New rubber roof over old?

Hello all, new member here…

I am looking for a little advice and expertise on a flat rubber roof that is starting to show some signs of wear and minor leaks. The roof is probably about 20 years old, and I realize its probably about time to get it replaced. Here are some photos I just took:

I don’t know much about these flat roofs, but have learned that most installations use insulation board between the plywood roof deck and the rubber roof membrane. When this building was built, the rubber roof was applied directly onto the plywood.

What makes the most sense as far as applying a new roof surface? Is rolled rubber the best economical choice? Also, is it possible to install the insulation board on top of the old roofing membrane without tearing the old roof out?

Please help! :smiley:

Have you called a local roofer to see if it can be repaired?
It looks repairable from the pictures, it just depends on how much of the insulation is wet.


Repair the roof.

Just make sure you have someone who knows what they are doing. Just because they said so does not mean they know anything.

Details need first attention in a rubber roof. Seams, corners, penetrations. Twenty nine years on rubber roof above my head as I type this. I’ve had to redo a few flashings but rubber is still in good shape

If your existing is glued directly to plywood, you should be able to fasten recover board over it. Get a quote to repair details vs. new roof and weigh the difference.

Might want to consider walkway pads to rooftop units.

Did the leaks began after the new shingle roof?

If it was applied straight to the deck, you will not get it off. I would look at repairing, especially if it happen to be .060. I agree, seams would be my first check for repairs, caulking, then check for any bridging that looks like it could cause a problem.

Thank you everyone.

After your replies, my father and I decided to do some inspections; found some trouble spots and started some repairs.

Today we installed about 180 ft of 12" Mule Hide Cover Tape. The plan is to cover all the existing 6" seams. We also found a nail pop that had punctured the membrane that was a definite source of one of the leaks. We are working it up the vertical perimeter wall (I am sure there is a much more proper roofing word to describe it, but I’m new to this :wink: ) as well as this was showing some signs of age.

selfemployedslave - thanks for the recommendation on the walkway pads; something we hadn’t thought about before. There is an emergency only (hopefully they use it that way) exit down a flight of stairs for safety reasons. Any suggestions on where we can pick these up, or particular brands?

Also, we had noticed some soft areas that we were thinking it would be nice to mark with some type of paint or marker to avoid stepping on them in the future. I am afraid of solvents in some paints harming the roofing surface, is there anything designed for this purpose? Or any rubber friendly marker we could use?

Thanks again!

Should be able to pick them (walk way pads) up were you got the mule hide cover tape. I’m assuming you got the tape from ABC Supply. Pads are not cheap.

Especially if this is a rental unit, I’d want to address the soft areas with more than just paint. Soft areas typically indicate a leak. You can replace soft plywood and patch rubber. If you decide to just mark it, there are hypalon paints for rubber. However, I think you’d be ok to use an orange marking paint as long as you don’t apply to much at one time. Do it when conditions will allow it to flash quickly. Even primer used to clean rubber will damage it if it’s applied too heavy and not allowed to flash.