Rubber Roof Repair

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When you installed your rubber roof, probably the last thing on your mind was that you’d never have to fix it. But nothing lasts forever, and even the most well-installed roof is prone to external damages. Hiring a professional contractor can be very costly, especially if you live in a state where the cost of living is high.

We understand how the extra, unplanned expenses of hiring a contractor can weigh down on your savings and even make you not to go on that dream vacation you’ve been saving on for some time. That is why we have prepared this guide. We will tell you everything you need to know to fix your rubber roof all by yourself, from the things you need to a detailed step by step procedure on how to go about it.

First, let’s discuss....

 Some basic information on rubber roofs.What is a rubber roof?


 A rubber roof is an extremely durable synthetic roofing membrane. It is made of two primary ingredients:


   •Ethylene
   •Propylene


Both of these compounds are derived from oil and natural gas. Among the many perks of using rubber roofing are:

  • Excellent heat resistance
  • Great weather resistance
  • Electrical insulating properties

Advantages of rubber roofing

Eco friendly Roofing

1. They are eco-friendly


If you are enthusiast on environmental conservation, then you made the right choice in installing a rubber roof. They are very durable and are made of 100% recyclable material; hence you can rest assured that you are doing something to protect our precious ecosystem.


Rubber roof

2. Serve to cool your home


Rubber roofs have excellent reflection and insulation properties. They help keep your home safe by reflecting away some of the heat from the sun and absorb very little of it. That is one of the reasons why your house remains pretty cool even when the heat outside is unbearable.

rubber roof repair DIy

3. Rubber roofing is water-resistant

Among the many perks of installing a rubber roof is its water-resistant qualities. Also, being a synthetic material, it is not susceptible to water damage like rot and rust, which are significant deterrents in certain roofing materials like wood and metal.

roofer rubber roof repair

4. Requires minimal maintenance

Rubber roofing is very durable; hence once installed, no replacement is necessary any time soon. Also, when they get damaged, the repair is easy, and you can do it yourself. If you, however, feel unsure of your repair skills and knowledge, you can call a professional contractor. We, however, recommend reading the rest of this article before making any rash decisions.

Disadvantages of Rubber roofing


1. They are easily damaged

Although rubber roofing protects in many circumstances, it can get damaged pretty easily-more than most roofing materials. Debris from a storm or walking on the roof with the wrong footwear can result in severe damage to your rubber roof. That means that you have to fix it as soon as possible to avoid water damage, and that can be costly, depending on the extent of the damage.

2. Unreliable contractors

Due to its ease of installation, some inexperienced contractors may offer to install it only to leave you with a poorly installed roof that might leak or get easily damaged. It is, therefore, necessary to seek the services of a well reputable contractor to avoid further repair costs down the line.

3. Shrinkage

Over time, exposure to the elements causes the material to shrink. This results in seams coming apart and cracks opening up. Shrinkage can be overcome by covering the rubber roof with acrylic paint, but that does not work out for long, especially in drier climates.

Cracks caused by roof shrinkage can begin to form as early as seven years after installation-if the roof was not installed appropriately. That means that you have to perform regular inspections on your roof to look for the presence of cracks. Cracks can sometimes be hard to see from the top and by the time you notice them from the interior of your home, water damage has already happened.

4. Vulnerability due to protrusions

Roof protrusions such as vents, pipes, HVAC units and others create natural vulnerabilities to your rubber roofing. Contractors sometimes overlook areas around these protrusions. Improper sealing might result in leakages and also compromise the integrity of the rest of your roof, causing you to replace it earlier than you had anticipated.

Reasons why you should do the rubber roof repair yourself 


Here is a list of why you should do it yourself :

  • Anyone can do it. You don’t need to be experienced in roof repair to fir a rubber roof. As long as you follow the instructions on this guide, you’re good to go.
  • Self-fulfillment. Doing it yourself will give you a sense of fulfillment once you’re done with the job.
  • It will save you a lot. Hiring a professional contractor can cost you a lot of money even for simple repairs, but when you do it yourself, all you have to spend on is tools and other equipment like tape.
  • It doesn’t take that long. Repairing a rubber roof takes an average of 3-5 hours.

​If you are not confident in yourself, don't try fixing it on your own. You might end up damaging it further or doing inferior work, which might cost you down the line. In this case, it is better to hire a professional.

Rubber roof repair procedure

Step 1
 Put on your safety glasses and gloves
 Clean the area to be repaired thoroughly. Begin by sweeping off dirt, leaves from trees and any other debris. If the roof is ballasted, remove the rocks so as not to make any punctures on the rubber material.
 Once you are done sweeping, use the weathered membrane cleaner with cotton rugs or a sponge to whip down the area to be cleaned.
 Give the cleaner 10-30 minutes to dry so that you can proceed.

Step 2

 Apply the rubber roofing primer to the area you want to patch (use a brush to apply it). Apply just enough primer to cover the area – don’t use too much.
 While the primer dries, cut a patch to match the size of the area you are repairing. The primer turns the membrane black when it is applied.

Step 3

 When the rubber primer is tacky enough, peel the paper backing from the peel and stick flashing and apply it to the primed rubber roofing surface. To do this, take half the backing and place it in the EPDM rubber. After this, take the remaining backing off and apply the rest.
 With the roller, apply firm pressure to the uncured flashing onto the roof to remove any bubbles or ripples tacked underneath.

