Rubber slate for the roof: overview of the material, its technical characteristics and specifications

Rubber slate roofing gives traditional slate roofs a contemporary makeover by fusing the benefits of contemporary materials with the timeless aesthetic appeal of slate. Rubber slate is lighter and more flexible than natural slate because it is made of synthetic rubber compounds that are intended to resemble the appearance and texture of natural slate. It is also less likely to break or crack during transit and installation as a result, making it simpler to install.

Rubber slate is technically made of a mixture of synthetic materials, such as plastic polymers and recycled rubber. These materials, which come in a variety of colors and surface textures, are molded to mimic the uneven texture and shape of real slate. The end product is a roofing material that offers increased weather resistance and durability while maintaining the slate’s aesthetic appeal.

The longevity of rubber slate roofing is one of its main advantages. Rubber slate is more durable than natural slate, which can be brittle and prone to breaking when struck. It is resistant to damage even in the face of severe weather, such as hail and strong winds. Rubber slate roofs are also renowned for their durability; with appropriate care, they can last up to 50 years.

Rubber slate is easier to install and requires less manpower than natural slate because it is lighter than the latter. Because of its flexibility, it can be easily shaped to fit snugly and provide effective weatherproofing around intricate roof structures and contours. Rubber slate is also environmentally friendly because, at the end of its useful life, it can be fully recycled and frequently contains recycled materials.

"Rubber slate roofing combines eco-friendliness and durability to offer a contemporary take on traditional materials. It is lighter and simpler to install than natural slate because it is made of recycled rubber and plastic. Because of its flexibility, it resists breaking under severe weather conditions like wind and hail. Rubber slate is an energy-efficient material because it requires little upkeep and provides good insulation. It offers a reasonably priced substitute for conventional slate, combining visual appeal and useful functionality in roofing solutions, making it perfect for both new construction and historic restorations."

The appearance on the market: the time of brilliant ideas

An attempt to justify everything with the sort of "everything will be made on the farm" led to the appearance of rubber slate. Residents applied rubber fabric with a particular impregnation as a coating on outbuildings because they lacked access to a wide variety of roofing materials. In reality, this material could last for more than 30 to 40 years. It’s not too bad, is it?

History states that Fedor Mikhailov, a Soviet environmental engineer and deserving ecologist from the Chuvash Republic, invented the rubber slate. He was the one who thought of shredding automobile tires into tiny fragments and using that to create the materials needed for various commercial purposes.

Actually, this has a significant positive impact on the ecology of the nation. Car tires can now be disposed of in one of two ways: either by burning them or burying them. Furthermore, neither of these approaches is optimal.

Rubber will decompose in the ground for at least 50 years, during which time it will release toxins. They will tumble into the subterranean and find their way into the rivers. Therefore, even the same tires that have been converted into flower beds close to your house actually merely contaminate the ground.

Burning tires and nothing better. More than 450 kg of hazardous gases and more than 250 kg of soot are released into the atmosphere during the combustion of one ton of rubber. In addition, the temperature at which tires burn is so high that it can be dangerous to try to put them out.

Because of this, only 20% of tires are currently processed into babies, which is already a good thing: 80% of tires are thrown into landfills.

As a result of these concepts and the desire to protect the environment, a very useful and practical roofing material was created:

And to comprehend its characteristics, let’s investigate its production process and any changes that have occurred in this area over the years.

Production technology: rubber slate yesterday and today

The EcoStep 500 project has contributed significantly to the processing of automobile tires today. He arranges for the gathering and conversion of these components into secondary raw materials, such as rubber crumb, which is already put to use for a number of uses. The Republic of Khakassia, the Republic of Tuva, and the southern Krasnodar Territory are the three countries in which the project is currently operational.

The following is how rubber is made from raw materials: automobile tires are ground into tiny fragments of varying sizes, qualities, and fractions in the factory:

This solves the environmental issue associated with tire processing, and the metal components are removed and sold as scrap. Such dense material requires strong production tools to chop finely:

This kind of production can handle up to 3,000 tons of auto-openers annually, which yields up to 1800 tons of rubber crumbs. These crumbs are then used to make rubber slates and the widely used rubber tiles. The infant is also utilized as a raw material for paving stones, gym flooring, and treadmills in the composition of wear-resistant asphalt. Furthermore, he adds roughly 10% of crumb to the new tire recipe.

Surprisingly, not every portion of crumbs can be used to make rubber slate. Thus, the smallest fraction—1.4 mm—is appropriate for the production of rubber slate and sports coatings, while the largest portion is used to make new tires, asphalt, and other materials. In addition to acting as a filler, rubber crumb as a component of the road surface also greatly enhances the quality of the roads by lowering noise and vibration.

The good news is that processing car tires is a popular idea among novice businessmen these days. Furthermore, auto parts are practically free to obtain because landfills are overflowing with them.

Technical characteristics and life span

Let’s now debunk a few misconceptions about the characteristics of rubber slate. While some believe it to be too delicate and heavy, others see it as a flexible and light material. How is it possible? We’ll tell now.

