Elastomeric VS. Rubber – Which Roofing King Reigns Supreme?

EDPM Rubber Roof

Elastomeric VS. Rubber – Which Roofing King Reigns Supreme?

As contemporary roofing materials go, we’ve come a long way from wooden slats, piled hay, and thatched branches.  Technological advancements and industry studies have gifted us with an abundance of seemingly new age roofing solutions for the modern commercial structure.

But an abundance of roofing options leads to new questions.  Which option is best for its price?  Which adds value over time?  Which kind of roofing material will overperform and go the distance with my commercial structure?

Navigating modern roofing solutions can be a tricky business, but by comparing two of the most popular materials–Elastomeric vs. Rubber–one material presents a clear advantage over others.

Let’s start with the basics.

What is a Rubber/Elastomeric Roof?

Somewhat older than cutting-edge, rubber roofing can trace its origins all the way back to 1962.  Known as EPDM (ethylene propylene diene terpolymer), rubber roofing is primarily composed of oil and natural gas products.

Rubber roofing is applied as a synthetic, single-ply membrane known for being watertight and weather resistant.  Created to replace asphalt shingles, rubber roofing certainly qualifies as an advancement, albeit an expensive one, costing somewhere in the range of $300-$400 per square (100 square feet).

Elastomeric coating–so named for its elasticity–comes in many stripes and applications and can be applied as a paint or even sprayed over a roofing’s surface.  Unlike rubber roofing, acrylic versions of elastomeric coating are primarily water based and more environmentally friendly.

Like rubber roofing, elastomeric roof coating is waterproof, weather resistant, and flexible enough to avoid cracking, leaking, and blistering.

Cost of Rubber Roofing vs. Elastomeric Coating

Roof repair seldom feels convenient.  Expected or not, the cost of roof repair and the time it takes can make the prospect dizzying.

As previously mentioned, rubber roofing can be quite pricey.  At $300-$400 per square (100 square feet), the cost of installation and the time it takes can make repair headaches throb a little harder.

Elastomeric coating can be applied or installed for as little as half the price of rubber roofing.  More than that, rubber roofing is heavier than elastomeric, adding additional strain to both your wallet and your roof.

Value Added

Both rubber and elastomeric roofing are famed for their effectiveness at keeping water out and expanding to prevent damage.  But when it comes to the sun’s rays, elastomeric has one solid advantage over rubber–it’s white.

Black roofing absorbs the light (and therefore heat) while white roofing reflects it.  The heat of a roof can translate easily into the air beneath it, increasing HVAC costs or otherwise raising the average temperature inside a structure.

Elastomeric coating can reflect up to 90% of the sun’s rays and keep the temperature down both above and below its surface.  Differences in temperature between a black and white roof can fluctuate as much as 43 degrees, according to some studies–the difference between hot and absolutely scalding.

Longevity

Unfortunately, science has so far failed to provide us with a “forever roof.”  Roofs take the brunt of a building’s abuse and will need to be repaired at some point down the line. 

Both rubber and elastomeric coating solutions–alongside most roof coatings in general–come with a 10-year warranty as an industry average.  Some roofing solutions may promise less, but those who promise more may be less trustworthy than others.

Elasticity and adaptability can save a roof from the most common damaging side effects of exposure.  But with similar warranties between elastomeric and rubber, the real difference comes down to cost.

Modern Roofing’s Heir Apparent

Elastomeric coating maintains all of the best properties of rubber but without the cost.  The reflectivity and added value of white elastomeric roofing, along with its environmental credentials, place it in a separate category altogether.

We’ve come a long way from the building materials of the last century, up to and including your grandpa’s rubber roof.


Learn more about elastomeric coating systems and the benefits over rubber from Weathercoat, Inc.


Elastomeric coating is the way of the future.  After nearly two decades of commercial roofing experience, Weathercoat, Inc. knows the pros and cons of every roofing material out there. A roof can be more than “that thing above our heads.”  It can be a path to sustainable, affordable, and value added commercial buildings.  For more information about elastomeric coating, visit Weathercoat.com today!