Aluminum coat on rubber roof is peeling

I’m looking at buying a house with a 1,200 sq. ft. almost flat, slightly-pitched rubber roof. The inspector who looked at it said that the roof had a somewhat unusual combination of aluminum coating over the pre-existing rubber (from what I understand, white elastomer would be more likely) and that we should get a roofing specialist to look at it.

The roofer came to look at it and said that he wouldn’t warrant it in its current condition and recommended scraping the aluminum off to add a new layer for $4500.

Now, the roof isn’t currently leaking and what I’d like to know is this – Is there something about the combination of aluminum coating on a rubber roof that necessarily means it’s likely to fail? Can I wait to get the work done or is it wiser to go ahead and get the work done as soon as possible? Is $4500 reasonable, high or low to scrape the aluminum and add a new rubber layer?

Thanks in advance.

pictures would be helpful!!

These are from the inspection report and the best I can do right now.

Thanks so much.


That is aluminum coating.

That is not a rubber roof. It is an asphalt product. You do not need to do anything right away.

Pressure wash the loose material off. Then recoat it. The coating will extend the life of the roof.

I would need to see a bigger picture of the roof to say about that price. Also where are you located.

The intial inspector’s report said EPDM. Over a felt underlayment.

Here’s a quote from the report - “-The rubber membrane roof material on the house and garage has been coated with a roof sealer, this is unusual and the sealer is peeling in many areas The roof should be check by a qualified contractor to confirm the condition on the roof.”

And I don’t have the paperwork from the roofing contractor, but here’s what the realtor sent: “The flaking stuff is Alumicoat that someone put on top of the rubber roof. Because the alumicoat is flaking, it would need to be scraped off and a new rubber roof put over the existing rubber roof once it has been scraped. I asked if you could just put a new coat of alumicoat over it and he said he would not do that. The scraping of the current coat, may cause damage to the rubber roof that is currently on the house. He also said the alumicoat isn’t a product that he would use.”

Does that clear anything up?

Oh, and btw, the house is in Indianapolis.

Are you saying that a qualified roofing inspection came back with instructions to clean the existing rubber and adhere a new rubber roof directly over it. That is wrong advice. If the aluminum top coat is adhering to your roof surface, then a cleaning and re-coating will give your roof some extended life, but I personally do not believe that I am looking at epdm rubber. If your going to put a new rubber roof on, then, I would spend the time that you plan on spending to clean the aluminum
off, on removing the existing rubber<?>, and apply the new roof to the existing substrate, or insulation, assuming that it is in good/ dry and acceptable condition With all the alligatoring and patches that I see in your existing roof, I make my assumptions about the material not being rubber. Maybe a copy or your written roof inspection might clear up the discrepancies in my analysis.

ditto lefty.
4500 is to much.
way to much.


Hmmm…thank you. That gives me a lot to think about.

I will, at the very least, ask for another roofer to come out and take a look at it.

What can I expect to pay per sq. ft. if I ever do have to remove the existing roofing material to replace with rubber? I’ve only been able to find qoutes from the Boston area so far and those are pretty steep.

where is the job located?

that inpector is not very knoledgable in “guessing” what roof is on your house. you have an aluminum coated modified bitumin roof. some people who think they know the trade will sometimes call it “rubber”. pressure wash the entire roof. go to home depot or lowes. buy a 5 gallon can of coating, a 9" rollerhandl, nap, and extention handle and recoat your shouldnt cost more than $75 for materials. good luck.

I agree with Lefty, it seems to be a asphalt based product, most likely in rolls that were torched into place.
In the pictures showing the covered pitch pan and the chimney picture I see bleeding from the flashing piece that covers the pitch pan and flashing piece used around chimney which tells me its most likely a asphalt based rolled roofing product.
The Aluminum coating was most likely applied several years after the roofing was installed as a maintenance or tune up measure and was applied over a dirty surface.
I agree a strong power washing and a re-coating may be all that is necessary.

The only thing that concerns me is that the roofing contractor agreed. I’m left wondering if the pictures I’ve posted are misleading or the roofer was either mistaken or intentionally telling me the wrong thing.

In any case, thanks for all th help from everybody who’s answered the OP.


There are a lot of roofers that call torch-down “rubber”. It is not.

Aluminum roof coating would eat away at a rubber roof.

You just landed up with 2 people that do not know what they are talking about. If the realtor recomended this roofer, I would be wary of the realtor too.

You would scrape a coating off a metal roof. Any other type roof you would powerwash.

You are getting a lot of misinformation.

For your own peace of mind, and to find out what you are really dealing with, call in the experts. NEVER rely on realtors or home inspectors to dictate what you need to do. They are only the first step in identifying potential problems.

Get several, as in 3 or 4, professional roofing contractors to come take a look at it and make recommendations.