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How to repair an EPDM Rubber Membrane

Articles/ Videos about EPDM Rubber:

  1. Main Page: DIY  EPDM Rubber Roof Repair instructions
  2. Other Articles:
  • Comparing EPDM Rubber with Torch Down
  • Explaining three types of Rubber membranes
  • Ultra Violet Degradation of EPDM Rubber
  • EPDM Rubber Roof Issues

Warning: Before making flat roof repairs find out:

  1. The type of roof membrane  2. How old roof is   3. What is causing the leak

EPDM Rubber Roof Repair

It is a common thing to have an EPDM Rubber Roof Repair. These membranes are known to prematurely fail. The adhesives used gluing the seams together does not last and therefore compromise the entire roof.

If you have not seen the article on the Life Expectancy of an EPDM Rubber membrane, you need to click here first. This will help you to determine if it is worth fixing your roof.

How to repair an EPDM Rubber Membrane Roof

These 3D animated videos show you where to look for leaks on an EPDM Rubber Roof  

Seams on an EPDM Rubber Roof

The likeliest place for an EPDM roof to leak is at the seams. The number one reason for EPDM Rubber Roofs to start leaking is due to Adhesive failure that bonds the seams together and or where the rubber is attached to metal.

  • If you pull up on an overlapping seam, and the two surfaces separate easily, then you know the adhesives has failed. You should not be able to pull a seam apart with considerable force.
  • Look for voids under the membrane – this happens when the rubber shrinks over time and pulls away from the edging or flashing. This will cause stress on the seams and cause it to fail.
  • look for seam failure around skylights, air conditioner cubs, and vents

My Advice:

If you are a homeowner and there are only a few seams on the roof with a few skylights, then repairing the roof with seam tape is advisable. There is a list of tools and materials below that you can follow to make the necessary repairs.

If you have a commercial roof that’s over 3000 sq ft, then you should be careful spending the money repairing it. Normally a repair can start at 20% of the replacement cost of the roof and will escalate from there in the next few years. When EPDM seams start to fail, that means the roof was exposed to harmful ultraviolet and not only did the adhesive failed, but the rubber is getting brittle and is starting to shrink.

Never, but never ever install EPDM Rubber membrane on a commercial roof – it is a waste of money

Below are the Tools and Materials needed to make an EPDM Rubber Roof Repair

Lacquer Thinners, Rags, and gloves

Lacquer Thinners, Rags, Gloves for repairing an EPDM Rubber Roof
Hand Roller to be used on EPDM Rubber Roof repair seams

The EPDM Rubber Seam roller

This is an important tool. Once the EPDM Cover tape is placed over the adhesive or primer, then this roller is used to roll the cover tape tight into the rubber membrane as to make a tight seal

EPDM Lap Sealer or Butyl Caulking

Flat Roof Repair - EPDM Lap Sealer or Butyl Caulking
Flat Roof repair - Professional Caulking Gun to be used on an EPDM Rubber Membrane

Professional Caulking Gun

EPDM Cover Tape Roll

Flat Roof repair - EPDM cover Tape to be used on an EPDM Rubber roof
Paint Brush to brush on the primer before placing the cover tape

Disposable Paint Brush to apply the primer

Milwaukee Utility Knife  – for slicing the cover tape

Milwaukee Utility Knife to slice EPDM Rubber cover tape

Important notice:

When using the EPDM Rubber primer, make sure you follow the instructions on the can. The contact cement has to be applied a certain way and there should enough time pass by from the time the primer was applied with a brush, to the time when the cover tape gets placed.

Flat Roof Repair - Primer for EPDM Rubber membranes to be used on seam tapes

EPDM Cover Tape Primer

First method of making flat roof repairs on an EPDM Rubber Roof

  • Clean the area, seam from all debris with a rag and lacquer thinners
  • Remove old lap sealer (caulking)  from the seams
  • Apply a fresh beat of lap sealer (butyl caulking) not silicone, at the seams.
  • Smear the beat of butyl caulk with your finger to make sure the seam is properly covered.

