A flat roof can add a unique look to your home, but if it’s not installed correctly or has been exposed to years’ worth of heat, snow and weather, it can start to leak in rain or snow. How can you fix this? By installing a roof membrane! It might sound like something grotesquely organic, but if you’re handy and don’t have any problems climbing a ladder, you can install one yourself.
Flat roofs might seem pretty straightforward, but there are actually three different types of flat roofs that might be installed on your home. Each type needs a different kind of roof membrane.
Built-up roofs, since they don’t provide a smooth surface, can make installing a new roof membrane tricky. The roof membrane adhesive may not stick well enough to create a waterproof seal.
Now that you know what kind of roof you’re working with, it’s time to get to work. Make sure you’re keeping safety in mind — no one wants to fall off the roof, after all — and that you’ve got everything you need to get started.
You can’t expect sticky stuff to stick to a dirty roof — it’ll stick to the dirt instead and you’ll be stuck with a bunch of useless roof membrane. If you’ve got a gravel roof, there’s no way to clean that down to a smooth surface, so you’ll need to lay down some thin plywood first.
You know the old saying measure twice, cut once? That goes double for installing a roof membrane. Measure your entire roof and make sure your measurements are as accurate as possible.
Now that you know how big your roof is, you need to cut the rubber to fit. Don’t do this on the roof — you’ll end up cutting it too short and having to start over. Don’t be afraid to cut it a little too long, though. A quick trim will make it fit perfectly.
This isn’t as easy as opening a bottle of Elmer’s Glue, after all. Read the directions, then read them again. Mix the glue according to those directions. Then lay down the glue on both the roof and the rubber — waiting until it becomes slightly tacky before pressing the two pieces together.
The last step is to lay the rubber down. Once it’s down, use a roller to push out any air bubbles, and cover any seams between the rubber pieces with seam tape to ensure a perfect waterproof seal.
Now that you know how to install a room membrane, why should you bother climbing up on the roof and installing it? The benefits of installing a roof membrane include:
A leaky roof is the probably the worst thing ever, especially if it happens in winter or the middle of the stormy season when it’s likely to do the most damage to your house. A roof membrane can help protect not only your roof, but also your home and your investment, for a fraction of the cost of replacing the entire roof. Take some time to learn how to install a roof membrane and you won’t regret it.