EPDM fastners concerns

I’ve been looking at EPDM roofs for 26 years, and the OP’s photo looks pretty much exactly like the Firestone flashing illustration. In both the rake (lower edge in the photo) and gutter (to the right in the photo) locations. Water flows to the right in the photo you posted.

That perimeter strip is the standard 5 inch adhesive seam strip that all of the EPDM manufacturers sell. That doesn’t look to me like an old membrane. Looks to me like the typical top seam strip you see along edges with flashing. I think maybe the black edge caulking is throwing you off. In other words, the main field of roof membrane isn’t cut short and laying over an older membrane at the edges.

And there very well could be older roofing under the insulation boards.

1 Like

Got it. Thank you.

Thank you. Noted.

This brings up roof age does it not?
I always refer to my clients to get the age of the roof form the vender if/when possible. As well any maintenance records.

As well, to me it appears the tentest organic mulch board insulation or other organic mulch board under the membrane is swollen. It has been saturated. The section to the left is bumpy. You can see a tentest mulch-board insulation seam line. The right side is smooth. It certainly is not smooth from my visual perspective on the left side.
Non-destructive testing using thermography or a non-penetrating moisture meter may be able to confirm that condition on the smooth side to the left of the yellow arrows. I am pretty sure a level 2 or 3 thermographer would spot gravel as well. Just by walking on the smooth surface you would feel the difference under foot. Your weight would notice a spongy feel as you walked.

epdm roof illustration 2 suspect condition. illustration
epdm roof illustration 3 suspect condition. illustration

1 Like

I agree with Simon… …

Well, I am basing my replies relative to Home Inspector responsibilities to the client, not a thermography assessment. No where in my State Rules does it discuss age of anything being relative to needed replacement/repair (as I posted above). You are allowed to throw anything in you so desire, so long as your right. For me, the condition of the roof has to be significantly deteriorated to comment in the report.

(12) Roof Coverings.
(a) The home inspector shall inspect:

  1. Roof coverings;
  2. Roof drainage systems;
  3. Flashings;
  4. Skylights, chimneys, and roof penetrations; and
  5. Signs of leaks or abnormal condensation on building components.
    (b) The home inspector shall:
  6. Describe the type of roof covering materials; and
  7. Report the methods used to inspect the roofing.
    (c) The home inspector is not required to:
  8. Walk on the roofing; or
  9. Inspect attached accessories including solar systems, antennae, and lightning

Are you seeing anything to indicate this is result of current active water infiltration?

What happened to the roof in the past or it’s condition below really has no bearing if you don’t see an active breach of the membrane. These roofs are like a big prophylactic over the roof.

It’s nice to be as thorough in your inspections as possible, but adding stuff into a Real Estate transaction can get overwhelming to the client. It’s easy to knock them off the fence which goes bad for everyone involved, including the inspector.The only way to get an accurate perspective of this roof is:

If the client specifically has issues with the roof, this is their option. Add it on.

1 Like

So water seeping out of a breech would be a positive conclusion water infiltered the roof system.

Thanks for the thermogram in gray scale.
David, would you ever use reversed gray scale palette to hide glare or reflectance from galvanized steel?

No, a palette can not hide a reflection.

This is a stitched composite of over a hundred scans. It is no longer radiometric.

Gentlemen…this is one of the more interesting threads in quite a while. I learned a lot. Thanks.


Here is another scenario about calling out a roof that is working correctly (maybe I should start a new thread?). The roof has 2 layers of asphalt and then a layer of corrugated metal- installed correctly. Roof is at least 15 years old- no signs of leaks currently nor stains suggesting otherwise. Besides not being able to verify the fasteners are long enough to penetrate into the roof sheathing and a few small knick-knack things, I do not see an issue with the roof. Would one call this a defect? Everything I read says no more than 2 layers of asphalt, nothing about metal above the 2 layers. I personally do not like multiple layers of roofing. I am suggesting to have a roofer further review and verify length of fastners are sufficient (no signs of fastners on underside of roof sheathing.

Interesting there are no fasteners penetating the sheathing from the first two layers of asphalt shingles either. So does that mean the entire roofing system has been failing since it was first applied??

Sorry, I should have stated that there were no screws (the corrugated metal had gasketed screws) Old nails were present everywhere. Old 1850’s house btw.

So, what did the actual “sheathing” consist of?
I would expect to see ‘planks’ as the first layer, with an overlay of ply or osb when the second layer of shingles was added. Being as the metal uses ‘screws’ I wouldn’t be concerned they don’t penetrate, as the treads will grip the wood assuming it’s not osb. Sure would be nce to know the actual length of those screws to better understand the situation.

Planks- yes, more like solid wood boards. OSB-no, shingles above shingles, then what may be a strapping layer but can not confirm due to drip edge blocking that layer, one section I can see a hint of wood that may be used as strapping for the metal layer.

Yes, that’s active KnT

FYI… I used the term ‘planks’ vs ‘boards’ as in the 1850’s, they commonly may have been rough hewn ‘planks’ and not mill finished ‘boards’, otherwise no real difference.
Remember, (especially back then) it’s all about the $$$$. Roof framing didnt need to be ‘pretty’, just strong!