Asphalt Roofing Rolls

Aside from the asphalt roofing shingles seen in many homes, many sloped roofing or flat roofing property owners turn to another asphalt alternative known as asphalt roofing rolls. These rolls are just as durable but come in a long rolling sheet, able to be rolled on top of the roof to provide the necessary protection. Asphalt roofing rolls or membrane is an actually an inexpensive roofing material. This type of roofing material is commonly used for buildings that feature a sloped roof pitch in North America.

Roofing Roll Qualities

Asphalt Roofing RollsAsphalt roofing rolls are actually the very same material that is used in asphalt shingles. Within the roll, the mixture is made up of an organic felt or fiberglass mat, saturated with asphalt, and faced with granular stone aggregate. Roll roofing is usually restricted to a lightweight mat compared to shingles, as it must be rolled for shipment.

The sizes of these sturdy asphalt rolls are typically manufactured to around 36 inches (91 cm) by 33 feet (10 m) in size. Due to its advantage in being more light weight compared to shingles, roll roofing in the market is regarded as an inexpensive, temporary material. This can benefit some homeowners. However, because its wide width, this makes asphalt roofing rolls vulnerable to temperature-induced tearing as it expands and contracts.

Asphalt Roofing Rolls Installation

Asphalt Roofing Rolls InstallationRoll roofing is normally applied parallel to the eaves from the bottom of the roof upwards. The concept of this method is to lap each new roll in the same manner as shingles. Thus, providing the same type of inclination for removing debris. Its use is restricted to roofs with a pitch of greater than 2:12.

To avoid penetrating the exposed membrane with nails, adhesive, or “lap cement” must be used at the bottom edge to keep it from being lifted by the wind. The upper edge of the roll is nailed and covered by the next roll to provide with the right protection.Roll roofing is a great material for small projects, but I don’t recommend using roll roofing to put a roof on a home. Instead, you are better off choosing a more traditional material, such as asphalt shingles, which lends itself to an installation method that is better at withstanding leaks.

Never install roll roofing unless it is at least 50 degrees to prevent cracking. The heat will make the roll roofing easy to work with, so leave it on the roof for a few hours to warm up. While you are waiting, install a drip edge all around the perimeter of the roof to prevent the water from working underneath the edge of the roofing. Normally made of plastic, a drip edge will further protect your roof and give it a finished edge.

Roofing Rolls Uses and Types

The main uses are:

  • for outbuildings
  • on flat roofs on houses in the UK, a low cost limited life roofing method
  • as a backup water catching & wind stopping layer under roofing slates & tiles

Several variations of bitumen roofing felt are available.

Fibre Content Roll:

  • mixed rag fibre – lowest cost, shortest life
  • all plastic fibres
  • fibreglass – longest lived

Bitumen Roll:

  • bitumen – stiffens & hardens in winter, cracks in time
  • modified bitumen – stays supple in winter, lasts better

Underside Roll:

  • Uncoated – most common, applied with adhesive or nails
  • Self adhesive – simpler to apply
  • Torchable – applied by torching the underside, which partly melts and glues the sheet. (Most roofing felt is torchable.)

Topping Roll:

  • Sand – low cost
  • Stone waste – prettier, better life expectancy. Only used on cap sheet.
  • Uncoated – used as undersheet
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