Treading Water

Many tire manufacturers are recycling unused tires to create complex rubber-roofing systems. The first rubber roofing system was created by Firestone, and installed in 1980. With rubber roofing technology improving every year, more tire companies are diversifying the product lines to incorporate rubber roofs [source: Firestone].

Installing Rubber Roofs

In addition to durability and low-maintenance, another major advantage to using rubber shingles or rolls on your roof is that installation is much quicker and easier than installing or repairing asphalt or slate shingles. In general, installing a large rubber roll is the most beneficial and cost effective method for rubber ­roofing. Because the large rubber rolls have no seams and are very durable in extreme weather, the chance of leaks and cracks are extremely low. Rubber shingles, on the other hand, will likely cost more to roof your home, and will need to be nailed down in overlapping rows, much like other types of shingles. Rubber shingles, however, are much lighter than asphalt and slate shingles, making them easier to ship to your home and to move from the ground up to your roof [source: ChikyMiky].

­Before you install your new rubber roof, you should make sure to strip your roof down to a plywood base, as most manufacturers refuse to recognize warranties if the rubber roof is simply installed directly on top of previous roofing. Once you've stripped down your roof, measure and cut for any chimneys, vents and antennas before preparing the adhesive. After you've made the necessary adjustments to the roll and cut it to the shape of your roof, sweep your roof to remove all dirt, dust and debris and then apply the adhesive. Roll out the rubber across the adhesive, trim where necessary, and check for air bubbles. If everything appears in order, wait one half hour for the adhesive to bond and then make any last minute adjustments needed [source: Old House Web].

Rubber shingles can be used in addition to a flat rubber roof to improve the appearance. Before adding any rubber shingles, cover any seams with latex tape or sealant. Rubber shingles are nailed to the roof in rows, much like asphalt shingles.

Check out the next page to learn how to care for your newly installed rubber roof.