A Brief History of Roofing Materials

A complete history of roofing materials would start in the Stone Age. Popular modern material has not been around quite that long but even clay roof tiles have been in use for thousands of years.

Of course the manufacturing processes have changed and improved. People are no longer limited by the location of the material. That was a major factor to consider before present-day shipping methods were introduced.

Clay tiles are popular in some areas and for some architectural designs. The tiles are more expensive than other options but they are long-lasting. Shingles are a far more popular choice.

The history of modern shingles is not nearly as long as that of clay. Wood shingles or shakers were used until insurance companies started refusing to insure homes and businesses with roofs covered by them.

The first composite roof material was used in the 1840s. They are referred to as composites because they are composed of two or more substances, rather than a single material. Modern shingles are composites but the first composite roofs bore little resemblance to the ones we use today. Also there are lots of roofing materials like Liquid EPDM Coatings, liquid roof and liquid rubber coatings are available in the market for fixing roof leaks.

The substances used in the earliest composites were felt or woven fabric, pine tar and sand. Improvements were made by saturating the fabric with asphalt and substances such as sand, crushed limestone or talc. Coal tar came next in the history of roofing materials.

Coal tar is a byproduct of coal manufacturing processes. It was not until the introduction of gas lighting for city sidewalks that enough of the byproduct was generated to find an application in the roof industry.

The coal tar was mixed with fine gravel and rolls of felt were saturated with it. The rolled material was then attached to roofs. Asphalt shingles soon replaced the rolled material.

Henry M. Reynolds made a significant contribution to the history of roofing materials. He came up with the concept of shaping the earlier asphalt-coated roof fabrics into individual shingles in 1903. Reynolds was a roofer and manufacturer. The first shingles he produced were hand cut with a sharp knife.

In 1914, F.C. Overby began adding crushed granules of slate to add weight to the shingles and keep them from blowing off the roof. Roller-die cutting machines were perfected the following year making the mass-production of shingles more practical. Most of the changes that have occurred since that time have been decorative, except for the use of fiber glass to reinforce the felt fabric, which occurred in the 1970s.

That is a very brief history of roofing materials that are very helpful for repairing roof leaks. Liquid EPDM Rubber and Liquid Roof coatings are the best roofing products that will give you cost effective solution for your roofing problems. Although there are other choices, composite shingles are still the most popular for homes.

For product information or ordering visit EPDM Coatings or call them at 855-281-0940855-281-0940.

Things to Remember When Applying Liquid EPDM

1)      Catalyst must be added prior to use.  Scrape sides of container with a rubber spatula to ensure catalyst distribution.

2)      Xylene or Mineral Spirits Solvents may be added to adjust viscosity or for clean-up.

3)      Easiest way to spread the rubber on a flat surface is to broadcast material with a rubber squeegee then roll using a short nap roller.  Product is self leveling.  A flat spatula can be used for small areas.

4)      Product has a long pot life after catalyst has been added; 4-6 hrs. depending on temperature.

5)      Only temperature affects the rate of cure.  Relative humidity has no influence. 

6)      Product is hydrophobic (sheds water) so substrate to be coated must be dry initially.  The uncured rubber can get wet or even have ponding water, with only a cosmetic effect after application, and will still cure.

7)      The rubber will penetrate into porous substrates such as wood and poured concrete.  A primer/sealer should precede application of rubber.

8)      The chemical reaction of the catalyzed rubber can be arrested by freezing the material.  This can keep material usable for weeks or months.  To use again simply allow it to reach room temperature and apply.

Liquid EPDM Coatings are aftermarket roof sealants

A number of aftermarket roof sealants are available, including urethanes, acrylics and liquid rubber. Liquid EPDM rubber is by far the most durable of the sealants available and has the widest range of applications.

It is more water resistant than other rubbers, including neoprene. It is more resistant to swelling and has a wider range of acceptable temperatures. It can be applied directly to practically any roofing material other than asphalt and can even be used on wood that has been primed.

Liquids have an obvious advantage over sheets. Sheets have seams. Seam sealers eventually deteriorate and water gets through the seams and under the sheeting.

Liquid EPDM can be used on top of neoprene, although some pre-treatment of the surface is required. Just knowing that the liquid rubber is recommended for use on top of the other type of rubber should be an indication that the material is more durable.

