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How To Tar A Flat Roof

Flat Roof Leaking Causes

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There are a number of reasons why your roof may spring a leak or other roof damage may occur.

Natural disasters like hail storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, electrical storms, floods, wind damage storms, and related severe weather often damage commercial roofing.

If you experience one of these natural disasters, inspecting your roof and assessing any damage is something that you should prioritize during the aftermath, even if you do not notice any leaks right away.

Reasons To Install A Tar And Gravel Roof

While new flat roof technologies boast better protection against the elements and very long lifespans, some of these claims are already proving to be exaggerations. For example, foam and rubberized flat roofs often do not outlast tar and gravel roofs despite claims to the contrary, and huge discrepancies between manufacturer quality means homeowners don’t always know what they’re getting with newer flat roofs.

Not so with tar and gravel roofs, which are virtually guaranteed to last 10 to 20 years without maintenance. In fact, with proper maintenance, some tar roofs have lasted 40 to 50 years or more. And thanks to the use of modern materials, they are only getting more durable. Other reasons why tar and gravel roofs have remained popular in the United States for more than a century include the following:

  • Rock Solid: The top layer of gravel on a tar roof is not only attractive, but it provides good protection against the elements and is a superior fire retardant.
  • Less Blockage: Another benefit of tar and gravel roofing is that debris, such as that from trees, is not easily lifted by rain and deposited in drains to create blockages. Debris instead is held in place by the gravel.
  • Value: Offering comparable performance to other types of flat roofing at significantly lower prices, a tar roof represents excellent overall value.

Can You Tar In The Rain

This is a bit more complicated than a simple yes or no answer. The short answer is that, yes, you can tar our roof in the rain. If you use a rubberized tar that specifically can be applied in the rain and the surface area is clean just before applying it, the tar could adhere to the roof.

The longer answer is that you should try to avoid applying the tar in the rain if at all possible. Because most roofing tar is an oily, dark mixture that is made from petroleum byproducts and coal tar, it is already slick in nature. If there is rain and you are not using a rubberized tar, there is a very good chance that the tar will not adhere to the surface that it is being applied to.

Ideally, you will have a few consecutive days of sunshine without snow or rain before you tar the roof so that the tar has time to cure. An ideal temperature is also around the 70 degrees Fahrenheit mark, though you can apply the roofing tar at lower temperatures. In hotter temperatures, the roofing tar could start to drip, which can create a nightmare of a mess to clean up.

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How To Apply Tar

The key with tarring a roof is not to paint yourself into a corner-literally. Planning is as important as completing the job. Thats why a professional will always begin in a corner and set their ladder at the other end, the furthest away from their start point. Using a fiberglass mop a professional will apply tar in small smooth strokes. An experienced professional will always keep their bucket of tar close to them, while moving backward toward the end of the roof where their ladder is situated.

Experienced professionals never allow the hot tar to clump up or build up in any area. Once the tar is applied, tar paper can be carefully placed on top of the hot tar using a mop to sink the paper into the asphalt. Overlapping the tar paper layers to create a seal. Make at least three layers.

One professional tip of note, be sure and have a second ladder at the opposite side of the work area. This should be where the job is completed. The second ladder will be the only means of escape. Also, experienced professionals always use Heat-Resistant Gloves and special roofing shoes.

The Maintenance Requirements Of A Tar And Gravel Roof

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How long a roof can last while properly maintained tar and gravel roofs can last several decades.

A roof can be strengthened or further built up by adding more layers to the roof like additional fiberglass or foam to increase its insulation whats more, applying a new acrylic or elastomeric cool roof coating can help to further weatherproof your flat roofing system.

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Roof Repair In San Antonio

Cloud Roofing Company has years of experience in roof repair from different types of damage for even the most complex business and residential roofing issues. Our San Antonio roof repair experts have worked on various types of damage including water, hail, wind, as well as tree damage. If your roof is severely damaged, contact us as soon as possible. Our roof repair professionals are able to respond quickly with estimates to get your roof back in tip-top shape.

Modified Bitumen Vs Tar & Gravel

Both roofing systems have their pros and cons, so its important that you sit down with a professional beforehand to help figure out what would work best for your needs.

There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing between these two, including:

  • Environmental conditions where you live like rainfall and humidity.
  • How often will your roof need maintenance if at all? -Whats the most budget friendly option for you that still meets your needs?

Modified Bitumen is more expensive than tar and gravel roofs, but this is because of the reinforcement with fiberglass or polyester fibers.

