Rubber EPDM Flat Roofs

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Rubber EPDM Flat Roofs

Rubber EPDM flat roofs

Rubber EPDM flat roofs

It is difficult to deal with the installation of rubber EPDM flat roofs without referring to one of the market leaders, Firestone RubberCover™ EPDM membrane. Firestone RubberCover™ EPDM membrane is a 100% cured, single-ply roofing membrane made of an Ethylene-Propylene-Diene Terpolymer and according to Firestone™, it offers unique features and benefits. Since it was introduced in the early 1980’s, Firestone EPDM rubber roofing membranes have been installed on hundreds of thousands of commercial, industrial and residential flat roofs.

Firestone RubberCover™ EPDM membranes can be installed on both new and existing flat roofs as long as the roof decking or substrate is sound, dry, clean and free of sharp edges which may puncture the membrane. The surface should also be oil and grease free, and all surface voids greater than 5 mm deep should be filled with an appropriate material. The flat roof must also be capable of carrying the load of the rubber membrane.

Rubber EPDM flat roofs membranes are fully adhered to the substrate using RubberCover™ bonding adhesive and acceptable substrates include wood, bitumen (not fresh), concrete and rigid PIR and PUR insulation materials. Applications include flat roofs on extensions, garages, dormer roofs, car ports, garden sheds, balconies, porches and verandas, though it is only available in black.

Advantages of Rubber EPDM flat roofs

Rubber EPDM flat roofs – Durability

With a life expectancy of up to fifty years, Firestone Rubbercover™ EPDM membranes are resistant to ozone, ultra violet radiation and extremes of temperature. In the first thirty years since it was developed, over one billion square metres have been installed on commercial, industrial and residential flat roofs.

Rubber EPDM flat roofs – Large Sheet Sizes

Firestone RubberCover™ EPDM membranes are available in large, seamless sheets up to 6.1 m wide, enabling most small residential roofs to be covered with one single sheet without a seam.

Rubber EPDM flat roofs – Low Maintenance

Firestone RubberCover™ EPDM membranes require little or no maintenance once they are installed, resulting in a low total life cycle cost.

Rubber EPDM flat roofs – Cold Installation

Firestone RubberCover™ EPDM membranes are installed using a cold applied adhesive so there is no need for a flame as in the application of some roof products which rely on hot tar to seal them.

Rubber EPDM flat roofs – All Year Round Installation

Firestone RubberCover™ EPDM membranes can be installed in all seasons and remains highly flexible even in cold weather, though the RubberCover™ Bonding Adhesive should only be used at temperatures above +5º centigrade.

Rubber EPDM flat roofs – Environmentally Friendly

Firestone RubberCover™ EPDM is an inert material with very little environmental impact during both manufacture and installation.

Installation of Firestone rubber EPDM flat roofs
The installation of Firestone rubber EPDM flat roofs would normally be carried out by a professional and competent installer and should not really be considered a DIY project. Backed by Firestone, most commercial installers will be familiar with the various installation techniques to ensure a water tight flat roof and as a result they can offer a guarantee of up to twenty years (Firestone™ guarantees the product for 10 years). However, for information only, the various processes involved to achieve the high standards specified by Firestone Building Products, are as follows: –

1. Fixing the rubber membrane...

Position the membrane on the roof substrate, leave for 30 minutes before continuing, then fold back half of the membrane. Apply Rubbercover™ bonding adhesive to the underside of the folded membrane and to the substrate, leaving both surfaces to dry. Roll the rubber membrane onto the substrate and sweep it flat with a soft brush before repeating the process with the other half of the membrane.

2. Dealing with seams...

A proprietary primer and cover strip are supplied by Firestone™ Building Products which should be used to create the seam between two sheets of rubber membrane – though for most residential flat roofs the sheets (up to 6.1 metres wide) should be adequate. Overlap two sheets by 20 cm, apply primer to both surfaces to be seamed and allow them to dry before joining. Cover the joint with the cover strip and flatten it to remove any air bubbles – a hand roller should be used at right angles over the seam to achieve this.

3. Sealing inside corners...

Fix the rubber membrane to the upstand and the top of the roof edge using bonding adhesive, roll the excess membrane towards the corner, fold it to one side, then flat onto the roof edge. Trim off any excess membrane and finish the entire edge of the flat roof with Firestone™ extruded aluminium roof trim.

4. Sealing outside corners such as rectangular skylights...

Cut the rubber membrane down to the base of the external corner, fix it to the upstand using bonding adhesive, then apply Firestone™ primer to 10 cm either side of the joint and allow it to dry. Adhere a length of Firestone™ flashing up to the base of the joint, apply more primer to the upstand and once dry, adhere another length of flashing to the joint on the upstand. Roll the surface with a hand roller to flatten the membrane and flashing down and remove any air bubbles.

5. Dealing with existing circular vents...

Once you have cut a hole in the rubber membrane and passed it over the circular vent, Firestone™ primer should be applied to the bottom of the vent and 10 cm wide around the membrane. Cut a hole the size of the vent in a square sheet of flashing and position it over the vent, flattening it down with your hand, then a hand roller.

6. Rainwater down pipes and gutters...

The shape and position of gutters and down pipes will determine their treatment with regard to creating water tight seals but the processes involved in sealing around corners and vents should be repeated here. A combination of Firestone™ primer and Firestone™ flashing is used, with minimum overlaps of 5 cm at joints to ensure that surface rainwater is dealt with as intended. Once the flat roof has been finished it should be tested to ensure that surface rainwater flows into gutters and away through down pipes without water ingress into the building or splashing out of the rainwater goods.

During the rubber EPDM flat roofs installation process, care should be taken not to puncture the rubber membrane otherwise water can pass through it, possibly into the flat roofed building. The rubber membrane can however, be easily repaired using a piece of Firestone RubberCover™ QuickSeam SA Flashing bonded to the original rubber membrane with RubberCover™ Bonding Adhesive, ensuring at least a 10 cm overlap from the damaged area.