Fixing EPDM Roof Leaks

Rubber roofs are one of many types of covering for a flat roofing system. Ethylene Propylene Diene Terpolymer roofs can be tricky, but small patches are generally within the realm and skill of a DIY homeowner. Rubber roofs are made by usually stretching a single-ply waterproof membrane across the flat roof in overlapping sections. This material is then secured with roofing cement and the seams can be hot or cold welded. A properly-installed, well-maintained rubber roof should last up to 10 years.

About EPDM Flat Roofs

Unlike pitched, or slanted, roofs, flat roofs tend to collect water, making them more susceptible to leaks that other types of roofs. However, flat roofs are making a comeback. You’ll see these types of roofs on modern, modular-type houses as well as atop porches or storefronts on traditional homes. Flat roofs also allow all of the inside space to be used, without the challenges of rafters and dormers. Just like with any project, be sure to spend a little time doing your homework and understanding the full details of the work load.

Only attempt to repair a rubber roof if the damaged area is small. For larger projects it is best to consult with a licensed commercial roofing contractor. To make a rubber roof repair, first locate the part of the roof that is leaking. This can take a little time as water will often travel a great deal from the source of the leak to where it is dripping inside the house. If the damaged area is large, your best bet would be to call in the help of a professional roofing company.

You‘ll need to purchase a sheet of rubber membrane and some rubber primer at a home improvement store. Clean the damaged roof area thoroughly and allow the surface to dry. Then cut a piece of rubber membrane about six inches bigger than the hole on all sides. Apply rubber primer and carefully set the membrane in place, rubbing the edges to seal. Allow it to dry in the sun.

How to Maintain Your Flat Roof

In order to keep your rubber roof from leaking in the years to come, it’s important to do regular maintenance. Make sure to remove any standing water within 48 hours, either by siphoning it off, draining it or sucking it up in a shop vacuum. You’ll also want to rid the roof of leaves and other debris at least twice a year. Generally, doing this in the spring and again in the fall is best.

Try not to walk on your roof any more than absolutely necessary. Even the lightest footfall can break the roof’s seal. If your area gets heavy, sustained snowfall, you’ll also want to remove the snow build-up so that the weight doesn’t damage the roof.

Should you call a roofing contractor?

Not every epdm roof repair should be handled by a DIY homeowner. Flat roofs can be challenging to work with. If your repair job involves making more than a small patch, you’re probably well-advised to hire a licensed roofer. Overlooking even a small step can lead to major water damage inside of your home.