The Role of EPDM Adhesive in a Roofing Installation

Why would you require EPDM adhesive if the material is able to be installed through a mechanical attachment method? There are a few reasons that EPDM adhesive (the most appropriate EPDM adhesive) is essential to a good outcome.

What is EPDM Roofing?

EPDM or ethylene propylene diene terpolymer is a wildly popular roofing material used on low-slope and flat rooftops. Many property owners, in addition to those with flat or low-slop roofs choose it because of its wide-ranging applicability. It is able to be installed over almost any existing roof (with the exception of tar, asphalt, shingles or asphalt rolled roofing because the oils in these petroleum-based materials will fail to bond) as long as there is a newer layer of plywood or appropriate boarding beneath.

All EPDM roofing materials are available in black or white colors. You would choose your color based on such factors as the amount of sunlight the roof receives and whether or not you want that roof to absorb the light and heat or reflect it back and away from the building.

You must also choose the width of the EPDM material and the thickness, as it arrives in rolls that are then applied wherever needed. The edges of the rolls overlap as you install them. You will choose the type of installation you will use based on the roof itself. Is it new? Is it older and being being replaced covered by the new material? You will have to have the existing roofing prepped properly and then installation can begin.

Using EPDM Roofing and Adhesives

Then comes the role of the EPDM adhesive. As you roll out the individual strips of the roofing material, they are overlapped and must then be bonded together and to the surface to create a waterproof skin or shield; making the new rooftop. Technically, an EPDM adhesive is viewed as one of two options:

  • You can find an actual adhesive or glue-like material; or
  • You can find a tape made specifically for the roofing material (NOTE: If you opt for tapes, the roofing application will still require what is known as a primer or adhesive primer to be applied to the rubber, so you won’t save a step by opting for tapes)

The Ease of EPDM Installation

The good news about any type of EPDM adhesive is that it is an easy to install option. The key is to be sure that the surface is both clean and dry. Any sharp edges or debris must be removed as it runs the risk of puncturing or weakening the roofing. Once the basic prep is done, and as long as you have a material suited for treatment with the EPDM material, you need only lay out the materials as they will be installed and begin the adhesion process.

This is done through the use of a roller and the adhesive is applied to the exposed decking materials as well as the back of the roofing material. Areas of overlap will become “seams”, and these will bond to create an impervious finish. You can also apply a bead of caulk once the adhesive has formed.

Installing EPDM roofing is not something possible on a year-round basis in all locations. Air temperatures have to allow the roofing to “relax” and open after being unrolled, and humidity has to be within workable ranges. Usually EPDM adhesives will work when it is 40 degrees and higher 24 hours a day (before, during and after application). If it is cold or very damp and humid, it is best to wait for more amenable conditions.

The good news is that the use of EPDM roofing and adhesives is a common choice with low-pitch and flat roof structures because, when installed correctly, offers a water tight and long-lasting finish.

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