Affiliate Disclaimer: All products and services featured are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
For a 2,000-square-foot roof, the average cost is anywhere from $8,500 for a flat EPDM membrane and up to $30,000 for rubber shingles.* Rubber is waterproof, fire-resistant, and energy-efficient roofing material. It’s also relatively affordable compared to other new roof installation pricing. Though it’s only used for flat and low-slope roofs, rubber shingles are available for pitched roofs. Our guide details the different types of rubber materials and explains what determines rubber roofing costs.
*Article cost data sourced from Fixr and Home Advisor.
Major Cost Factors of Rubber Roof Installation
The cost of rubber roofing is primarily determined by the type of rubber and the roof size.
Rubber Roofing Materials
Rubber can be used as single-ply membranes on flat roofs or as shingles on pitched roofs. The only true synthetic rubber used as a roofing membrane is ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM). However, other types of plastics, such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO), are also useful as roofing membranes. Here’s how these materials compare.
- EPDM ($4.25–$12 per square foot): This is the rubber roofing material with the longest track record, and EPDM rubber roofing is also the most cost-effective. It has a life span of at least 20 years, but under the right conditions can last up to 60 years. The downside is that EPDM is only available in black, which holds heat and decreases energy efficiency. Additionally, because the seams are glued rather than heat-sealed, they can leak and require more repairs.
- TPO ($4.50–$14 per square foot): TPO roofing is a more recent innovation, so it’s not as well-tested under real-world conditions. It’s tougher against hail and extreme weather than EPDM, but it’s thought to have a shorter life span of 15 to 20 years. However, it’s more energy efficient and available in more colors than EPDM.
- PVC ($5.25–$12.50 per square foot): PVC membrane has heat-welded seams, which increases its weather resistance and durability. It’s the sturdiest type of rubber membrane and holds up well under extreme weather conditions. Unfortunately, installing PVC roofing usually requires the highest investment and releases pollutants as it degrades.
- Shingles ($7.50–15 per square foot): Rubber shingles are typically a composite of recycled plastics and other materials such as wood particles. They’re usually designed to replicate the look of asphalt shingles. Because shingles are thicker than roofing membranes, they contain more rubber and thus are costlier.
Cost by Material
Here’s a direct comparison of rubber materials by average price.
|Material||Cost per Square Foot|
The larger your roof, the more materials and labor are necessary to cover it. Roofing materials are sold by the square foot or by the roofing square, which is an area of 100 square feet.
Cost by Size of Roof
Based on a range of $4.25 to $15 per square foot, here’s how much you can expect to pay for roofs of various sizes.
|Roof Size in Square Feet||Cost Range|
Professional vs. DIY Rubber Roof Installation
Installing rubber roofing isn’t an ideal do-it-yourself (DIY) job. While some experienced DIYers may have the skills and experience to install this type of roof themselves, we recommend hiring licensed rubber roofing contractors to ensure that your roof meets all building codes and stays covered by warranties, some of which stipulate professional installation.
Professional Rubber Roof Installation
Rubber roofing membrane is a specialty material, and not all licensed roofers have experience installing it. Thus, you’ll need to look for a roofing company with the right training and tools. Licensed professionals will ensure that you get all the necessary permits and meet all applicable building codes. They’ll know how to use heat or sealant to properly secure the materials.
The warranty on many new roofing materials requires professional installation, so while hiring pros to install your new roof may make the initial investment costlier, it also protects your home.
DIY Rubber Roof Installation
Homeowners may be tempted to try to save on labor costs by doing roof work themselves, but that’s usually not a good idea in terms of safety. Flat and low-slope roofs are a bit safer to work on than pitched roofs, but there’s a fall risk inherent in any roofing project.
A key part of keeping rubber membranes watertight is properly sealing it, which can require special tools or glues that are more accessible to professional roofers than homeowners. Overall, it’s best to leave this job to the pros.
Additional Factors Affecting Rubber Roof Costs
Depending on your project’s specifics, the following factors may also play a role in the total cost.
Any features in addition to basic roofing materials will come with extra costs. Here are some examples.
- Spray foam insulation: $0.60–$3 per board foot
- Protective sealant: $1–$2.50 per square foot
- Color customization: $1–$5 per square foot
- Gutters: $3–$50 per linear foot
Anything that juts up from your roofline, such as a vent, chimney, or skylight, is called a roof penetration. Since rubber roofing membrane will need to be cut and sealed around each penetration, the more of these you have, the more complex the installation becomes. Each cut in the membrane creates the potential for leakage, so roofers need to seal around penetrations carefully to prevent water damage. That’s why a roof with multiple vents or skylights will cost more to install.
In addition to being sealed to each other, sheets of rubber membrane must also adhere to the roof. There are three different ways to do this: by weighing them down with ballast, attaching them with bolts and screws, or gluing them to the roof deck. Each of these processes comes with different installation costs.