The main disadvantages and complexity of operation

The truth is that rubber slate has varied greatly in quality since the Soviet era; it all depended on the factory and the particular area. This roofing was damaged during the first winter, but it remains in place and still surprises the neighbors.

However, contemporary technologies have made it possible to improve the material itself by incorporating novel additives that alter it in addition to taking decades’ worth of experience into account. Unfortunately, with very few exceptions thus far, rubber slate severely damaged by frosts loses a great deal of its flexibility and is susceptible to cracking.

If the material was of low quality when it was first made, leaks will eventually result from the seams bending and gaps appearing. For this reason, such roofing materials are still regarded as temporary or meant for outbuildings. Furthermore, rubber slate sores frequently fade with time.

Furthermore, the debate over rubber slate’s fire resistance is still ongoing. This is actually a fairly flammable substance that can catch fire even from a tiny light. You could counter that non-combustible materials include the same ondulin or soft tiles made of bitumen.

As soft roof manufacturers frequently point out, bitumen inherently contains antipypees, which are unique compounds that inhibit the spread of fire. In other words, premium ondulin from a reputable manufacturer will actually present less of a fire risk than rubber slate.

These could be the main drawbacks of this content. Perhaps in the future, it won’t completely vanish from the Russian market’s construction and its makeup will be improved.

Valuable advantages and bonuses during installation

Alright, enough about that. Rubber slate is silent, doesn’t conduct electricity, doesn’t cool and hence doesn’t gather condensation, and doesn’t rust.

Transporting and installing this material is very simple and convenient. Its installation is not critical, and it can be thrown straight from the ground to the roof. As a result, someone who has never worked in construction before can handle such a coating with ease.

Rubber slate works particularly well for arranging the roof of an addition or garage, particularly one where you have to walk there frequently. With the majority of other widely used coatings, extra caution is required.

Rubber slate is simple to install and envelops intricate details, making it possible to achieve good roof waterproofing. However, it doesn’t resemble a rag, so they are unable to wrap tiny roofing components. Check out the rubber slate’s flexibility:

As for how such a coating operates, unless the material is of very high quality, there are very few issues during the course of its service life. Repairing a slate roof is a straightforward task as most products designed for soft roofs can be applied to it. For instance, bitumen ribbons from today’s technology are also useful, but mastic of technology is also useful:

Where you can buy rubber slate today?

It’s pretty hard to find rubber slate for sale these days. The truth is that a lot of the country homes and outbuildings have been conserved since the Soviet era, and they are still available for purchase on used goods websites. This is how the rubber slate appears:

When someone first comes across this material, they discover an odd coating on a country house they have acquired.

However, a number of factories still exist today that produce rubber slate in addition to turning automobile tires into rubber crumbs for athletic fields. They also point out that the slate is made of fiberglass, which implies that it won’t break easily. Furthermore, contemporary producers endeavor to enhance the chemical makeup of this type of coating and boost its ability to withstand frost, in order to prevent it from collapsing in the severe weather of Russia.

Nevertheless, since slate is produced as an extra product with an emphasis on waste recycling and environmental preservation, there is typically no comprehensive technical description available.

As a result, this roofing does not pass the required tests for temperature drops, abrasion, combustibility, and resistance to atmospheric phenomena. For all of this, an independent laboratory and extra expenses are needed.

It is not unexpected that contemporary manufacturers only guarantee a 15-year service life, even though the real duration can reach up to 50 years.

Slate sheets typically measure 4 mm in thickness, 23 mm in wave height, 690 mm in width, and 810 mm in length. However, these parameters might vary depending on the manufacturer and the equipment’s capabilities in a given area. It’s crucial to keep in mind that, in the beginning, rubber slate factories do not use any jail time in order to produce roofing coatings.

Rubber slate roofing combines environmental friendliness and durability to create a contemporary take on traditional roofing materials. It is lighter and simpler to install than natural slate because it is made of recycled rubber and plastic. This makes it a sensible option for homeowners who want to improve the visual appeal of their house without sacrificing functionality.

Rubber slate is technically meant to endure a wide range of weather circumstances, such as intense heat, persistent rain, and wind. Because of its flexibility, installation can be completed more quickly and with less labor expense. Furthermore, compared to traditional slate, the material’s lightweight nature places less strain on the roof structure, potentially extending the roof’s lifespan.

Practically speaking, rubber slate needs little upkeep during its lifetime. Due to its resistance to mold, mildew, and insect damage, homeowners can consider it a low-maintenance option. Moreover, its energy-efficient qualities improve insulation, which may eventually result in lower heating and cooling expenses.

To sum up, rubber slate roofing provides an alluring combination of durability, environmental sustainability, and aesthetic appeal. This material offers a long-lasting, reasonably priced roofing option that minimizes environmental impact, whether you’re building a new home or remodeling an existing one.

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Alexandra Fedorova

Journalist, author of articles on construction and repair. I will help you understand the complex issues related to the choice and installation of the roof.

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