Tar and gravel roofs are a lot cheaper, but lack the strength that modified bitumen provides so you need to consider if your roof will be safe from damage over time as well as how much it costs on an annual basis for upkeep!

Some people may want more strength so they can avoid any costly maintenance in the future.

Modified Bitumen is resistant to fire and wind damage, but tar & gravel roofs are much lighter than their counterpart which makes them easier to transport during high winds!

The choice between these two roofing systems really just comes down to your own personal needs, whether you want protection against the elements or if you enjoy being able to see your roof from far away!

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A Guide To Asphalt And Coal Tar Pitch Roofing

April 8, 2019 by Kathleen Imbordino

Bituminous roofing has its fair share of the roofing market, especially with flat roofing seeing a rise in popularity over the recent years. Our experts at Infinity Roofing Contractors talk about this type of roof and its two main variants, asphalt and coal tar pitch.

Asphalt Roofing

When people hear asphalt roofing, they usually think of the common asphalt shingle roofs found on the majority of houses in the U.S. However, asphalt roofs for low-sloped designs are also considered a mainstream option. Asphalt mixed with an emulsifier is applied on the roof and reinforced with fibers usually from felt or fiberglass.

One of the best things about this type of bituminous roofing is that it is fairly affordable and very easy to apply. Experts at Infinity Roofing Contractors can install modern versions of this roofing variant which consist of 2- or 3-ply layers. If installed properly, this type of roofing can last for well over a couple of decades.

Coal Tar Pitch Roofing

The older of the two variants, coal tar pitch roofing, is made of a gravel pile combined with roofing-grade coal tar. This type of roofing has exceptional water resistance, making it a very popular option for roof designs that are almost completely flat. While the coal tar provides moisture resistance, the gravel pile gives this kind of roof its excellent durability.

Filed Under: RoofingTagged With: home remodeling, roof repair

What Is The Best Climate To Tar A Roof And How Long Does It Last

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As stated above, you really want it to be as dry as possible for the roofing tar to cure and dry effectively. While it can be applied in temperatures as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit the tar will not set or cure until the temperatures reach at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit. You will need this temperature to be as close to 70 degrees for several days to ensure you have a strong bond and will not risk any dripping or leaking when it gets to hotter or colder seasons.

You want to avoid rain and snow at all costs. Rain will ruin the tar entirely and will create a massive mess for your home and will not allow the tar to cure fully. The best time of year varies from state to state as many states have wildly different climates. I cannot recommend enough that you contact a local roofing pro to get some idea of the best times to do this work.

Should you maintain your roof well it can last you anywhere between 20 to 30 years. I must add however that within these 30 years you will need some maintenance and patchwork done to ensure a watertight seal on your roof.

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Modified Bitumen Vs Pvc Membranes Flat Roofs

A traditional torch-on flat roof is not a desirable surface for a functional flat roof deck.

The Modified Bitumen option is a single-ply rolled roof available in traditional torch-down systems and newer peel-and-stick systems. The peel-and-stick method is available as a do-it-yourself option. The torch-down method is a fire hazard and not recommended for occupied homes. Neither are good options as a walkable surface to make a flat roof usable space as a roof deck. If that is the goal of a flat roof, a modified bitumen roof would require an extra build up and product application to create useable deck space.

PVC Sheet Membranes are also a single ply application. While there are some brands available as a do-it-yourself option, the waterproofing reliability demands specialized installation techniques and professional application is recommended. However, in the case of the PVC membrane single-ply system, no additional product is needed to have it function as a leisure roof deck. It is designed as a pedestrian traffic coating in addition to its roofing properties and does two jobs in a single product solution. It is important to be sure to choose a PVC membrane that has been tested for use as both a roofing membrane and a pedestrian traffic coating.

Tar And Gravel Roof Average Costs

Tar roof costs may vary depending on the materials used, the difficulty of the installation, your location, and other factors.

  • The cost to install a tar and gravel roof is $3.00 to $4.50 per square foot. For an average sized 1,500 square foot roof, that’s a total cost of $4,500 to $6,750.
  • When the cost to remove and dispose of the existing roof is included, tar and gravel roof cost may jump to $4.00 to $6.00 per square foot, or $6,000 to $9,000 for 1,500 square feet.


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The 3 Most Common Materials Used For Flat Roof Construction

There are several methods and materials for the design of the exterior surface of a warm or cold flat roof.

Material 1: Hot tar and gravel

Also known as the built-up roof , this type of flat roof features three or more layers of waterproof material, mixed in an alternating fashion with hot tar and a layer of smooth stone-like gravel.

