What is rubber roofing
If there is a ghost in the construction market, it is the rubber slate for roofing – corrugated flexible sheets of black. At one time it was considered the result of technical progress, quietly survived the boom in popularity of metal tiles and flexible shingles, and still amazes with longevity and practicality.
In addition, this material – a unique history and special properties. If you’ve been looking for information on it for a long time, you’re here!
Appearance on the market: the time of ingenious ideas
Rubber slate appeared as a result of an attempt to rationalize everything along the lines of “everything comes in handy at home.” Citizens, not having access to a wide choice of roofing materials, used as a coating on the outbuildings used a rubber cloth with special impregnation, and in practice it could serve more than 30-40 years. Not bad, isn’t it?
As the story goes, the rubber slate was invented by Fedor Mikhailov, a Soviet environmental engineer and honored ecologist from the Chuvash Republic. It was he who came up with the idea of cutting car tires into small crumbs, and from it – to make the necessary materials for various household needs.
In fact, this is a serious contribution to the country’s ecology. Up to that time, and even today, there are only two ways to dispose of tires – their burial or incineration. And both ways are not the best options.
Rubber will decompose in the ground at least half a century, all the while emitting toxic substances. These substances will get into ground waters and wash out into the rivers. So, even the very same tires turned into flowerbeds near your house are actually just poisoning the soil.
Burning tires is no better, either. When a ton of tires burns, more than 250 kilograms of soot and more than 450 kilograms of toxic gases are released into the air. And tires burn at such high temperatures that it’s hard to put them out, which can be dangerous.
That’s why until today 80% of tires are thrown away in landfills, and only 20% are recycled into crumbs, which is already a good thing:
Thanks to all these ideas and the desire to save the planet was born quite convenient and practical roofing material:
And to understand its properties, let’s find out exactly how it is produced and what has changed in this regard over the years.
Production technology: rubber slate yesterday and today
Today, a significant contribution to the issue of recycling car tires was made by the Ecostep 500 project. It includes collection and recycling of these parts for recyclable materials – in rubber crumbs, and it is used for a variety of purposes. The project itself is working in the Republic of Khakassia, southern Krasnodar Territory and the Tuva Republic.
Rubber raw material is produced as follows: in the factory conditions the car tires are processed into a small crumb of different shapes, quality and different fractions:
This is how the environmental problem of recycling car tires is solved, and their metal parts are taken out and given away for scrap. High-powered production equipment is used to finely chop such dense material:
In a year similar production manages to process up to 3000 tons of tires, and the result is up to 1800 tons of crumb rubber, and already it is made of rubber slate and such a popular today rubber tile. Also crumb is included in the composition of the wear-resistant asphalt and is used as raw material for racetracks, paving stones and coatings for gyms. And the crumb is added even to the formula of new tires – about 10%.
Strangely enough, for the manufacture of rubber slate suitable not all fractions of crumb. So, the smallest goes for the manufacture of new tires, asphalt and other problems, and for the manufacture of rubber slate and sports coatings suitable only fraction of 1.4 mm. By the way, the very rubber crumb as part of the road surface serves not only as a filler, but also greatly improves the quality of roads, reducing their vibration and noise.
The good thing is that today the idea of recycling automobile tires are quite a few novice businessmen. Especially since landfills are really cluttered with car tires, so you can get the raw material almost for free.
Technical characteristics and life span
And now let’s dispel some myths about the properties of rubber slate. Some people consider it heavy and too brittle, while others know it as a light and flexible material. How is this possible? Now we will tell you.
The main disadvantages and difficulties of operation
The fact that the rubber slate since Soviet times was of varying quality and not always good, it all depended on the particular region and plant. Somewhere this roofing coating was destroyed in the first winter, and somewhere – is still lying and surprises the neighbors.
But modern technology has made it possible not only to take into account the experience of decades, but also to improve the material itself by modifying the new generation of additives. Although until now, unfortunately, with rare exceptions, rubber slate at severe frosts significantly loses its flexibility and can crack.
