Rubber Roof Bubbles


#1

In late October, 2005 I had a rubber roof installed on my house. From the beginning there were problems with it bubbling (lots of them). I was told that that was not a concern as water could not enter and it allowed for the roof to contract during cold weather. I have periodically taken pictures and have been in contact with my roofer regarding my concerns. Recently, the edge around the roof is coming loose and and is starting to peel off (sure wish I could show a picture!). He has has finally admitted there have been frequent problems with the glue he used.

He offered the following, "If you want to address it, in a final manner, we can explore doing a ballast roof (commercial version of a rubber roof) basically, we would have to install a new drip edge with a 1â€Â


#2

Well it seems the problem might of have been at what temperature the bonding adhesive was used. If the temperature was too cold and he did not store the bonding adhesive in warm place chances are it did not adhere properly. Its his fault for not knowing or in this case using the wrong glue. I hate to say it but he should be responsible, at least thats how the law sides with the consumer in my neck of the woods…


#3

the glue is like contact cement and should be dry to the touch when you put down the rubber…if it was wet the gases will release when it dries under the rubber and you will get bubbles.Also if he glued it to plywood and the plywood was damp you could get the same effect. If it was defective glue or whatever i think either way the roofer is responsible i would say…


#4

As others have already stated, the glue used needs to be applied under very specific conditions. If not, then bubbling happens. Chances are high that it’s the applicators fault but not seeing the job I will give him the benefit of the doubt. In any case he is probably a good guy if he’s willing to do something about it 3 years later.
I’d call the manufacturer and research the glue thing. The ballast idea isn’t terrible.


#5

I think your roofer didnt know what he was doing.

With the edge coming loose, backs that up.

Push for you money back and find someone who knows how to do EPDM. Dont throw more money for his lack of knowledge.

If the glue was bad, its not your fault and the roofer should have some recourse with the glue mauf.


#6

The glue probably wasn’t bad, it was either rolled in while still wet and it never stuck or it is a water based bonding adhesive and the condensation from under the roofing is eating away at the glue.

The edge failure concerns me, he probably didn’t clean the edge good or more likely he used a bonding glue instead of a seam glue. or could be that he never used a primer when he layed out the pressure sensetive gravel stop flashing.


#7

We had a rubber roof applied today. OSB underlayment was topped with ‘brownboard’ and then contact cement was rolled on top, pretty heavily.
I don’t know how long they let the contact cement dry, (if at all) but the rubber is bubbling all over quite a bit. They said it would flatten out in a few days, and he’d come back and check on it in a week. He has done this before, and likes this kind of glue for this procedure.

Is there always some bubbling the same day of an application?
Or should he have waited longer until the contact cement had set up a bit more? What should we expect?

Today it was 65 degrees out, and the deck is on the east side of the house, only gets morning sun.

Thanks for info -

T. in Wisconsin


#8

[quote=“tgf40”]We had a rubber roof applied today. OSB underlayment was topped with ‘brownboard’ and then contact cement was rolled on top, pretty heavily.
I don’t know how long they let the contact cement dry, (if at all) but the rubber is bubbling all over quite a bit. They said it would flatten out in a few days, and he’d come back and check on it in a week. He has done this before, and likes this kind of glue for this procedure.

Is there always some bubbling the same day of an application?
Or should he have waited longer until the contact cement had set up a bit more? What should we expect?

Today it was 65 degrees out, and the deck is on the east side of the house, only gets morning sun.

Thanks for info -

T. in Wisconsin[/quote]

Bubbling is not normal, either the glue didn’t flash off completely or there is moisture trapped under the membrane.
Unfortunately it is not something that can be easily fixed…
The bubbles may lay down over time, but it is not bonded correctly.


#9

[quote="-Axiom-"]

Bubbling is not normal, either the glue didn’t flash off completely or there is moisture trapped under the membrane.
Unfortunately it is not something that can be easily fixed…
The bubbles may lay down over time, but it is not bonded correctly.[/quote]

So removing the bubbly rubber layer and redoing it is not easy to do?

I guess the rubber membrane will be tightly bonded in some spots.
If the membrane comes off then there will be a lot of glue residue?
What if the underlayment (they called it brownboard), (fastened with
thin metal disks) were also removed?

These guys clearly didn’t know what they were doing, but are being nice about it and seem to want to make it right - (and get paid - we’re holding the final payment). But I’m not sure I trust them to try and solve this. We did check their references and they looked good.

I found these instructions to give me a guide as to what should have happened.
flatroofsolutions.com/installation.html

The contact cement was yellow, not white, and I’m not sure they cleaned the underside of the membrane.

Anyone know any reputable rubber roofers who could take a look (90 min east of Minneapolis) and advise us?

