roof shrinkage since there is more roof area and a larger amount of materials.

Larger areas of the roof can become affected and suffer from roof shrinkage. This can lead to the degeneration of those materials over time, which can cause leaks and other issues to become an issue. When you notice any kind of damage to your roof, you need to call in the professionals to stop those from becoming a bigger issue.

Bigger issues lead to bigger costs and those will be much more difficult to deal with than they may have if they were nipped in the bud from the start.

Poor application/manufacturing of the membrane

The membrane that protects the roofing materials is known as ethylene propylene diene monomer or EPDM. This is what is commonly used in the protection of the materials that make up your roof and keep the elements off of your head.

Since there are several steps in the overall development and the eventual application of this membrane, any lack of quality control or perhaps an improper application can cause issues that affect the overall durability and the life of that membrane. When the membrane becomes compromised, the materials that make up your roof can become compromised as well, breaking down sooner rather than later.

The membrane is such an important part of protecting and maintaining your roof that you might not have previously even noticed. Making certain that it is installed properly should go a long way towards ensuring that your roof stands up to the wear and tear of time and that the underlying materials remain in tip-top shape for the foreseeable future.


Proper venting will allow any moisture to properly escape from the aforementioned EPDM. This prevents the membrane from blowing up and eventually causing damage. Not every roofer out there will utilize proper venting (these typically aren’t done for residential buildings) but it can be an essential step towards making sure that your roof, the membrane in particular, does not suffer from excessive moisture.


One factor that might hinder you and ultimately affect the membrane of your roof is the design of your roof. When the roof is designed, it has to be done so in a way that will ultimately compensate for those factors that can lead to shrinkage.

When the roof is designed, it has to be done so in a way that is strong enough to withstand any potential shrinkage of the EPDM. If it is not, that shrinkage will occur and the materials of your roof could become damaged over time. This may be out of your hands, especially if you purchase a home. Input on the design of the roof will then have been completely out of your hands.

If you are purchasing a home, one of the first things that you should do is to consult with a contractor to perform an inspection. A qualified inspector worth their salt will be able to notice any issues with the membrane and work to implement repairs immediately.

The membrane of your roof is essential to the life of the materials that compromise the roof and can either extend or shorten the life of a roof depending on their condition. There are a variety of things that you can do to check the continuity of the membrane of your roof and repairs that you can implement should any damage become noticeable.

Work to protect the membrane of your roof so that your roof can last through many seasons, protecting you from the elements along the way.