rubber roof sunrise
5 minutes Read 4.25.24

Rubber roofs, also known as EPDM (ethylene propylene diene terpolymer) roofs, have become increasingly popular in commercial properties for their durability, cost-effectiveness, and ease of installation. However, like any roofing material, rubber roofs are susceptible to damage over time due to various factors such as weather, age, and poor maintenance.

In this detailed blog post, we’ll explore everything you need to know about rubber roof repair, including:

  • Understanding what a rubber roof is
  • Identifying signs of damage
  • Repairing it yourself or hiring a professional
  • Estimating repair costs
  • Preventing damage
  • When it’s time to replace your rubber roof

What is a Rubber Roof?

Before diving into repairs, let’s first understand what a rubber roof is. Rubber roofing, typically made from EPDM, is a synthetic material known for its resilience and waterproofing properties. It’s commonly used on low-slope or flat roofs in both residential and commercial buildings. EPDM roofs consist of large sheets of rubber membrane that are adhered to the roof deck using adhesive or fasteners.

Signs of Rubber Roof Damage

Identifying signs of rubber roof damage is crucial for timely repairs and preventing further deterioration. Some common signs include:

  • Leaks: Water stains on ceilings or walls, or pooling water on the roof, indicate leaks.
  • Tears or Punctures: Visible tears, punctures, or cuts on the rubber membrane can compromise its integrity.
  • Blisters and Bubbles: These indicate trapped moisture beneath the membrane, which can lead to deterioration.
  • Cracks: Cracks may develop due to UV exposure, extreme temperatures, or foot traffic.
  • Loose Seams: Separation at the seams can allow water infiltration.
  • Shrinkage: Over time, rubber roofs may shrink, leading to stress on the seams and potential leaks.

How to Repair a Rubber Roof in 7 Steps

Repairing a rubber roof promptly can prevent further damage and prolong its lifespan. Here’s a step-by-step guide for DIY rubber roof repair:

1) Clean the Roof:

Remove debris, dirt, and algae using a broom or pressure washer.

2) Inspect for Damage:

Thoroughly examine the roof for tears, cracks, blisters, and loose seams.

3) Patch Tears and Punctures:

Use a compatible rubber patch kit to repair tears and punctures. Clean the area, apply adhesive, and place the patch over the damaged area, ensuring proper adhesion.

4) Repair Blisters and Bubbles:

Slit the blister, remove trapped moisture, and apply adhesive before pressing the membrane back into place.

5) Seal Seams:

Apply seam tape or sealant over loose seams to prevent water infiltration.

6) Address Shrinkage:

Install new flashing or edge trims to accommodate roof shrinkage and prevent leaks.

7) Apply Protective Coating:

Consider applying a reflective roof coating to enhance durability and waterproofing.

DIY vs. Professional Repairs

While DIY repairs can be cost-effective, hiring a professional roofer may be necessary for complex issues or if you’re not comfortable working at heights. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Skill Level: DIY repairs require basic roofing skills, while professional roofers have extensive experience and expertise.
  • Safety: Working on a roof can be dangerous, so prioritize safety and consider hiring professionals for high-risk tasks.
  • Quality of Work: Professionals can provide high-quality repairs backed by warranties, ensuring long-term reliability.
  • Time and Convenience: DIY repairs may take longer and require research, whereas professionals can complete repairs efficiently.

Cost of Repairs

The cost of rubber roof repairs varies depending on the extent of damage, materials needed, and whether you hire a professional. Here’s a breakdown of potential expenses:

  • Materials: Patch kits, sealants, adhesive, seam tape, and protective coatings typically range from $50 to $200, depending on the quantity and quality.
  • Labor: Professional labor costs can range from $200 to $500 per repair, depending on the complexity and location.
  • Additional Expenses: If extensive repairs are needed, such as replacing large sections of the membrane or addressing structural issues, costs can escalate significantly.

Preventing Damage to Your Rubber Roof

Prevention is key to maintaining a healthy rubber roof and avoiding costly repairs. Here are some preventive measures to consider:

Regular Inspections:

Schedule annual inspections to detect and address minor issues before they escalate.

Prompt Repairs:

Address any signs of damage promptly to prevent further deterioration.

Keep the Roof Clean:

Remove debris, leaves, and branches regularly to prevent water pooling and mold growth.

Avoid Foot Traffic:

Minimize foot traffic on the roof to prevent tears, punctures, and damage to the membrane.

Trim Overhanging Branches:

Trim trees near the roof to prevent branches from damaging the membrane or causing debris buildup.

Apply Protective Coatings:

Consider applying reflective coatings to protect the roof from UV damage and extend its lifespan.

When to Replace Your Rubber Roof

Despite regular maintenance and repairs, there may come a time when replacing the rubber roof is the best option. Here are some indicators that it’s time for a replacement:

  • Extensive Damage: If the roof has extensive tears, cracks, or leaks that cannot be effectively repaired.
  • Age: EPDM roofs typically last 20 to 30 years. If your roof is nearing the end of its lifespan, replacement may be more cost-effective than continuous repairs.
  • Frequent Repairs: If you find yourself constantly repairing the roof or if repair costs exceed the value of the roof, replacement may be more economical in the long run.
  • Structural Issues: If the roof deck or underlying structure is compromised, replacement may be necessary to ensure structural integrity.

EPDM Roof Specialists

Rubber roof repair is a manageable task with the right knowledge and tools. By understanding the signs of damage, knowing when to DIY or hire a professional, estimating repair costs, and implementing preventive measures, you can prolong the lifespan of your rubber roof and maintain a watertight seal for years to come. However, if the roof is beyond repair or nearing the end of its lifespan, replacement may be the most practical solution to ensure the long-term integrity of your building.

Remember, regular maintenance is key to protecting your investment and avoiding costly repairs down the line. So, when you want to make sure that your entire roof system is ready to go, contact Veterans Contracting!

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