Can I Apply My Own Liquid EPDM?

RV roof maintenance is a standard part of RV ownership. Therefore, almost every time someone asks whether they can handle roofing repairs or maintenance, the answer is going to be a resounding “yes”. Of course, it’s not just about whether you can do the work, but whether you can do it right. There are a number of products on the market in the liquid EPDM family, and most come either in a roll-on or spray-on format that is easy for anyone with basic handy skills, or anyone who has ever painted in their lifetime.

Choose Your Product and Gather Your Tools

Now that you know you can do the work yourself, it’s time to shop around and find the right liquid EPDM roof coating solution. Since most products are relatively similar, you will want to primarily focus on brand quality and reputation, as well as the specific application process. For example, some people specifically search for a roll-on product because they aren’t comfortable with the spray-on idea. Ultimately, it’s about getting the product that best suits your needs.

You will also want to check out available RV roof maintenance and repair kits, which will include the roof coating that you need, along with primer, seam tape, rollers, brushes, gloves, cleaner, and more. You’ll have everything that you need to do the job in a single package, which can save you the hassle of buying everything separately.

If you decide on a product that doesn’t come in a kit, take notes on the list above for items that you will need to apply the new liquid EPDM coating. Brushes and rollers will be required for liquid products so that you can apply them evenly across the roof surface. You will also want to invest in gloves to protect yourself, RV roof cleaner, and anything else that you need for the job. Check the instructions on the sealer to make sure that you have all the tools that you need.

Prep for Best Results

Anyone that has ever taken on a resealing job will tell you that the products often dry quickly, so you won’t want to waste a lot of time when you actually start the resealing or recoating process. That means that you will need to make sure that you plan ahead to set yourself up for success. Make sure that the roof is clean, free of debris, and that any damage has been repaired ahead of time. Then, when you go to apply the liquid EPDM, you can just roll it on and go, and you’ll be done in no time at all.

If you have any silicone, tar, or other materials on the roof, remove those completely before you start the recoating process. You may or may not need a primer for your application, depending on the product that you choose. Give your RV roof a good wash and dry, and then you will be ready to apply the new liquid EPDM coating. A little prep work really can go a long way.

The Bottom Line

Most of the RV maintenance issues that are required of owners are things that they can do on their own. Unlike passenger cars that often require a lot of dealership service calls, RVs are made for those who like to take care of themselves, and that includes offering easy DIY maintenance solutions. You’ll have to recoat your roof every three to five years, depending on the liquid EPDM that you choose, so there is no better time than now to learn how to do it right the first time.

Tips to Getting the Most Out of EPDM Rubber

Whether you’re reroofing your business or your home, or you’re trying to find a way to create a unique fish pond without using a plastic liner, EPDM rubber should be your material of choice. It’s easy to apply, is watertight when fully cured, and offers a wide range of benefits. Unlike other types of rubber, it’s even safe for fish. However, there are things you’ll need to know in order to get the most out of this material. We’ll cover some important tips below.

EPDM Rubber Installation Tips

We’ll start with installation tips to help ensure that you get a good, even coating of EPDM rubber and that it goes on smooth and easy.

Use the Right Tools: You can use a wide range of tools to apply EPDM rubber, but two of the most commonly used and most helpful are paint rollers and sprayers. Rollers allow you to apply an even coating across a roof (or other surface) with ease. We recommend longer handles for easier application, too. Sprayers are also very convenient, particularly for very large roofs and hard to reach areas where a roller or brush might not fit very easily.

One Coat Is Enough: If you’ve spent much time painting, then you’re probably thinking that EPDM rubber will need more than one coat in order to withstand weathering and to look good. That’s usually not the case. In most situations, a single coat will be more than enough. Too many coats will add excess weight to your roof and will also adversely affect curing time.

Waterproof: While many products require curing time before they are waterproof, that is not the case with EPDM rubber. It’s actually waterproof after just a few minutes. However, don’t equate waterproof with fully cured. It will take roughly a week for the coating to completely cure in optimal temperatures and humidity ranges.

Extend the Lifespan

Once applied, you need to ensure that your EPDM rubber coating will stand the test of time. A few basic tips will help you extend its lifespan.

Maintain It: There’s very little that you need to do in the way of maintenance for EPDM rubber, but there are a few things that will help ensure you get the best longevity possible. Twice per year, you should inspect the area. Look for signs of damage or possible leaks. In most cases, minor repairs can be made by simply applying another coat of rubber over the damage. In addition to your visual inspection, you’ll need to remove debris from the area, as well. These can form dams that cause water to back up, and can even help foster mold and mildew growth.

