A Basic EPDM Roofing Guide

If you are considering a new or replacement roof for a low-slope or flat rooftop, you already know that EPDM is the most commonly used material. Affordable, long-lasting and amazingly easy to install, it can be a DIY project or something done by those without any prior roofing experience. In this EPDM roofing guide, however, we are going to look at the different steps required and any “must know” information that can help make your EPDM installation a success.

The Steps to Installation

The first thing we must address in this EPDM roofing guide is the simple fact that any EPDM installation has to start with prep work. Without adequate preparations, your end result may be unsuccessful or less efficient – i.e. your rooftop might eventually leak or it is covered with ripples and bulges, etc.

EPDM Roofing
EPDM Roofing

So, step one in any EPDM roofing guide is to do proper roof deck preparation. That begins with cleaning the roof surface and making sure it is totally free of debris, dirt and dust, and oil or grease. You also must inspect it for any loose materials or spots where moisture lingers. Trapped moisture will ruin the installation, so be sure everything is clean and dry. Also be sure it is a material appropriate for the use of EPDM.

In fact, it is common for a EPDM roofing guide to skip a discussion of this key point. However, you must know what the materials can and cannot bond with effectively, and the most commonly suggested material is a timber deck that is OSB3 or exterior grade plywood.

Structural Issues to Know About

Though any EPDM roofing guide will tell you that installation of EPDM is easy, you still need to be aware of a few terms that might be unfamiliar to a novice. These include:

  • Drip batten – At the edge of a flat roof, and overhanging the gutter slightly, this is a durable board that you may have to install if not already present. It ensures that any water runoff reaches the gutters and does not drip behind the gutter
  • Back drip trim – This is a piece of molding that goes over the drip batten and is impervious to water and weather. It makes proper drainage a certainty
  • Chasing out – If you have an area of rooftop in which the roof adjoins to another material, such as brick and mortar, you need to use a chisel or grinder to “chase out” the joint and ensure that the flashing can adhere fully and properly
  • Mastic – This is the material applied to any wall trim areas like those discussed in “chasing out”. You will use this to bond and seal the edges and then also use simple tools to chase out the mastic or binding agent into the groove
  • Pig’s ear – This is a way of forming and folding the area of overhang at the edge of the roof. You will definitely want to practice this in advance of your first installation as it ensures that the membrane (EPDM material) makes an impervious and long lasting cover for the edges of the roof
  • Sweeping – When you have placed the adhesive and the EPDM rolls, you must then sweep the membrane and ensure any and all trapped air is swept out and from beneath as this insures bonding and prevents damage

This is just the basics and if you opt for EPDM roofing, you’ll want to invest in an actual step-by-step EPDM roofing guide that walks you through all of the preparatory steps, the different processes needed for installation, and all of the unique methods you will have to know to finish the roof and get a good seal for years to come.

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