Video Transcription - Problems with EPDM Rubber Roofs
Flat Roof Problems with EPDM Rubber Membranes
Hi, my name is Andre and today we are looking at an EPDM roof, one of the most popular roofs um to ever be installed. They say there are less seams, but there are a lot of seams.
Some of them are factory seams like this one here you could almost not see it and there’s also this one that the contractor installs or the roofer installs, and these are glued down together with a primer and an adhesive. Um this a little bit of an older style roof. I mean this one was probably put down maybe ten years ago, maybe eight years ago.
EPDM Roofing Techniques Changed often
The reason why I say this is because the roofing has changed so much in the last five years they don’t even put this roof down like this anymore. I mean it’s like you’re learning a new game every 5 years. Uh, there’s no cover tape which is a tape that goes over seams and uh, it’s supposed to last longer now that’s what the common standard is. It is just glued to itself, which it works for five years, maybe six seven years, but in the end,
if it’s not a factory seam, well, it’s not gonna last. Let me show you an example over here and it may help you better understand what’s going on. This is the reason why this roof is failing because the glue is going bad. You see the yellow glue is actually just coming right off.
5 Reasons Contractors Choose to Install EPDM Roofing:
- EPDM can be installed by someone who has had very little training.
- The process for installation can be done relatively quickly, saving labor costs.
- Although there is a more durable, 2 ply system available, roofing contractors will install the EPDM, single ply system, because they know it well.
- The sales appeal of EPDM is that it is flexible and it comes in wide rolls which means fewer seams.
- EPDM does not require expensive tools for installation.
Although contractors choose to install an EPDM roofing system, there is a more durable, 2 ply system at a comparable cost, however, this system involves more skilled technicians and tools, but doubles the life expectancy of the roof.
EPDM: 3-10 Years After Installation, Repairs are Needed
It has been our experience, when contracted to repair a roof, that some leaks begin as soon as 3-10 years after first being installed. Some of these EPDM roofs had signs of wear and tear due to foot traffic. Others had areas that had become brittle from harmful UV ray exposure. Most showed, however, that seams failed when the EPDM adhesives lost bonding properties, which has been addressed by manufacturers at least 5 times over the last 40 years.
EPDM: Repair or Replace
An EPDM rubber roof stands a chance of being repaired, if the surface preparation is done carefully by experienced roofing technicians. Beware of suggestions that a replacement is needed, rather, find the experienced professional, who has the know-how, for finding the source of leaks and making the necessary repairs. Otherwise, you may inclined to accept the sale of another, new EPDM single-ply rubber roofing system.
When should an EPDM roof be repaired or replaced? The rule of thumb is two-fold: If the EPDM rubber roof was properly installed and is less than 10 years old, and when the cost of the repairs are less than 15% than the cost of replacement, a repair, rather than a replacement is the appropriate solution.
If you happen to have an EPDM single-ply rubber roof system that is leaking, we can evaluate whether it should be repaired or replaced.
Finding a Roofing Contractor
Finding a roofing contractor should begin with knowing what type of roof you have and what type you need. If your roof needs repairs, it is in your best interests to find the contractor that specializes in the system you currently have. If you are considering replacing your roof, research different types of roofing systems and the life expectancy of each. Then locate a reputable contractor who specializes in the system that interests you. Develop a working relationship with the contractor, based on the information and advice you need, to make the best decision for your roofing needs.
Whether your roof needs to be repaired or replaced, locating random roofing contractors to provide estimates, is not in your best interests. You may have a tendency to compare the estimates and decide on the contractor who provides the “best” one. The “best” estimate may not take into consideration the reputation of the roofing company, the experience of the crew, but most importantly, the type of roofing system, in which they specialize.