Flashing and Edging: During your inspections, pay close attention to any flashing or edging. If these come loose or are damaged, it could lead to damage of the rubber coating. If you’re required to replace edging or flashing, make sure that the membrane is turned down over the fascia with the metal cover installed over the top.

In Conclusion

EPDM rubber is highly durable and can be used in a very wide range of situations, from commercial roofs to waterproofing in basements. It’s economical, incredibly durable, and readily available. However, like any other product, there are things you need to know to get the most out of it. The information above will help you maximize the lifespan of your rubber application, enjoy ease of installation, and prevent leaks that might damage the substrate under the rubber coating.

EPDM vs PVC: What’s Right for Your Roofing Needs?

If you are the owner of a flat-roofed or low-slope roof structure, you already know that your roofing needs are far different from those with buildings featuring traditional, more steeply sloped rooftops. Your roofing has to be resistant to everything from extremes of temperatures and the risks of pooling water, snow and ice to structural movement. This is why the issue of EPDM vs PVC so frequently emerges.

Why the EPDM vs. PVC Issue?

You will see a lot of EPDM vs PVC comparisons when you start to search for roofing because these are the two most commonly chosen materials for flat roofs. EPDM is a rubber material made mostly with oil based ingredients. PVC is a vinyl-like material made of chlorine and ethylene.

Are there pros and cons to each? Absolutely, and it is imperative to run that EPDM vs PVC comparison as you narrow down your choices for your new or replacement roof on a flat-top or low slope building. Let’s start with the EPDM and its many pros and cons.

EPDM vs. PVC: The Pros and Cons of EPDM

Ethylene propylene diene monomer or EPDM is a synthetic rubber and is treated with a range of chemicals to help stabilize the material and make it long-lasting, flexible and durable. Typically, EPDM is UV stable, meaning that it can be exposed for many years to the intense powers of sunlight without degrading or breaking down. It is also able to withstand extremes in weather such as incredibly hot summers and intensely cold winters without turning brittle or breaking down.

EPDM is able to flex enough to support structural movement, too. And perhaps one of the most important “pros” for the EPDM roofing is the fact that there is no special equipment or skill needed to install it. It does ask for a great deal of prep in terms of cleaning and/or installing a new roof decking on which the material is applied. However, with good brushes, rollers and patience even a novice can do a good job.

Lastly, it is the most affordable type of single-ply membrane-style roofing and has been in use for decades.

EPDM vs. PVC: The Pros and Cons of PVC

A more recent innovation in single-ply, membrane-style roofing is PVC roofing. However, one of the major “pros” of the PVC roofing is that it is actually made of three layers of material that feature PVC material reinforced with polyester “scrim” between. It is, however, described as a single-ply membrane. This means it is considered a bit more flexible and stable with high break and tear resistance. It is identical to EPDM in that it has UV resistance and can remain stable under extremes of heat or cold. PVC is also quite resistant to fire and chemicals, and typically inhibits the growth of any fungi or plant materials.

And also just like EPDM, the PVC materials are designed to be watertight and leak free for many decades after installation. This material also requires attention to prep when it is installed, and it requires “hot air welded seams” rather than an adhesive to bond together properly. This is why the PVC roofing is also a job for professionals who know how to handle the machines and materials properly.

This tends to boost the price of a installation, making EPDM the lower priced option with the added benefit of a DIY installation if desired.

In the debate of EPDM vs. PVC we now know that PVC is just as durable but requires experts to install the material properly. If you are looking for a long-lasting, easy to install and affordable roofing material for a flat roof, the EPDM materials may be the ideal choice.

TPO vs. EPDM Roofing for RVs: Which is the Best RV Roof Material?

Choosing the best RV roof material is largely a matter of personal preference. Still, there are some factors that are involved in your decision that you should be aware of before you begin shopping for a new roof. Two of the most popular options on the market for today’s RVs are TPO and EPDM. Both of these are synthetic polymers that are designed specifically for use on RVs and mobile homes. They offer low maintenance roofing solutions, but each has its own pros and cons to consider.

Before you can compare the two, you really have to understand a little more about what they are:

EPDM: This synthetic rubber is designed specifically for roofing, and is available in both liquid and sheet form. When used as a liquid, it will dry to a semi-solid finish, offering a flexible watertight seal. EPDM sheets are dried out and cured, which offers less flexibility but a slightly sturdier finish. This material is usually black, although many liquid products dry to a white finish to offer better UV protection and other benefits.

