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Built-Up Roofing

Expert advice on working with tar-and-gravel, built-up, flat and roll roofing materials, with tips on installation, construction diagrams and repairs.

Flat or almost-flat roofs can collect a tremendous amount of water, especially if their outlets or downspouts become plugged with leaves and debris.

For this reason, they must be designed to seal against standing water that may pool on the roof. Ordinary roof shingles won’t seal-out standing water–they are designed to overlap one another and shed rain downward and so are intended for sloped roofs. “Flat” roofs (which usually have a very slight slope) utilize roofing that is completely sealed and therefore impervious to leaking. The standard roofing for this situation is built up from layers of hot tar and thick roofing felt and topped with a layer of gravel; this is called built-up roofing.

This section of HomeTips discusses the basics of built-up roofing and offers help for basic do-it-yourself repairs. Installing a built-up roof is not a DIY project; if you need a new or replacement built-up roof, contact a licensed built-up roofing contractor in your area.


• Built-Up (Tar-and-Gravel) Roofing Systems
• Built-Up (Flat) Roof Repair

Featured Resource: Find a Pre-Screened Local Built-up Roofing Contractor

Call for free estimates from roofing pros now:
[telnumlink] 1-866-342-3263[/telnumlink]

About Don Vandervort
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Don Vandervort developed his expertise more than 30 years ago as Building Editor for both Sunset Books and Home Magazine. He has written more than 30 home improvement books and countless magazine articles. He appeared regularly on HGTV’s “The Fix,” and served as MSN’s home expert. Don founded HomeTips in 1996.

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