The right side of the roof is way more bubbly than the left side of the roof… left side is almost acceptable (?) Right side is nothing short of awful. These photos were taken the day after the installation. It’s not much different now (4 days after installation)


#10

That glue was definately not dry when they put it down. Thats pretty bad. If they rip up the Epdm they may damage the “brownboard” underneathe in the spots where it did actually stick. i think you should be alright though if they rip up the epdm clean the deck good then prime it and reglue down the epdm. they need to wait for the glue to dry no matter how long it takes. when they put down the new rubber they should lightly take a broom over the surface of the rubber to get an initial stick. then they should use hand rollers to get out any wrinkles or small bubbles. Good luck. At least they seem willing to make things right.


#11

I cant remember ever seeing a sheet of epdm that looked that bad. I dont believe that the guy who did that could redo it much better on the second try.


#12

Thanks Justin,

I need to make sure I understand what you’re suggesting-

So they should rip up the epdm carefully,
then you suggest they reglue down the same piece?

Clean the deck good with what,
and prime it with what?
Remove glue residue? What do you mean by ‘clean good’?
What is the primer for? Will contact cement stick to itself?

Then put contact cement over that again, and on the back side of
the old membrane again?

Or should we use a new piece of epdm?
And a new edge piece (whatever that’s called?)

T.


#13

That is pretty bad…
If they take off the rubber they are going to take the surface off of the high density wood fiber board that they tried to glue it to.
They can’t re-glue to that…
The brown board (high density wood fiber) will need to be replaced also.

Maybe they didn’t let the membrane relax long enough.

The whole thing just needs to be redone by someone who knows what they are doing…


#14

Ditto Axiom,replace the works.


#15

From what i see in your pictures, bad job. Even the section that looks better has problems. What kind of labor warranty did you get from them? No matter, they should pay to have it redone properly, Is this a residential roof? it appears to have gravel stop installed at the perimeter? (from detail in pictures)

A residential roof does not use gravel stop, or gravel as ballast (to hold the rubber down), Typically they should be fully adhered and have perimeter drip edge with membrane flashing tape .( I don’t see this either)

I would get other quotes from someone that knows what they are doing and Take action on the other roofer.

The workmanship is an issue! Get your money back from them one way or another.


#16

Thanks for all the responses to ICMA’s problem. My roof is similar to tgf40’s (I still can’t figure out how to get images in here!). Mine isn’t quite as bad but frustrating nevertheless. It has not gotten better! Only worse, especially at the edges which I think ice this winter caused it to begin pulling back. How do I deal with my roofer…who up to now has been very good at getting back to me. I don’t want him to disappear. I think my roof can do shingles…any thoughts on that? Can they shingle over my rubber or does it all need to be pulled up and torn off? I just don’t like that ballast idea which he says he’ll do the labor for free but I’d pay materials.


#17

Hello,
You can not put shingles on a Flat Roof (a roof in which the pitch is lower than a 3/12.) is considered flat.

See what the original roofer is willing to do to correct the problem, what original workmanship warranty was given, the go from there. Never the less it was not done properly in the first place.

I would not put a ballast(rock) roof system on a residential roof. It could be a weight issue. Ballast is normally meant for commercial applications.

N.Carolina


#18

Plus you don’t want fasteners under the epdm when its ballasted. They will wear through. It would need a slip sheet. Remove epdm and insulation and replace properly is the only option I see.


#19

Thanks for all your responses, and sorry ICMA to hijack your thread, but it sounds like we have the same trouble. We have an appointment to meet with another roofer tomorrow morning.

Here are some more photos showing what it looks like today (5 days after installation) and also to show some more detail. Some of the bubbles have relaxed very slightly, but there really isn’t a significant change.

There is a drip edge installed. The edge band looks like it is made of the same material as the rest of the roof, see photo, and they applied something that was peel and stick, that might have been this edge band,
I wasn’t paying close attention. I’m not sure what a gravel edge looks like but does this help you see what’s going on Awargoddess?

Thanks again for all your advice!! I’ll keep you posted.

So far the first company has $475 of ours, but they did a fine job
with demolition of the old roof (rotten decking that was nailed and screwed on), hauling it away, and replacing decking with new TG OSB. Is that a fair price for that part of the job, including the OSB? It seems like it is in the right general ballpark… They’d have to eat the cost of the brownboard, glue and rubber membrane, plus their labor for the second day. We called them to let them know about the problem on Saturday, and talked to them again yesterday, but it’s strange that they haven’t yet come by to take a look. Or maybe they have when we weren’t home?
I’ll see what the new guy says tomorrow.

Anyway, here are today’s photos:

Right side

Left side

edge detail

drip edge

wrinkly right side edge detail


#20

It doesn’t look too much better today.

Sorry…

The second picture looks marginally passable, the 3rd & 4th look good.
The wrinkle/bubbles don’t look so good…