If you have a business with a flat roof, then the roof may be covered with a variety of different materials. Roofing membranes are common and durable, and EPDM is one of the most popular flat roof materials. If you have an EPDM roof, then you need to inspect it often for holes and rips. If you notice these types of damage, then it is wise to make repairs as soon as possible. You may be able to do this yourself. Keep reading to learn about how you can make repairs.
Most EPDM rips can be repaired fairly easily. However, you do need to examine your roof to see if rips are widespread across the surface of the membrane. If this is the case, then the membrane needs to be replaced. EPDM is made from ethylene propylene diene terpolymer, which is a synthetic rubber. Like rubber, the EPDM material loses its pliability and flexibility over time. When this happens, the roofing membrane cracks as the roof contracts and shifts with the changes in the weather. If the cracks are noted across the middle sections of the membranes, then this is likely your issue.
If rips are widespread, but appear across the seams alone, then this may indicate an issue with the seam adhesive. Look closely at the roof to see if the seams are coming apart. Strips of EPDM membrane material may be 50 feet wide, so there may only be one or two seams on the roof. If the seam or seams are in fact pulling apart, then you can use EPDM seam tape to adhere the seams back together. However, the tape should not be used like regular tape in between the two sides of the seam. It should instead sit over the top of it.
You should repair the seam and adhere it back together first. Do this by cleaning the inside of the split seam thoroughly with dish soap and water. Dry the area with a clean cotton rag and then apply an EPDM primer to the membrane on the top and bottom of the seam. Apply an EPDM adhesive to the area. You have the option of purchasing a water-based or solvent-based adhesive for the job. If you use a solvent-based one, then make sure to let the adhesive dry and become tacky for several minutes before securing the seam together.
Once the seam is adhered, cut a small piece of your seam tape to match the length of the seam opening that you are repairing. Use soap and water to clean the top part of the seam and dry it with your cloth. Pull the paper backing from the tape and press it over the seam.
You can make other rip repairs with the same method by using the seam tape. However, you will want to use the EPDM adhesive to secure the membrane to the deck underneath the membrane before adding the tape.
If you notice holes in the membrane, you can repair this type of damage as well. You will need to use a patch in this case. You will need the same sort of adhesive that you would use for rip and seam repairs, so make sure to purchase this as well as your primer. You also want to buy an EPDM patch or a piece of EPDM that is larger than the hole being repaired.
If you decide to buy a piece of EPDM, then cut it so it is about three to four inches larger than the repair area on each side. Make sure to round the corners of the patch or the EPDM may pull up from the roof. Clean around the hole with soap and water and add the primer around the opening. Once the primer dries, add the adhesive. You can press the patch down over the hole at this time.
While taped repairs can be left alone, patches must be treated with a lap sealant material. This helps to reduce the lip on the edge of the patch so water does not pool unevenly on the roof. Use the lap sealant to cover each lap or edge of the patch and allow the material to dry.
To learn more about this process, contact local roofers.