A rubber roof membrane is very affordable, with an average cost of $7,500-8,700,installed on a 1,500 sq.ft. ranch style home.
Low prices and ease of installation make an EPDM rubber membrane the most popular flat roof across the US.
Cost to install a rubber roof
Average Flat Roof Cost:
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On average, homeowners across the US pay $4.5-5.0 per sq.ft. to install EPDM rubber roofing.
Flat roof contractors charge about $75-90 per hour for labor.
The more penetrations (chimney, skylights, etc) and corners your roof has, the more complex, and therefore more expensive the install.
There is also a 10-15% premium charge for installations that are done on two storie houses or higher.
You should also factor in the additional cost to remove old roofing, which is about $1-2/sq.ft.
Proper installation is key to ensuring that your roof lasts and protects your home. We strongly suggest to hire only seasoned pros, even if their labor will cost 20-30% more than the lowest estimate you get. In fact, its usually a bad idea to select the lowest bidding contractor, as they will likely do a sub-par job, and will not be around to fix their errors.
NOTE: EPDM should only be installed in ambient temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
To get pricing, I went to my local Home Depot in Watertown, MA, which carries rubber roofing rolls.
Note, that after reading the label on the product itself and specs on the website, I still do not know the thickness of this rubber. However, I presume it is either 45 mil or 60 mil (more likely).
Prices below are before taxes, and the total will be slightly different depending on the state.
The material itself costs $0.792 per square foot. However, it comes in rolls, which are 10×25′ and have a coverage (before overlaps) of 250 sq. ft. or 2.5 squares.
The cost of each 10×25′ roll is $198
The fiber board “insulation” doesn’t really provide much insulating properties. This is merely a base for the rubber or other flat roofing materials to be glued onto. The cost of a 4×8′ board is $9.94
This is basically a glue that will hold down the EPDM. It comes in a 3-gallon bucket and is applied by rolling it (just like paint) onto the fiber board and the underside of rubber material. Make sure you let the adhesive enough time to dry, until it’s “tacky”, before setting the membrane in place.
Cost of a 3-gallon bucket of bonding adhesive is $82.00 and is enough for 150 sq. ft. of roof area. (50 sf / gallon coverage).
Cost of accessories and flashing
Below are all the accessories that are sold along with GenTite membrane. These products can be VERY confusing, if you do not know what they are, so I include a brief description and purpose of each product.
NOTE – all GenTite flashing accessories are Peel-and-Stick type (which is a GOOD thing) and require “EPDM primer” to glue them to the roof.
List of all required materials
Lets look at an example to figure out exactly what you will need to do the install and what will be your cost per sq.ft.
Assume that we have a roof that is 24 x 48 feet – 1152 sq. ft. I used this size because we can fit exactly 5 rolls of Home Depot’s product in it, without much cutting – 1,250 sq.ft.
List of materials
1. Rubber membrane – 1250 sq.ft. or
2. Insulation – we will need exactly 36 pieces of fiber board insulation and 8 screws/plates per board (36 * 8 = 288) – 3 boxes of insulation screws and plates.
3. Bonding adhesive – 8 buckets
4. Seam Tape – total of 92′, or 2 rolls. Each roll should overlap the previous roll by 3″. This gives us 4 infield seams, each 24 feet long.
5. RPS Cover Tape – 3 rolls
6. Regular Cover Tape – 92 ‘ or 2 rolls.
7. Drip Edge – 150 feet or 15 pieces (Home Depot does not have specific edge metal). These cost about $6 each.
8. Lap Sealant – 11-12 tubes
If you have any penetrations, such as chimneys or skylights you will also need 1 or 2 rolls of 9″ flashing tape, and a pipe flashing for every pipe. Most roofs have 2 pipes and 1 chimney.
So let’s do the math:
- 5 rolls of rubber: $990
- 36 pcs of fiber board: $358
- Bonding Adhesive: $656
- Insulation screws and plates: $104
- Seam tape: $104
- Cover tape: $159
- RPS Cover tape: $264
- 2 pipe boots: $78
- Edge metal: $90-100
- One 9″ flashing tape: $157
- Seam lap sealant: $120
The total with a 7% sales tax: $3,011
Cost per square foot: $2.62
This gives us the following proportion: the TOTAL cost of all materials is approximately 3.25 times more than the price of the EPDM material only.
So if your roof is 2000 sq. ft. and the cost of rubber is $0.792 / sq.ft., then your approximate total cost of materials will be $5,148.
More complex structures will require more materials, and will be more per sq. ft. Basically, the more flashing you have, the more expensive it gets.
Rubber roof repair
All EPDM roofs has an inherent design flaw: its seams are highly susceptible to water penetration.
Even a newer EPDM roofing membrane, which is not more than 5-8 years old, often has this issue. Therefore, it will most likely require frequent repairs. The good news is that you have an option to hire a pro, or do the job yourself, and save money.
If there is an existing leak, don’t ignore it! The faster you take care of it, the less risk you are taking in incurring interior damages, which are a lot more expensive and difficult to fix than the roof itself.
How much does professional repair cost?
Hiring a roofer to fix minor leaks in an EPDM membrane will cost you about $400-550, depending on where you live. Larger repairs can cost as much as $800-1,000.
One big benefit of getting a professional repair is that it is likely to last longer than a DIY job. However, it is very important to work with a reputable company, who can provide good references.
Many homeowners make the mistake of doing business with the cheapest roofer, or even a general contractor to save money. However, there is one one critical thing they don’t realize: flat roofing is a specialized field. A proper repair requires technical knowledge and experience.
A regular roofer, who is used to installing asphalt shingles, will not know all the small details needed to do the job right. This means that your roof will simply leak again, very shortly after the repair.
DIY Repair Cost
If you are DIY savvy, a leak should not scare you. It is possible to fix on your own! Best of all, you can purchase everything you need from a local home improvement store, or online.
Your average cost will be $100-250, depending on required quantities and availability. Thus, by doing it yourself, you will typically save 50-60% off the price you would pay to a contractor.
In fact, EPDM is the only single ply membrane that you can buy in small quantities. Other products, such as TPO and PVC are only sold in large volume for contractors, and also require special equipment to work with.
However, it is important to keep in mind, that a fixing it yourself can be complicated at first. You should do a lot of research and watch online tutorials before undertaking this project. Here is a detailed DIY guide with pictures and videos.
Where to get your materials and tools
Depending on where you live, materials and tools needed for the repair may be available at the local Home Depot or other large home improvement chain. At the Home Depot, you should search for GenTite.
Many stores will not carry rubber roof materials, in part due to HAZMAT shipping issues. Check your local store.
DIY Repair Kit
Since most readers can’t buy these materials at the Home Depot, here is an alternative – a Rubber Roof Repair Kit. This will work for pretty much any EPDM membrane and can be easily used by most handy homeowners.
Above is the contents of the kit: Peel & Stick flashing, primer, and tools needed to patch up one or multiple leaks.
The price for this is $239, which also includes Free Shipping in US (excluding Alaska and Hawaii).
You can purchase it here.
Watch the video on how to use it:
Cost per sq. ft.
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I've been a roofer for 13 years, and specialize in Metal Roofing and Flat Roofing.
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