When not to repair an EPDM Rubber Roof

When is an EPDM Rubber Roof Roof beyond repair?

This article explains why it is not wise to repair an EPDM Rubber Roof. The image is an example of an EPDM Rubber roof installed before 2015. The patches are a sign when to quit repairs on an EPDM Rubber Roof.

signs of repairs on a EPDM Rubber roof are all the patches - this becomes costly and not worth repairing
This is what a EPDM Rubber Roof looks like that is beyond repair. Failing seams will allow water to get underneath the rubber membrane and cause the cover board to rot and flatten out. The fasteners or screws that secures the cover board does not give and pushes through the rubber membrane. Thats why so many patches on this EPDM Rubber roof becomes visible.

In the video below we show where the adhesives have failed on the EPDM roof

The extreme heat during summer months can rise the temperature to over 160 degrees Fahrenheit causing the adhesives that bonds the rubber seams together to fail.

This video shows the failing adhesives on the rubber seams of an EPDM Rubber Roof

EPDM Rubber Roofs also have its limits and when to stop repairing

Most EPDM Rubber Roofs fail prematurely due to the adhesives that breakdown. Ultraviolet rays and the heat beating onto the black EPDM rubber roof causes the adhesives that bond the seams together to break down causing leaks. In most cases, an EPDM roof starts showing signs of failure between five and eight years. The repairs quickly escalate, and before you know it, you could have had a new roof for the price of all the repairs.

Repairing EPDM Rubber Roofs

All EPDM Rubber Roofs installed before 2015, are bound to fail prematurely. The reason is that the adhesive that was used to bond the seams together failed due to ultraviolet degradation.

Repairing these rubber seams became costly, and was better off to install a new roof. The revised method of installing an EPDM Rubber Roof is to use seam tape. Although it appears to be an improved system, it is too early to know if these seam tapes will withstand the ultraviolet and extreme heat on a flat roof.

Repairing Flat Roofs can end up being costly

There are many factors that must be taken into account whether a roof should be repaired or not. How can someone tell that the roof needs to be replaced?

Here is a list of things to look for that could help decide if the roof should be replaced

  • When many visible patches on the roof are found
  • When a silicone coating has been sprayed on the roof
  • When the rubber is curling and folding in some areas
  • When nails or screws are pushing up through the membrane
  • When numerous areas have a soft surface when walked on
  • When water ponding is in large areas
  • When seams are separating
  • When the particular rubber roof is at the end of its life expectancy

Ultraviolet Rays destroying an EPDM Rubber Membrane

Watch this video to see the effect of ultraviolet rays on a EPDM Rubber Roof

Why do EPDM Rubber Roofs fail prematurely?

In the video below you will see the flashing tape on an EPDM Rubber Roof failing due to extreme heat. It is the adhesives that fail and then finally causing leaks.

See why an EPDM Rubber Roof fails prematurely. Notice the seam tape is what failed. The adhesives on the seam tape on the flashing

Repairing EPDM Rubber membranes

The images shows an EPDM Rubber Roof that is being patched. This common practice to patch EPDM Rubber Roofs after five years of installation.

EPDM Rubber Material degrades fast when exposed to ultraviolets. Therefor the constant patching
EPDM Roofing Materials are constantly being patched – this is a sign that the materials fail prematurely. Notice in the foreground all the patches. The rubber mats are to protect the rubber from foot traffic. No one ever follows these protective matts.
EPDM Rubber membrane
The EPDM Rubber has degraded due to ultraviolet exposure

This is a list of issues that could cause an EPDM Rubber Roof to fail:

  • Exposure to Ultraviolet rays
  • Foot traffic from maintenance crews
  • Extreme heat causing the adhesives to fail
  • Rubber membrane shrinking causing stress on the roof
  • Sharp objects like nail and screws that was left behind by workers could be stepped on
  • Snow shoveling during winter

The following images show a comparison of thickness between an EPDM Rubber and a Torch Down Rubber membrane

The thickness of an EPDM Rubber membrane is less than that of a quarter and can easily be punctured. Maintenance crews always leave nails and screws on roofs. Broken sea shells dropped by seagulls can cause punctures.

This shows that a nail can puncture and EPDM Rubber membrane very easily.

This an image of a Modified Bitumen Torch Down membrane.

Notice the thickness of the membrane. Not only can this membrane not be pierced by sharp objects, but it is also ultraviolet protected. Notice the white ceramic granules embedded on the surface.

Modified bitumen Membrane not pierced by nail
See the head of a nail can not pierce through the Torch Down Rubber membrane

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