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What Type of Adhesive Can Be Used in EPDM Roofing?

Jared Lewis

Ethylene propylene diene monomer, or EPDM, roofing provides a protective layer for metal roofs that can help waterproof and preserve the roof from the elements. Sometimes referred to as "rubber roofing," this synthetic rubber material is used in a variety of settings, including those of both a residential and commercial variety. It also serves as a sealant in other applications such as decks, pond liners and even recreational vehicles. Adhesives used with EPDM roofing need to be adherent to the chemical makeup of this coating material.

Purpose and Preparation

Roofs coated with EPDM are protected from water and the other elements.

The purpose of applying an adhesive to EPDM roofing is that it is not a self-adhesive material that will stick to the roof or other surface Instead, the EPDM roofing needs a bonding agent that cause it to adhere to the metal roof. The metal roof needs to be properly cleaned and prepared for the application of the EPDM roofing material and the adhesive. All roof decking must be securely fashioned and all rust, debris and other materials must be removed from the roof. It should also be dry by the time of application.


The adhesives used for EPDM roofing vary, but mainly by brand name. Most adhesives used in EPDM bonding are latex- or water-based adhesives. These adhesives must be applied when the exterior temperature is at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The bonding adhesive must be store in a location where the temperature can be maintained at between 50 and 70 degrees. Immediately following the application of the adhesive, the exterior temperature needs to remain above the 50 degree mark for proper bonding to occur. Do not apply the adhesive when temperatures are expected to drop.


When the temperature is optimal and the surface has been prepared, the latex adhesive can be applied. The adhesive is applied with a standard paint roller and is applied to both the surface of the roof decking and to the back of the EPDM membrane. The membrane can be rolled out for this purpose. The EPDM membrane's seams are sealed at a later time, so the adhesive is not applied to these areas. The membrane is not put into place until the adhesive becomes sticky to the touch.

Other Adhesives

Some adhesives used with EPDM roofing are solvent based. Neoprene adhesives can be used in colder conditions. These bonding agents are used in temperatures above 40 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature must remain above 40 degrees for at least 24 hours for this type of adhesive to be effective.