- Ballast installation ($1.80–$2.50 per square foot): Ballast installation is the least expensive process and uses gravel or pavers to hold the membrane down. There may be a few plates and fasteners, too, but this method relies mostly on gravity. It makes for easy repairs, and the stones can absorb the sun’s heat, which increases energy efficiency. Unfortunately, it’s also the least secure method and unsuited to climates with heavy winds.
- Mechanical fasteners ($2–$3 per square foot): Roofers can use a series of plates, bolts, and screws to mechanically adhere the membrane to the wood or metal roof deck. This is the most common installation process.
- Full adherence ($2.50–$3.50 per square foot): The entire membrane can be fully adhered to the roof substrate. This is the most labor-intensive option and may require an extra layer of foam insulation to allow the sealant to stick, which also makes full adherence the most costly option.
Old Roof Removal
Frequently, the removal and disposal of old surface materials like shingles, flashing, and underlayment will be included in roof installation costs. If it isn’t, you may need to pay $1 to $2 per square foot to remove old materials. Make sure to discuss the cost of old roof removal when you’re getting estimates from professional roofers.
If your existing roof has any structural issues, these will need to be fixed before new materials can be installed. Flat roof repair costs an average of $300 to $1,250 and may include the following.
- Drain repair: $75–$500
- Drip edge repair: $150–$400
- Flashing repair: $250–$750
- Membrane seam repair: $250–$1,000
- Membrane puncture repair: $300–$1,750
Rubber membranes are typically available in a variety of thicknesses, usually between 40 and 90 millimeters (mm). Thicker rubber costs more and may be more difficult to seal, but it’s also more durable and more resistant to damage. The thickness you need will be determined primarily by your local climate.
Rubber membrane roofing is only appropriate on roofs with a slope of 4:12 or less. That means the roof only rises 4 inches vertically for every 12 horizontal inches. If your roof is steeper than that but you’ve got your heart set on rubber, then you’ll need to opt for rubber shingles, which are more expensive than rubber membrane.
Rubber Roofs vs. Other Types of Roofing
Typically, rubber membrane is used on flat or low-slope roofs that materials designed for pitched roofs aren’t appropriate for. In some cases, though, you may find yourself choosing between rubber and other roofing materials. Here’s a direct cost comparison as well as a look at the pros and cons of the most popular residential roofing materials.
- Modified bitumen roof costs ($4–$8 per square foot): Another material specific to flat roofs, modified bitumen (or asphalt roll) contains fiberglass and rubber polymers to create additional insulation. It comes in sheets and is installed in a similar method to rubber membrane. Some people find it less attractive than rubber membrane.
- Built-up roof (BUR) costs ($4–$10 per square foot): BUR is the forerunner of modified bitumen and consists of layers of fabric and hot tar covered with gravel. BUR isn’t used frequently anymore because the installation and repair processes are more complex than with modified bitumen, but you can still find it on some commercial buildings.
- Shingle roof costs ($4–$25 per square foot): Asphalt shingles remain the most popular type of pitched roof in the country, but even this material varies from basic three-tab shingles to high-end architectural shingles. Shingles are often the most cost-effective roofing material, but they’re also the least durable and may need replacing every 15 to 20 years.
- Metal roof costs ($4–$30 per square foot): Metal is available as roofing tiles or standing seam panels that lock together. Because metal resists corrosion, rust, and fire, a metal roof can last 50 years or more. The downside is that high-quality metal panels are a substantial financial investment, though they’re very low-maintenance once installed.
- Tile roof costs ($7–$26 per square foot): Tiles are available in a number of different sizes, textures, and materials. Generally, concrete tiles are the least expensive and slate tiles the most. Tiles are more durable than shingles, often lasting up to 50 years, but they’re prone to cracking and aren’t suited for climates with high winds. They’re also heavy and may require reinforcement.
If you need roof replacement for a flat or low-slope roof, rubber membrane is an affordable, low-maintenance roofing solution. For pitched roofs, rubber shingles offer a durable, eco-friendly alternative to asphalt. Although rubber roofing should be installed by a licensed, experienced professional for best results, it’s still less expensive than many alternatives.
We recommend looking for a local roofer with specific experience in rubber roof installation. Most contractors will offer free quotes, so be sure to get at least three estimates before making your choice.
Rubber Roof Cost FAQ
Are rubber roofs worth it?
Rubber roofing materials have a number of benefits, such as low cost, high resistance to weather and water damage, and good energy efficiency. If your home has a flat roof, rubber membrane is among the best roofing solutions.
Is rubber roofing cheaper than shingles?
Rubber membrane, such as EPDM, is less costly than asphalt shingles, but these two materials are typically used on very different roof types. Rubber shingles are costlier than asphalt shingles, but they also last longer.
What are the benefits of rubber roofing?
Here are some pros of opting for a rubber roof.Holds up against rain and high windsResists fire and heat damageIncreases energy efficiency by reflecting UV rays or holding heat depending on the colorDoesn’t crack, chip, or breakCosts less than many other popular materials
What is the life expectancy of a rubber roof?
Rubber roofs last at least 15 to 20 years, but a well-installed EPDM rubber roof may last up to 60 years.