Second method of Making Flat Roof repairs on an EPDM

  • Buy a roll of cover tape and a gallon of primer at a roofing supply
  • Clean the surface thoroughly with a rag and lacquer thinners
  • Remove old caulking from the seams – this is important because the caulking cause a bump
  • Apply the primer an wait till touch dry
  • Cut the correct length of cover tape, peel the paper back off and apply it to the surface where the primer was applied
  • Take an edge hand roller, and roll over the cover tape with enough pressure to make it stick. Make sure all the trapped air bubbles are rolled out
  • When some air pockets persist, take the sharp point of the utility knife, and pop these bubbles by making a small insition hole into the cover tape where the bubble is

More articles and videos on different flat roof repair issues

When not to repair a EPDM Rubber Membrane
EPDM Roof Ten Years Old New Canaan CT Flat Roof Repair

When an EPDM Rubber Roof Membrane is beyond repairs

This article: Explain why it is not wise to repair an EPDM Rubber Membrane that was installed before 2015. See the images of EPDM Rubber that has been patched. That is ...
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Rubber Roofs – Comparing EPDM with Torch Down -Video
Rubber Roofs -Comparing EPDM and Torch Down Rubber Membranes Video

Rubber Roofs - Modified Bitumen vs EPDM Rubber

This Article: Comparing Rubber Roofs "Modified Bitumen Torch Down" vs "EPDM Rubber Membrane" Rubber roofs were introduced in the late 60's in the United States. Both EPDM and Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber membranes ...
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EPDM Rubber Roofing Membrane – Ultraviolet Degradation – Watch Video
EPDM Rubber Roofing Membrane - Ultraviolet Degradation - Watch Video

EPDM Rubber Roofing Membrane

EPDM Rubber Roofing membrane will shrink due to ultraviolet exposure. This, in turn, will put stress on the adhesives that bond the seams and eventually separate the material. Watch this video I took with my iPhone ...
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Why do Roofing Contractors Install EPDM Rubber-Watch Video
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Flat Roof Problems with EPDM Rubber Membranes

Hi, my name is Andre and today we are looking at an EPDM Rubber roof, one of the most popular roofs um to ever be installed. They say there are fewer seams, but there ...
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Pros and Cons of EPDM Rubber Roofs – Watch Video
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Harmful Ultraviolet rays have damaged an EPDM Rubber Roof - watch video

Pros and Cons of EPDM Rubber Roofs - Video Transcription:

Erik talks about the Pros and Cons of EPDM Rubber Roofs Hi, I’m Erik from Commercial Roof USA, and this ...
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EPDM Rubber on Commercial Roofs – Watch Video
EPDM Rubber on Commercial Roofs

What is EPDM? And "Why EPDM Rubber on Commercial Roofs?"

This article and others on this website along with videos will prove that it is not wise to install EPDM Rubber on Commercial Roofs EPDM comes from its inclusion of Ethylene, Propylene, ...
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EPDM Roofing Deteriorates from Harmful UV Rays – Watch Video
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EPDM Roofing Deterioration Stems from UV Exposure

An EPDM roofing problem on a residence in Greenwich, Connecticut stemmed from the prolonged exposure to harmful ultraviolet rays. We found that the single ply EPDM rubber was shredded in a tight corner, ...
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EPDM Rubber Roofs Issues – Fail Prematurely – Watch Video
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EPDM Rubber Roofs Issues - Fail Prematurely

Before 2014, all EPDM Rubber Roofs Issues stems from the breakdown of liquid adhesives used to bond seams. This single-ply rubber roofing system is predominately used on commercial flat roofs, but have failed to ...
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EPDM & Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber Roofs – Which is the Best?
EPDM and Modified Bitumen Rubber roofs

EPDM & Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber Roofs After 10 Years

Below are images of EPDM rubber roofs and Modified Bitumen Torch Down Rubber roofs that are about ten years and older. Notice that Modified Bitumen rubber roofs outlast EPDM rubber ...
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EPDM Roofing Systems – Advantages & Disadvantages
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EPDM Roofing - Rubber Membrane

EPDM rubber roofing materials come in different thicknesses. They are .045, .060, and .090 thousandths of an inch.  Most contractors use the industry standard thickness of .060 thousandths of an inch, which is very near the ...
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