Roofing made with tar or gravel material is incredibly versatile and provides the best protection against water damage. It’s very durable and wind-resistant too, but roofing tar can be quite a mission to install if you don’t do it correctly.

Roofing tar is ideal for a flat roof, and it protects the roof from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. Unfortunately, it isn’t the most sustainable product though, and it’s dangerous to work with. Here are ways that you can apply tar to roofing safely and cheaply.

Plan the Layout First

It’s common to see someone paint themselves into a corner because they didn’t plan properly. You may want to get a professional to do this because you will have to let a portion of the tar dry and cure before you can move onto the next part.

Be sure to start in one corner with your ladder on the other end and work backward. You will also need to do at least three layers of tar roofing to make it last longer.

Clean Thoroughly

After you have planned the job, you need to clean the roof of any debris or leaves that are in the way. Even the tiniest bit of dust will make the tar covering look uneven and can cause dangerous bumps while the tar is curing. Be sure to install some safety nets or guardrails because you will be standing and walking upright while doing the job.

Use an alcohol-based cleaner to get rid of bacteria and dirt inside the cracks of the roof and be sure to fill any cracks before starting. Use putty and a small knife to get into the hard-to-reach areas and give the roof a good wipe down before you lay any tar.

Buy the Right Supplies

You may think all you need is a ladder, a brush, and tar, but the job is far more involved than that. You will need at least two ladders, a strong utility knife, measuring tape, and a hammer tack. The hammer is to keep the tar paper in place once it has been set. Without using the right materials, your tar roof will be made with subpar quality and you will probably need to repair it again in a few months.

The tar paper you buy should also be long enough to overlap each section by a minimum of five inches to avoid any dust getting under the paper. If you need to, use more than one strip on each section and be sure to go slow and steady. You will also need safety glasses and the proper boots with a good grip underneath.

Use a Fiberglass Mop

This material will give smoother strokes and finishing than just laying the tar down and trying to smooth it out later. The fiberglass mop should be used in a backward motion from the first corner right up until the last. Be sure to not let the tar clump up, and install tar paper over each layer.

Start by mopping a small section of the roof, then cover it with tar paper. Use the mop to sink the paper deeper into the tar and then overlap each section a minimum of three times.

Beware of Building Codes

There are specific guidelines when working with any roof, and tarring is no different. Not only do you have to use specific tar that is approved, but you also need to make sure you aren’t violating any safety regulations. All roofing jobs need to have the correct boots and heat-resistant gloves as tar needs to be hot and sticky to work properly.

There are also rules against which color you can paint over a tar roof, and white seems to be the best. It can save you almost 20% on energy consumption and won’t attract as much sunlight, which can crack tar surfaces.

You’ll Need a Lot of Heat

Tar and gravel need at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit to work properly. If the tar becomes too cold too quickly, it won’t set right and you will need to start again. Instead, work with a runnier consistency that you know is hot enough and will dry in time.

The problem is that too much heat is also a bad thing. If the tar is too hot, it will damage other materials underneath and could harm the structure of the roof. Make sure the weather is ideal as you don’t want to be working in the blistering heat with such a hot substance. You also don’t want the wind blowing leaves and other junk into your freshly laid tar. Remember that tar gives off toxic fumes, so a face mask will be necessary on top of safety goggles and quality gloves. Roof tar is very slippery, especially when wet, so this can be a dangerous task if you don’t plan properly. If all else fails, contact the experts for help