How much does it cost to install a rubber roof?
Get free estimates from remodeling contractors near you
Rubber Roof Cost Guide
Updated: June 13, 2023
Rubber roofs are becoming increasingly popular among homeowners because of their many advantages. For one, the cost of installing this type of roof is lower than installing asphalt or slate roofs. They are more durable and lower maintenance at the same time. Considering the high cost of installing and repairing a roof, investing in a low-maintenance, highly durable roof like a rubber one is often the right choice for many homeowners.
The national average cost for installing a rubber roof is between $9,000 and $18,000. Most homeowners spend around $15,000 to install and seal a 1,500 sq.ft mechanically-attached TPO roof. At the low end, you can opt for a new installation on a 1,000 sq.ft. roof with 45 mils thick EPDM roof for $4,250. At the high end, you can pay up to $70,000 to have a fully adhered PVC rubber roof with additional foam sprayed insulation for a 4,500 square feet area.
Rubber Roof Cost
|Rubber Roofing Installation Cost|
|National average cost||$15,000|
What Is a Rubber Roof?
Rubber roofs are still relatively unknown to many homeowners, but they are quickly gaining popularity across the U.S. The rubber used to make these roofs is made of recycled tires, slate dust, and sawdust, making them very eco-friendly. Also known as an EPDM roof, rubber roofs are a popular choice for flat or low-slope roofs and are very easy to install. They are durable and resistant to tears, punctures, high winds, and fire and water damage, making them an ideal choice for residential and commercial properties. In addition, rubber roofs are available in various colors and can be customized to match the exterior of your home. However, they require more maintenance than other types of roofs and should be inspected regularly for leaks or damage.
Rubber Roofing Cost per Square Foot
You can expect the average cost of rubber roofing to range between $4.25 and $15 per sq.ft. The total cost depends on the exact type of material you will use and the shape and slope of the roof. Most roofs are priced per square foot or 100 square feet, also known as the cost per square. Smaller roofs require less time and materials to install. You can expect a lower cost than installing rubber roofs on larger homes and those with steeper slopes. The average roof size in the U.S. is around 1,500 sq.ft., meaning homeowners pay around $6,375 to $22,500 to install a rubber roof. Here is how much you can expect to spend on a rubber roof of different sizes.
|1,000 sq.ft.||$4,250 - $15,000|
|1,200 sq.ft.||$5,100 - $18,000|
|1,350 sq.ft.||$5,700 - $20,300|
|1,500 sq.ft.||$6,400 - $22,500|
|2,000 sq.ft.||$8,500 - $30,000|
|2,200 sq.ft.||$9,350 - $33,000|
|3,750 sq.ft.||$15,900 - $56,300|
|4,500 sq.ft.||$19,100 - $67,500|
Rubber Roofing Installation Cost by Type
Installing a flat roof costs $4.25 to $13 per sq.ft., while adding a rubber shingle roof costs $5.50 to $15 per sq.ft. Many homeowners have a common dilemma of whether to install a flat rubber roof or use shingles. Each of these types has its advantages and disadvantages. Flat roofs are less expensive but do not look as good aesthetically, while rubber shingles add texture and a visual impact. A flat roof is made of a solid rubber roll and does not have a textured look. Here are the costs to install a rubber flat roof or shingles.
|Type||Cost per Sq.Ft. (Installed)|
|Flat Roof||$4.25 - $13|
|Shingles||$5.50 - $15|
Rubber Flat Roofing
Flat rubber roofing costs per roll range between $4.25 to $13 per sq.ft. Flat rubber roofs are not actually flat but rather have a lower slope than other roofs. They are energy efficient, reflecting heat rather than absorbing it, which can help to keep your home cooler in the summer. Flat rubber roofs are more affordable and give homeowners more space for various functions, including adding HVAC units, solar panels, extra storage space, or use as a rooftop area. However, because they are flat, these rubber roofs are fit for areas that receive little rainfall. In addition, rubber flat roofs are relatively easy to install and maintain compared to other flat roofs. Repairing is also simple, requiring only adhesives, tapes, or an additional rubber membrane. Because of this, flat rubber roofs are very durable and last up to 30 years with proper maintenance.
