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Rubber Roof Repair: Quick Fixes For A Rubber Roof

Rubber roofs, also known as EPDM (ethylene propylene diene terpolymer) roofs, have become increasingly popular for their durability and cost-effectiveness. However, like any roofing material, they require proper maintenance and occasional repairs to ensure longevity and effectiveness.

In this blog, we’ll delve into everything you need to know about rubber roof repair, including:

  • What a rubber roof is
  • Its pros and cons
  • Common causes of damage
  • Repair techniques
  • Costs
  • Replacement considerations
  • Maintenance tips

What is a Rubber Roof?

rubber roof

A rubber roof is a type of roofing membrane made from synthetic rubber, typically EPDM. It’s widely used in both residential and commercial applications due to its durability, flexibility, and resistance to weathering. EPDM roofs are usually installed in large sheets, which are glued or mechanically fastened to the roof deck.

Pros and Cons of Rubber Roofs

Considering installing a rubber roof, or recently bought a property that has one? The good news is that you have a lot of benefits to look forward to. But even with that, there are some downsides to consider. Here are a few of the pros and cons.

✅ Pros:

  • Durability: EPDM roofs can last up to 50 years with proper maintenance.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Rubber roofs are relatively affordable compared to other roofing materials.
  • Low Maintenance: They require minimal maintenance, reducing long-term costs.
  • Flexibility: Rubber roofs can expand and contract with temperature fluctuations without cracking.
  • Resistance to UV Radiation: EPDM roofs have excellent resistance to UV rays, prolonging their lifespan.

❌ Cons:

  • Vulnerability to Punctures: Sharp objects can puncture the rubber membrane, leading to leaks.
  • Limited Aesthetic Options: Rubber roofs are typically black, limiting design choices.
  • Susceptibility to Shrinkage: Over time, rubber roofs may shrink, causing seams to pull apart.
  • Environmental Impact: EPDM production involves the use of fossil fuels, which may raise environmental concerns.
  • Installation Challenges: Proper installation is crucial to prevent leaks and ensure longevity.

Common Causes of Damage

Rubber roofs can be damaged by various factors, including:

⛅️ Weathering:

Exposure to sunlight, rain, snow, and temperature fluctuations can degrade the rubber membrane over time.

⚙️ Mechanical Damage:

Foot traffic, fallen branches, or hail can cause punctures or tears in the roofing material.

👎 Poor Installation:

Improper installation techniques or using low-quality adhesives can lead to leaks and premature failure.

💧 Ponding Water:

Standing water on the roof surface can accelerate degradation and promote mold and mildew growth.

👴🏼 Aging:

As rubber roofs age, they may become brittle and prone to cracking, especially in regions with extreme weather conditions.

How to Repair Your Rubber Roof in 7 Steps

Repairing a rubber roof requires careful assessment of the damage and appropriate repair techniques. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

1) Inspection

Begin by inspecting the entire roof surface for signs of damage, such as cracks, tears, or punctures.

2) Clean the Surface

Remove any debris, dirt, or vegetation from the roof surface using a broom or pressure washer.

3) Identify the Damage

Mark areas of damage with chalk or a marker to facilitate repair.

4) Patching

For small tears or punctures, apply a patch of EPDM membrane adhesive and a compatible patch material over the damaged area. Press the patch firmly to ensure proper adhesion.

5) Seam Repair:

If seams are pulling apart, clean the area thoroughly and apply seam tape or liquid seam sealant to reinforce the seam.

6) Flashing Repair:

Inspect and repair any damaged flashing around roof penetrations, such as vents or chimneys, using compatible sealants or flashing tape.

7) Final Inspection:

Once repairs are complete, inspect the roof again to ensure all damaged areas have been properly addressed.

Cost of Professional Repairs

The cost of professional rubber roof repairs can vary depending on the extent of the damage, the contractor’s labor rates, and the materials used. On average, homeowners can expect to pay between $300 and $800 for minor repairs, while more extensive repairs may cost upwards of $1,000 to $2,000. It’s essential to obtain multiple quotes from reputable contractors and ensure they have experience working with EPDM roofing systems.

When to Replace Your Rubber Roof

long rubber roof

While proper maintenance and timely repairs can extend the life of a rubber roof, there may come a point when replacement is necessary. Signs that it’s time to replace your rubber roof include:

  • Extensive Damage: If the roof membrane is severely degraded or has numerous punctures or tears that cannot be effectively repaired, replacement may be the best option.
  • Age: EPDM roofs typically have a lifespan of 30 to 50 years. If your roof is nearing the end of its expected lifespan and showing signs of deterioration, replacement may be warranted.
  • Persistent Leaks: If your rubber roof continues to develop leaks despite repair attempts, it may indicate underlying structural issues that necessitate replacement.
  • Energy Efficiency Concerns: Older rubber roofs may lack adequate insulation or energy-efficient features, leading to higher energy bills. Replacement with a newer, more energy-efficient system can help lower utility costs.

Cost of Rubber Roof Replacement:

The cost of replacing a rubber roof can vary depending on factors such as roof size, complexity, and the choice of materials. On average, homeowners can expect to pay between $5 and $10 per square foot for EPDM roof replacement, including labor and materials. For a typical single-story home with a 1,500 square foot roof, the total cost of replacement may range from $7,500 to $15,000. Additional expenses may apply for removing the old roof, repairing underlying decking, or upgrading to premium roofing materials.

How to Maintain Your Rubber Roof

Proper maintenance is key to maximizing the lifespan of your rubber roof and minimizing the need for repairs or replacement. Here are some maintenance tips to keep your EPDM roof in top condition:

Regular Inspections

Perform visual inspections of your rubber roof at least twice a year, ideally in the spring and fall, to check for signs of damage or deterioration.

Clean Gutters and Drains

Ensure gutters and downspouts are clear of debris to prevent water from backing up and causing ponding on the roof surface.

Trim Overhanging Branches

Remove any branches or foliage that overhang the roof to prevent damage from falling debris or abrasion.

Preventive Maintenance

Address minor issues promptly before they escalate into larger problems. Repair any punctures, tears, or seam separations as soon as they are detected.

Avoid Foot Traffic

Minimize foot traffic on the roof to reduce the risk of damage to the membrane. Use walkways or boards to distribute weight evenly when accessing the roof for maintenance or repairs.

Insulate and Ventilate

Proper insulation and ventilation can help regulate temperature fluctuations and reduce stress on the roof membrane, prolonging its lifespan.

Professional Inspections

Schedule regular inspections by a qualified roofing contractor to assess the condition of your rubber roof and identify any potential issues before they escalate.

Your Rubber EPDM Roof Experts

Rubber roofs offer a durable and cost-effective roofing solution for residential and commercial properties. By understanding the common causes of damage, employing proper maintenance practices, and addressing issues promptly, homeowners can extend the lifespan of their EPDM roof and minimize repair costs.

In cases where repairs are no longer sufficient, timely replacement can ensure continued protection and energy efficiency for years to come. With regular care and attention, your rubber roof can provide reliable performance and peace of mind for decades.

Contact Greentek Roofing today to get expert help for your rubber roofing system.


“GreenTek was awesome to work with. My rep James was easy to get in contact with and answered all my questions and made the process quick and smooth. The roof came out great and everything was finished on time and they handled everything with my insurance company so I didn’t have to. It made the process stress free for me.”

-Dylan O.

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