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Top five tips for installing EPDM on flat roofs

Flat roofs have come a long way since the 1960’s. Gone are the leaky roofs that were expensive and troublesome to maintain; today, flat roofs are low-maintenance and can enjoy a trouble-free life expectancy of up to 15 years. In the case of EPDM, some manufacturers have a proven life expectancy of over 50 years, making this rubber membrane a popular choice for both domestic and commercial flat roofing projects.

As with any roofing material, when components are not installed correctly, problems can occur, and EPDM is no exception. With planning and preparation being the key to success; here’s FIX-R’s top five tips to avoid flat roofing snags:

1. Firstly, make sure that the existing or new roof decking is 100% clean of dust, chippings, sharp objects or raised fixings – otherwise these will show up under the membrane and can stop the glue bonding properly. All decking must be dry and adequately fastened.

2. Unfold the EPDM membrane and lay it into position. Allow the membrane to hang over the roof edge by a minimum of 75mm (3”), and turn up walls 200mm (8”) minimum. Leave to relax for at least 30 minutes to help remove creases.

3. Apply an approved high strength, solvent based bonding adhesive that is specifically designed for EPDM and approved by the EPDM supplier, (or an approved WBA deck adhesive) and preferably one that can be roller applied to the substrate, and in the case of the solvent adhesive, to the underside of the sheet. Be sure that the membrane is in position, to size, and all creases are properly out before applying the adhesive. Also, allow the solvent based adhesive to flash off, otherwise blistering under the membrane can occur.

4. Roll the adhesive-coated EPDM back onto the deck where adhesive has been applied, working slowly and evenly to minimise wrinkles. Incorrectly attaching the EPDM to corners, walls, around drains, pipes and other areas will enable water to find its way in. The sealing of corners and penetrations needs to be completed with EPDM primer and pressure sensitive mouldable tapes to seal any openings.

5. The devil lies in the detail, so ensure that the roof perimeter trims are of a high quality finish to compliment the durable EPDM roof. The trims can be made of plastic coated metal or uPVC.

Finally, it pays to source high quality, proven products such as FIX-R’s range of EPDM and accessories that have a proven life expectancy of 50 years. FIX-R’s EPDM membranes are 9% thicker than most competitors’ EPDM membranes and come in a wide variety of widths and thicknesses too. The FIX-R EPDM system also includes deck and bonding adhesive, EPDM primer, flashing tapes, cover strips, as well as many other accessories. The benefits of FIX-R EPDM large membrane rolls are fewer (or often) no seams, no heat or flames, clean application, long lifetime and faster installation – meaning reduced labour costs: it’s a win-win.

Want further help and advice on EPDM installation? Contact 01480 466 777 or visit