How to Repair a Flat Roof - EPDM Rubber Roof Repair

Flat Roof Leaks can cause significant damage to your home:

Ever since flat roofs appeared on the roofs of residential homes, frequent roof leaks and failures became a big and troubling concern for the homeowners. After all, a leaky flat roof not only leaks water inside the house, but it causes damage to walls, ceilings, insulation, furniture and so on. Clearly, a leaky roof is not acceptable option and requires immediate intervention. Unfortunately, most flat roof repairs are not guaranteed, therefore there is no assurance for the homeowner that roof leaks will not happen again. Thus, a question arises weather to conduct flat roof repair by calling a local flat roof contractor, or replace the old roof altogether.

How to do flat roof repair for EPDM rubber roof:

There is however, a third option, which is to repair your flat roof yourself, and in this guide I am going to show how to do flat roof repair yourself. In, our roofing repair scenario we will assume that your house is covered with EPDM rubber roof. Take a note that I said covered, rather than protected because, it is inevitable that rubber roof will fail, and most of the time it will not be the rubber membrane itself, but rather your roof will probably fail at the seams, because adhesive used in rubber roofing fails when exposed to standing water, which often may be the case especially on the larger sized roofs where there are imperfections in the roofing surface. Anyways, when roof does fail at the seams, the water runs and expands the failed spot, making your roofing insulation wet and causing the leaks that you can see on the ceilings of your home.

Thus, our first step in repairing the rubber roof will be to identify bad / failed seams and repair them. To do that, we will use seam probing tool, which can be obtained at roofing supply warehouse such as Bradco, Beacon, ABC roofing supply, and Harvey's Industries. To use this tool correctly, you will have to walk along the roofing seams using the seam probing tool and applying slight pressure inwards. Whenever you encounter a failed seam, the tool will penetrate in between the seams. Mark the failed spots so you can go back and repair them once all the bad seams have been identified and properly marked.

When you go to the roofing supply warehouse, you will also need to buy the rubber seam roller, old adhesive cleaner / remover, primer (that activates the pill and stick tape) six inch wide pill and stick double sided seam tape. And one sided six inch pill and stick tape. Also, get a ladder of sufficient length to safely reach the roof, and properly secure your ladder at the ground level and at the roof level.

If you have never used ladders in the past, then be sure to get somebody who knows how to properly and safely use ladders. It is also a good idea to have somebody who can help you, while you are working on the roof. It is never a good idea to work alone, because roofing is inherently dangerous enterprise and you may need somebody to call for help if things do not go as planned.

Repairing Leaky Flat Roof Seams:

First, you will need a bucket of warm water and some towels to clean up rubber around a failed seam. Then, you will need to actually further tear roof seams apart by a foot in each direction. After that you will use old adhesive cleaner / remover to get rid of any old glue that will be on the inside of both top and bottom seams.

Make sure you perform rubber roof area cleaning procedure thoroughly as the quality of repair will be dependent upon the cleanliness of roofing seams from the old adhesive. Now, that your seams are ready to be repaired, measure and cut sufficient length of double sided tape that you will insert in between the seams. But first, you will need to use paint brush to spread the primer in between top and bottom seams. Be sure to reach at least six inches deep, and get the corners as well. Now peel the double sided seam tape and insert it in between the seams. Then use the rubber roller to securely adhere both seams to the tape.

Now, spread the primer over the repaired seam and cover it with slightly longer one sided seam tape. Use the rubber roller once again to securely adhere the tape to the seam.

Now, you should be all done with repairing flat roofing seams and begin looking for roof penetrations that will be repaired similarly.

Date Created: 4-Aug-2009
Last Updated: 10-Apr-2013
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