How to Install an EPDM Rubber Roof

Installing EPDM rubber roofing on your house is one of the only ways to protect low slope roof areas from leaks that does not involve highly specialized equipment or the use of open flame on wooden roof decking.

Ethylene propylene diene m-class rubber roofing comes in large rolls that are fastened to the roof substrate by use of an adhesive, not nails. This lack of penetrations is what makes EPDM a good choice, as there are no nail holes for standing water to penetrate.

Clean the roof surface of all shingle debris and nails. Re-fasten any loose roof boards.

Fill any gaps larger than 1/4 inch with wooden strips. The EPDM cannot span gaps of more than 1/4" without risk of failure.

Start at the bottom of the roof and roll out the EPDM from one side of the roof to the other and let it sit for 30 minutes. Fold bottom half of the membrane onto the top half and use a broom to sweep the exposed roof deck and EPDM membrane.

Apply the adhesive to both the exposed roof deck and the EPDM membrane using a roller. Slowly fold the EPDM roofing membrane back into place. To ensure a good bond, use a stiff bristled push broom and force the membrane into contact with the roof deck. Repeat the process on the other half of the EPDM membrane.

Roll out the next piece of membrane, allowing a six inch overlap on the piece below it. This overlap is crucial to allow proper adhesion between the two pieces and to allow the water to flow from the upper part of the roof down to the roof edge.

Adhere this section in the same manner as the first section. Continue adding sections until you have covered your roof.

Things You Will Need

  • Roller
  • Push Broom


  • Install the EPDM roof when no rain is predicted for three days, as the adhesive needs to cure for 48 hours before it is totally waterproof.

About the Author

Vance Holloman is a residential contractor and freelance writer living in Atlanta. Much of his writing centers on the expertise he has gained from two decades in the construction industry. His work has appeared in newspapers, magazines and numerous online sites, including and "Auburn Plainsman." Holloman has a Master's degree in business from the University of Maryland.