Tar And Gravel Roofs

A tar and gravel roof was fairly common several decades ago for low or flat roofs and is also commonly referred to as a built up roof. These types of roofs are becoming more and more rare as they are not typically used on new construction because they do not hold up as well as more modern approaches.

“These roofs are relatively cheap, but also rarely built anymore due to improved materials and methods. Most homeowners are interested in the cost to repair these roofs and this is also low – at least compared to reroofing with additional materials.”

Basics Of A Tar And Gravel Roof

A tar and gravel roof consists of several layers of molten asphalt and tar paper, applied with a mop. The roofing contractors laminate the layers and then top it off with a layer of gravel that anchors the material and also protects the roofing from UV rays. Typically, the bottom gravel embeds into the hot asphalt while the top is loose and just sits there. These roofs typically lasts in the 10 to 20 year range.


Tar And Gravel Roof Cost

Entry To Mid Level: $2.75 to $4.25 psf
Expect a price tag of $275 – $425 per square installed.

Mid To High End: $4.25 to $5.75 psf
Expect a price tag of $425 to $575 per square installed.

Learn more on tar and gravel roof cost.

Advantages Of A Tar And Gravel Roof

Low Cost
These roofs are relatively cheap, but also rarely built anymore due to improved materials and methods. Most homeowners are interested in the cost to repair this roofing and this is also low – at least compared to reroofing with additional roof materials. The big problem with this roofing is how difficult and messy it is to remove the tar and gravel roof. Repairing is relatively easy and inexpensive, but it’s a temporary fix that will last 4 or 5 years and then the same problems of the seams cracking around flashing, eaves and roof planes or the tar paper eroding exposes the roof to possible leaks.

Good Weather Resistance
While this roofing is prone to leaks, the material does stand up to powerful sun and weather. However it is only a matter of time until the quality of the roof begins to erode.

Downsides

Can Develop Leaks Easily
Leaks can and will eventually occur with these roofs, especially around flashing, eaves and edges where the application of the tar and gravel isn’t as thick or solid as on the flat sections of the roofing. Over time, the asphalt can blister. Applying another layer is possible but the layers don’t always adhere to the bottom layer very well, which can defeat the purpose and be a waste of money.