Rubber Roof Shingles
You can expect installing rubber shingles on your roof to cost $5.50 to $15 per sq.ft. Rubber shingles are durable and weather-resistant, capable of withstanding wind, hail, and fire, making them an excellent choice for areas prone to severe weather conditions. In addition, rubber shingles are also environmentally friendly. They are made from recycled materials and can be recycled again at the end of their lifespan, making them a great choice for homeowners who want an easy and affordable roofing option. While it will probably require painting after 10 to 12 years, with proper maintenance, rubber roof shingles can last up to 50 years.
Rubber Roofing Membrane Cost by Type
Rubber roofing membrane costs $4.25 to $15 per sq.ft. installed. There are three types of materials used for rubber roofs: EPDM (ethylene propylene diene terpolymer), PVC (polyvinyl chloride), and TPO (thermoplastic polyolefin). The materials used to install roofs of these materials are typically called membranes. Membrane roofing is used to create a watertight covering that protects the interior from leaks and reinforces the roof construction at the same time. Below are the costs for each type of membrane installed on a roof.
|Type||Cost per Sq.Ft. (Installed)|
|EPDM||$4.25 - $13|
|TPO||$4.50 - $14|
|PVC||$5.50 - $15|
Installing EPDM roofing costs between $4.25 and $13 per sq.ft. EPDM rubber roofs have been used for over 60 years and are among the most cost-efficient roofing materials. EPDM membranes don’t require a torch for the installation, making the installation simpler and cheaper than other materials. EPDM roof membranes are very durable. Roofs made of this material can last over 60 years while providing resistance to water, heat, and fire. However, they only come in a black color, which may not be aesthetically pleasing for many homeowners.
Install TPO Roof
Prices for a TPO roof run between $4.50 and $14 per sq.ft. The TPO roofing cost per square foot is higher than EPDM roofing because of how the membranes are made and the installation process. This type of roof is installed fully adhered or has to be attached mechanically to the roof. A TPO roof is the most energy-saving roof type. The materials adhere to ASTM requirements, guaranteeing that the roof can withstand rough weather and hailstorms. Unlike EPDM, TPO roofs come in multiple colors, giving homeowners the freedom to choose whichever color matches the facade of the house. Their durability is not fully tested yet, but typically the roof lasts between 15 to 20 years.
Typically, installing a PVC roof costs between $5.50 and $15 per sq.ft. PVC roofing compensates where EPDM and TPO roofs lack, which is resistance. PVC roofs are fire-resistant, wind-resistant, watertight, and can withstand heavy foot traffic, making them one of the sturdiest roof materials. Because the seams are sealed with hot air, the roofs are very energy efficient. Due to their composition, PVC membranes are environmentally friendly. They can be produced in a variety of colors. The typical lifespan of PVC roofs is around 20 years, but repairs are required after 10 years. Because the seams are sealed with hot air, the repairs can only be done in warmer weather to be effective. In addition, you must remove the old roof to install a PVC roof, which adds to the installation costs.
Rubber Roof Installation Labor Cost
Roofers typically charge per square foot to install roofs, with typical labor rates for rubber roofs ranging between $2.50 and $11 per sq.ft. In some cases, they may charge an hourly rate of $45 to $75 per hour. The labor comprises around 50% of the total rubber roof installation cost, which means that out of the $15,000 to install a 1,500 sq.ft. rubber roof, around $7,500 would be labor costs. In most cases, installing a 1,500 sq.ft. roof takes 1 to 2 days if no replacement or repairs are required and 2 to 4 days if some replacements are required.
The basic cost of purchasing and installing a rubber roof does not consider all scenarios that impact the overall price. The size, shape, and type of roofing material you choose influence the cost. Using a thicker rubber material requires stronger attachment methods and installation systems to secure the roof, so the price increases. In addition, the roof’s slope and pitch affect the cost because professionals have to use more advanced equipment and tools to reach the high areas. If the roof is difficult to access, this increases the price because more time will be needed to install the roof. Consider all factors and get several estimates before starting your roofing project.
