How to Install EPDM Rubber Roofing

Learn More About the EPDM Roofing Installation Process

EPDM (ethylene propylene diene terpolymer) is an extremely durable synthetic rubber roofing membrane popular for flat and low-slope buildings. Part of why EPDM has become a popular commercial roofing option is its ease of installation. EPDM roofing installation is a relatively straightforward process that can be executed by a professional roofing contractor in a matter of days, saving on labor costs while minimizing disruptions to your business.

Because the EPDM roofing installation process is not unusually complicated, you may be wondering if you can install a new EPDM roof yourself. While it is possible to do so with the right tools and know-how, Moser Roofing Solutions always recommends choosing a commercial roofing specialist for the job. The risk of a faulty installation that leads to costly problems or premature failure is too great. If it’s not what you regularly do, you are well served to let an experienced professional commercial roofing company help you save time and avoid costly errors that can result from a DIY project. 

The EPDM Roofing Installation Process

A successful EPDM roofing installation starts with a carefully planned and executed process. Here are the steps involved in completing a long-lasting and durable EPDM rubber roof.

Gather Tools and Materials

Commercial roofing involves a number of specialized tools to complete the work. For an EPDM roof installation, you’ll need your EPDM roofing, along with equipment such as a sturdy ladder, brushes and rollers, various roofing adhesives, and safety equipment such as roofing gloves.

Have a Plan

In addition to gathering tools, it’s important to have a plan for executing the installation. Your commercial roofing contractor knows how each layer of your roofing system needs to be fastened and understands the importance of surface preparation to ensure each layer of your roof is fully set before proceeding to the next.

Tear Off Existing Roof If Necessary

In some cases, an EPDM roof can be installed directly over an existing roofing system, provided that roof is still in relatively good shape. If the existing roof is in disrepair, however, it may be best to completely remove it before installing your new EPDM roof. During tear-off, your commercial roofing team should carefully dispose of debris to avoid making a mess and creating hazards around the building. 

Install Roof Decking

Your roofing system starts with roof decking, on which all subsequent layers of roofing will be installed. Roof decking also forms a last line of defense—in the event that the surface of your roof becomes compromised, your roof decking will delay moisture intrusion to the interior of your building. Your commercial roofing team will make sure the existing roof decking is in good condition. If the decking is questionable, they will replace it at this stage to help you avoid more costly repairs later.

Install Insulation

With the decking in place, insulation is next. Insulation helps your roof effectively maintain the temperature of your building, which is a vital function for any roofing system. 

Lay the EPDM Roofing

Now that the underlying parts of your roofing system are installed, it’s time for your EPDM roofing installation team to lay the EPDM rubber roofing. First, they’ll mark the entire area of your roof to ensure the EPDM roofing will be perfectly straight, minimizing bubbles and creases. Once everything is aligned, they’ll unroll the rubber roofing to completely cover the roof and brush the entire surface to remove bubbles and creases. Next, they’ll allow the EPDM to rest, as it will naturally expand—this phase will typically take around 30 minutes to an hour.

Adhere and Seal

Proper adhesion and watertight seals are paramount when it comes to a successful EPDM roofing installation. Seams are typically the weak points of any single-ply membrane roof, so it’s critical to seal them thoroughly. Your commercial roofing team will make sure to use the appropriate form of adhesion for your specific material, as well as sealant designed for EPDM roofing.

Perform a Final Inspection

With the roof fully installed, take a careful look over the new roof alongside your EPDM roofing installation team in case there are any immediate errors or issues. Mistakes can be costly to repair later, so it’s important to identify and fix them as early as possible.

Common Pitfalls: Why Hire a Professional Roofer?

While EPDM roofing can be installed if you have the right equipment and roofing expertise, we strongly recommend hiring an experienced professional for the job. This is because while the installation process is straightforward, each step includes multiple points for potential errors and pitfalls that could lead to delays, added costs, and in the worst cases, premature roof failure.

For example, while you may not have the proper tools for installation, a roofer will already be well-equipped for the job. An expert commercial roofer will understand the importance of surface preparation and be well-versed in proper preparation technique. And a seasoned commercial roofing contractor will be able to expertly size, cut, lay, adhere, and fully seal your EPDM roof to avoid any moisture intrusion.

A Case Study in Poor Installation

All too often, the Moser Roofing Solutions team is called in to repair or replace a roof suffering from many problems caused by improper installation. For example, the images below include many examples of EPDM roofing issues that could have been avoided with proper installation technique.

a faulty EPDM roofing installation job

a faulty EPDM roofing installation job

Problems with this EPDM roof include improperly installed seam tape, allowing for water intrusion; ripples and bubbles in the roofing membrane; and poorly installed roofing insulation that is absorbing water, causing the membrane to release and risk a blowoff. This poorly executed installation led to a total cost of more than $300,000 for this customer to fix. While they may have saved money initially by hiring a less experienced roofer or completing the installation themselves, the cost to restore this roof to working condition was far greater.

Moser Roofing Solutions: Experts in EPDM Roofing Installation 

When it comes to EPDM roofing installation, it’s best to leave things to the professionals. For business owners throughout Pennsylvania and the Mid-Atlantic region, Moser Roofing Solutions is the commercial roofing company they trust. 

Our commercial roofing craftsmen are dedicated to building long-lasting flat and low slope roofs. We achieve this by using only high-quality materials and paying close attention to every detail throughout each step of the installation process. Contact us today for an estimate on your next commercial roofing project!

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