How To Repair A Flat Roof

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Summers Are More Fun with a Backyard Deck

When I was growing up, my family home had a backyard deck. I didn't realize how much I loved it until I later moved into my own home that didn't have one. We used to have family over for outdoor gatherings and cook out on it. It was covered, so if it rained, it never ruined the party! As a teenager, one of my favorite ways to relax was to go outside onto the deck and listen to the rain fall on its roof. The sound was so soothing. After enduring one summer in my new home with no deck, I was determined to have one installed quickly. I found a local contractor who got the job done quickly and accurately, and my house now feels like a "home!" I decided to start a blog to share what I learned during the deck construction process along with some other tips!

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How To Repair A Flat Roof

29 September 2015
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Blog


Many roofs use built-up asphalt roofing in order to create a waterproof barrier against the elements. To create such a roof, workers will lay alternating layers of tar and tar paper. In some cases, a roof might have as many as five layers. While this will create a solid roof that should keep water out for several years, leaks can start in a roof well before the entire roof fails. In order to get the most life from your roof, you will need to repair leaks when you find them.  

Steps for Repairing a Leak

One of the benefits of using an asphalt roof is that you don't need specialized training or tools in order to make a repair. In fact, all you really need is a utility knife, a few feet of tarpaper, and some roofing tar. Use the following steps to make your repair:

1.The first step is to clear all the gravel and loose material away. Move the gravel away with your hands. If any of the gravel has become embedded in the roof, do not use a chisel to remove it. Instead, work it loose with your hands. Use a kitchen broom to sweep away any dust or debris you find on your roof. 

2. Locate the leak and cut two pieces of tarpaper. One piece should be one inch longer and wider than the leak. The second piece should be one inch wider and longer than the first. 

3. Paint a layer of tar over the damaged section of roof and then push tarpaper into the tar until it becomes completely saturated. Make sure this first patch extends for at least an inch on all sides of the leak. 

4. Paint on a second layer of tar and push the larger piece of tarpaper into the tar you have painted onto your roof. Make sure that the second piece of tar paper extends for an inch or two on all sides of the first patch. 

5. Paint on one more layer of tar and allow it to dry before you reposition the gravel on your roof over the patch. 

Making a repair to a flat roof is not difficult, but it does require a person to have some comfort with working at heights. If you don't think that you can handle your repair for any reason, you should call in professionals (such as those from Bell Roof Co) to make the repair for you.