What Is A Tar And Gravel Roof? (Commercial Roofing Guide)
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What Is a Tar and Gravel Roof? (Commercial Roofing Guide)

Posted by Northface Construction

Roofs are often a silent guardian, protecting our homes from the whims of weather. Among the plethora of roofing options available, one stands out for its resilience and reliability: the tar and gravel roof. In this guide, we’ll delve deep into:

What is a Tar and Gravel Roof?

tar and gravel roof

A tar and gravel roof, also known as a built-up roof (BUR) system, has been a staple in the roofing industry for over a century. Its construction involves alternating layers of bitumen-soaked roofing felt and gravel or aggregate. The process typically starts with a base layer of tar or asphalt, onto which multiple layers of roofing felt are laid. These layers are then topped with a final coating of bitumen and gravel, providing a durable and weather-resistant surface.

✅ Pros of Tar and Gravel Roofs:

❌ Cons of Tar and Gravel Roofs:

Cost of Installation

The cost of installing a tar and gravel roof can vary depending on factors such as the size of the roof, local labor rates, and any additional structural work required. On average, homeowners can expect to pay between $3.50 to $7.00 per square foot for a basic tar and gravel roof installation. However, this cost can increase significantly for larger or more complex roofing projects.

Longevity of a Tar and Gravel Roof

When properly installed and maintained, tar and gravel roofs can last upwards of 20 to 30 years or more. The key to maximizing the lifespan of a tar and gravel roof lies in routine inspections and timely repairs to address any signs of wear or damage.

Is It Right for Commercial Buildings?

water pooling tar and gravel roof

Tar and gravel roofs are well-suited for flat or low-slope roofing applications, making them popular choices for commercial buildings, industrial facilities, and residential properties with modernist or mid-century architectural styles. However, they may not be ideal for steeply pitched roofs due to the risk of gravel slippage.

This makes a gravel roofing system perfect for most commercial buildings.

Maintenance Requirements

While tar and gravel roofs are relatively low maintenance compared to some other roofing materials, they still require periodic inspections and upkeep to ensure their longevity. Here are some essential maintenance tasks for tar and gravel roofs:

Regular Inspections:

Schedule annual inspections by a qualified roofing contractor to check for signs of damage, wear, or deterioration.

Clear Debris:

Remove any debris, such as leaves or branches, from the roof’s surface to prevent clogging of drainage systems and potential water damage.

Address Ponding Water:

If ponding water is detected, take steps to improve drainage by adding additional roof drains or installing tapered insulation to promote water runoff.

Repair Leaks Promptly:

Address any signs of leaks or water infiltration immediately to prevent further damage to the roof structure and interior of the building.

Replenish Gravel:

Over time, the gravel or aggregate layer on top of the roof may become depleted due to weathering or foot traffic. Periodically replenish the gravel layer to maintain adequate UV protection and surface integrity.

Get Your Gravel Roof Installed By A Pro

In an ever-evolving landscape of roofing materials and technologies, the tar and gravel roof stands as a testament to the enduring value of time-tested craftsmanship and durability. While it may not be the flashiest option on the market, its proven track record of performance and longevity make it a reliable choice for homeowners and commercial property owners alike.

Ready to learn more about gravel roofing? Contact Northface Construction for our commercial roofing services.


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