With more and more consumers desiring the look of a natural slate roof, and at the same time trying to avoid the high cost of installing and maintaining natural slate, synthetic rubber roof tiles are the best alternative to the real thing. Easy to manufacture and friendly to the environment, they are reliable and elegant and will provide the instant curb appeal that perceptive homeowners are looking for. Are rubber roof shingles the best way to get the look of slate without the high cost of real stone?
What is Rubber Slate Roofing?
Rubber slate roofing shingles are manufactured from recycled tires and other rubber products, along with additives to enhance color and stability. Tires and other rubber products are ground up and sent through a process that reconstitutes them into a liquid that can be molded into the shape of slate tiles. One of the benefits of using recycled tires is that it keeps them out of landfills and prevents the toxic smoke cloud that is formed when they are burned. In some manufacturing facilities, as much as 75% of the content in a rubber roof tile is recycled rubber products.
Pros of Rubber Slate Roofing
1. Strong Impact-Resistance
Rubber is almost impervious to impact, which is why it has a Class 4 impact rating - the highest rating given for a roofing tile. This means that the tile can withstand a 2-inch steel ball dropped multiple times from 20 feet, without cracking. After the test, the shingle is inspected on both sides for cracks or tears that would allow water to get through. Consider that the same test performed on a 4” concrete paver results in the paver being cracked in half. Rubber slate shingles perform very well in areas prone to hail storms.
2. Easy to Install
A typical installation of rubber roof shingles is similar to that of asphalt shingles. The first step is to apply an ice and water shield around the perimeter of the roof and in the roof valleys. Second, install roofing felt or a synthetic roofing underlayment over the roof deck and nail the rubber roof tiles down, following the manufacturer’s directions.
3. Low Cost
Rubber slate roofing costs are higher than asphalt shingles but substantially less than real slate. However, the life expectancy of a rubber slate roof can be as high as 50 years, while an asphalt shingle roof will last about 30 years. That difference in service life needs to be considered when evaluating which product will best suit your needs. A 3D asphalt shingle will average $4.80 per square foot, while a rubber shingle roof averages between $7.75 and $12.50 per square foot to install, and natural slate costs run $9 to $16 per square foot for an average roof.
4. Wind Resistant
Rubber flat roof tiles, properly installed, are designed to withstand wind speeds up to 110 mph, which is a Class D rating per UL 2390.
Since they start out as recycled tires, they can be recycled again, making them very eco-friendly. Dumping tires in landfills became such a large environmental issue that 38 states banned whole tires from their landfills. Turning tires into rubber roofing tiles is a sustainable practice that benefits the consumer and the environment.
Cons of Rubber Slate Roofing
1. Susceptible to Fire Damage
Rubber is great for preventing hail damage and keeping the rain and snow out of a home, but it is important to know that it is flammable. Without the applications of fire-retardant chemicals added during the manufacturing process and a supplementary fire-resistant underlayment, most rubber roof tiles can only receive a Class C fire rating. It is adequate for some parts of the country, but many areas in the Western states demand a Class A fire rating before the shingles will be approved.
There is a smell that will be present when a new rubber roof is installed. Some compare it to the smell of a refinery or a tire factory. The odor will eventually disappear, but some people find it so offensive and uncomfortable that they choose not to have rubber roof shingles installed at all.
3. Unnatural Aesthetics
Rubber roof tiles are formed by mold injection so they have the shape of slate but not the thickness. Additionally, the color options are limited to black, dark brown and some shades of grey. These dark colors tend to give the roof a monotone look that some will find plain, unnatural, and unattractive.
4. Installation Hurdles
Rubber roof tiles are usually described as easy to install, but there are conditions that need to be considered before deciding to install them.
- Industrial adhesives are sometimes recommended for use in installation.
- The roof surface needs to be completely dry during the entire installation process.
- Professional installers experienced with rubber roofing are recommended and often difficult to find.
An Improved Alternative — Brava Synthetic Slate
Brava synthetic slate tiles have all the benefits of rubber slate roofing without the drawbacks. They are an improved version of rubber roofing and are resistant to fire damage, have no smell, create a more natural appearance, and can be installed like normal roofing tiles. Brava tiles are made from 100% recycled post-production plastic, making them eco-friendly and sustainable. Offered in 11 colors, Brava's synthetic slate is not only durable, but an outstanding aesthetic option for designers and homeowners.
The Benefits of Composite Slate
Brava’s Old World Slate synthetic roofing tile is a premier product in this category. Many tiles are only ½ inch thick, but Brava’s tile is 1-inch thick making it the thickest composite slate tile on the market.
The composition of our tile gives us many advantages over recycled rubber shingles:
- Design is based on actual slate stone
- Twice the thickness of most composite slate roof tiles
- Class 4 impact rating
- Class A fire rating
- Wind resistance of 188 mph+ with ring shank nails
- Unlimited color options
- Lightweight but strong
- No special tools required for installation
- Can be installed in any climate
- Has a 50-year limited warranty
Reimagine Your Roof with Brava Synthetic Slate Roofing Tiles
Slate tiles are truly beautiful, but they come with drawbacks and maintenance headaches, even alternatives like made with rubber. If you want the fantastic look of slate without the issues, explore the composite slate options from Brava. And if you're familiar with composite roof tile, see how Brava compares to other options.
Brava roof tiles are manufactured to exacting standards and are installed on homes across the country. For more reasons why you should choose Brava's low-maintenance synthetic slate tiles, please contact the professionals at Brava Roof Tile.
We're happy to help connect you with a contractor, get a quote, and ship a complimentary sample for you to examine and test out. To see more projects featuring our award-winning products, check out our photo gallery and video gallery.
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