Liquid EPDM can also be used on top of polyurethane after a light sanding. It is somewhat surprising that urethanes are still used as aftermarket roof sealants. It is known that the structure is damaged by UV light and that discoloration occurs relatively quickly. Anyone who has made the mistake of using urethane as a roof sealant should consider applying liquid EPDM to truly protect the roof.

The liquids can also be used to seal existing leaks. They are self-adhering and fill up tiny fractures that let water through. It is a good idea to use a thick coat and cover the entire surface instead of attempting to only cover the leaky area.

When covering the entire roof, the liquid rubber reduces heat buildup. Not only does the roof stay cooler, but the interior of the building or the vehicle will also stay cooler. This benefit may reduce heating costs and keep the occupants more comfortable.

Liquid EPDM has become the most popular choice for RV roofs, because of all the above-mentioned advantages. It extends the lifespan of the roof and requires less maintenance. It lasts up to three times longer than any other aftermarket RV camper rubber roof sealant and also reduces noise from rain.

As far as price goes, most sealants are similar in price. Depending on where you buy, EPDM may be a little more expensive, but because primers and additional coats are not usually necessary, and because it lasts so much longer, owners who choose this aftermarket roof sealant save money in the long run.

THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN USING LIQUID RUBBER

1) Catalyst must be added prior to use. Scrape sides of container with a Liquid rubber spatula to ensure catalyst distribution.
2) Xylene or Mineral Spirits Solvents may be added to adjust viscosity or for clean-up.
3) Easiest way to spread the rubber on a flat surface is to broadcast material with a rubber squeegee then roll using a short nap roller. Product is self leveling. A flat spatula can be used for small areas.
4) Product has a long pot life after catalyst has been added; 4-6 hrs. depending on temperature.
5) Only temperature affects the rate of cure. Relative humidity has no influence.
6) Product is hydrophobic (sheds water) so substrate to be coated must be dry initially. The uncured rubber can get wet or even have ponding water, with only a cosmetic effect after application, and will still cure.
7) The rubber will penetrate into porous substrates such as wood and poured concrete. A primer/sealer should precede application of liquid rubber.
8) The chemical reaction of the catalyzed rubber can be arrested by freezing the material. This can keep material usable for weeks or months. To use again simply allow it to reach room temperature and apply.

How to Maintain Your RV EPDM Roof

With proper care and maintenance, your RV EPDM roof can last for 20 years or more. That’s pretty much equivalent to the life of the vehicle itself. One of the benefits of EPDM Rubber roofing materials is that the care and maintenance required is minimal. Regular cleaning is the first step.

Most manufacturers recommend cleaning the roof at least four times per year. The cleaner used should be one that is specifically designed for EPDM roofing and is free of petroleum distillates.

Products containing petroleum distillates, whether they are designed for cleaning or protecting, will cause the rubber to swell and loosen. There are many chemicals that fall under the category. The easiest way to tell for sure that the cleaner you are using does not contain any of the chemicals is to look for one that states on the label “free of petroleum distillates, safe for use on RV camper rubber roof.”

Cleaning is a relatively simple matter, but you should keep your safety in mind. If you are going to be getting up on the roof, you should be on your hands and knees to reduce your risk of falling.

The first step is to rinse the roof thoroughly with plain water at a relatively high pressure. Any branches or sharp objects should be removed by hand, if possible. While EPDM is tear resistant, sharp objects can cause scratches when they are pushed along the surface. Eventually the scratches can become tears.

Once all debris has been rinsed away, you will need to take a medium bristle brush, a bucket of safe cleanser diluted with water and get up on the roof. You need only scrub in areas where you see stains or dirt.

Keep your hose with you so that you can rinse while you are cleaning. Start in the corner farthest away from your exit point and work backwards to minimize the amount of time you spend on the wet surface.

After the roof is cleaned, you can use an EPDM protectant if you like. The protectant should be specifically designed for EPDM roofing, not for other types of materials. Some EPDM manufacturers also sell special protectants. While using the protectant is not essential, it may extend the life of the roof and reduce your need to restore or repair the roofing material.

Finally, proper care of your EPDM roof includes parking it in an area where the roof is protected as much as possible. Don’t park around fruit trees. The citric acid can deteriorate the material in between cleanings.