Typically, contractors do a free inspection to check the area before adding the rubber roof, which is different from a paid roof inspection done to check the state of the roof. They will recommend things you need to do before installation to ensure the safety of your family, pets, and personal belongings. One of the first things you should do is remove any vehicles, grills, play equipment, lawn ornaments, patio furniture, potted plants, and any movable outside items that may get damaged if something falls off the roof. Any antennae or satellite dishes on your roof should also be removed and stored before roof installation. Wall hangings or items on shelves inside the home must be removed or secured to prevent breakable items from falling from the strong vibrations. In addition, cover or relocate items in the attic because dust and debris may fall on them. Tree branches should also be pruned for easier access to the roof and clean-up afterward. Grass should be freshly cut so that any nails that are dropped may be located easily.
Rubber Roof Installation Cost by Attachment Type
The cost is around the same for each type of attachment and ranges between $1.80 and $3.50 per sq.ft., depending on the thickness and type of rubber roof you choose. Roofs are attached in three ways: mechanically, fully adhered, or ballasted. Each attachment type fits a different roof thickness and type, which ultimately determines the overall cost of the roof installation. The most common membrane thickness is 045 mils, which is 0.045 inches thick. In recent years, 65 mils thick membranes have also become popular (0.065 inches thickness). Here is how much you can expect to pay for each type of attachment.
|Type||Cost to Install per Sq.Ft. (Labor Only)|
|Ballasted||$1.80 - $2.50|
|Mechanically Attached||$2 - $3|
|Fully Adhered||$2.50 - $3.50|
Ballasted roofing is the most affordable type of roof attachment, with the typical cost of 045 mils thickness going between $1.80 to $2.50 per sq.ft. A 065 mils thickness costs between $2 to $2.50 per sq.ft. Ballasted roofing does not adhere in any way. While there are a few plates and fasteners used, the main anchoring method is the gravel or pavers put on top of the roofing. Installation can be performed quickly as no glue is required. It is easy to repair and has tested well in wind studies. It’s also fireproof, waterproof, recyclable, and very energy-efficient because the stones absorb heat but don’t pass it to the roof underneath. Stone pavers have become a more popular choice than gravel as they are safer in wind and create a beautiful look to the roof.
Mechanically Attached Roof
You can expect to pay $2 to $2.50 per sq.ft. for a 045 mils mechanically attached roof and $2.50 to $3 per sq.ft. for a 065 mils mechanically attached roof. Mechanically attached roofs are the most common roof attachment type that comprises about 80% of the rubber roofs done. They are easier and quicker to install, so they are very popular among homeowners. The roofing contractor uses metal screws and plates under overlapping sections to attach the rubber membrane to the roof. After adding the screws and plates, this roof is sealed with heat-welding. Because of the way they are set up, mechanically attached roofs are easily inspected.
Fully Adhered Roof
Fully adhered roofs cost between $2.50 and $3.20 per sq.ft. for a 045 mils thickness and between $2.80 and $3.50 per sq.ft. for a 065 mils thickness. They are more expensive than other attachment types as they take more time to install. Your roof installer must place the roofing materials very precisely and then use glue to affix it to the decking. The glue used to fix the roofing material needs to reach just the right consistency without drying too much so the roof can be durable and sturdy. Some contractors like fully adhered roofs because they believe them to be more leak-resistant.
Rubber Roof Replacement Cost
Roof replacement can be done by roofing over or replacing the whole roof. Roofing over costs around $2.50 to $8 per sq.ft. with installation cost, instead of the average full replacement cost of $3.50 to $9 per sq.ft. If additional repairs are needed, the cost increases. You can expect a replacement to take two to five days to complete depending on the number of repairs needed. On the other hand, installing a new roof may take one to two days because there are no repairs.
While rubber roofs are durable, they eventually need to be replaced. A few signs indicate it is time to replace a rubber roof. The most common time to replace a rubber roof is when it reaches the end of its lifespan, which is typically 20 to 30 years. Another sign is if the roof starts to leak. This can be due to a variety of factors, including cracks, holes, or other damage to the roofing material caused by severe weather, physical damage, or aging of the material. If you notice any of these signs, it is important to have the roof inspected by a professional. They can determine if the damage is repairable or if the roof needs to be replaced.
