Both durable and waterproof, roofing tar is a versatile material. Typically, this material is a dark and oily mixture made from coal tar and petroleum byproducts. Roofing tar is often used for tar and gravel roofs or to fix leaks on a roof.
Pros and Cons of Roofing Tar
Roofing tar is a good choice for a flat roof, as this kind of material is highly resistant to the ultraviolet rays from the sun. Roofing tar will also protect your roof from wind and from snow and water, which can collect on a flat roof.
However, tar is an unsustainable product. During its application and during the curing process, it can give off noxious fumes. Contractors and other roof installers should always wear proper masks while applying a tar roof. Contractors may also want to consider installing the roofing tar when the residents are away.
Learning how to apply roofing tar is fairly simple, although homeowners should still consider hiring a contractor to do this dirty work.
When to Tar a Roof
When applying roofing tar, make sure that you have at least a few consecutive days of sunshine, without rain or snow, so that the tar has time to cure. The ideal temperature is 70 degrees F. While you can apply roofing tar at lower temperatures, it will not properly set until it reaches 70 degrees. At hotter temperatures, your roofing tar may start dripping, creating an unsightly, difficult mess.
Applying roofing tar | @ iStockphoto.com / kadmy
How to Apply Roofing Tar
Before attempting to tar a roof, check the roof for structural damage before walking on it. If your roof is structurally sound, then climb up with a broom, long-handled paint roller, your roofing tar, and a disposable container. Don’t forget your mask, as well as clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty.
Consider leaving your container of roofing tar in direct sunlight for about an hour. The sunlight will thin the tar and make it easier to apply.
Use the broom to clean your roof before applying tar roofing. When there is no debris left, you are ready to apply tar to the roof.
Start in the corner furthest from your ladder. Using small amounts at a time, apply the roofing tar with your roller in short and smooth strokes. Move away from the place where you started the application until you reach your ladder.
If you are just covering a crack or another kind of leak in an existing flat roof, simply pour a small amount of tar directly onto your roof, and spread it around. You can also use a putty knife to fix small problems. Keep in mind that if your flat roof has cracks in it, applying tar roofing on top of these cracks could just be a bandage solution. It’s better to take care of the root of the problem.
DIY roofing projects can be very dangerous. Homeowners should always consult with a roofing expert or a quality contractor before starting any roofing project.