Rubber Roof Repair: Fixing Issues in Rubber-based Roofs


Rubber Roof Repair: When it comes to flat roofs, rubber-based ones are of the most preferred by people in general, along with contractors and workers by being a roof that can be installed with more ease in comparison to other types, by not requiring torches and fire and in involving low weight, resistant to the sun, waterproof and more.

Another aspect to consider when it comes to rubber roof is its characteristics respecting repairing issues and leaks. You see, for many types of roofs as metal ones, tile-based ceiling and others the possibilities of being repaired by the owner are very low because of the materials involved, so hiring a roofer specialized company is the way to go in most cases.

However, a rubber roof repair process in many cases can be done by the owner with even rubber rood repair kits available, including everything that will be needed to fix the issue and being sold in specialized stores.

Let´s see how a rubber roof can be repaired. Now, definition a characteristics of this type of roof are always valuable to address, in order to know better what it is that is being done in the process and how this roof behaves.

Rubber Roof: What is it exactly?

In details, rubber roof is just another more commercial name for EPDM roof, standing for ethylene propylene diene monomer. This is the base element of the entire synthetic compound that EPDM is, as a membrane that covers flat roofs and have plenty of characteristics that make it suitable and the preferred option for people and workers in the field alike.

Rubber roof or EPDM-based ceiling is very different from its asphaltic and tar similar counterparts, since its adherence is produced chemically and not by fire. This is a key factor for rubber roofs to have DIY nature at the moment of fixing a leak or some other issue.

An EPDM membrane is built of three main layers from the lowest adhered to the roof to the highest in contact with surface and sun: an elastrometic layer, a retardant layer and the plyester-based and made-of fabric layer. Membranes can be a thick as 40 millimeters and as thin as 2 millimeters, depending on quality and purpose.

Characteristics of EPDM or Rubber Roofs

Many of the features rubber roofs have allow to repair issues and leaks with more ease than other types of roofs. For example, rubber roof is synthetic and therefore does not require fire to be installed or repaired.

Also, rubber roof is waterproof, very resistant in every membrane to sun light and perfect to endure extreme circumstances. Also, EPDM is more affordable, durable and easier to install than other roofs that are more expensive and prone to damage when strong winds occur.

While rubber roofs have their own issues, many of these can be addressed by the owner and this means savings, since calling a roofer or specialized company may involve an investment that starts at 400 dollars, even when the problem is just patching a simple leak or gutter.

Rubber Roof Repair: Damage and What to Do

The most common consequence of a roof that is having issues, including rubber roof, is leaking problems and water getting to the floor or filtering on the walls. Whatever the case may be and the effect the issue is causing on the house, it must be addressed immediately.

The first thing to do is to check the damage on the inside and underneath to see from it may come from. If it is too complicated to find the origin of the leak this way, the next step is to check above and over the roof with the help of a ladder. At least, getting in flat roofs is secure and less risky in comparison to high-pitched or high slope roofs.

The most frequent damage rubber roofs suffer are: breaking, blistering, flashing cracks, punctures and actual holes that can be caused by previous conditions. Fortunately, there are plenty of reasons to fix rubber roofs by yourself: savings, ease to fix, sensation of accomplishment and a process that lasts up to 6 hours tops.

Fixing the Roof: Rubber Roof Patch Kit to Use and Process to Follow

In order to fix the issue on a rubber roof, we need to count on with specific materials. We need a kit of EPDM patches, uncured patches of flashing materials for corners and chimney joints, a proper cleaner, EPDM-based primer and sealant for caulking.

Along with this main materials mentioned before, other tools are: scissors, paintbrush, rags, scraper, gloves, caulking gun and a ladder. In many cases, specialized stores sell complete rubber roof repair kits that include the majority of these resources.

Having the kit ready and with the leak on seams, flashings or roof located, let´s start to work:

  • With the cleaner, sweep the entire are near the hole to patch, including surface and every piece of debris, leaves or dust. Remove dry residue of sealant or any other as well.
  • The next step is to apply the EPDM primer, as the element that chemically activates the EPDM patch and adhere it to the surface. So, apply it with the paintbrush on the patch and surroundings and always surpassing the patch´s size.
  • Now, take an EPDM patch and trim it on the corners and surroundings to fit size. Then, place the patch carefully on the hole covering on every side, while discovering the adhesive part to stick it.
  • Apply pressure to the patch to avoid bubbles. Then, apply sealant using a caulking gun around the edge of the patch.
  • If the area to fix includes flashes, uncured flash material must be used to properly seal holes and leaking causes.

Now, how long do a rubber membrane roofs last? This depends on the quality of the material, thickness and maintenance.

If damage is more than patching a hole and structure is compromised at seams or fasteners level, the best decision is to call specialized roofers. How often should a rubber roof be replace? EPDM is very durable and can last decades with proper care, but damaged membranes can involve replacing in worst case scenarios.


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