Step 4

 Once you are done applying the uncured flashing to the EPDM rubber, cover the edge of the flashing with a thick bead of rubber roofing lap sealant.

You Tube Video This video shows a step by step, detailed procedure on how to repair your rubber roof. The demonstrator practically takes you through how to go about the procedure. After watching it, you will have a clear view on how to go about repairing your roof. If you are not aware of how to use some of the tools, you can borrow a leaf. Additionally, you will use the tools as they are used in the video.

      Rubber roofing repair cost according to type :

It is important to note that the cost of repair depends on the extent of damage on your rubber roof, as well as whether you hire a contractor or not. Below, we have provided price per square meter of common rubber roofing materials as well as their pros and cons. We have not included the cost of hiring a contractor as this article is about doing it yourself and contractor charges vary from state to state.

I.Ethyl Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM)

​EPDM is a single-ply synthetic rubber derived from natural gas and oil. It comes in 45mills and 60mills thickness.
EPDM costs an average of $3.25 to $14.75 per square meter

Pros

  • Durable
  • Inexpensive

Cons

  • The black colour absorbs heat, thus potentially increasing cooling costs. It also comes with a laminated white colour that helps in cooling, but it costs up to $1 more than the black one.
  • While most thermoplastics are heat welded, EPDM is usually glued. The glued seams tend to weaken and come apart when they come in contact with freezing wate

Repairing an EPDM roof


Tools and materials needed

I. Materials


•  2-6 pieces of EPDM patches
•  Uncured flashing material for patching around chimneys, corners, hatches and other extrusions.
•  Weathered membrane cleaner. This liquid is used to remove residue that cannot be washed off with water.
•  EPDM primer or glue/ stick flashing
•  Sealant. Used to seal the edges of a patch


We recommend using an EPDM peel stick and EPDM primer method instead of EPDM glue. This is because stick flashing and primer method have better adhesion properties hence hold better and longer than EPDM glue.


II. Tools


•  Silicone roller
•  Scissors
•  Paintbrush. Used to apply prime or glue
•  Rags
•  Scrapper
•  Nitrile gloves. We recommend using nitrile gloves because nitrile does not get dissolved by the chemicals used on EPDM roofs.
•  Caulking gun
•  Ladder. We recommend using a painter’s ladder because it is very compact and relatively light.

II.Polyvinyl chloride (PVC)

PVC is one of the most popular rubber roofing materials. It is also the strongest and most durable type. Its breaking point is 50% higher than industry standards. Its seams are heat welded, thus making them very strong – stronger than the sheet itself.

The only downside of using PVC is that it is affected by shrinkage. As the plasticizers in PVC leach out, the material becomes more and more brittle, thus causing it to shrink slightly. However, the technology used in making PVC is improving, minimizing these drawbacks.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Robust seams

Cons

  • I.Affected by shrinkage

Factors influencing the cost of rubber roof repair

1.Old roof removal

Building codes vary from place to place. The most common codes limit the number of layers of rubber roofs that can be placed on top of another to two layers. Removal of your old roof could cost you an extra $1-$2 per square foot. You shouldn’t have to worry too much about this if you are repairing a small patch because you can remove it yourself.

2. Accessibility

Accessibility has a significant effect on labour costs. Contractors usually charge $75-$90 per hour, but they increase their hourly rates for hard to reach locations. However, if you are doing it yourself, then this is not an issue.

Factors to consider when choosing a snow removal rake

1. Length

When choosing the right rake, it is vital to consider the height of your roof in relation to the length of its handle. Snow removal rakes are extendable, so you should look at the maximum extension length of the handle.

However, most rakes are not very useful when extended to their full length; hence you should choose one that you don't have to stretch to its full extent to reach your roof.

2. Design

​The design of the rake significantly affects its comfort ability and effectiveness. It is better to choose a rake with a design that offers a good grip and doesn't get stuck on your roof edge. Also, rakes can cause damage to your roof shingles; hence you should choose one that won't damage your roof.

Curve-bladed and wheeled rakes are the best at protecting your roof.

3. Weight

​The weight of the rake has great significance on the level of comfort it provides and proper handling. Heavy rakes are very uncomfortable to use and also make you fatigued. You should go for a lightweight rake, but be sure to check the materials it is made of as a material like wood breaks when subjected to a lot of weight.

4. Durability

​Nobody wants to see their money go down the drain; hence you should consider buying a rake that doesn't break or rust. Rakes with aluminum handles and polyethylene are the most durable as they are not susceptible to rust and breakage.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Conclusion

It is vital to perform regular inspections on your rubber roof to detect any cracks or loose seams before a roof leak starts to develop. Once you have identified any damage, repair it immediately. It is cheaper to do it yourself, but if you are not confident in your skills, then it is better to call a reputable contractor to do the job for you. Before selecting a repair contractor ensure you carry out a thorough research so that you get one who will do the job perfectly. You don’t want to incur extra costs on the project.

In the article, we have provided you with some necessary information on rubber roofing as well as the estimated costs of several rubber roofing materials per square meter. The video we have posted earlier in the article is also beneficial as it will provide you with a visual understanding of the steps to take when repairing your rubber roof.

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