Instructions for Installing EPDM Roofing

Written by mona culberson
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Instructions for Installing EPDM Roofing
Enlist the aid of a helper when installing EPDM rubber. (new house roofing image by Gale Distler from

EPDM rubber roof sheets are popular among homeowners because the ease of application makes it possible for homeowners to do their own roofing projects. The roll-out sheets are easy to install when applied directly to a clean roof deck. A small roof can be covered with only one sheet, making it a seamless application. EPDM rubber is low-maintenance, flexible and biodegradable. The rubber membrane has a long life expectancy and remains pliable even in extremely cold temperatures. Repairs to the rubber are easy, making it a smart choice for roof applications.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Roofing gloves
  • Protective eyewear
  • Push broom
  • Hammer
  • Roofing nails
  • Drill
  • Galvanised screws
  • Insulation plates
  • Scissors
  • Extension paint roller
  • Roller cover
  • Latex bonding adhesive
  • EPDM rolled rubber membrane
  • 75 pound roof roller
  • Marker
  • Seam primer
  • Hand held seam roller
  • Paint brush
  • Self adhesive roof tape
  • Termination bars
  • Roofing knife
  • Sandpaper
  • Caulking gun
  • Roofing caulk
  • Rubber pipe boot flashing

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  1. 1

    Remove all of the existing roof material and metal flashing. Sweep all dirt and debris from the roof with the push broom.

  2. 2

    Inspect the roof surface for damage. Repair any damaged areas before installing the EPDM rubber membrane sheets.

  3. 3

    Lay insulation boards on the roof. Line the boards up flush to each other and butt the ends up together to ensure a uniform roof surface. Secure the insulation boards to the roof by attaching the insulation plates to the insulation boards. Insert galvanised screws through the insulation plates and attach the plates to the roof using the drill. Insert a plate and screw every 2 square feet of board.

  4. 4

    Sand any rough areas of the insulation board. Sweep all dirt and debris from the insulation board with the push broom before laying the EPDM rubber sheets.

  5. 5

    Roll out the EPDM roofing membrane onto the roof. Overlap the side edges of each previously rolled sheet by 4 inches. Overhang the edge of the roof by 3 inches. Mark the locations for vents and pipes on the rubber material with a marker. Cut holes in the material with scissors to allow the vents and pipes access through the rubber. Allow the material to relax for 30 minutes before applying the adhesive.

  6. 6

    Fold the first rubber sheet back on top of itself. Apply an even layer of bonding adhesive to the deck of the roof using the extension roller. Allow the adhesive to dry for 15 minutes until it is tacky to the touch. Fold the rubber sheet back over onto the roof deck. Smooth the sheet with the roof roller. Start from the centre of the sheet and work out. Roll over the sheet with a 75-pound roof roller to smooth out air bubbles and wrinkles.

  7. 7

    Fold the second half of the sheet back onto the half that was previously glued down. Repeat Step 6, but leave 4 inches of the edge without glue to allow for the seam. Fold the roofing membrane back onto the roof deck. Roll over the sheet with the 75 pound roof roller to smooth out air bubbles and wrinkles.

  8. 8

    Repeat steps 6 and 7 to bond all of the roofing membrane sheets to the roof. Allow the sheets to cure for an hour. Roll over the entire roof with the roof roller to remove wrinkles and ensure an airtight seal.

  9. 9

    Measure 1 inch beyond the edge of the overlap of the first sheet. Fold the sheet back to expose the 4 inches of unglued rubber. Use a paint brush to apply seam primer to the 4-inch section and to the area on the sheet that it will mate with.

  10. 10

    Attach the roof tape to the first sheet with the adhesive side down, facing the base sheet. Roll over the tape with the seam roller. Fold the overlapping sheet back down the base sheet. Slowly pull the backing from the tape at a 45-degree angle while simultaneously pressing the top rubber sheet down into the tape. Roll the seam roller over the taped seam to bond it.

  11. 11

    Repeat Steps 9 and 10 until every seam has been bonded and secured.

  12. 12

    Attach termination bars to the edges of rubber membrane sheets in areas where the sheets meet a wall or vertical surface. Use the roofing knife to trim the excess rubber. Use the caulking gun to apply a generous bead of roof caulk along the edge of the termination bar to seal the cut rubber.

  13. 13

    Trim the 3 inches of overhanging roof membrane along the edge of the roof using the roofing knife. Ensure that the cut line is straight and uniform.

  14. 14

    Reinstall the drip-edge flashing on the edge of the roof, using the hammer and roofing nails. Hammer roofing nails at 6-inch intervals. Install new rubber pipe boots over all pipes and vents. Apply bonding adhesive to the edges of all rubber membrane that butts up against pipes or vents. Roll over the edge to seal it to the deck.

Tips and warnings

  • A push broom can be used to spread the wrinkles from the rubber sheets if a roof roller is not available.

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