If the material was originally of poor quality, over time, will begin to bend the seams and appear gaps, and this – a direct path to the leaks. That is why this roofing material is still considered temporary or is designed for farm buildings. In addition, often rubber slate over time, molts and fades.
Also, the question to rubber slate about its fire resistance has not yet been resolved. In fact, it is quite flammable material, capable of igniting even from a small fire. You can argue that the same ondulin or soft shingles, made on the basis of bitumen, are not flammable materials.
In fact, as often stressed by manufacturers of soft roof, asphalt necessarily contains flame retardants – special substances that slow the spread of fire. That is, a quality ondulin from a well-known manufacturer will really be less flammable than a rubber slate.
Perhaps these are all the main disadvantages of this material. Perhaps in the future it will not disappear completely from the construction market, and its composition will be finalized for the better.
Valuable benefits and bonuses during installation
And now for the good stuff. Rubber slate silent, not cooled and therefore does not collect condensate on itself, does not conduct electricity and does not corrode.
This material is quite lightweight and especially easy to transport and install. It can be thrown directly from the ground on the roof, and any mistakes in its installation is not critical. Therefore, even a person who has taken on construction work for the first time can easily cope with such a coating.
Rubber slate is especially good for the arrangement of the roof of the garage or outbuilding, especially those on which you will have to walk often. With most other popular coatings, you have to be more careful.
Rubber slate is easy to lay in difficult places, wrapping around difficult elements to achieve good roof waterproofing. But it doesn’t look like a rag, so you can’t wrap small roofing elements with it. See how flexible rubber slate is:
As for the operation of such coverage, during its lifetime there are almost no problems, as long as the material itself is of high quality. Repair such a slate – not a problem at all, because for him suitable for most of the funds produced today for soft roofing. For example, mastics Tekhnonikol, although modern bitumen tapes are also useful:
Where can I buy a rubber slate today?
Today to find a rubber slate on sale – quite a challenge. The fact is that many at the outbuildings and summer houses, this material has been preserved since Soviet times, and it is still possible to buy it on the sites of second-hand goods. The rubber slate looks like this:
Some people first encounter this material when they purchase a summer home and discover an unusual coating on it.
But today there are still a few factories that not only recycle car tires into crumb rubber for sports fields, but also offer rubber slate. At the same time, they point out that they use fiberglass fleece as a base, which means that such a slate will be resistant to tearing. In addition, modern manufacturers are trying to enrich the chemical composition of such a coating and increase its resistance to frost, so that it does not crumble in the harsh conditions of the climate.
However, there is usually no detailed technical description of the slate, as it is produced as an additional product, more aimed at the preservation of ecology and waste disposal.
And so with this roofing is not carried out the necessary tests on combustibility, abrasion, resistance to atmospheric phenomena and temperature fluctuations. All of this requires a separate laboratory and additional costs.
Not surprisingly, modern manufacturers name a guaranteed service life of only up to 15 years, although the actual can be up to half a century.
Standard sizes slate sheets are as follows: thickness of 4 mm, wave height of 23 mm, width of 690 mm and length of 810 mm. But in different regions, these parameters may vary, as it all depends on the specific manufacturer and the capabilities of its equipment. In this regard, it is important to remember that the factories that produce rubber slate, initially not geared to the production of roofing.
The process of installation on the roof of a house or an outbuilding
Knowing the dimensions of your roof, it is easy to calculate the number of sheets of slate you need. Cut the necessary elements with a construction office knife.
Simple and installation of rubber slate – for this task does not even need special instructions. It is enough only to purchase nails for conventional slate and place the sheets with a certain overlap:
The rubber slate itself is not too heavy, and therefore does not require a reinforced rafter system. And the pitch of the crate must take into account that the coating is soft and can sag under the caps of snow. In this case, the slate will work on the tension, which has its own limit.
Perhaps if we work on fire safety and color solutions, rubber slate will become a leader in the roofing market.