Identifying the Roof Membrane Before an RV Rubber Roof Replacement

rv rubber roof replacement

A solid and reliable RV roof is important if you want to continue enjoying your mobile home without the hassles brought by an inadequate roofing. A basic knowledge of the different types of RV roofs is crucial if you want to care for your roof.

There are basically three types of materials that your RV roof could be made of—metal, fiberglass or rubber. Identifying a metal roof is fairly easy. While they are not common these days, metal roofs such as galvanized metal and aluminum were widely used decades ago. Fiberglass roofs are also becoming rarer nowadays.

Around 20 years ago the RV industry found a new type of roofing material that works better than metals or fiberglass and has qualities not found in the old roofs. The product is a rubber roofing membrane that is lightweight, cost-effective, easy to install and maintain, seamless and resistant to UV light.

EPDM and TPO Rubber Roofs

The two popular types of RV rubber roofing are EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) and TPO (Thermal Poly Olefin). If your RV has a rubber roof, it could either be EPDM or TPO. When the time comes when you need to have an RV rubber roof replacement, you should be able to identify the type of rubber your RV has in order to install the right material.

How do you know which type of rubber roof is installed on your RV?

Check Owner’s Manual

The first thing you should consult is the RV owner’s manual. It should plainly state what type of rubber membrane was used on the RV. It will also lists the maintenance and cleaning instructions for your RV. If you have no access to the owner’s manual or for some reasons it does not specify the type of rubbing membrane used, there are ways to determine the type of your RV rubber roofing.

Gray or White Streaks

Look for gray or white streaks on the sides of the RV. EPDM membrane is designed to oxidize over time to protect it against UV rays and ozone. The oxidization or shedding produces the gray or white streaks found on the body of the RV.

Unlike EPDM, TPO rubber roof does not oxidize so you will not see any white or gray streaks on the sides of the RV. Another characteristic of a TPO membrane not found in EPDM is its glossy look.

Slippery When Wet

Another difference between the two types of rubber roofing is that EPDM is very slippery when wet while TPO is not.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Rubber Roofing Materials

rubber roofing material

While the use of rubber roofing materials have several advantages, it also has its disadvantages. We listed them below for the guidance of homeowners.


Price. This is one of the biggest advantages of rubber roofing. The cost of installation is lower compared to other types of roof. Since the product is much lighter than other roofing materials like asphalt and slate shingles, the labor cost for installation is greatly reduced.

Longevity. Rubber roofing is known for their durability and long life span. Most rubber roofs are in the form of rolls that are laid over the roof. Depending on the actual shape and layout of the roof, few seams are found. Seams are where water normally seeps into the house causing damage to the interiors and integrity of the structure.

UV Resistant. Modern rubber roofs are resistant to ultraviolet rays of the sun, ensuring a long-lasting product that could last up to or beyond 50 years.

Durable. Compared to asphalt shingles that have the tendency to crack when exposed to extreme temperatures, strong winds and inadequate ventilation, rubber roofs are durable and resist damage when subjected to the same elements. Rubber roof resists strong winds and hail with a diameter of up to three inches.

Easy to Repair. On the rare occurrence that leaks occur, repairing the damaged rubber is easy and fast. A special tape manufactured to repair rubber is usually enough to restore the roof in prime condition. Sometimes a tube of liquid rubber is used with the same result.

Green. Most rubber roofs are made from recycled materials. The roofing material itself is recyclable after reaching the end of its lifetime. Compared to other roofing materials, the production of rubber roof requires less energy making it one of the greenest roofing materials around.

Fire Resistant. Rubber roofs are fire resistant similar to slate shingles. Unlike the latter, however, prices of rubber roofs are much lower. Starting a fire on a rubber roof is almost impossible. The fire-resistant quality of rubber roof means that you will have time call for help whenever fire occurs in your home.


Dark Color. Most rubber roofs are black. Black roofs tend to absorb the sun’s heat and add to the temperature of the house or building. However, this can easily be negated by painting a white or light color on the rubber to make it cooler and prolong the life of the material.

Requires Professional Installation. A do-it-yourself person will not be able to lay down the rubber on his roof. Professional and licensed installers are required for the installation of rubber roofs. Finding a qualified installer may be a problem in some areas.

Improper Installation. To protect the house as it was meant to do, rubber roof must be properly installed by a professional. Problems could occur in the future because of incorrect installation, which might also void the warranty.

Why You Should Consider Rubber Roofing Material for Your Homes

rubber roofing material

One of the most common roof materials used in many homes today is asphalt shingle. People prefer this type of roof because of its low upfront cost. A properly-installed asphalt shingle can protect your home for up to 15 years. You can also choose from a variety of styles to fit your home architectural type.