As you might imagine, this is the cheapest version possible and good for covering a shed.

Material 2: Modified bitumen

This involves a single-ply rolled roof that creates a protective layer against ice and water. It can be made stronger with a mineral-based surface. To guarantee the material stays secure, most of these materials come as peel-and-stick systems that are easy to apply.

Material 3: Rubber membrane

Also known as EPDM , this is natural rubber the kind you might find on a car tire or an inner tube. Its durable, and can be fastened to the roof with fasteners and glue. This is probably one of the easiest versions for a DIY project.

Applying A Tar & Gravel Roof

What is Roofing Tar?

When it comes time to install your tar and gravel roof, you need to make sure that the surface is as clean as possible.

It should be free from dirt and debris which could lead to future problems like leaks or weak spots in the roof over time if left unattended for too long.

Make sure that the gravel is evenly spread out with a tarp underneath to help prevent any rocks from getting loose and flying away. This also helps you stay safe during installation!

After its done, make sure no debris remains behind on your roof or in the surrounding area because this could be dangerous for people walking around later if they happen upon something sharp or harmful which is why you need to make sure everything gets cleaned up before the final touches are done.

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Applying Sealant To A Flat Roof

Flat roof sealant is found as not just one product but several products and items that you use in order to properly seal a flat roof. The flat roof sealant process prevents water, moisture, and debris from entering the building or home. Completing the flat roof sealant process isn’t difficult, but is one project that can be laborious and very detailed. The article that follows will show you how to seal a flat roof.

Step 1 Determine Troubled Spots

The flat roof sealant process is easy on new roof constructions but an older roof may be in need of repair. Put on your gloves and climb up to the roof with your materials. You may need to make several trips. Inspect all of the seams to ensure that the roof tar is intact. If you find a seam that does not look completely attached use your knife to check it. Slide the blade under the lip of the seam . If the blade enters further than 1 inch and moves without restriction you will need to make sure this area is properly sealed. Use the spray paint to mark all areas that need more attention to seal.

Step 2 Area Preparation

A flat roof can become very dirty and flat roof sealant will not properly stick to dirt so it is important that you clean and prepare the flat roof. Use the broom and sweep away all the debris into the dustpan and dispose of it in the garbage bags. Make use of the metal putty knife to scrape away any gravel on the roof so that the membrane is exposed.

Step 3 Repairs

Step 4 Seal the Roof

Tar & Gravel For Commercial And Flat Roofs

We assemble Tar and Gravel roof systems by alternating laminated asphalt sheets with tar and underlayment. The U.S. has used these roofs for 100+ years because they offer considerable value when installed properly. Nothing quite like the tried and true to give you peace of mind during your decision-making process. Read further to decide if tar & gravel systems are right for your needs.

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What Is Roofing Tar Used For

Before discussing what roofing tar is used for, lets start by defining what it is. It is a thick oily mixture that is primarily made from byproducts of petroleum and coal tar. During the incomplete combustion of coal a thick residue is left behind, this is collected and is known as coal tar.

It is mainly used on flat roofs to protect it from the elements. It is resistant to water, snow, hail the ultra-violet rays that are emitted from the sun, it is for this reason that flat roofs use this tar to protect your home from this extreme heat. It should be noted that also assists with keeping a watertight seal on your roof so that you do not run into any water damage to your home.

It can also be used on older roofs that may have leaks or cracks to repair them and regain their watertight seal.

Diy Flat Roofing Repair

Flat Roof Installation Over Tar and Gravel – most effective recover roofing system

A word to the wise you should always respect heights as well as ladders, so proceed with these DIY flat roofing repair tops with extreme caution.

Use a ladder thats well made and in good shape that you know can hold your weight, have another strong adult help you out by holding the ladder steady, and understand your limitations if the roof that you need to repair is icy or otherwise exceptionally slippery, practice even more precautions or call a professional with the proper equipment.

While the choice of repair methods depends on the type of roof that you have, rubber roof patches, rubber roofing materials, and roofing tar may all be involved.

Keep in mind that if you happen to have a leak in your PVC or TPO roof youll want to work with a company that specializes in this type of work specifically.

Things like a leaky seam, holes or rips caused by a fallen tree branch or similar debris, accidental punctures, or other issues with your PVC or TPO roof call for a qualified specialist equipped with all the necessary tools and supplies.

They should have access to a roll of appropriate membrane and a heat air gun.

Seeking out a company that specializes in PVC or TPO roof repair is your best option in this regard.

Heres a quick video on a flat roofing repair.

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