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How to Install a Rubber Roof Yourself How to Install a Rubber Roof Yourself

What’s in this guide?

In this brief guide, we will introduce you to the EPDM flat roofing system and cover the basics of installing this type of system yourself. Before you begin, the entire surface area must be adequately and correctly prepared. Please see the full application guide for further details. A comprehensive application guide is available to download on the resources page, in addition to individual tutorials to cover each stage of the application process in greater detail.

Let’s go…

How to Install a Rubber Roof Yourself

DIY is a very personal thing. Some people are more than happy to get a professional to do the job for them.  But there are also some people who love to be able to tackle projects themselves and gain the satisfaction of knowing that they have managed to do it DIY-fashion.  When it comes to DIY home improvements, there are some projects that are easier than others and for those who love a challenge, a project to install a rubber roof is historically up there with the biggest of them.

We’re here to let you know that EPDM rubber roofing is fast and easy to apply, and we have the resources to help you, including video tutorials, downloadable installation guides and industry-leading training. If you don’t prepare the roof deck correctly, or follow installation instructions carefully, rubber roofing can (and will) end up failing. When you’ve made the financial and time investment to get the job done, you want to make sure it is going to pay off.

The biggest factor to DIY rubber roofing success lies in the preparation stages, and these cannot be overlooked. If you begin your rubber roof installation and feel unsure about what you are doing – stop. Permaroof can help you find a reliable, qualified and experienced EPDM installer to finish the job.  Find out more here.

Install a rubber roof the DIY way

Clean the area first. You may not realise it, but when it comes to applying a rubber roof, one of the worst things that you can do is to try to install it on a roof deck that is dirty and dusty.  There are two reasons for this.  The first is that if you adhere the membrane to a dirty roof, you are likely to end up with a bumpy mess that you will want to do again. 

Secondly, the adhesive that is used in rubber roofing isn’t going to adhere reliably if the surface isn’t clean and clear of dust or debris.  Cleaning your roof need not be tricky, all you need to do is give it a good brush down with a soft household brush that should remove enough of the dust to create the ideal surface to work with. Also remove oil or grease spots.

Let your rubber roof rest before you install

Once you have cleaned the roof ready for the membrane to be applied, get out your brand-new roof and let it rest.  When the membrane is transported, it can become wrinkled, it can also contract or expand during the shipping process too. By allowing it some time to rest, you will be able to apply a smooth and wrinkle free roof with ease. 

How to Install a Rubber Roof Yourself Time to apply your glue

When you are fitting an EPDM roof, you need to make sure that it is glued down properly.  During the membrane application process, you will need to apply two different types of adhesive. The first is a water-based adhesive. Use Permaroof deck adhesive for the best results.

Buy it online here

To apply this, you need to fold back one half of the membrane, before applying the glue to the roof decking.  Do this with a 9” roller, as this will make sure that the glue is evenly spread and it won’t have any lumps that will be visible underneath the membrane, once it has dried. Once the water-based adhesive has been applied, Use contact adhesive at the edges. This is much stronger than the water based adhesive and needs to be applied to the edges of the roof.

The contact adhesive will dry much more quickly than the water-based adhesive and should be applied to the roof deck and the membrane too. If you’ve purchased a flat roof kit, you will have everything you need in the right quantities.


Buy flat roof kits here

If you’ve got the adhesive right, and the preparation from the start, rolling the membrane onto the roof deck is the easy part. Make sure it is laid evenly and double-check you don’t have air bubbles trapped underneath. You may worry that to install a rubber roof, you’re going to find it difficult, but in actual fact, it can be quite easy to do.  Think about the process, buy the right materials and make sure that you have everything that you need and in no time at all you will have a beautiful rubber roof, that you installed yourself.

Permaroof UK Ltd offers industry-leading EPDM application training courses for trade flat roofers and homeowners at our purpose-built training centre located at our headquarters in Derby.


Download this guide in PDF