Not many contractors have experience patching a roof made with EPDM rubber, so chances are you’ll do a job that’s equal to, if not better than, any contractor. Patching any roof yourself is easy to do and will save you hundreds of dollars. With the proper materials and a good sense of safety, patching your EPDM roof is a fun, manageable project for you to undertake.
EPDM is a synthetic, waterproof rubber that makes a great roofing material for flat roofs. It’s often used in roofs that collect rain runoff because it doesn’t pollute the harvested water. Before starting your roof repair, make sure you have all your materials and the conditions are right. You’ll need:
Make sure it’s warmer than 40 degrees outside; if it’s not, your primer won’t bond properly and your patch will leak prematurely. Also, take the proper steps to ensure that the surface where you’re working is clean and dry. Start by locating your leak. An uncompromised flat rubber sheet is unlikely to leak, so look for holes as you’re cleaning off the roof. If there aren’t any obvious holes, check in common-sense spots. Check any low spots on the roof where water might pool. Check seams with a nail or a probe for any subtle openings. Also check seams around chimneys, skylights, or even corners.
Now that you’ve found the source of the trouble, make sure the area is clean and clear. Use an EPDM cleaner to make sure that all debris is cleared away. If you’re having trouble brushing off some of the mess, pour a little extra EPDM cleaner on the tough spot and wipe it clean with a cloth. Make sure the area is dry before starting to work. Cut your patch to two inches or so beyond the edges of the hole you need to seal. Make sure you round off corners with scissors
Using your paintbrush, apply EPDM primer to the surface you’d like to cover. Make sure your application is even with no puddles. You want to have about two inches of primer outside of the area of the patch. Let the primer dry completely. You’ll know when it’s done if you touch your finger to the primer and it comes up without sticking. If it sticks a little, let the primer dry for a few more minutes.
When you’re sure the primer is dry and ready for the patch, peel off the back of the patch. Press the patch over the primer carefully, making sure you don’t trap any air bubbles or make any creases. Start in the center of the patch and work your way to the edges, pressing firmly. Once it’s set, roll it with the silicone roller for good measure.
If you’re trying to patch a corner or another difficult area, fold and crease the patch before removing the backing. Make sure you don’t stretch or tear the patch, and be careful not to incorporate any folds or bubbles into your repair.