Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

10 Best Roofing Materials for Warmer Climates

"Rubber" Membrane Roofing

Wearing a rubber raincoat or hip waiters in hot weather sounds about as cool as a hot black rubber sheet baking in the sun all day. A rubber roof for warm climates? Really? While not technically a "rubber" roof, this single-ply, white, rubber-like membrane roofing is a cool technology. It's made of strong, weather-resistant thermoplastic or a synthetic rubber called EPDM (ethylene propylene diene Monomer). EPDM is a common roof coating in commercial building praised for its long wear, and it's a thermoset, a pre-molded or "set" rubber-like material. EPDM comes in rolls or sheets for covering large areas quickly.

Thermoplastic coverings also are very weather-proof and wear-resistant with white-cool reflective coating options, but unlike thermoset, they're more malleable and can be reset with heat for roofing a more sloped surface.

Both types of membrane roofing are lightweight, very durable and reflective, keeping sun from absorbing into structures. With an almost seamless application, they also serve as waterproof barriers to protect the surface underneath and are good foundation layers for green roofing.