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How to Install Rubber Roof Deck Flooring Over Rubber Roofing Membranes

What are Rubber Roofing Membranes?

With flat or nearly flat roofs, it is imperative to have a roofing system that will seal the building below from water and leaks. Before, asphalt and gravel were used as common roofing systems. However, rubber roofing membranes have proven to be an advancement in roofing technology.

Rubber roofing membrane is a type of roofing system that is used to used on flat or nearly-flat roofs in order to prevent leaks and move water. As the name suggests, this kind of roofing is made of rubber material. Roofing membrane tend to prevent more leaks than both asphalt and gravel. The seams in rubber roofing membrane are extremely strong or nonexistent and will remain crack free throughout its entire lifespan. Another benefit to rubber roofing membrane is that if damage or breakage does in fact occur, rubber roofing membrane is far more easily removed and replaced than both asphalt and gravel.

What Does Rubber Roofing Membrane Have to do With Patio Tiles?

More and more people are turning their flat rooftops into an outdoor entertainment area. Flat roofs make a lovely patio space, especially in urban environments where outdoor space is limited and hard to come by. Rooftop patios provide a luxurious getaway from the chaos of streets below. Any home, apartment building or condominium complex with a rooftop deck or patio area instantly becomes more valuable and sought-after.

Putting in beautiful deck tiles over preexisting rubber roofing membrane is a simple and affordable way to instantly transform a drab, plain roof into a comfortable and inviting space. There exists an entire world of roof tiles and roof mats that can turn a drab roof into an al fresco paradise.

Take the Right Precautions

However, choosing the right kind of flooring for a rooftop requires some thinking. Not just any kind of flooring can be used on top of rubber roofing membrane. Despite their resistance to water, rubber membranes are susceptible to other types of damage. For example, roof membranes are easily torn up when they come into contact with harsh wear. Certain types of patio flooring can rip up the rubber below as weight is put on top of tiles. Furniture, foot traffic, high heels, and debris can also cause irreparable damage to rubber roofing membrane. It is necessary to take precautions while creating a rooftop patio space. Otherwise, you can wind up with torn up rubber membrane and thus a leaky roof.

Rooftop Patio Flooring

An easy way to protect the integrity of rubber roofing membrane is to simply choose a membrane-safe patio tile. The right flooring is a key element in creating a fabulous outdoor space. Aesthetics and design aside, roof tiles or roof mats act as a protective barrier over rubber roofing membrane. While certain roof tiles can cause damage, the right roof tiles will act as a barrier between heavy or sharp objects and rubber roofing membrane, thereby protecting membranes from tears and holes and ultimately, roofs from leakage.

Safe Flooring Options

Many apartment and condo complexes will not allow flooring installations unless there is a no-damage guarantee. Fortunately, there are plenty of great options out there. Lightweight and non-abrasive materials are the safest types of materials to put in over roofing membrane. However, you can also look for tiles that have enough base support to evenly distribute weight. That way, the underside of tiles will not dig into the membrane below. Here are a few examples:

Rubber Roof Tiles and Mats

Rubber is an economic and smart roof flooring choice because of its unceasing durability. Different rubber product forms include mats, tiles, and rolls. Outdoor rubber tiles and mats are tough enough to withstand weather, patio furniture and foot traffic. They are also thick enough to protect any underlying roofing membrane from damage. Although rubber is extremely tough, it is has no harsh surfaces that can puncture or tear holes in rubber roofing membrane.

Rubber roofing tiles are also a safe and affordable option. The grippy surface prevents slips and falls, even when wet. With rubber, it is easy to custom the aesthetic and feel of a rooftop patio; rubber roof tiles and mats come in a variety of thicknesses, styles, and colors.

Perforated PVC Tiles

Perforated roof tiles made of PVC are another quality, durable option for installing over rubber roofing membranes. These tiles hold no chance of harming underlying roofing membrane, as they are a super lightweight option at only about about one pound per tile. The drain-through feature allow water to run through tiles instead of pooling and standing on top. PVC roof tiles come in a plethora of colors you can choose from to create a fun and bright environment.

Unsafe Flooring Options

One dead give away for an unsafe rooftop tile is if tiles or roof mat is made with staples in the bottom. Holes and tears are a guarantee if rubber roofing membrane comes into contact with staples. Further, any kind of sharp protrusion or intrusive edge may end up puncturing or tearing underlying roof membrane. Simply avoid these types of flooring options and choose a safe one from the list above.

Before Installation

Before installing flooring over rubber roofing membranes, make sure the membrane is in good shape. Check to make sure there aren't any tears or holes in the membrane. Thorough examination and proper maintenance of roofing membrane before installation will save you from potential leakage problems down the line. By installing flooring over quality, well-installed roofing membranes, it will contribute to the effectiveness of the membrane instead of acting as a band-aid to any roofing membrane problems.
For more on this topic please review our Roof and Deck Tiles product page.