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How Much Does A Rubber Roof Cost To Install Or Replace?

Typical Range: $6,000 - $18,000

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Figures above are average costs for a 1,500 square foot roof

Rubber roofing commonly comes in a roll or sheet – often referred to as a membrane. On average, you’ll spend about $7,500 for 1,500 sq. feet with a range of $6,000-$18,000. Due to the complexity of the installation, type and thickness of insulation, roof pitch, location, accessibility, and old roof removal, costs can exceed $24,000.
“Rubber” roofing is a term often used to describe most types of single ply membrane styles. It’s always used on low slopes, usually in commercial settings but also often on residential additions, like a flat-topped garage or sunroom. It’s generally sold by a “square” or 100 sq. feet.. However, square foot pricing is common with rolls and sheets.

Membrane Rubber Roofing Prices

Expect to spend anywhere between $3.25-$14.00 per square foot for material and installation. However, it will usually average between $4.50-$5.50 per square foot. Rubber Roofing Contractors tend to charge between $75-$90 per hour on top of materials. Commercial buildings and small residential additions utilize the membrane style roof. It’s used where shingles can’t go - below a 3 to 12 ratio slope.
The term “rubber” refers to single ply roofing membranes that include thermoplastics like TPO (Thermoplastic Polyolefin) and PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride). Thermoset EPDM is a true rubber membrane roof. Both thermoset and thermoplastics function the same on your roof. Your cost will vary a bit depending on the type of material you choose.
Thickness is sometimes secondary to the type of material you choose depending on your climate and application. Thickness is measured in mils (one mil equals one-thousandth of an inch) and range anywhere from 40-90 mils thickness. Get a professional consultation to determine the type of material and thickness best suited for your project.
Single Ply Rubber Membrane Roofing Prices
TypeMaterials per Square FootLabor per Square FootAverage Life Expectancy*
TPO$1.50-$5$3-$97-20 years
EPDM$0.75-$4.50$3.50-$7.5010-15 years
PVC$0.75-$2.50$4.50-$1020+ years
*Average life expectancy that considers range of climates. Some materials come with longer warranties and can last 50+ years depending on the manufacturer.
You can find most common types at big box home improvement retailers, building supply stores, and through your roofing contractor. A contractor can best steer you to the most suitable materials for your situation, usually for less than a retail store.
Consult with a Pro When Choosing Roofing For Your Home
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Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO) - $5-$16.50 per square meter

TPO, costing between $5-$16.50 per square meter, is one of the fastest growing types of commercial roofing. It’s made of a single layer of reinforced thermoplastics. It’s often cheaper to install than EPDM and tends to last longer with less maintenance. But the biggest pro is the reflective white color that keeps the roof cooler and cooling costs down.
Though it’s cheap, it comes with many caveats.
  • Quality varies widely among manufacturers – if you do go this route, use an established manufacturer with an excellent warranty.
  • It has a laminated top, which introduces a weakness into the design. The laminate is generally the first to go and tough to repair, usually requiring roof replacement.
  • In contrast to EPDM and PVC, which both come in extremely wide sheets, TPO is skinny in comparison, creating more seams.

Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM) - about $3-$15 per square meter

Derived of oil and natural gas, EPDM is the only true rubber roof membrane running between $3.25-$14.75 per square meter. It comes in both 45 mils and 60 mils thicknesses, though typically you’ll find it in 60 mils thicknesses at most home improvement stores. In use since the 1960’s, It’s a single ply synthetic rubber.
While it has withstood the test of time, and the materials are inexpensive, it has two drawbacks: a black color and weaker seams.
  • The black color absorbs heat, potentially creating higher cooling costs. It does come with a laminated white color to help with cooling, but this drives up the materials costs as much as $1 per sq. feet.
  • Where thermoplastics are heat welded at the seams, making an almost impenetrable layer, EPDM is usually glued. These seams tend to fail first from freezing water contact.

Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) - $2.50-$8.50 per square meter

PVC costs between $2.50-$8.50 per square meter. It’s the other most popular thermoplastic membrane and quickly becoming the most common type of flat membrane material. It’s typically one of the strongest and most durable types with 50 percent higher breaking point than industry standards. It stands up to extreme temperatures, wind and sun. The seams are heat welded, making them as strong or stronger than the sheets itself.
The only real downside to PVC is shrinkage over time. The plasticizers can leach out, making the material more brittle and causing it to shrink slightly. However, this technology is quickly improving, minimizing these drawbacks.

Other Thermoset Types

Other common types include Chlorosulfonated polyethylene (CSPE), Epichlorohydrin (ECH), Neoprene (CR), and Polyisobutylene (PIB). Vulcanized (or set) thermoset can only be bonded to other thermoset types.

Installation & Replacement Cost Factors

Though it is possible to install roll type roofing on sloped roofs, this is mostly for flat and low slopes. It’s the most common type of commercial roofing. If there are less than two layers of roof, a membrane can be installed directly over your current roof without the need for any demolition. Code requires no more than two layers at a time.
  • Old Roof Removal – adds $1-$2 per square foot – Codes vary from place to place, but if there is only one layer of old roofing, new installation doesn’t require removal of the old roof. Two or more layers require the removal of the old roof.
  • Accessibility determines labor costs. At $75-$90 per hour for most contractors, this can add up quickly. Contractors may increase hourly pricing for hard to reach locations.
  • Climate will often determine the type of material used. A roof is subject to extreme temperature changes, wind, hail, and moisture. Some materials perform better in differing climates. Local contractors are the best place to get information about what works in your area.

Penetrating Roofing Parts

Vents, skylights, A/C units and architectural protrusions – like dormers – add to the complexity of the install.
Roof Penetrations require flashing like pipe boots and witches’ hats – costing between $5-$50 depending on the material. Alternatively, your roofing professional will make custom protrusion flashing where necessary. This prevents moisture from finding its way into the substructure.
Dormers and slope changes require extra time to install and seal correctly. There is no magic formula for how much this will cost – each project is going to vary greatly. A contractor will be able to give you a specific estimate for your situation.

Insulation

About 25 percent of your roofing costs will go to insulation. There are various types from which to choose. The most common is PolyISO (Polyisocyanurate). It ranges from $1.50-$3.50 per square foot. Less common is fiberboard (a roofing underlayment with some insulation value), Expanded Polystyrene (EPS) and Extruded Polystyrene (XPS). The type and thickness you choose will depend on climate and budget.
PolyISO is a rigid material that can be easily cut to fit and maintains its R-value longer than other types. It comes in sheets of 1 inch-3 inches thick.
PolyISO Costs
Thickness in InchesPer Square Foot
1$1.50-$1.75
2$2.00-$2.50
3$2.75-$3.50

Installation Systems

There are three attachment methods: Ballasted, Fastened, and Fully Adhered. A licensed contractor can help you decide which type or combination is right for your project.
Membrane Installation System Estimates by Thickness
Type045mil Costs Per Square Foot065mil Costs Per Square Foot
Ballasted$1.50-$2.50$2.00-$2.50
Fastened$2.00-$3.00$2.00-$3.00
Adhered$2.75-$3.50$2.50-$3.50
  • Ballasted – $0.70-$2 per square foot – not including labor. Ballasting involves weighing down the roof membrane with rock, gravel, or pavers. There is no need for fasteners or glue. It works particularly well with black colored EPDM if you use a light-colored material, to avoid absorbing solar heat. however, it’s both heavy and cumbersome increasing maintenance costs.
  • Fastened – cost varies – is mechanically attaching the membrane to the roof with metal screws and plates under overlapping sections. A box of 100 screws and plates will cost about $40. Seams, protrusions and edges will not only vary equipment costs considerably, but also add to time and labor.
  • Fully Adhered – $1,000 for 1,500 square foot or $60-$80 per bucket. - This means mearly gluing down the sheets. You’ll need about a 5-gal bucket per square (100sq. feet) of roof – though different types of glue provide different coverage areas. This is typically the most expensive form of attachment but creates the fewest holes (vs. fasteners).
Hire a Roofing Pro for Installation
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Commercial vs. Residential

Most commercial buildings have flat or slight inclines, where the pitch on a residential building is usually typically high. Larger home additions with flat or low slopes are perfect for sheet roofing. But overall, residential applications only use a very small percent of flat roofing.
Most residential applications fall into the RV and mobile home categories. RV’s and older mobile homes use them extensively (newer prefabricated mobile homes often have standard asphalt shingles). It’s so popular for RV’s that you can purchase standardized 8.5’ width – the largest legal width for road use - at about $8-$12 per foot.

