Emergency Winter Rubber Roof Repair - how to do it yourself February 17 2015

It's not always sunny, and this winter is exceptionally snowy in New England (where we are based). In last 3-4 weeks we've had over 80" (more than 7 feet) of snow! While other places in US may have had less snow, fixing a leaking rubber roof in the winter is still a challenge. But fear not - here I will explain and walk you through the process of a successful EPDM Rubber Roof Repair in cold / winter conditions.

Before we begin, I want to explain few basics of how EPDM installation / repair works. To properly install EPDM patch, the roof surface must be completely dry! Also it is advised to install rubber roofs in ambient temperatures of 40F degrees of above. Third - before applying patch / seam tape / cover tape, you must apply EPDM primer, and let it dry, to pass the TACK AND PULL test. In cold weather, this can take an hour, and depending on temperature, the primer may not dry at all.

However, if its 10F degrees outside and your roof is leaking, you can't wait until summer - you need to fix your roof now!



To help you with winter roof leaks, we've created a few videos, that will explain step by step how to do a successful emergency winter roof repair. In reality, the winter repair is pretty much the same as other times of the year. The only difference is cold and possible snow on the roof.

To overcome cold and to speed up Primer Drying, you will need us a HEAT GUN or even a Hair Dryer if you don't have or do not want to purchase a heat gun. It will just take longer to worm up and dry the primer, but it will still work! We also recommend that you use knee pads to prevent getting your knees wet. 

Below we have a complete demonstration video on how to fix a hole in the roof. Similar application can be used on seams / overlaps, t-joins, etc.

How to fix rubber roof in the winter - step by step guide:

Step 1) Clean the snow off the roof. As mentioned above - you cannot repair the roof if there is 12" of snow on it. In fact, even it it's slightly wet, you can't apply the patch. So, use a plastic shovel (no metal tips) to get the bulk of snow off your roof.

Step 2) Use squeegee to remove all (or most) water off the roof. This will leave you with a roof surface that you can work on.

Step 3) Find all sources of leaks - it could be a seam void, or a protruding screw / nail, of a detached curb flashing. Place bright objects (such as quarters) next to all leak spots.

Step 4) Use one rag or towel, and wash the surface around each leak spot, with water. Remove all loose dirt and scrub the surface well.

Step 5) Use the HEAT GUN or HAIR DRYER to dry the surface where you will be installing the patch.

Step 6) Prepare the patch(es). If you have small holes, you can use provided 6x9" patches or cut 6x6" squares for the 10 foot roll that we include with our kit. For faster repair, prepare all the patches you will need before you begin - it will save you a lot of time. Also batch the cleaning process.

Step 7) Clean roof surface with EPDM Cleaner. Use another (dry) rag, and pour provided EPDM cleaner onto a rag, to soak it. Do not pour cleaner onto roof surface. Wipe and scrub roof surface at least 9" in each direction of the hole in the roof. The better you clean the roof surface, the better the patch will hold. Once clean, use HEAT GUN to dry cleaned surface.

Step 8) Apply EPDM Primer. Open Primer can with provided can opener tool, and using 2" brush, apply thick coat of primer onto clean roof surface, where EPDM patch will be installed. Avoid any globs or puddles. 

Make sure that primer is applied to an area that is larger that the patch by at least 2" in each direction. Thus for a 6x6" patch you need to prime an area that is 10x10" with the hole being in the center if primed area.

Step 9) Dry the primer with heat gun. Turn on your heat gun and move it approximately above the wet primer, keeping the distance of 1.5-2 inches. Do not keep the heat gun in one spot. Move it evenly to make sure you do not burn the primer, and that it is thoroughly dry.

When you feel that you've dried the primer enough, perform the TACK and PULL test - place your finger onto primer and pull it away. If primer sticks to your finger, it's not dry enough. You should be able to pull your finger off the primer, without any residue left on the finger. When that happens, you know the primer is dry.

Note: Do not install patch onto wet primer - if you do that, your patch WILL fail!

Step 10) Installing the patch. Take your patch and remove 1/2 of the release paper and fold it back. Apply center of the patch over the hole and slowly place the exposed part of the patch down, and remove all air with your fingers.

Once that is done, remove the rest of release paper, apply 2nd half of the patch down in the same manner. Once patch is in place, use the provided silicon roller to firmly roll in the patch and all edges.

(Optional) You may now apply EPDM lap caulk around the edge of the patch. I mention that this part is optional because Lap Caulk will begin to disintegrate within first year. It's not essential to the longevity of your repair, but can extend it.

Applying patch to outside corners / pipe penetrations, etc.

Follow the above steps of drying the surface with heat gun, when you wash and prime, and follow the below video guide to install EPDM patch on outside corner.

Essentially, the process is nearly identical - just take necessary steps to account for cold weather and wet roof conditions.

Buy EPDM Roof Repair Kits

We offer two types of EPDM Roof Repair Kit

PRO version for $229 which is suitable for most common repairs.

BIG BOSS version for $279, which has more 6" flashing and includes 5 feet of 12" wide flashing instead of 9" material in the PRO kit.

We provide FREE Shipping in Continental US on all orders! On average it takes 3-4+ business days from when you order to the kit to getting it delivered.