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The best roofing system is a Two Ply Torch Down Rubber Roof

This video is about installing a Torch Down Rubber Roof over Tar and Gravel

Rubber Roof Installation on flat roofs

Installing a rubber roof on new construction is always the easiest and cleanest option. Before the siding goes on a house, the rubber roof and flashing is installed, then the siding is installed over the flashing.

There are fewer things to contend with when it’s a new building. It’s always the choice of material and the installer that will make the difference as to how long the roof will last before having any problems.

Installing a Torch Down Rubber Roof

When it comes to installing a rubber roof on an existing house, then there are a lot of factors to take into consideration.

This list will help to define those factors:

  1. Type of Rubber Roof to use. There are mainly two types to choose from EPDM or Torch Down Rubber Membrane. They both are good rubbers, but it’s the technique involved in installing them that will determine what makes the roof maintenance free.
  2. The Roofing Contractor – This is a hard one. Not all roofing contractors have the same experience in installing rubber membranes. Most of them will recommend EPDM because they don’t know any better. Eight out of Ten roofers will sell the homeowner an EPDM rubber roof. Their arguments will sound very convincing, only because they only know EPDM.
  3. To remove or to install over an existing roof: It’s more costly to remove an existing roof and prepare for a new roof than to install over an existing roof.
  4. Will the new roof require different drains, metal edging, skylights.

To install an EPDM rubber roof the surface has to be smooth and free from tar. Petroleum products will eat into EPDM rubber causing holes. So the choice will be to remove the old asphalt roof or to install a layer of 1/2 fiberboard over the existing roof to get a smooth surface free from tar. Nearly every time new flashing will have to be installed.

Installing a rubber roof over a gravel roof made easy. Ridgefield, CT
This is an image of a flat roof that has a Modified Bitumen Torch Down Roof on it. The plants on it prove that these torch down membranes can hold water for a long time.
A Rubber Roof Installed over a Tar and Gravel roof - this is the result
This image is of a Torch Down Rubber Roof we installed 20 years ago. It still looks the same as it was from the day we installed it.

Tar and Gravel Roof – Ready for a Rubber Roof

The picture shows what the Tar and Gravel Roof used to look like before we installed a rubber roof. After removing bigger stones and all kinds of debris, we raked the gravel to get it evenly spread over the roof. After, the preparation, we then install a fiber base sheet directly over the gravel.

Rubber Roof Installation over a Tar and Gravel roof
This image is of a Tar and Gravel roof in Westport Connecticut. We installed a Two Ply Torch Down rubber over it. See the images below.

Installing a Rubber Roof

This image shows where we are busy installing a Rubber Roof over a Tar and Gravel Roof. The process is a fiberglass asphalt base over the gravel, then a self-adhering modified bitumen base sheet to the fiberglass paper. After that, a Torch down rubber roof gets fused to the base.

Installing a Rubber Roof over a Tar and Gravel roof
This image shows where we are installing a Two Ply Roofing Membrane over the Tar and Gravel roof in Westport.

The final Rubber Roof Installation

The picture shows what the result looks like after we have installed a Two-ply Rubber Roof over a Tar and Gravel roof. This roof will easily last 40 years without any maintenance.

Two Ply Rubber Roof Membrane over Tar and Gravel
This image show what a Torch Down Rubber Roof looks like after installing it over a Tar and Gravel Roof in Westport CT.


A potential buyer should be careful to listen to a roofing salesman for advice on what rubber roof they should install. All salesman are biased toward the roofing company they work for. Over 90% of roofing contractors will want to sell an EPDM Rubber Roof to a client.

What options are there for rubber roofs?

  • There are different rubber roof materials to choose from
  • One should see if it is possible to install a rubber roof over the existing roof instead of removing it first.
  • Can the existing rubber roof be repaired instead? In most cases, the answer is “Yes”. Only EPDM Rubber roofs are not feasible to repair after 8 years.
  • What warranties do the roofing contractors give for their service?
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