When a roof needs to be replaced, the contractor will inspect the roof and determine which parts of the shingles, flashing, and underlayment will be replaced. The roofing company may remove the old shingles if they are lifting or in bad shape. If the old shingles need to be replaced, the cost of your rubber roof may increase, but the $1 to $2 per sq.ft. removal cost is usually included in the pricing. If the roof has been leaking, the plywood decking may also have become rotten and needs to be replaced. Most roofing professionals include the cost of replacing one to two pieces of decking but will probably charge for anything above that. The typical charge is an additional $70 to $100 per 32 sq.ft. of roof area.
Rubber roofing is known for its easy maintenance and is not as likely to develop cracks or leaks as other types of roofing. However, some tasks increase the longevity of the roof. One of them is doing regular roof inspections to check for cracks, holes, or other damage that should be repaired as soon as possible to prevent leaks. You should also hire regular roof cleaning to remove dirt, leaves, and other debris from the roof. The contractor will likely use a pressure washer to do this. Finally, remove snow and ice from the roof promptly to prevent damage from freezing and thawing cycles. A roof rake or shovel can be used for this task. In addition to regular cleaning, the roof should be regularly inspected for cracked caulking or loose sealant. After carefully inspecting and removing the damaged product with a bristle brush, the professional will reapply the caulking and sealant to ensure the roof maintains its strength. If you paint your rubber roof, you must repaint every 10 to 12 years.
Pros and Cons
Rubber roofs are one of the easiest roof types to install, one of the most low-cost ones, and the easiest to maintain, making them a very popular choice among homeowners. In addition, they provide excellent protection against the elements. However, they sometimes heat up easier than other materials, leading to changes in the temperature of the home. In addition to this, any mistake in the installation of EPDM, TPO, or PVC shingles can result in leaks and expensive roof damage. Rubber roofs can be very slippery, posing a safety hazard. While it may not be as aesthetically pleasing as some other types of roofing materials, rubber roofing is one of the most sustainable and environmentally-friendly roofing products available. It is made of up to 95% recycled materials. This means that not only are contractors reusing materials but in 20 to 40 years, when the roof needs to be replaced, the debris will be recyclable.
Rubber Roof vs Metal Roof Cost
Metal roofs cost $4 to $40 per sq.ft. Rubber ones cost between $4.25 and $15 per sq.ft., depending on the material used. Metal roofs are usually made from steel or aluminum, which are highly durable materials. Metal roofs are good at reflecting heat, which keeps your home cooler in hot weather. However, metal roofs can be noisy during rainstorms or when hail hits them. They are more susceptible to damage from high winds. They can be installed over existing roofs, require little maintenance, and last 40 to 100 years. On the other hand, rubber roofs are resistant to fire and heat, which can be a major advantage in areas with high temperatures. However, rubber roofs can be more expensive than metal roofs. They are not as good at conducting heat, so they may not be the best choice for colder climates. Rubber roofs last around 50 years, less than metal roofs.
|Roof Type||Cost per Sq.Ft. (Installed)|
|Metal||$4 - $40|
|Rubber||$4.25 - $15|
Rubber Shingles vs Asphalt Shingles Cost
Installing asphalt shingles costs $3 to $15 per sq.ft. while adding a rubber shingle roof costs $5.50 to $15 per square foot. Asphalt shingles are considered the classic type of roof shingles. They are durable, less flammable, and capable of withstanding harsh weather. On the other hand, rubber shingles require almost no maintenance over time but may require painting after 10 to 12 years. While they are not the most aesthetically pleasing, rubber shingles are fire-resistant and can withstand high temperatures, winds, heavy rainfall, and other harsh weather.
|Roof Type||Cost per Sq.Ft.|
|Asphalt Shingles||$3 - $15|
|Rubber Shingles||$5.50 - $15|
Enhancement and Improvement Costs
The average cost to install gutters ranges between $3 and $50 per linear foot installed, depending on the type of gutter you will have. Gutters are added to the roof to direct the rain away from the foundation. They also trap the water and prevent it from sticking on the roof and causing leaks. Gutters are sold and installed by the linear foot. This means that the larger your home, the more gutters you have to install, and the higher the cost of installing them.
