The Basics of EPDM Roof Repair

EPDM stands for ethylene propylene diene monomer. That’s a really long way of saying it’s a synthetic rubber. It became extremely popular due to its application in repairing roofs. EPDM roof repair provides many advantages over conventional methods. Keep reading to learn the basics of EPDM roof repair.

How Does It Work?

EPDM roof repair works by applying the rubber to any problem areas, providing a nearly impenetrable seal. Oftentimes, however, it’s simply used as a precaution—covering roofs before any damage can be done.

Once applied, EPDM forms an extremely durable layer of protection that is waterproof, amongst other things.

Applying EPDM to a Flat Roof

If you’re using an EPDM roof repair application for a flat-topped roof, you’ll first want to begin by cleaning the surface off. Many people use EPDM for the entire roof to work as a kind of sealant. In this scenario, the entire thing will need to be cleaned first.

While the climate is probably temperate if you’re working on a roof, it’s worth pointing out that it should be between 40 F and 70 F outside, otherwise you’ll have issues with applying the synthetic rubber.

Once the roof is cleaned, apply a primer. A paint brush is best for this job, but if you’re doing the entire roof, you’ll want to use a roller and an extension to make things easier.

With the primer applied, start in an area that won’t present any odd angles. You’ll want to handle all these areas first, as it’s simply easier to do. Odd corners can be addressed when you finish by cutting the sheets and applying them where need be.

Applying EPDM to a Conventional Home Roof

You can also utilize EPDM roof repair on a residential home, as well. However, you wouldn’t want to cover the whole thing as in the above example. You’d have to remove all the shingles first, if you truly wanted to. EPDM is just a good way to take care of a stubborn leak, especially if you’re worried it will begin to cause sloping issues for your roof.

Start off by finding exactly where the leak is coming from. Just as in the above example, you’ll want to clean off the area affected. Do this by removing all the shingles on and around the affected area. Depending on the size of the sheet you’re using, this may mean more shingles than are actually compromised.

Instead of using a primer, like above, you’ll apply a fiberglass enforced felt skin that works well with the adhesive qualities of EPDM. Then, use one fastener per 2 square feet on the installation. When using EPDM on a residential job, seams aren’t an issue, so you need not bother.

One of the best parts about fixing a roof with EPDM is how fast it sets. If you finish your job by the afternoon, it will be ready for a storm later that night. Due to its durability, you also shouldn’t have to address the problem again for about 20 years.

A Look at Membrane System Roofs

Membrane roofing systems have been a common choice for commercial buildings for many years. Today, the systems are being used more often for residential buildings and private homes.

The original application was to replace asphalt roofs that were inherently problematic. The asphalt was heavier. Roof leaks were harder to find. Pieces of the asphalt became dislodged easily. The dislodged pieces clogged gutters and caused other problems.

Possibly the biggest disadvantage of the asphalt systems was heat. The presence of “heat islands” in urban communities was noticed several decades ago. The temperatures within the urban communities were sometimes 10 degrees hotter than the suburbs. It was determined that black asphalt roofs were among the main causes of these heat islands.

While all membrane systems are lighter in weight and generally more effective than asphalt, not all of them address the heat island issue. In order for the roofs to be cooler and more energy efficient in the summertime, the system needs to include a white coating as the outermost layer or reflective metallic particles in the outer layers.

The reflective metallic particles have increased the popularity of the “cool roofs”. The particles make it possible for homeowners and commercial building owners to choose colors that may be more aesthetically pleasing than white.

Built-up and modified bitumen roofing systems were the first membrane systems to be seen on the market. They are usually less expensive than some of the more modern polymer choices.

It is called “built-up” roofing because several layers of material are installed. This was to differentiate the system from single layer tar paper and other thin short-lived systems. The number of plies included in a built-up system can range from two to five. In some areas, additional layers are recommended to address common weather issues.

TPO, EPDM, PIB, PVC and CSPE are among the polymer resins that have found use in roofing applications. These are inherently more water resistant but are typically more expensive.

A TPO roofing system consists of plastic sheets welded together using hot air. When installed correctly, this eventually results in a single sheet of water-resistant plastic covering the roof. There are typically three layers included in the TPO membrane system including a polyester reinforced plastic center and a tough TPO compounded top ply.

EPDM is a type of rubber. EPDM roofing has become the standard for RVs, trailers, mobile homes and residences that were traditionally covered with metal. It is one of the most durable systems available.

That was a brief look at membrane roof systems. An experienced roofer can tell your more about your roofing options.

A Semi Annual RV Roof Inspection Helps Prevent Leaks

A semi-annual RV roof inspection should become a regular part of your maintenance routine. Here you can learn about the things to look for and repair.

There are some differences depending on the type of roofing material. Older roofs were constructed of sheet metal or fiberglass. If you have one of the older vehicles, you should inspect the seams around anything that protrudes from the roof. Examples include vents, antennas and pipes.

The seams should be sealed using a sealant created specifically for this purpose and for this type of roof. Sealing and resealing on a regular basis reduces the risk of leaking.

You should not seal the area around a rooftop air conditioning unit because the condensation drains are located beneath the unit. If you seal around this area, the condensation will leak into the interior of the vehicle.

Newer RVs will have either TPO or EPDM rubber roofing. TPO is said to require no semi-annual cleaning or treatment but the roof should still be inspected for signs of wear. The seams of the material and the entire roof can be sealed using products specially formulated for use on TPO. The sealants may extend the life of the material.

Liquid EPDM rubber roofing manufacturers recommend a semi-annual inspection at a minimum. Some manufacturers recommend quarterly inspections, when the seasons change. Special cleansers, sealants and liquid rubber coatings are available for EPDM roofs. No silicone or petroleum-based products should be used on EPDM.

Liquid roof and EPDM rubber roofs for RV repair should also be treated with a UV blocker to prevent chalking. Liquid Rubber is the best solution for this purpose. It will resist chalking for years once it has been applied.

Regardless of the type of roof, the main purpose of the inspection is to check areas that are prone to leak and make any necessary repairs before leaking occurs. You should inspect all seams and any previously caulked or sealed areas on your RV roof.

The vent covers should be inspected on all RV Roof. Any cover with a dull finish or a brittle appearance should be replaced before you head out on the road. They may seem stable while the vehicle is parked. But at highway speeds they can break apart.

Remember to check the rubber roofing on your RV roof of any slide-outs while you are at it to look for cracking, holes or other signs of wear. Slide-outs are common leak locations. Some of the seals can be caulked using silicone. Check your owner’s manual to be sure. EPDM rubber is one of the best solution for your RV roof repair.