How to do Roof Maintenance on a Tar and Gravel Roof
Roof maintenance is not something you picture yourself doing every day. However, as unusual as it may sound, sometimes you’ve got to do things you don’t imagine yourself doing, just to protect your home from any sort of damage.
Roof maintenance is no different – but it’s not that simple. For one, a large part of maintaining your roofs depends on the type of roofs you have installed. Each roof has to be cared for differently, which makes the job slightly complicated for first-timers – especially if it’s a tar and gravel roof.
Generally, tar-and-gravel roofs are multi-layer structures made of asphalt-soaked building paper that we commonly know by the name of “roofing felt.” These layers of roofing felt are hot-mopped onto a plywood deck using liquid asphalt, which converts it into a watertight seal.
The topmost layer of the roofing felt, once hot-mopped and dried, is then lined with light-colored gravel. Installing these roofs is a technical process. Improper installation of the same can lead to significant damage that is often difficult to fix – unless handled by a professional roofer.
For small tears and other quick maintenance repairs to your tar and gravel roof, here’s what you should do:
First things first, locate the spot where the roof is leaking. A simple way to do that is to look for areas on the roof where the tar is exposed without the gravel covering it. You might find that there are multiple areas that fit the description.
Clear away the gravel from and around these spots and allow the damp, leaky patches to dry completely.
If you witness any blisters in the areas you are tending, make sure you cut them out and allow the spot to dry. Blisters, just like cracks, can prove to be potential leaking points on your roof.
Once cut, apply a generous amount of tar under the cuts and fold them into the tar, sealing the crack/blister. When applying the coat on the repaired spots, extend it over to the surrounding areas as well.
Now apply the asphalt-impregnated building fabric to the fold cut you secured over the tar. Add another generous layer of tar over the repaired spot(s), this time extending the coat over the old roof surface area as well.
Lastly, to make sure the repair dries well and sits in place, push some stones over the repaired area.
It is important to keep in mind that this formula for repair is only temporary. If even after doing all this, your roof isn’t in decent shape, it’s better to get it replaced instead.
Sometimes, even after you’ve patched up your roof in all the possible places that you could see or think of, the leaking can trickle sideways because of the way these roofs are built. This will make locating the initial leak, fairly difficult for you.
One thing you need to keep in mind is that you cannot rule out the possibility of consulting professional roofers to ensure your roof is in good sustainable condition. A complete roof inspection helps you determine when exactly to get a new roof.