How to Repair an EPDM Rubber Roof

While it is not one of the more frequently used roofing types, it is nonetheless helpful to those who have rubberized roofs—also known as ethylene propylene diene monomer, or EPDM.

If you want to make efficacious, long-lasting and resilient repairs to your EPDM roofing system, then you will require specific materials and preparation for the area of your roof in question.

In this cursory guide, we’ll give you some quick pointers on how to begin this process.

Prepare the surface of your roof

First, you will need to prepare the surface area of your roof for the patch. EPDM has carbon embedded in the membrane, and as this material ages, a carbon film begins to appear and can be visualized after running your hands over it. Therefore, this film needs to be cleaned so that your patch will stick to the surface and stay for years to come.

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A commercial EPDM rubber roof by Crownbuild via Wikimedia Commons.

To begin, try a cleaner that is bereft of residue after usage. Wash the patch area, using cloth rags to remove the oxidation and thereby eliminating all moisture trapped in the membrane.

Cut the patch area

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Liquid rubber seal roof work by Liquid Rubber Europe via Wikimedia Commons.

Next, measure the patch area and cut the EPDM material so that there is ample space between the damage area and the surrounding space. Make sure to have heavy shears or a utility knife at the ready. To finish this phase, round off the corners of the newly-made patch so that the sharp corners are removed. This will increase safety of for those walking around the roof’s surface to address repairs.

Address the repair area

RV rubber roof restoration by Rexoseal via YouTube.

Now apply a thin coat of roofing primer material to the membrane surface—where the patch is supposed to be applied. The main concern on this step is to make sure the primer extends past all the edges where the patch will be applied.

Apply the repair patch

This step is probably the most complex one in that it primarily depends on what type of repair kit you have. For example, if you have a pressure-sensitive patch, then you will need to remove the paper or film backing and apply it to the roof membrane. Now roll it in various directions with a roller and remove any air bubbles that are likely to pop up during this process.

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A roof exhibiting leaks by S. Davis via Flikr.

Conversely, if you have a glue-down patch, then you will need to apply a single-ply EPDM adhesive to the back of the patch and to the roof’s surface of the patch area. Of course, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions during this phase. Press the patch into the roof, and then use a roller to remove the air bubbles.

Seal the edges

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Lap sealant being installed on an EPDM rubber patch by Cleveland Ohio Roofing, LLC via YouTube.

For the final step, apply a heavy amount of EPDM lap sealant around the edges of the patch, thereby sealing all of the edges. Smooth out and flatten the sealant with a plastic tool and you will be ready to go.

For our tried and tested approach, check out our how-to-video of RV rubber restoration roof and repair on YouTube.

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