If such failures are detected during routine surveys, your options are to remove the failed material and start over or overlay the walls and curbs with plywood or OSB and reflash with new EPDM-based material. Penetrations are best treated by removing existing material and either installing premolded boots or pourable curing compounds into pitch-pockets.
Metal edgings have evolved over the years to take advantage of the unique flexibility of single-ply materials. Most edge details now show turning the flexible roof membrane down over the fascia, followed by installing a raised metal fascia cover.
The Future of EPDM
The evolution of EPDM systems with thicker membranes, internally reinforced and fleece-backed sheets, tapes replacing wet adhesives and improvements in factory seaming and Quality Control, flashing and edge details suggests that today’s systems will be even more durable then previous generations. On top of that, when replacement is ultimately necessary, recycling of non-adhered EPDM sheet material is a viable alternative to relegating the old roof to a landfill destination.
Richard (Dick) L. Fricklas was technical director emeritus of the Roofing Industry Educational Institute prior to his retirement. He is co-author of The Manual of Low Slope Roofing Systems and continues to participate in seminars for the University of Wisconsin and RCI Inc., the Institute of Roofing, Waterproofing, and Building Envelope Professionals. His honors include the William C. Cullen Award and Walter C. Voss Award from ASTM, the J. A. Piper Award from NRCA, the William C. Correll award from RCI, and the James Q. McCawley Award from the MRCA. Dick holds honorary memberships in both ASTM and RCI Inc.
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