We are on-site repairing a flat roof that was simply rubber roofing materials laid on top of another roof that ended up leaking and seeping into the insulation underneath. This roof is a great example of how not to install a rubber roof. On top of that, rather than get the roof repaired, there was a series of pipes and funnels underneath that was a homemade leak catcher. It may have bought them some time, but overall this roof has been leaking and sitting with water and ice for years.
Situations like the one we are working on here is an example of why it’s very important to hire a proper contractor and keep up with roof maintenance and repairs. Due to the extensive damage this poorly installed rubber roof has caused, it will increase the cost and time it will take us to repair and install a new roof. This was truly a rush job where a contractor promised to get it done quickly, so they did, but cut a lot of corners which led to the insulation being in the state it is now—soaked with water.
There are benefits to using rubber roofing, or EPDM (ethylene propylene diene terpolymer) as we call it in the industry, but there are also disadvantages to it. Here are some common rubber roof issues and mistakes that can cause damage and leaks to your property.
Easily Accessible to Anyone
You don’t necessarily need to be a licensed contractor to purchase the EPDM material, so it can be purchased by anyone. This means unlicensed contractors could install a rubber roof and without the regulations of a certified company, could cut corners like with the roof we saw today.
Cheap to Install
The cost of materials is incredibly affordable, and there are no special tools needed to install it. The materials, paintbrushes, and some rollers are all that is really needed to install. Watch for contractors attempting to upcharge their rubber roof services.
Very Susceptible to Poor Installation
Inexperience can lead to poor installation of rubber roofs. Because of the sensitivity of the material, it is important to only get high-quality roofers to install this type of roof. They need to know what they can and cannot install it over, and how to properly insulate underneath. Like this roof we are repairing today, simply putting a rubber roof over an old roof without any other precautions led to a disaster of leaks and leaving the building uninsulated.
Seam Failure & Shrinkage
No matter how well a rubber roof is installed, the material is still susceptible to seams breaking and the material shrinking. These are unavoidable errors with rubber roofs, and require regular inspections and maintenance to avoid leaks and other damage. Repairing a seam or tear is much easier to do than replacing the entire roof due to severe damage.
Rubber roofs are relatively high-maintenance, but with that maintenance you can actually have your rubber roof last up to 50 years. In fact, when properly installed and maintained, a rubber roof can provide decades of protection for flat and low-pitch roofs. They also withstand high winds and hail better than your average asphalt shingle roof can. For an easy, affordable option, rubber roofs can work well for what you need. Just ensure you find a high-quality roofer using high-quality materials. For more information, please call Northface Construction at 763.433.2269.