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Rolled Roofing (or Roll Roofing) – Things to Know

rolled roofing

Rolled Roofing (or Roll Roofing) – Things to Know

If you have a flat roof on your home or building, chances are you’ve heard about rolled roofing as a method of putting a new roof on your home. The words rolled roofing are pretty ambiguous, however, referring to not one, but several different types of roofs that are available to you.

Rolled Roofing Materials

Most types of roofing available for flat roofs come in rolls. The rolls are typically up to 100 feet long, and may be any width from 6 – 20 feet wide. The vast majority of rolled roofing contains some variation of rubber in one of many different combinations. Your choices for rolled roofing include materials like:

  • Rubber roofing – the most common kind, rubber roofing is also among the least expensive options available.
  • EPDM roofing – this is another name for rubber roofing and is made of a combination of recycled rubber, sawdust, and slate dust.
  • TPO roofing – this roofing material is growing in popularity due to its low cost, it’s usually made of a combination of polypropylene and ethylene-propylene rubber, but manufacturing varies greatly and so does its quality.
  • Bitumen roofing – this roofing is actually a type of asphalt that only recently has begun to be sold in rolls. It can be self-adhesive or cold-press adhesive, and the seams are usually fused together.

Considerations to Using Rolled Roofing

One of the biggest considerations in using rolled roofing on your flat roof, besides the material you choose, is the seams. Unless you are covering a small building with a roll wide enough to roll on in one sheet, you will likely have seams between the rows. These seams are a potential weak point for the roof, because they have to be covered and sealed with another material. This may be a type of latex tape, sealant, or tar adhesive. Some materials including rubber, EPDM, and TPO roofing are all subject to expansion and contraction, which means they shrink and grow in heat and cold. The more seams you have, the more areas you have on the roof where the rolls could be pulling away from one another and causing potential leaks.

Installing Rolled Roofing

One of the advantages of using roll roofing is the installation. Most types of rolled roofing materials can be applied directly to the roof deck. Some have a paper back that is peeled away to allow the material to adhere directly to the roof deck, others require an adhesive to be applied to the roof first, and then the material is rolled into place.

Some types of rolled roofing can also be nailed or fastened to the roof to greater facilitate the installation. Normally the rolls are laid out on the roof and trimmed prior to the adhesive being applied to help make the process easier.

A Range of Lifespans

Depending on what type of roofing you choose, your rolled roof could last between 10 and 20 years with some types lasting longer. Each type of material has its own maintenance and other concerns that can help dictate its use. With the need for a smooth roofing material on flat roofs, rolled roofing is a viable option that many home and building owners turn to.


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