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Roofing 101: How to Install Rolled Roofing on a Flat Roof

One of the easiest things to master about roofing is how to install rolled roofing on a flat roof. This roofing material is easy and cheap to buy, and you can DIY when installing. Constructors prefer it for use on unoccupied structures like sheds and garages. 

Rolled roofing is a thin, cheaper, and less durable surface roofing material. It comes as a roll, installation is easy, and you can do it yourself. There are limited materials for a rolled roofing, and the most common one is the shingles-made-as-one-piece type. 

Advantages of Using Rolled Roofing

Rolled roofing is the cheapest roofing material, and its installation cost is almost free. Owners of the sheds and shops who want to install the roof prefer to DIY. The nails are also cheap, and the top can last for some time before it expires. 

The roof is easy to install because it comes as one rolled material. When installing, you place the entire roll on the top and unfold it. Unlike other roofing materials such as shingles, you have to lay them down one by one and nail them on the roof. 

Rolled roofing is lightweight and easy to transport. When packing, the manufacturer seals the rolls tightly to prevent unrolling during movement. So, you can carry an entire roll up the roof if you are doing it yourself, unlike roofing shingles which need a crane. 

You can re-roof your current shingles with a rolled roof. This saves on the labor cost of removing the shingles first and also time. Laying a rolled roof on the shingles also gives more protection. Ensure you clean the top first to avoid destroying the new roof. 

Adverse Effects of Rolled Roofing

Rolled roofs are available in very few colors, and the standard one is black. This will be a significant disadvantage if you want a color that matches your structure because it is almost impossible to paint the roof. 

The roof has a very short lifespan that you cannot compare to shingles. That is because it cannot freely expand and contract with weather changes, unlike the shingles. Therefore, when exposed to any changes, the roof can easily tear. 

The less variety of the roofing material and a few choices of colors makes rolled roofing less attractive. For that reason, some homeowners’ associations have rules that discourage people from using rolled roofing as a roofing material. 

This roof is less durable because it can stay for only five to eight years, compared to shingles that can last for over 20 years. One of the reasons that contribute to this is the inability to contract and expand with weather changes. 

House structures with rolled roofs have a low resale value. The roofing material is less durable and can tear when struck or exposed to a lot of pressure, so homebuyers do not like it. The roof is considered a temporary one. 

How to Install Rolled Roofing on a Flat Roof

Although rolled roofing is a cheap and easy-to-apply roofing material, failure to follow the required steps will lead to consequences like leakages and fast wear and tears. First, measure your flat roof to know what size of material you need to buy. 

Measure the length and width, and ensure your roof does not have extra parts that will need a smaller material. After getting the correct measurements, purchase the roofing material in your local hardware or order from an online shop. 

The next step is to prepare the roof for installation. Ensure you clean it by removing all the dirt and debris from the ceiling. Use a brush and leaf blower to ensure the cleanliness is thorough. Ensure you wear protective clothing to not fall from the roof. 

Steps on How to Install a Rolled Roof

When you clean your roof and are ready for installation, these steps will help you. 

Step 1: Mark the End of the First Layer with a Chalk Line

Measure 35 inches up the roof from the bottom with a measuring tape. Draw the chalk line across the top with a ruler but avoid using the eaves for guidance. That is because some of them do not have a similar height all through. 

Step 2: Apply Cement on the Roof

Use a trowel to outspread a 1/8- 1/4 thick roofing cement. Start with the bottom to the top, working on small potions to ensure the job is perfect. Do not apply this using bare hands but gloves. 

Step 3: Cut the Rolled Roofing with a Razor Knife

Ensure your rolled roofing lies on the chalk line, and then pull it up the roof and cut it to fit. It is a thick material, so you should apply energy when cutting. 

Step 4: Cover the Roof with the First Layer of Rolled Roofing

When you stretch the roofing material, ensure there are no creases and wrinkles on it. Then, push it to ensure it sticks on the wet cement and nail the roofing nails leaving a 10-inch space in between. Ensure all the nails go inside to the roof, and no heads are peeping. 

Step 5: Install the Second Layer

For better protection and functioning of the roof, install a second layer, repeating the first steps. This time, apply the cement below the second chalk line. When you are nailing this one, ensure the nail goes past the second and first layer into the roof. 

Step 6: Secure the Nails

Use roofing cement to cover the nails so that they are secure. It also reduces the chances of leakages and ensures the roof’s durability. 

Ensure you cut off the excess rolled roofing with a razor knife and check the corners. Test the edges to see if they are firm. If they are not, use more cement to seal them. 

Before leaving the top, ensure you sweep off any extra cement and small pieces of the rolled roofing. After everything is well put in place, relax and enjoy your new roof. 

Final Words

Installing rolled roofing is a straightforward task, and it requires less time, energy, and effort. However, just like the other roofs, this roofing material will not function as it should if you install it wrongly. If you have no roofing skills, our expert roofers at Roof Master know how to install rolled roofing and are ready to help you.

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