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What is the Best Rubber for Weather Resistance?

Posted by Joe Hoffman
What is the Best Rubber for Weather Resistance?

When it comes to material selection, your operating environment matters. There are plenty of materials available for manufacturing parts and each of them has various benefits and drawbacks. Once such advantage or disadvantage is weathering resistance.

Simply put, some rubber materials aren’t made to last outside. Weathering can take its toll on parts in multiple ways, including exposure to UV rays, ozone, and water. The key to success is finding the right rubber material that offers the right amount of weathering resistance for your budget. Let’s break down the materials that are great fits, acceptable solutions, and bad options for weather resistant rubber and plastic materials.

Materials that Offer Excellent Weathering Resistance


When it comes to weathering resistance, EPDM rubber is one of the first materials that come to mind. EPDM is a high-density synthetic rubber that is made to last. This material is extremely tough and can survive prolonged exposure to UV, ozone, water, and just about any other substance found outdoors. Combined with good abrasion resistance and fabrication flexibility and EPDM is a great, cost-effective solution for outdoor parts.


Viton is another rubber compound that’s so resistant to demanding environments that it’s regularly used to make parts that go into outer space. This material’s resistance to weathering, among many other environmental hazards, has led to its use in multiple markets that need something that’s even tougher than EPDM. Of course, that added performance will come with at a higher price point, but that added cost can be well worth it depending on the application.


Silicone rubber is another material that provides ample weathering resistance for outdoor parts. While silicone is not an inherently tough compound – EPDM and Viton by far outclass it in terms of abrasion and tear resistance – this elastomer repels water, resists sunlight, and handles other weathering elements with little to no deterioration. These qualities can be very attractive for parts that need to thrive in hot and cold environments.


While technically not a rubber material, there’s no doubt that PVC is an excellent option for weathering resistance. This particular thermoplastic is lightweight, durable, and can be rigid or flexible. These qualities make them a natural fit for door panels, protective strips, and other parts that won’t corrode or break over long-term exposure to bad weather conditions.


TPE is another excellent thermoplastic for parts in need of weathering resistance. This material is a great choice for applications that require a soft, flexible material that will end up outside, such as items with touch grips, automotive seals, and other single-material or coextruded parts.

Materials that Offer Some Weathering Resistance


Sometimes all you need is a reasonably priced, mid-performance polymer to handle all your weather concerns. Neoprene provides solid resistance to the effects of UV rays, ozone exposure, and water along with excellent physical toughness. This rubber also has the added benefit of oil resistance, making it a great option for outdoor applications that may encounter oils, solvents, and other problematic substances.


Traditionally known as an excellent material for shock absorption and dealing with regular agitation, Butyl is also a good fit for outdoor applications. Butyl is excellent at repelling water and other elements while offering good resistance to the ozone and general aging. It also has the unique benefit of being completely airtight so that no gases permeate the material.

Materials to Avoid for Weathering Resistance


Nitrile is similar to Neoprene in a lot of ways – it’s commonly used for oil resistance and I a physically durable material. The problem is that while Nitrile is better for regular contact with oils and solvents, it is not suited for outdoor use. Even with a solid resistant to water, sunlight will rapidly age Nitrile until your part fails.

Natural rubber

Sadly, natural rubber is not a natural fit for outdoor applications. While physically quite tough, sunlight, ozone exposure, and other substances found in nature will cause rubber to break down more quickly than synthetic compounds.

Identify the Best Weather-Resistant Material for Your Parts

Weathering resistance is just one factor that impacts material selection. The best material should address both your weathering needs and other criteria, including budget. Of course, that’s not easy without some help.

Timco partners with businesses to help them uncover the best, most cost-effective part solution for their applications. Want our experts to help you identify and invest in rubber and plastic parts custom made around your needs? Give us a call at 800-969-6242 or contact us online today.