Commercial Rubber Membrane: Can You Extend Its Roof Life Expectancy?

rubber membrane roof life expectancy

What makes rubber membrane a top of mind choice when it comes to commercial low-slope roofing systems? Building owners choose rubber over other options because they are proven to be durable at a more affordable cost. The rubber membrane roof life expectancy is also a huge advantage. These materials can last anywhere between 20 to 50 years provided that they are well-maintained by their owners.

In today’s blog entry, we will give you expert tips and tricks on how to care for your roof. A commercial roof is a major investment. Hence, you have to implement all necessary measures in order to get the most out of it.

What is a Rubber Roof Membrane?

Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM) roofing or most commonly called as rubber roofing is a single-ply membrane that is usually fully adhered. While there’s only one layer of rubber material attached to the base, its thickness varies. There are membranes as thick as 100mils. The thinner variations can range from 30 to 34 mils.

Rubber roof membrane is normally used for commercial flat roofing due to the many benefits that it can offer. These include:


Rubber is a cost-effective material. It can reduce labor and installation costs because it is faster and easier to install.


It is also not as heavy as other traditional flat roofing systems. This is also low-maintenance and easy to repair.

Superior Strength

Rubber is proven to be weather-resistant. It can withstand harsh weather conditions such as snowstorms, high winds, and hails. Modern materials that are used to produce rubber now has ultraviolet (UV) protection properties. EPDM roofing is also fire-resistant.


Rubber membrane roof life expectancy can last up to 40 years or even longer. The key is proper installation and regular maintenance to make sure that maximizes its lifespan.


The material itself is flexible enough that roofing contractors can easily shape it to fit the base precisely.


Rubber is a recyclable material. Once it reaches the end of its life expectancy, it can be used to produce new material once again.

What are the Drawbacks of EPDM Roofing?

As with other commercial roofing systems, rubber roofing has its own disadvantages. Before you decide which material to get, you have to carefully weigh the pros and cons to make sure that it will match your expectations, priorities, and plans.


Rubber comes in straightforward plain black appearance which can be a downside for some building owners. If you want more design and color variation you should consider metal roofing.

Prone to Puncture

If you want to install rubber roofing, make sure you watch out for external elements that can puncture it permanently. The material is naturally flexible which makes it susceptible to punctures. The good thing about it is that EPDM roofing can be repaired easily.


If it is not installed correctly or due to daily wear and tear, it could also lead to unwanted water leakage.

Factors that Determine an EPDM Roofing’s Longevity

Thanks for technological advancements, roofing systems like EPDM are now more durable and long-lasting. However, they are still not exempted from external threats that may shorten their lifespan.

These are the most common factors that could either prolong or shorten a rubber roofing’s life service.

Weather and Climate

A low-slope roofing covered with snow.
Snow covering a low-slope commercial roof.

Although there are devices that can predict incoming calamities, Mother Nature is a strong force to reckon with. Nothing can ever prepare you for the harshest weather conditions and the damages it could bring to your commercial roofing. Continuous exposure to extreme natural elements like heavy storms, hail, snow, rain, sun, etc. will contribute to your roofing’s deterioration.

Installation and Materials

Workmanship has a huge say on your roofing’s performance. Proper and professional installation coupled with the use of premium materials help maximize an EPDM roofing’s usability. Failure to install it the right way or poor craftsmanship will result in unwanted roofing issues earlier than expected.

How to Prolong Rubber Membrane Roof Life Expectancy

There are uncontrollable factors that determine the life expectancy of your roof, as we have mentioned above. The good news is that you also have the opportunity to help prolong your rubber membrane roof life expectancy. These are some steps that you can implement with the help of a reliable and licensed roofing contractor:

Regular Inspections

Work does not end after installation and construction. You have to follow through with procedures that are recommended by experts.

Construction workers inspecting the site.
Inspections should be scheduled regularly.

One of which is roof inspections. Its main purpose is to discover impending or existing issues that may not be visible to normal eyes. Only professional roofers should handle these tasks. It requires ample training and the right skills in order to carry out inspections completely.

Preventive Maintenance Programs

rubber membrane roof life expectancy
An old commercial building that needs proper maintenance.

It pays to be two steps ahead. Early detection is the secret to a lasting commercial rubber roofing. Consult a trusted local roofer for a personalized approach to maintenance to make sure that you target specific and right areas.

If done professionally for at least twice a year, there are many benefits that you can get from regular preventive maintenance. One of which is huge savings from costly repairs or replacements. It also helps keep your EPDM roofing in a good condition, thus, it gives you peace of mind. Other benefits include your optimal protection, preservation of visual appeal, and risk reduction.

Final Thoughts

A rubber membrane roof life expectancy is dependent on several factors. There are natural elements like sun exposure and weather conditions (storms, hail, rain, wind, etc.). On the other hand, there are manmade causes of early deterioration like poor workmanship, improper installation, and substandard materials.

If you want to protect your investment, make sure to partner with a reliable roofer who can give you industry-based insights and precise recommendations.

We are J&M Roofing specializes in commercial low-slope roofing services. If you have more questions on rubber membrane roof life expectancy or other roofing systems for that matter, reach out to us. Claim your FREE site inspection by calling our team today: 800-773-1616