EPDM roof systems, which are also referred to as rubber roofs, are a very common choice for low sloped roofing installations. They are expected to have an extended service life with a life expectancy of 15 to 20 years for most designs and applications. When compared to modified that require flame torch or asphalt to adhere to roof system EPDM roof system is much safer. In addition, they are easy to repair and in an event that a leak occurs or the roof surface is damaged.
Two of the most important aspects of rubber roof repair and maintaining an EPDM roof system are the selection of the correct repair materials and the proper preparation of the area to be repaired. Damages to the roof can occur and the life expectancy can decrease if improper methods or materials are used to complete a rubber roof repair. Doing so and using improper materials for a repair may also void the manufacturer's warranty.
What products can be used to repair a rubber roof?
It is the easiest to tell what type of materials not to use when repairing a rubber roof. Since EPDM roofing is a synthetic rubber membrane, it is not compatible with asphalt based products. This includes any type of asphalt based roof coating including aluminum coating and any type of roof cement flashing.
If any asphalt products are used for maintenance or repair on the EPDM roof systems, the contaminated membrane will be required to be cut out and replaced. The whole roofing system may need to be replaced if the extent of the contamination is widespread. Products as such should not be used to maintain or repair any EPDM roof membrane system.
Safety is the most important aspect when taking any construction job into consideration, the same goes for any EPDM roof repair or patch preparation. It is always best to contact local roofing contractors to help with a repair job, rather than tackling the job at home with minimal expertise. Local roofing contractors are trained to handle repairs and jobs as such, especially EPDM roofing.
The first step in the process of making a rubber roof repair is to set up the ladder and surrounding area to create a safe work zone. The ladder needs to be set up at a 4:1 ratio in the angle of the ladder. Make sure that the ladder has a firm footing and if necessary have someone hold the base of the ladder to prevent it from slipping out. Another fact to consider for your safety would be to make sure if an aluminum ladder is being used it needs to be kept away from any power lines.
Properly prepare the EPDM roof surface to receive a repair patch. The membrane sheet begins to develop a carbon film on the surface, the older the membrane is the more carbon film on the surface. The carbon film and any other dirt present on the surface need to be cleaned up before to allow the patch to stick to the surface of the roof membrane. In order to clean the surface of the roof, it is important to use a cleaner that would not leave a residue on the membrane after the area dries. Wash the area of the roof where the patch would be applied, use cloth rags to scrub the surface of the membrane to remove oxidation from the surface of the EPDM. After the oxidation has been removed, wipe the surface of the area down to remove all traces of moisture from the patch area.
It is important that the dirt, oxidation, and carbon black are removed from the surface of the roof. If they are allowed to remain, any new patch or adhesive used for the patch will stick to the film on the roof surface and not to the membrane causing the patch to be compromised. Cleaning the roof surface properly will allow the patch to adhere directly to the membrane, improving its long-term performance.
Before applying the primer always measure the roof repair patch, in order to measure the patch, take the material and lay it over the area to be patched. The patch material needs to extend past the area where the repair is required. It would be best to have at least two inches on each side.
Ones the patch is laid out, cut the roof materials to fit. Clipping or rounding the corners of the patch is recommended to avoid any sharp corners that can be caught and lifted by foot traffic on the roof surface. The next step would be to apply a patch after properly cleaning the roof surface is to apply the primer to the membrane surface. Apply a thin coat of primer to the area where the patch needs to be applied using a paint roller.
There are two different types of roof repair patch, a pressure sensitive roof repair patch and a non-pressure sensitive roof repair patch.
If you are using a pressure sensitive roof repair material, remove the paper or film backing from the patch and apply the patch to the surface of the roof system. Press the patch firmly in place.
Use a steel roller to apply a patch to the surface of the roof. As the steel roller is passed back and forth across the patch it applies even more pressure over the roof patch. It is recommended to apply a little bit of a sealant to protect it from any future water infiltration.
If a material that is non-pressure sensitive is being used it will require a single-ply EPDM adhesive to adhere the patch to the roof surface. The adhesive must be for sealing EPDM TO EPDM and not bonding adhesive which is used for sealing EPDM to substrates or insulation board.
Apply the adhesive to the underside of the membrane patch and the surface of the area to be patched. The area needs to be dried until its no longer tacky to touch. After the glue has flashed off, carefully put on the patch material to the surface. Ones applied, use the steel roller to roll the entire patch to make certain that it has properly mated to the existing EPDM roof membrane. It is recommended that you apply a bead of EPDM lap sealant around the leading edge of the patch to provide additional protection against water infiltration.
It is crucial to always use local roofing contractors that are certified and will use name brand components to repair within the code of the manufacturer's warranty, using cheap seam tape will also void out the warranty. Numerous warranty options, from 5 to 30 years are available to accommodate almost any budget and building owner requirement. Puncture, high wind, and hail coverage are also options, making EPDM an even more appealing roofing membrane.
At Infinite Roofing and Construction, we have experienced Albany roofing contractors that are qualified and are professionals at installing EPDM roofing, any repairs or patches needed can be handled very easily when you get a professional roofing contractor to do them
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