Installing Membrane Roofing

people working on a roof
  • 16-40 hours
  • Advanced
  • 1,800-3,500
What You'll Need
Rubber adhesive
Roll of rubber EPDM membrane
Tape for seams
Roller brush

Flat roofs are very popular, but the roofing materials which are commonly used often lead to leaks. The materials are not flexible, and water pools on the flat surface. Failing joints and weathering can also lead to leaking and water damage in your property.

Rubber membrane roofing is a popular alternative because it is flexible and highly durable. It also possesses some very helpful properties, including UV resistance. Laying rubber membrane roofing is also very easy since there is no need for additional materials, such as tar. There are very few joints, making it very popular and serviceable.

Fitting rubber membrane roofing isn't difficult. You just need to have access to the right tools and materials.

Step 1 - Safety

The most important thing when working on any roof is safety. It's essential that you set up ladders and/or scaffolding to access the roof. Take the necessary precautions to make sure that you won't put yourself at any unnecessary risk.

Step 2 - Cleaning the Surface

Once you have prepared the necessary safety equipment you will now need to prepare the surface of the roof. You must clean the roof so that the adhesive can stick properly and hold. The type of adhesive you should use will normally depend on the type of material that is already on your roof.

If you cannot clean the surface well, such as if you have gravel on your roof, you should use several thin sheets of plywood fixed to the surface of the roof.

Step 3 - Measuring

Next, you need to measure the size of your roof by using a tape measure. Try to make sure that this is as accurate as possible.

Step 4 - Cutting Rubber

Use the measurements to calculate how many sections you will need to cut out in order to complete the project. Use scissors to cut out the sections of rubber. Try the pieces of rubber on the roof before using any adhesive to check that they all fit. You might need to cut more pieces of rubber or trim existing ones.

Step 5 - Adhesive

Mix the adhesive according to the guidelines on the packet of the adhesive. You will normally need to activate this by stirring it for a minimum of five minutes. Once the adhesive is active you can then spread it on the back of each sheet of rubber. Use a hand brush to thoroughly coat each piece of rubber. Be careful when spreading glue around the edges, because this can squirt out when squashing the rubber sheets down.

Allow the adhesive on the rubber tiles to become tacky. While doing this you should spread adhesive on the roof, or plywood sheets if you're using them. By applying adhesive to both the tiles and the roof you will minimize the possibility of air bubbles and ensure that the bond is as strong as possible.

Step 6 - Sticking the Rubber

Place the rubber sheets on the roof so that it sticks in the adhesive. Any air bubbles or wrinkles can be removed by using a roller.

Any leaking of the adhesive needs to be cleaned off using the recommended solutions. Use seam tape to protect the seam, and make sure you wait at least one hour before doing anything else with the roof.