After working on this roof, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s really not that hard to work with EPDM. You have to use the proper materials and pay attention to detail, and preferably work with another person (I’ll say why in a minute) to get to a good result. If you want a low-slope roof and fear water intrusion, it’s a good choice. It is very tolerant of temperature extremes. It’s flexible and of course that’s a great quality in a moving home. It should last for years – up to 50 in some installations! That’s one of the reasons why you’ll find it in commercial buildings – they don’t want to be replacing the roof every few years. It’s easy to repair if it gets a tear for some reason (generally due to improper installation, from what I’ve read). It works for green roofs, walkable decks, ballast (gravel) applications and fully adhered – like mine is, and on any slope, even super steep ones.
So why do you want a helper? It worried me to see that in every installation instruction I found, two people were shown working together, and I hoped I’d be able to do it well by myself. Now that I’ve got it half done, I know why! First off, the stuff is heavy at 2 pounds per square foot. Due to it being floppy, it feels heavier. Of course, I have the strength of a baby bird these days…. It’s easier to keep all wrinkles, creases and bubbles out with two people working at either edge, and those are the bane of rubber. Well, those and inadequate sealing at the edges. Adhering goes MUCH faster with two people, as you can do half the roof at a time, keeping the total time spent under 3 hours. Alone, it took me 6 hours to get half the roof done yesterday. You have to put glue on both the roof decking and on the EPDM, then wait for it to “flash off” (get to a nearly dry state), before carefully stretching the rubber and laying it down perfectly smooth and then smooshing it down very firmly with a push broom. Flashing off takes up to an hour. Since I can only handle a small section at a time, you see how it takes lots more time doing it alone.
It’s fun though! I’m having a blast messing with the glue – for some reason it’s like playing to me :). I get to work and stop (and read) to wait for the glue to be ready, work and stop, work and stop – and I don’t feel lazy because taking periodic breaks are a required part of the process!