How to Glue a Rubber Membrane on a Wood Deck


Using a rubber membrane on a wood deck is a good way to create a waterproof surface that can be further improved upon. This is generally useful when you intend to have something under the decking in need of protection, such as another room when building a roof deck. Rubber membranes are primarily used as an undercoating, protection that is laid down before a final layer of tiles or planks. It can also be used on an existing deck prior to the application of a new deck surface such as tiles. Gluing the rubber membrane to the deck can be done by just about anyone if you carefully follow the installation procedure.

Step 1

Prepare the wood deck by thoroughly cleaning it. Sweep the surface of the deck, removing any loose dirt or debris, then wash it using a mild detergent to clean any ingrained dirt. Rinse with clean water in order to remove any residue from the cleanser.

Step 2

Inspect the deck for any damage. If there are split or rotted boards present, replace them immediately, sealing the new wood boards and allowing the sealant to completely dry.

Step 3

Roll the rubber membrane onto the deck. Place the sheets of rubber with the seams overlapping by 4 inches and the outer edges overhanging the edges of the deck by 3 inches. Use a utility knife to make cutouts of the material where necessary for fitting around objects protruding from the deck.

Step 4

Pull back a sheet of membrane from the deck surface, folding it over onto the other half and exposing the deck. Apply a thick layer of adhesive onto the deck using a 1/2 inch nap roller on an extension pole. Allow the glue to set for three minutes and then place the membrane back onto the deck. Use a push broom driven along the surface of the rubber to push out any bubbles or wrinkles in the membrane.

Step 5

Raise the second half of the membrane sheet and repeat the gluing process, making sure the entire surface of the deck beneath the full sheet has been layered with the adhesive.

Step 6

Repeat the process for the remaining sheets of rubber membrane.

Step 7

Seal the overlapping seams with soft paper-backed adhesive tape. Mark a line using chalk one inch past the seam edge onto the overlapped membrane, then pull back the overlapping membrane. Apply a layer of seam primer to the overlapping surfaces of both rubber membranes and allow the primer to dry.

Step 8

Place the seam tape onto the bottom sheet of the overlap, with the edge of the tape following your chalked line. Set the tape by rolling over it with a seam roller. Fold the top membrane over the tape. Remove the paper backing on the tape, pressing onto the overlapping membrane to form the seam. Set the seam by rolling over it with the seam roller.

Step 9

Place a line of caulking between the membrane and any adjoining walls, then place a termination bar along the edge of the sheet. The termination bar is a metal strip which edges the rubber membrane. Screw the termination bar to the wall, then cut any excess membrane above the bar with the utility knife. Place another line of caulking between the termination bar and the wall at the top of the bar.

Step 10

Overlap the edges of the membrane over the edges of the deck and glue them into place using the adhesive on the deck edge. Place a termination bar over the edges, applying the caulk as with the wall placements. Trim off the excess membrane.

Tips and Warnings

  • Once placed onto the adhesive, the rubber membrane will be slippery until the glue sets, so when walking on it to broom the surface, take care not to move the membrane out of position.

Things You'll Need

  • Stiff bristle push broom
  • Detergent
  • Water
  • WPDM rubber membrane
  • Utility knife
  • Latex bonding adhesive
  • Termination bar
  • Screws


  • Bob Roof Deck Construction
  • Handyman Club of America: Laying Rubber

Who Can Help

  • Firestone: Firestone RubberGard. The EPDM Reference
Keywords: building wood decks, deck waterproofing, building roof decks

About this Author

Larry Simmons is a freelance writer and expert in the fusion of computer technology and business. He has a B.S. in economics, an M.S. in information systems, an M.S. in communications technology, as well as significant work towards an M.B.A. in finance. He's published several hundred articles with Demand Studios.

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