Safety Tips when Installing an EPDM Roof

February 12, 2021 | General
Safety Tips when Installing an EPDM Roof

EPDM roofs are becoming increasingly popular, not only due to their ease of application process, but because of their longevity and performance. At Avenir, we provide video tutorials and step by steps on how to apply a EPDM roof. It is important that health and safety tips are kept in mind at all times. EPDM roofs take specific tools as well as patience and perseverance to install and ensure the high quality of the roof. Before running through the installation process, this blog post contains suggestions and tips that you can use when completing the installation of an EPDM roof.

Read the product packaging carefully

Although this may seem incredibly obvious, it is easy to overlook some important details in instruction manuals and technical information. Working with adhesives, primers and strong chemicals, you need to ensure you are fully clued up on the process of installation, and any health and safety risks. These can be flammable or pose health hazards so following the instructions and information carefully is highly important throughout the installation process.

For example, when using flammable products, avoid smoking and exposed flames. If this is the case for your materials, it is important to familiarise yourself with any symbols on the packaging that may represent these risks.

Clothing and protection

It is important to ensure you are wearing appropriate clothing when installing an EPDM roof. Key items of protective clothing may include; safety glasses/goggles, well gripping shoes, chemical resistant gloves, and protective and tough clothing. Although you may think to throw on some old loose fitting clothing, this is actually probably one of the most dangerous mistakes builders and tradesmen make when installing roofs. Baggy clothing can in fact very easily get caught under or on surfaces, caught on tools or climbing up into high surfaces like the roof. All of these risks can cause serious injury so it is important to wear clothing that has a good balance of both comfort and moveability, without compromising on your safety.

Breathing and ventilation are also a huge safety risk when dealing with chemicals and fumes. Adhesives contain strong chemicals that can be damaging to your health if not used with precaution. These chemicals help the rubber bond, and therefore are usually the most damaging to air quality and ventilation. If you start to feel dizzy, throat or eye irritation, or become lightheaded, take a break and get some fresh air away from the chemicals.

Be careful working at height

Although the roof you will be working on and planning to install will be a flat roof, there are still dangers from working at heights, even on flat surfaces. Make sure all surfaces you need to move around are void of any clutter or equipment that may cause you to trip and fall. It has been estimated in the past that the majority of injuries are caused by falls, rather than any other risk that comes with working on a roof.

Don’t work alone

This is probably one of the most fundamental pieces of advice we always give to anyone undertaking a high risk project. Even if the other person or people are not directly working on the installation, it is important to have a team around to support you, especially if you are to encounter any trouble with either an installation project or injury. 2 sets of hands are far better than one when overcoming any obstacles that may occur.

The Installation process of EPDM roofs

The first step of the installation process is making sure your roof’s surface is clean and tidy. This not only prevents any lumps, but ensures the glue sticks to the entirety of the surface.

It is then time to position the EPDM membrane on the area you wish to cover. It is advised that once rolled out and placed in the desired position, leave the material for 20-30 minutes to allow for any creasing or folds to smooth out.

Water-based adhesive needs to then be applied to the decking whilst half of the membrane is pulled back. Take note that it has to be above 5 degrees to use water based adhesive both during and following installation for 48hrs. Apply water based adhesive to the deck with a roller then roll out the membrane from the middle outwards to avoid wrinkles

Whilst drying, avoid dragging your feet or placing any heavy objects on the roof.

For more in depth information regarding everything EPDM including the installation process, check out our blog here.

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