Rubber Roof Sealing
While the expense of a sealant varies according to the type of sealant you request and the difficulty of application, most roofing companies charge $1 to $2.50 per sq.ft. Applying a sealant offers better protection against rain, moisture, and UV rays, makes the roof more fire-resistant, prevents mold, and keeps the roof cooler, thus lowering your electric bill. While they are not designed for all types of roofs, they are a must for some flat roofs that collect debris and water, so make sure to add a roof sealant if you have one. As it’s a complicated job, make sure that you hire a professional to do it. The wrong application leads 7 to leaks and roof damage that could’ve been avoided.
Expect to spend an additional $1 to $5 per sq.ft. for customizing your rubber roof. Some rubber roof types come in a variety of colors, which makes them a popular choice for homeowners that want a different color than a black rubber roof. Aside from basic colors, manufacturers offer a complementary shade to almost any home color. They can be made to look like cedar shingles in brown or clay red but also come in white on black shingles.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- Licensed contractors. Roofing is dangerous, so roofing contractors should always be licensed and insured. Climbing on roofs, handling chemicals, adhesives, and heat, and using tools such as hammers and nails can all lead to accidents. Professional roofers have had training and experience dealing with all these and more, so homeowners will want to choose a trusted company to perform the work.
- Permits. Most states require a permit to comply with building inspection requirements. The average cost for pulling a roof building permit is between $400 and $1,000, but the exact cost varies from state to state.
- Dumpsters. Remember that a dumpster will be parked on your driveway for the duration of the job, blocking your garage if you have one. Some dumpsters prove to be too heavy and may cause concrete to crack.
- DIY. It may be less expensive to DIY this job, but then you are left with the mess, maybe injured, and will not have a warranty. Also, you cannot be certain that as a non-professional, you can do the job properly.
- Roof reinforcement. Roof reinforcement is a way to make the roof stronger and more durable. This is usually done using polyester scrim, mat, or fabric mesh directly from the factory, but that’s not always the case. Check with the manufacturer to make sure your rubber roofing is reinforced or consult your roofer to find out how and if you can reinforce it.
- Rubber roof seams. Your roof is only as watertight as the seams, so if they are coated after installation, this makes them stronger and less susceptible to leakage. The pricing for sealing the seams is included in the price of the roof. Additional coating is $1 to $2.50 per square foot.
- Spray foam insulation. You may decide to have foam sprayed for additional insulation. There are two types of spray foam. Open-cell costs $0.60 to $1.50 per board foot. Closed-cell costs between $1.30 to $3 per board foot. However, the total cost varies according to how much insulation your roof requires.
- Customization. Aside from basic colors, manufacturers can create a complementary shade to almost any home color. They can be made to look like cedar shingles in brown or clay red but also come in white on black shingles.
- Can you paint a rubber roof?
Yes, rubber roofs can be painted. Most of them require painting after 10 to 12 years.
- How long does a rubber roof last?
Rubber roofs last 50 years or more. Due to their resistance to heat, wind, hail, and other weather-related issues, they are extremely long-lasting.
- Does a rubber roof need to be coated?
Most roofing contractors advise that a coating be applied. The coating protects against moisture and leakage.
- Can you walk on a rubber roof?
It is not advisable to walk on the roof. In the case of rubber roofs, however, it depends on the exact type of material used. EPDM and TPO roofs can be made for light foot traffic, but PVC rubber roofs can be designed to withstand heavy foot traffic.
- Can you put a rubber roof over a metal roof?
While installing a rubber roof over a metal roof can be done, trapped water vapor can cause moisture followed by mold and rot. This situation causes a lot of problems afterward. To prevent this from happening, roofers install a vented metal roof or provide a venting air pocket between the layers that eliminates the chance of this happening.
The information provided by our cost guides comes from a great variety of sources. For more information, read our Methodology and sources.