The Fault With EPDM Roofing Seams

EPDM is a fine roofing material and one which many Chaffee Roofing clients use. A significant advantage of EPDM roofing is its durability and high UV resistance. However, many flat roof owners find fault with their EPDM roofing seams, particularly on older EPDM roof systems with glued seams once they begin to wear down. Extensive patching to EPDM roof systems can be expensive because the accessories are almost as expensive as the EPDM field membrane itself. The cause of most replacement EPDM projects? The seams and flashing details.

The EPDM membrane itself may be fine but when the seams and flashings begin to go, customers are left with two options: extensive patchwork or total replacement.

Why faulty seams?

A professional roofer will install your EPDM roof to the highest standards. At Chaffee Roofing, we only use highly qualified roofing professionals, who are guaranteed to always do a quality installation using premium materials.
The problem is that EPDM relies on adhesives to hold the seams and flashing details together. With TPO and PVC roof systems, the seams and flashings are heat welded, which means that the product becomes one sheet. With EPDM, heat welding is not possible, so primers and adhesives are used.

So what is the downside? The adhesives break down and dry out over time. It is inevitable, and no one should tell you otherwise. The glue will keep the seams together and give you a very watertight roof but when the glue begins to dry up and deteriorate, the seams come apart.

There are newer EPDM roof systems that are installed with double-sided seam tape and self-adhered flashing details. These are far superior to the adhesives used in the past. However, this technology will still dry out over time.

Regular maintenance is necessary

You should be mindful of maintenance with all roofs. We recommend you do regular inspections, and if you are not sure of what to look for, use a qualified roofing expert. At Chaffee Roofing we tell customers with EPDM roofing to do a minimum of one inspection every year. Likewise, small maintenance items like cleaning roof drains and gutters can really help a roof go the distance.

In addition to cleaning drains and gutters, the maintenance inspection should include a detailed examination of the seams. If they are coming apart or progressively deteriorating, then you need to take action. An EPDM cover tape can go over the weak seams, giving you and your roof protection for another few years. We can also use newer uncured and semi-cured flashing products over your rooftop units to add life to them.
Completing these extensive repairs can be expensive, especially if every seam and flashing detail needs to be patched. At the end of these repairs, the quality of the repair work will not matter if the membrane itself is in poor shape. This can result in investing time and money into repairing a roof that ultimately should be replaced. For this reason, it’s worth it to get a quote on both repairs and roof replacement to weigh your options.

Chaffee Roofing can help

EPDM is a great roof system if installed properly with the latest technology. However, like any roof system, a thorough maintenance program can really help an EPDM roof go the distance. When looking at a new roof, give Chaffee Roofing a call to help make the process easier and assist you in making the best choice possible for your business.

Leave a Reply