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Rubber Roof Repair

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Recently a large national home improvement store (orange box) began carrying EPDM rubber roofing materials, and flashing accessories. Before, the typical homeowner had to call up roofing contractors and try to get them to sell some rubber roofing materials for their flat roof, as roofing suppliers would only sell to contractors. Now the home owner no longer needs to try and go around, looking for rubber roofing – it is easily accessible in your friendly neighborhood “big orange box” and possible in the blue one also.

Why is this good news? Well – not only you will actually pay less for the materials (compared to trying to buy it through a roofer), but also, you will always be ably to drive down to the store and get what you need, even after work and on weekends, and moat important – you can now repair your rubber roof yourself! In this guide we will show you how to do this – specifically how to flash an outside corner using EPDM uncured “peel and stick” rubber membrane. The same application method will work to patch holes on the rubber, repair chimney / skylight / roof hatch and other curbs on a rubber roof.

Two different types of rubber roof repair

Because rubber roof has glued seams and is a rather old (aged) flat roof system, there have been some major changes to the materials, or rather the way it is installed, along its almost 40 years history. Original rubber roofs were installed using “splice adhesive” or “black glue”, which, to say it in a polite ways S U C K S … Seams sealed with splice adhesive typically lasted 5-7 years, and then began to leak. After a while, the EPDM roofing manufacturers have developed a newer and better ways to seal the seams, which still isn’t all that great, but works better than old glue. The new method uses EPDM primer, and so called “quick seam” or “peel and stick” tapes, for seams, flashing, and cover tape flashing. This is a much faster application and stick together better and longer than old glue. For this rubber roof repair guide we will use “peel and stick” method.

Rubber roof repair procedures video (10 minutes long)

If you want to properly repair your rubber roof and save an average of $300-400 (for a simple rubber roof repair), then watch the video below at least once, then, read this guide, and then watch the video again.



In the rubber roof repair video above, you can see the actual repair procedure. All prep work and clean up has already been done. After the video you will find information in regards to the clean up and prep work, required for proper rubber roof repair.

We also recommend watching this rubber roof outside corner flashing video, for detailed step by step installation guidelines from the manufacturer.

Preparation of roof surface for the repair:

Before repairing your roof, you need to find the source of leak. Most common spots are the seams, curbs (chimneys, skylights, hatches, etc.) low ponding water spots, especially if there is a seam that goes through the pond, any roof to roof or roof to wall connection points and pipe flashings.

image of rubber roof repair - leaking outside corner

Once you find the source(s) of roof leaks, you will need to clean the area of debris, cut or remove any loose old rubber, and install the patch.

At your orange box home improvement store, you will need to buy rubber cleaner, and rubber primer as the two essential products to apply peel and stick flashing membrane. You will also need to buy a few cheap rags, paint brushes, a steel or silicon roller, and various EPDM rubber roofing tapes, depending on the type of repair you intend to perform. In this guide we will show a 6″ UNCURED rubber flashing membrane that was used to flash outside corner (see image below).

image of rubber roof repair - cleaning the roof before applying patch

Using rags that you purchased (or found in the basement) and generous amount of rubber cleaner, wipe clean the surface of the roof where you will be installing a patch. Go beyond the approximate area the the actual patch will take, so that your repair is not compromised by unclean surface.

Performing the repair

Once repair area is clean, use paint bush to apply thick (but not too thick) coat of EPDM primer, and let it dry, until it no longer sticks to your finger. I recommend waiting at least 3 minutes, and then trying to press your finger against the primer (push and pull test) – if your finger does not stick to the surface – you can proceed. If there is any uncured primer – wait for it to dry or you will be wasting your time.

Use a patch of uncured peel and stick flashing membrane of about 8×9″ in size. Fold it in half, and remove the plastic backing off one of the halves of the patch.

Stick the patch to the vertical part of the outside corner, on both sides, and push it in with your fingers, making sure there are no bubbles. Once the vertical part is applied, roll the flashing to the angle change, making sure there are no bubbles, and full contact with the primed surface. Roll the flashing onto the deck without stretching.

On the flat part (deck) roll the flashing with your fingers, starting from the center, going out to both sides. Stretch the membrane slightly so it elongates away from the corner, but make sure you do not stretch it too much. Be sure to avoid bubbles.

Work your way out from the corner, until the whole deck flange is down. Use the 2″ silicon roller to roll out and bubbles, and roll all the edges well, to make sure the edges are fully glued. Now your outside corner is complete. Use rubber lap caulk to seal all along the edges of the patch.

image of Rubber roof repair - uncured outside corner patch

Same or similar technique can be used used for other type of rubber roof repairs, less the stretching of the uncured membrane. If you do not understand some parts of this guide, watch the video(s) again, and feel free to ask questions in the comments section below.

Written by Roof Repair 101

October 5th, 2011 at 1:15 am