Rubber Roof Repair, RV rubber roof

Leaks in rubber roofs are usually found at the seams between the sheets of rubber. This article will teach you how to repair a seam in a rubber roof on a home or rv.

brief how to

In this article you will find information about:

  1. Locate The Roof Leak
  2. Clean The Area Around The Leak
  3. Using Seam Adhesive
  4. Using Peel And Stick Seam Tape

tools and materials

  • Seam probe tool, looks like an ice pick with a hook in it
  • Ladder
  • Latex rubber gloves, disposable
  • 2" silicone hand roller
  • EPDM adhesive remover / cleaner, solvent based. These cleaners are expensive so if you are doing a small area use the rubbing alcohol to remove old adhesive and clean the EPDM
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • EPDM adhesive
  • Seam Tape
  • Broom, if you have gravel on the rubber roof
  • Rags
  • Bucket of warm water, to clean with

Note: EPDM roofing materials are not available at most home stores. You can get EPDM rubber roof repair tools and materials at a roofing supply store. Call them first to make sure they sell to the public and not just contractors.

step 1 Locate The Roof Leak

Sweep The Seam: Start by checking the seams between the sheets of rubber roofing above the leak. If there is a layer of gravel on top of the rubber roof you will need to use the broom to sweep gravel away from the seam.

Probe The Seam: Use the seam probe tool to probe the seam. Apply a little pressure to the suspected areas. A bad seam will allow the tool to penetrate and the seam will come apart. Do not push hard enough on the seam to puncture or tear the roofing, a good seam will not allow the probe tool to penetrate the seam.

Check Roof Penetrations: Roof penetrations are a common source for roof leaks. Roof penetrations are anything that punches through the roof like plumbing vents, sky lights etc. Check the seams that seal the roof penetration for loose seams using the probe as described above.

step 2 Clean The Area Around The Leak

Clean With Water: After a suspected leak is found use the warm water and rag to scrub the area around the leak. Thoroughly clean the area and then let the roof dry.

Clean With Alcohol: Use a clean rag and EPDM cleaner or rubbing alcohol to clean the bad seam.

step 3 Using Seam Adhesive

  1. Seperate The Seam: Pull the seam apart until it is open about 12" on each side of the leak.
  2. Remove The Adhesive: Use EPDM adhesive remover and rags to remove the adhesive from both the upper and lower surfaces of the rubber roofing. Cleaning the seam is very critical to a waterproof rubber roof repair. Anything that keeps the adhesives from sticking will cause a failure in the new repair. So make sure it is clean and let it dry. Repeat the cleaning if necessary to get all the old adhesive off.
  3. Apply Adhesive To Both Panels: Use the brush to apply EPDM adhesive to both rubber roofing panels making sure to coat all the surfaces and deep into the cracks where the seam is still sealed. Read the manufactures instructions and follow them if they vary from the instructions here.
  4. Press The Panels Against Each Other: Press the panels to each other and use the silicone roller to roll over the entire patched area seam.
  5. Test The Repaired Seams: Wait 24 hours and use the probe to test the seams. If you find any areas that are questionable seperate the seam and apply adhesive and then use the silicone roller to press the two panels together.

step 4 Using Peel And Stick Seam Tape

Peel and stick seam tape is becoming a popular way to repair rubber roof seam. Some people recommend to just use the seam tape with out sealing the seam. These instructions recommend that you do both to get the best possible seal. Peel and stick seam tape is applied in a similar fashion to putting a patch on a bicycle inner tube by using primer to prepare the rubber surface and the applying a patch of rubber that welds to the rubber on the roof.

  1. Apply primer using a roller: Overlap the joint evenly on both sides and make sure to spread the primer about 2" wider than the peel and stick seam tape is wide and 12" past each end of the leaky seam.
  2. Let the primer set according to the manufactures directions.
  3. Prepare The Seam Tape: Remove about 6" of the facing from the seam tape.
  4. Begin Taping The Seam: Center the tape on the joint and starting about 12" before the beginning of the leaky seam, press it into the primed surface.
  5. Roll The Seam: Use the silicone roller to firmly press the peel and stick seam tape.
  6. Finish The Seam: Work your way along the repair by pulling out the facing from under the tape and using the roller to press the tape.

Enjoy your newly repaired roof!

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