Fixes for Flat Rubber Roofs

If your home has a flat roof, chances are it is an EPDM membrane roof, also known as a rubber roof. This type of roof consists of a membrane that protects your home from moisture and weather. There are some common issues that can occur with a flat roof, though. The following maintenance guide can help you avoid these issues or repair them if they do occur.

Issue: Poor drainage

Moisture can build up on a flat rubber roof. This increases the chances of leaks. The weight of the water can also put undue stress on the roof supports. The simplest way to combat this is to keep all drainage ports clear. Check the roof drains and gutter systems for blockages at least twice annually. In the fall, after the leaves have dropped from the trees, and in spring, after winter storms have passed, are the best times. Also, make sure the roof surface is checked for piles of leaves or debris, which could trap water. Remove any debris to ensure good roof drainage.

Issue: Flashing damage

Flashing is applied wherever a roof structure penetrates the rubber membrane. Flashing is typically a metal or rubber tape that is attached along the seams, but it can also be made of caulk or tar. There is typically flashing around things like vents, chimneys, and skylights. Flashing does become worn over time, and wind and storms can also damage it. If your flashing isn't sealed tightly to the roof anymore, it is time to have it replaced. Inspect the flashing for damage when you clean out the drainage, and have any damaged flashing repaired promptly.

Issue: Bubbles and punctures

Bubbles can occur if moisture gets beneath the rubber membrane. Heat from the sun then causes the moisture to steam, resulting in the bubbling. This isn't common on properly installed roofing unless the membrane has been damaged. Small punctures are more common. These can occur from outside trauma, such as falling branches. Bubbling membrane will require replacement. Punctures and worn areas, on the other hand, can be repaired with an adhesive rubber roof patch that is applied over the damaged area. When inspecting the roof for punctures and bubbles, also check out the seams between rubber membrane panels. Make sure these are still flat and tightly sealed. They can begin to lift over time, and eventually this requires someone to patch things up so moisture doesn't seep beneath the panels.

Contact a rubber-roofing contractor in your area, such as Central States Roofing, for more help in maintaining your flat rubber roof.