EPDM Roof Installation: An Expert Guide to Every Detail

Posted on June 23, 2023

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EPDM Roof Installation

EPDM rubber roofing has been the top choice for commercial buildings for decades due to its durability, flexibility, and cost. As a commercial roofing specialist, I understand it can be challenging for property owners and managers to research every detail when taking on a new project like repairing or replacing your room. But to ensure the successful and long-lasting performance of your roof, you need to make sure it is installed correctly.

If you’re looking for an EPDM roofing installation service, this guide will walk you through the process and essential details along the way. From surface preparation to the finishing touches, I’ll cover everything you need to know to ensure a successful installation.

Before we dive into the installation process, let’s take a moment to understand what EPDM is and why it’s a preferred choice for commercial buildings.

👉 What is EPDM Roofing?

EPDM stands for Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer, which is a synthetic rubber roofing membrane. Where most flat roofs only last for 20 years, EPDM is a cost-effective, long-lasting membrane with multiple installation methods to suit different project requirements. EPDM roofs can last for 30 years and are resistant to harsh weather conditions, including heat, UV rays, hail, snow, and fire. These rubber roofing membranes are also available in black and white, offering different energy-efficiency advantages based on color choice. The black membrane absorbs heat and helps keep a building warm in winter, while the ones with a white coating reflect heat and keep the building cool in summer.

Now let’s get down to the installation details of this flat roofing option.

👉 EPDM Roofing Installation Details

Proper preparation is crucial to ensure a successful roof installation. Choose a reputable and experienced commercial or flat roofing contractor for your project to avoid risks, accidents, and unexpected costs.

Surface Preparation

Before installing EPDM, keep an eye on the following preparations to ensure an error-free and efficient roof installation project.

  1. Remove existing coverings: If there are any current roof coverings, such as asphalt layers, they must be completely removed.
  2. Clean the surface: Dirt, debris, grease, and other contaminants should be removed from the roof surface.
  3. Ensure proper leveling: If the roof has drainage or ponding issues, your contractor will address these problems before installation.

Gather Materials and Tools

To ensure a smooth installation process, all the necessary materials and tools must be gathered in one place:

  • The EPDM Membrane: Choose a high-quality EPDM membrane to cover the entire surface of the roof, with an additional overhang for the walls and roof edges.
  • Adhesive/Mechanical Fasteners: Choose the appropriate adhesive or fasteners based on the installation method you’ll be using.
  • Drip Edge and Drip Batten: You’ll want these to guide rainwater into the gutter system.
  • Bonding adhesive: Use a bonding adhesive to attach the EPDM membrane to the roof surface.
  • Pressure-sensitive flashing: Use pressure-sensitive flashing to create watertight seals for corners and roof penetrations.
  • Silicone sealant: Applying silicone sealant to the edges of the membrane prevents moisture intrusion.
  • Tools: You’ll need tools such as a paint roller, broom, scissors, and a utility knife for the installation process.

After preparing everything and sourcing all the tools and roofing materials, it’s time to install the roof.

EPDM Roofing

👉 How to Install EPDM Roofing Systems

EPDM roofs can be installed using different methods, including mechanically fastened, ballasted, or fully adhered. Let’s start with the fully adhered method, which offers the best leak resistance and durability.

Method #1 Fully Adhered

The fully adhered method involves bonding the EPDM membrane directly to the roof surface using adhesive. It’s considered the most common installation method for EPDM and other membranes.

Step 1: Apply Bonding Adhesive

Roll back half of the EPDM membrane, exposing half of the roof surface. Apply bonding adhesive to the exposed roof surface using a paint roller, leaving a 6″ border around the edge. Carefully roll the membrane back into place while the adhesive is still wet.

Step 2: Removing Air Bubbles and Improving Bond

Remove any air bubbles to improve the bond between the EPDM membrane and the roof surface. Continue rolling back the membrane and applying adhesive until the entire roofing material is in place.

Step 3: Finishing Touches

Apply adhesive to the border around the edge of the roof. Seal corners and roof penetrations using pressure-sensitive flashing. Use silicone sealant to seal all edges and prevent moisture intrusion. And finally, trim any excess membrane for a clean and finished look.

Method #2 Ballasting

The ballasted method for an EPDM roofing installation involves using materials, such as gravel or pavers. It also gives the roof a nice appearance.

Step 1: Membrane Placement

The first step is the same in every installation method: Unroll the EPDM membrane over the roof surface, ensuring it covers the entire area with an overhang for walls and edges.

Step 2: Ballast Placement

The most common ballast materials are tar, gravel, and pavers. Select the right combination and spread the material evenly over the EPDM membrane. The weight of the ballast will hold the membrane in place.

Step 3: Seam Installation

Put on the EPDM seam tape or apply adhesive to create watertight seals between the membrane panels. Don’t forget to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for seam installation.

Step: 4 Trim Excess Material

This is also a common step in all three installation methods. Trimming excess membrane at the edges not only ensures a clean and finished look but protects the edges from curling up. Take care not to cut into the membrane itself while trimming excess membrane material.

Method #3 Mechanical Fastening Method

The mechanically fastened method involves securing the EPDM membrane to the roof substrate using mechanical fasteners. Here are the installation steps:

Step 1: Membrane Placement

Roll out the EPDM membrane over the roof surface, ensuring it covers the entire area. Allow the membrane to relax and regain its shape for at least 30 minutes, especially on warm days.

Step 2: Fastener Placement 

Install mechanical fasteners along the edges and seams of the EPDM membrane. The fasteners should be spaced according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Step 3: Secure the Membrane

Use a screw gun or similar tool to fasten the membrane to the roof substrate through the pre-drilled holes in the fasteners. Make sure the membrane is securely attached without over-tightening the fasteners.

Step 4: Seam Installation

Install EPDM seam tape or adhesive to create a watertight seal between the membrane panels. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for seam installation.

Step 5: Trim Excess Material

Trim any excess membrane using a utility knife or scissors for a clean and finished look.

EPDM Roofing Installation

If you are looking for an EPDM roof installation service, here’s what you can expect to pay:

👉 Cost of EPDM Roofing Installation

The average cost to install EPDM roofing systems is between $4.50 and $15 per square foot. The price varies based on several factors, including the roof’s size, the installation method, and the location. The labor cost to install the EPDM roof will depend on the current weather conditions, the expertise of the contractor, and the manufacturer they work with.

Make sure to apply a high-quality EPDM roof coating after the roof is installed, so that it will perform better under harsh weather conditions.

For the best result, professional installation is key. The best way to get started is by requesting quotes from reputable EPDM roofing contractors and understanding the cost breakdown and product options. 

If you need a new flat roof or, specifically, a top-notch EPDM roof in Buffalo, New York, we’re here to help.

Free Consultations and Estimates on EPDM Roof Installations 

At OConnor Contracting, we understand that investing in a new EPDM roof is a significant decision for anyone who owns a home or commercial building in New York State. We believe in building long-term relationships with our customers based on trust, quality, and exceptional craftsmanship. That’s why we help our community by providing expert consultations and detailed estimates as complementary services. If you need professional guidance or a reliable EPDM roof installation service in Buffalo, New York, call us at (716) 600-7663. We’ll be happy to answer all your questions and schedule a free consultation.

EPDM Roof Installation
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