Energy Savings

This is a prime consideration for color. To keep costs at a minimum, use black EPDM covered with white ballast material for an incredibly cheap roof – about $2 a sq. foot (+ labor).
Energy savings are dependent on location. Black rubber tends to soak up the sun, getting very hot. Therefore many roll types are white or have a white coating. Actual savings are going to vary wildly depending on where you are.
For example, if you’re living in the middle of the desert in Arizona, you’ll probably want a white roof, which reflects most of the sun’s rays. However, if you live in Northern Minnesota, you may consider getting Black EPDM to soak up the sun’s heat – though its effective range only goes down to about negative 40 degrees.

Rubber Roof Repairs & Maintenance

Life expectancy can vary anywhere from 7 to 50 years. Typically, you’ll need to do some maintenance during its life. Common issues include:
  • Tears and Rips - Roof repair costs vary, but large objects and impacts like a tree branch or hail need repairs to stop further damage to underlying materials like insulation and wood.
  • Patch most small tears with a rubber sealant patching kit for only about $25. Anything larger will need a piece of roofing material.
  • Roof Cleaning - Keep your roof clean and free of debris. Have an annual roof inspection and cleaning. Clean and landscape ballasted materials as needed.
  • Coat and Reseal - Sealing a roof only costs about $850. Coatings and sealants can prolong or rejuvenate your roof without the need for replacement. For example, white silicone rubber roofing sealant runs about $20 a gallon. As roofing ages, it becomes brittle and deteriorates.

Composite & Rubber Shingles

For buildings with slopes higher than 3:12 – as most residential homes are – you can install rubber or composite shingles. These will run between $5-$10 per square foot.
They often have lifespans of 50 years or more and excellent warranties for wind and hail. However, many manufacturers have been the subject of legal action due to premature shingle failure. Contact a licensed professional before choosing any composite or synthetic product.
  • Rubber shingles – about $250-$400 a square – only recently becoming popular as an ecologically friendly alternative to asphalt for residential purposes.
  • Composite shingles – about $350-$400 a square –designed from synthetic materials to mimic the appearance of slate and wood but about 50-60 percent less expensive.
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Other Flat Roofing Types

Though membranes have become the industry standard, there are other types of flat roofs and low-slope types you should consider. Flat roof installation costs tend to be about the same regardless of roof type.
  • Built Up Roof (BUR) – $4-$10 per square foot – is various layers of insulation, glue, and waterproof materials applied separately. BUR is a time-tested roofing type but very labor intensive.
  • Modified Bitumen (modified asphalt roll) - $4-$8 per square foot – a modified asphalt roll with stabilizers and fiberglass or polyester fiber matting for reinforcement.
  • Sprayed Polyurethane Foam (SPF) - $1.50-$6 per square foot – a liquid sprayed directly over an existing roof and coated after the foam hardens, so no need for roof removal. A membrane can also be applied to it as well – using the SPF as insulation and sealant.

DIY vs. Hire a Pro

Hiring a professional is highly recommended. The quality of a roof is a combination of the materials used and the quality of the installation. Beyond that, getting a professional to inspect your home’s current condition will help you decide the best materials needed to meet your quality standards and budget needs. Plus, working in high locations with high-temperature equipment like a propone roofing blowtorch ($50-$100), requires special training and safety gear.
However, if you want to install this yourself and have the proper equipment and experience, you can save thousands. With materials only costing about $0.75-$5 a square foot, most of the project cost is in the labor.
DIY CostsDIY Savings
$350 - $450 for Job Supplies$1,000 - $3,000 in removal
$1,500 - $2,500 rolls or sheets of roofing$5,000 - $6,000 in labor costs
Total Costs: $1,850 - $3,000Total Savings: $6,000 - $9,000
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