One drawback of asphalt shingle is that it requires regular maintenance and repairs to prevent damage to the shingles. If you are one of those busy homeowners who frown upon these constant repairs demanded by asphalt shingles, you may want to consider installing rubber roofing material on your house.

Rubber Rolls and Shingles

Rubber roofing materials come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Rolls are available for ease of installation on flat roofs. Other types are available too – you can buy rubber shingles that look very similar to slate shingles and come in different designs and colors.

Green Rubber Roof

Rubber roofs are also green materials. Most of the rolls and shingles are made from recycled materials such as slate dust, saw dust and old tires, making them eco-friendly compared to other roofing products.

Durable and Fire-Resistant

While rubber shingles cost more than asphalt shingles, they more than make up for the price difference with their durability and longevity. Unlike asphalt shingles that tend to crack or sustain damage from low temperatures, ventilation issues, strong winds and extreme temperatures, rubber shingles have less tendency to crack or crumble under these conditions.

Rubber shingles have distinct advantages over slate shingles – they are lighter and cheaper. They also share an important quality, that of being fire-resistant.

A general characteristic of rubber roofing material is its longer lifespan and low maintenance. Most manufacturers in fact give a warranty of up to 30 to 50 years for their rubber roof products while some even offer a lifetime warranty.

Easy Installation

Another attractive trait of rubber rolls and shingles, aside from its low-maintenance and durability, is that installation is easier and quicker than asphalt shingles or slates. Using rubber rolls is more cost-effective and maximizes the benefits of rubber roofing. Leaks and cracks are significantly minimized if not practically eliminated because rolls are very durable and have no seams where water could leak.

Rubber shingles cost more than rubber rolls as you have to arrange and pin them down in overlapping rows similar to other shingles. However, since they are lighter than slates and asphalt shingles, transporting them from suppliers and installing them on your roof is much easier.

How to Install Rubber Roofing

There are definite characteristics that every person should look for in roofing. Among the most important are ease in maintenance, durability, and affordability. When faced with these concerns, the right decision nine times out of ten is rubber roofing. This material provides a sound investment in addition to easy installation. The following will provide an insight into how to install rubber roofing and will give you the tools that you need to put a system in place that can be relied upon.

Money Matters

Rubber roofing cost is much lower when compared to that of traditional asphalt shingles or other conventional materials. On top of this advantage is the fact that a rubber roof is extremely durable. When compared with the average lifespan of most roofing materials, a rubber will perform better and deliver more for your money. If you are considering learning how to install rubber roofing, then the benefits that are set to come your way are undeniable. Homeowners testify again and again to the advantages in roofing that this material puts on their side. It is not only the cost of new roof materials that causes them to love this material, it is the ease of installation, the efficiency that comes with the process, and the pride in taking back control of this most vital element of their home that sways their decision.

Consider It an Investment

When you learn how to install rubber roofing on your own, you virtually take the cost of a roofing estimate out of the equation for a new roof. The only time you can expect any expense outside of rubber roofing materials will be when it comes time for repairs. Because you have chosen rubber as your roofing material, these times will be far and in between. A rubber roof allows you to control internal environments with ease and is not susceptible to the same kinds of degradation that asphalt and wooden shingles fall prey to. When you consider an investment into any type of structure, rubber roofing should be one of the primary elements that give you an advantage.

Rubber roofing is much lighter than any other material that is commercially available. It is also Eco-friendly due to the fact that the rubber shingles are typically composed of recycled materials. This reduces costs and reduces the impact that you are making on the environment. Rubber is much more flexible than any conventional material, making your roof less susceptible to damage from contradiction and expansion with extreme fluctuations in temperature. Even repairs that must be done will come with longer warranties due to the strength of the material that you are using.

Put It In Place

Installing a rubber roof does not depart drastically from normal roofing installation. The only real requirement is that you strip the roof down to its plywood base. From here, you simply measure for vents and the roof dimensions. Prepare your adhesive, clean the surface, and you are ready to begin. Each shingle will be an addition that adds to the final, aesthetically-pleasing how to install rubber roofingroof of which you have always dreamed. This material works on any slant and any type of roof, commercial or residential. Each shingle is nailed into its proper row and seams only require the addition of latex tape or sealant in order to create a flawless seal.

More Benefits

You can also take additional steps that will drastically the need for maintenance over time. Rubber roofing possesses the unique quality of being able to sustain rubber coating systems. These products can be spread over the entire surface of the roof in order to create yet another protective barrier. The chances of needing roof repair are severely lessened over time.