If you have an ethylene propylene diene terpolymer (EPDM) roofing on your commercial building, you probably like it for its famously low cost and toughness. While the material of EPDM roofing is long-lasting, adhesives or tapes usually seal the edges, making it prone to leaks. In this guide, we’ll review common repair issues, how to complete the repairs, and rubber roof repair FAQs.
Can You Repair a Rubber Roof?
It is possible to repair an EPDM flat roof. The correct repair method depends on the type of leak and your intended result.
Here are a few common repair issues and how to approach each one.
Repair holes on rubber roofing with a patch. You can find kits for making EDPM patches, though there is no guarantee that these repairs will last through all weather conditions.
When repairing with a patch there are a few vital steps that need to be taken to ensure the highest chance of success.
- 1. Ensure that the EPDM around the leak is thoroughly cleaned with a soft bristle brush/rag and Simply Green. EPDM continually releases carbon, which when touched leaves a black, sooty, residue on the hand. If the rubber is not clean when the patch is applied, the repair will likely fail.
- 2. Cut the patch large enough to leave 3 inches of overlap on all sides. Round the corners of the EPDM patch to prevent peeling.
- 3. Liberally brush the EPDM adhesive onto both the patch and roof, making sure to brush the adhesive around the repair beyond the size of the patch.
- 4. Use a seam roller to set the patch once applied.
- 5. Apply lap sealant. Using a standard caulk gun, squeeze a thick bead all around the edge of the patch. Use a piece of plastic like a credit card or squeegee to feather the bead onto the surrounding surface.
One of the most significant drawbacks of EPDM roofing is its weak seams. If you need to reinforce the seams, you can purchase sealant tape or adhesive. Since these are already the sealing methods in place for a typical rubber roof, replacing the tape or reapplying the adhesive is not an ideal or permanent solution.
The best way to protect your rubber roof overall is by installing a fluid-applied membrane across the entire surface.
“What is a fluid applied membrane?” Good question.
While others might call it a roof coating, we disagree with that classification. Our system is not just as simple as a coating. It consists of multiple distinct layers. Each layer provides unique benefits and, when combined, creates a laminate that is seamless, strong, renewable, energy saving, and warrantied.
Rubber Roof Repair FAQs
How much does it cost to repair a rubber roof?
How do you seal a leak in a rubber roof?
Water ponding is always a risk with a flat EPDM roof. When rainwater ponds, the water can penetrate the building through any weak roof seams. Given this hazard, you’ll probably need a repair at some point in your roof’s lifespan.
For minor leaks, you can use an EPDM repair kit. However, there is no guarantee that a patch will last through a freeze/thaw cycle, which means the leak could return.
The best course is to have a professional evaluate the leak source. If you have one trouble area, it’s possible that there are others. A roof inspection will uncover any issues your roof might have and can resolve them before they become bigger problems.
How long should a rubber roof last?
The typical lifespan for an EPDM rubber roof is 20 to 25 years. They are usually also warranted for that timespan.
EPDM rubber shrinks on average 3% during its lifespan. The shrinking alongside the continual degradation and brittleness of the rubber causes the seams to fail. Significant leaks can form as the roof nears 20 years of service.
EPDM rubber is a great candidate for a fluid applied membrane, which rejuvenates the rubber making it stronger than when it was new while giving the option never to tear it off again, preventing unnecessary roofing materials from entering the landfill.