Can EPDM be Installed in Cold Weather?

Nov 11, 2020 Off Comments in News by

As the weather turns, we’re often asked, can EPDM be installed in cold weather?

The simple answer is yes, EPDM can be installed in cold weather, depending on the conditions and provided the necessary procedures are followed, as set out below.

You should be aware that cold-weather installations can be challenging and may require extra time and labour. In addition, contractors should take particular care to consider the risk of adverse weather conditions in colder weather. The HSE guide HSG33 Health and Safety in Roof Work provides advice on anticipating adverse weather conditions, including wind, rain, ice and snow and how to take appropriate precautions.

Here are our winter storage and installation tips for our RubberBond EPDM Systems. This advice will help your winter projects run more smoothly.

EPDM tips for cold weather installation

Membrane Preparation and Installation

Allow membranes to relax for at least 30 minutes before installing.

In cold weather, install the membrane as soon as the adhesive is ready. Water Based Adhesives will require no delay.  PU and Bonding adhesives must pass the tack test as usual. Immediately after setting the sheet, consolidate the bond with a broom, roller or squeegee. Heat Factory Applied Tape with an electric hot air gun prior to application.

Adhesive Storage and Care in Cold Weather

Keep your adhesives warm prior to and during application. WBA (Water Based Adhesive) should not be used when temperatures may drop below 5°C in the 24hrs following application or freezing may occur causing bond failures. Storing canister adhesives (SPB & MCPU) outside overnight in cold temperatures can cause the canister to lose pressure and become challenging to apply. All Flex-R adhesives cure better when applied warm.

Adhesive Application in Cold Weather

When applying adhesives in cold weather, avoid puddles and globs, and re-roll any wet areas to break the skin and allow solvents to flash off. Shaded roof areas take longer to flash off than sunny areas.

Use the “tack test” to ensure that solvents have flashed off and the adhesive is still tacky. Adhesive should be tacky, but not stick to, or string when pressed with a gloved finger. If the adhesive is not tacky, it has over-dried and must be re-applied at the published coverage rate.

Certain ambient conditions may result in condensation forming over adhesive. HP-250 primer and SPB Adhesives are the most likely to be affected. Avoid mating surfaces together when surface condensation has occurred, as this will prevent proper adhesion. A cold air blower will help the condensation evaporate.

Pressure-Sensitive Elastoform Products (Uncured Tapes)

Store Cool; Install Warm

Heat exposure is what causes Pressure-Sensitive Elastoform Flashing (PSEF) to cure on the roof after installation, so storing all your PSEF in a cool place will maximise its shelf life.

To make your PSEF easy to work with, use an electric heat gun to warm the flashing prior to installation in colder weather. Rule of thumb; store cool and install warm.

PSEF Installation in cold weather

When forming corners, the PSEF stretches and forms better when the elongated diamond pattern is installed parallel to the deck membrane. Additionally, it helps to use the poly film as a separator when folding the corner in half to prevent the exposed tape edges from sticking to each other.

Further video guides can be seen on the RubberBond YouTube channel.

Pourable Sealer and Pipe Box Pockets

Pipe Box Pockets allow awkward details such as pipes against to walls, to be weathered securely. However, it is very important to prime everything inside the pocket. Primer is necessary to achieve a long-term bond between Pourable Sealer, Pocket and penetration. If separation is present, it’s likely that primer application was missed. It is also important and necessary to thoroughly clean penetrations prior to filling the pockets with pourable sealer.

Watch the RubberBond Video on how to install a Pipe Box Pocket:

Lap Sealant

All PSEF requires Lap Sealant to be applied and feathered over the entire edge where water may sit against it. Lap Sealant should be applied on the same day following installation. Applying as a matter of course prevents costly call backs.

More information

We hope this article has been useful, but should you have any questions please contact your Regional Technical Support or Area Manager, or drop us a line.