TPO: This synthetic material is a laminated membrane that is relatively cheap. This roofing material can be attached by mechanical screws or adhesion with glue or other roofing adhesives. Details and seams can be heat welded, or they can simply be glued and sealed. This material can also be combined with fiber reinforcements for added strength, but this can also cause more rigidity, leading to difficulty with installation in some cases.

The Best RV Roof Material is Affordable

Since roofing material selection is more about personal preference, what you can afford matters. The costs involved in TPO roofing are higher because the materials are more difficult to manufacture. Additionally, TPO may require additional products like sealants and the fiber reinforcements mentioned above, so you have more to consider than just the cost of the roofing material itself.

EPDM is an economical solution, and in its liquid form it is even more affordable and easy to install. Why does ease of installation matter to cost? If the process is simple, you can replace your own RV roof and save hundreds, if not thousands, on shop or dealership labor costs.

Another factor to consider when it comes down to cost is the thickness. A thicker membrane is going to perform better and provide longer protection, so you should always choose that option if it is within your budget. After all, spending a little more on a better quality roof now, regardless of whether it is TPO or EPDM, is going to save you from more frequent repairs and replacements in the future.

Installation and Maintenance

TPO roofing typically requires hot air welding for the seams, which is a more complex process. Plus, it is going to be more expensive to install because of the need for specialty tools or a skilled welder to complete the work. On the other hand, EPDM can usually be installed even by the most average handy person. Liquid rubber EPDM products are even easier to install, making them a popular choice among DIYers for their ease of installation and lack of maintenance required.

Speaking of maintenance, this is another area where EPDM rubber roofing does the job better. Rubber roofs, when properly installed, will not require much maintenance in the early years. In fact, with regular cleaning and care, a rubber roof can last a long time with minimal or no need for repairs.

A TPO roof, on the other hand, requires regular resealing for the best protection. Like fiberglass, the seams have no other protectant or adhesive like they do on a rubber roof, and therefore rely solely on the protection of a sealant. Applying and reapplying certain products over the years may also cause unnecessary deterioration and damage.

EPDM Roof Installation Cost and Benefits

Those who are considering an EPDM roof will find that it offers a range of benefits. The traditional membranes tend to have fewer seams than other types of roofing, and when using a liquid EPDM, there are no seams at all. It is a lightweight material and it is easy to apply when compared with other options, such as asphalt. Because they are lightweight, it means that they can be installed without the need for any type of heavy machinery.

The reputation of the EPDM products is outstanding, as well. The membranes have been in use for more than 50 years in the construction field, and these high-quality sheets tend to be faster to install than other roofing methods. Additionally, they use less energy when they are created. With EPDM, you will have a roof that can last for between 20 and 30 years, making it a low-cost options. It is resistant to weathering and damage, and it works well in both high and low heat. Overall, the maintenance for these types of roofs tends to be low. This is true whether using the membranes or the liquid EPDM.

What About the EPDM Roof Installation Cost

Determining exactly how much the installation will cost can be difficult because it can vary so much based on a number of factors, such as location and the cost of labor. For the material alone, the national roofing costs are estimated to be $0.80 per square foot to $1.60 per square foot. This does not include the cost of labor. When you are trying to determine how much you will have to spend on your roof, you will want to consider the amount of square footage that you need to cover, as well as the cost of the membranes or liquid EPDM in your area. Additionally, you will want to check with several contractors who can supply the labor for the roofing.

Overall, though, it does tend to be a cheaper option than many of the other roofing alternatives out there for flat roofs. It could be a good choice for you given all of the benefits and the low cost. However, you will want to speak with contractors in your area to get full information and an estimate on what your total cost will end up being. If you talk with several contractors, you may find some small differences in the price you need to pay for your roof. Typically, they will be close to one another in cost, including labor, so choose the contractor that has the best reputation.

What’s the Cost of Not Having Quality Roofing?

There are many who worry that their EPDM roof installation costs are going to be too high, and they decide that they can wait “just a little longer” before they get new roofing. However, it is important for them to consider what could happen if they wait for too long. A leak in the roof could be more than just a little problem. If you need new roofing for your store, for example, think about how much damage rain could do to the merchandise and stock that you have. If you have a flat roof on a garage or storage shed that needs better roofing materials, consider the damage that water could do to the items that you have stored inside. The EPDM roof installation costs tend to be some of the lowest you will find for quality roofing that will keep your building safe. Spending a little now could help you to save a lot in the end.