Rubber roof tiles

Roofing tiles were first introduced to the world back in early Roman and Greek times, made traditionally from clay, the original tiles were also very heavy and are thought to have weighed around 30kg each. Although they were more expensive and labour-intensive than the most commonly used thatched roofs in those times, their fire retardant and non-permeable qualities were favourable for use
on important temples and buildings. However, tiles have changed a little since then, with many more options to choose for roof tiles including stone, plastic, clay, concrete and rubber.

Performance  Indication

There are various standard performance requirement guides for rubber tiles applications. These specifications are mainly available in North American (USA & CANADA) materials standards. There are also several British Standards which should be taken into account when a testing programme is designed. These include, but are not limited to:

  • BS5534 : 2003 – For Strength and Maintenance
  • BS476-3 : 2004 – For Fire Resistance
  • Density: Typically 1100 Kg/m3
  • Weight per m²: 11.9 kg
  • Some manufacturers of rubber roof shingles claim their products are nearly hail-proof, able to withstand hailstones 2” and larger.
  • Some manufacturers claim their products to withstand wind speeds of up to 110mph and combat water ingress at pitches as low as 10°

Pros and cons of rubber tiles

  • Each tile is usually weather and UV resistant,
  • Dual benefit of insulating and heat reflecting properties,
  • Light weight reduces roof loading,
  • The tiles can be made from 100% recycled items and are recyclable at the end of their lives,
  • As they are rubber, the tiles are anti-slip,
  • Increased noise reduction due to the tiles thickness,
  • No freeze-thaw which can occur to harder materials,
  • Should it fall from a roof, it can withstand the shock of a fall from height and will prevent damage to the surface below,
  • Although the tiles are not permeable, channels are normally created between the installed tiles which allows for water run off which means there will be no standing water on top of the tile.
  • By using a waterproof substrate below, there will be no leaking and water damage to the below roof,
  • Some types of rubber tiles can also move with the existing structure as it settles which will prevent cracks and leaks that can sometimes form with other roofing materials,
  • Concrete and harder materials are typically more expensive to create and buy compared to rubber roof tiles and require small pedestals under them to allow for sufficient drainage, therefore an added structure is not required beneath as for harder materials to encourage water drainage.
  • The other benefits are that the rubber tiles will never crack, rot or warp.

Despite the advantages mentioned above, there are some disadvantages with rubber tiles as with all products:

  • The tiles will give a less natural roofed look compared to using slate or asphalt tiles,
  • Some rubber tiles are not suitable for pitched roofs,
  • Although rubber tiles are lighter than some materials, they are still heavy and some people may struggle to install them alone.

Although most options for roof tiles will provide a quality and durable finish which requires minimal maintenance, rubber roof tiles will more than likely give more value for money than other options.