EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer) is a synthetic rubber that’s commonly used as a roofing material for flat roofs. If you own a commercial building, chances are good that your roof is EPDM. Sold in rolls, EPDM is an attractive choice for installation on commercial buildings because it is water-impermeable, durable, lightweight and cost-effective.

Some people believe – wrongly – that EPDM roofing is unreliable. This undeserved reputation probably comes from building owners who neglect to perform basic maintenance. Yes, like almost every other part of a building, it does require some maintenance: not a lot, but not something you can totally ignore either, or problems will likely get worse, causing leaks and other complications. But if you follow these procedures, your EPDM roofing will protect your building faithfully for years.

Up On The Roof

Plan to inspect your roof at four times each year to spot small problems before they become big ones. Observe standard safety precautions for fall prevention.

You won’t be able to inspect the roof until its clean. Sweep off all dirt off and wash the roof with water. Apply a rubber roof cleaner to remove stains that might hide flaws.

Walk slowly over the entire roof looking for cracks, tears, separating seams, blistering, “alligatoring” (a scaly appearance) and other damage. This shouldn’t be a casual stroll. Moving just a few feet per second at most, it should take some time, and you should be systematic about covering every square inch of the roof in a down-and-back pattern like mowing your lawn. Carefully inspect joints around vents and chimneys and locations where hardware is attached to or through the roofing. When you spot areas of concern, mark them with a marking pen or chalk, or take and record measurements from prominent features so you can find them again.


If you find any flaws, head to the hardware store to pick up EPDM repair materials: a tub, tube, or bucket of sealant and perhaps a few square yards of EPDM membrane. There are also patch kits available that have everything you need. Use the sealant to seal cracks, and apply new membrane over larger damaged areas, coating the underside liberally with sealant. If roofing is peeling back at a seam, place sealant under the material and apply firm pressure, weighing it down with a brick or something similar until the adhesive sets. Repairs are not difficult: just follow the directions on the sealant or contained in the kit.

Working on a roof isn’t everyone’s idea of fun, and larger problems require professional skills and tools.

For work on your Jacksonville commercial building’s EPDM roof, contact Quality Discount Roofing: 904-396-5000.

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