Roofing tar is a very durable material made from coal and petroleum byproducts used primarily to seal flat roofs. It is resistant to all weather conditions making it a great option for homes that have flat roofs.
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- What is it used for and why is it important?
- How long does it take to dry and cure?
- Is roofing tar dangerous for your lungs or skin?
- What is the best climate to tar a roof and how long does it last?
- Step by step guide to applying and curing roofing tar.
- What are the pros and cons of using this tar on your roof?
What is roofing tar used for?
Before discussing what roofing tar is used for, let’s start by defining what it is. It is a thick oily mixture that is primarily made from byproducts of petroleum and coal tar. During the incomplete combustion of coal a thick residue is left behind, this is collected and is known as coal tar.
It is mainly used on flat roofs to protect it from the elements. It is resistant to water, snow, hail the ultra-violet rays that are emitted from the sun, it is for this reason that flat roofs use this tar to protect your home from this extreme heat. It should be noted that also assists with keeping a watertight seal on your roof so that you do not run into any water damage to your home.
It can also be used on older roofs that may have leaks or cracks to repair them and regain their watertight seal.
How long does roofing tar take to dry and cure?
While this varies wildly depending on your current weather conditions it is recommended that you leave the tar for a number of days for the tar to completely cure and dry without being disturbed. This may change if you live in an area with high amounts of humidity, slowing down the drying process. On the opposite side of the coin, an area with an arid and hot environment will hasten the trying times.
If you are planning to have your roof tarred, to be on the safe side, it is recommended you choose a dry time of the year where it is very unlikely that it will rain. You also do not want to do it during a time of year that is too hot as this may cause the newly applied tar to become more viscous and could risk dripping or pooling.
This is why we would suggest that you get a roofing professional in your area to do this work for you, as they’ll know the best time frames and application methods for your location.
Are the fumes from this tar dangerous?
The short answer here is yes because you are working with something that is derived from coal and petroleum byproducts, the fumes from roofing tar are hazardous for your lungs and eyes.
Coal tar is a chemical mixture that is known as a carcinogen that can cause skin tumors and cancer if exposed to it for an extended period. It is also for this reason that we cannot stress enough how important it is to get a professional involved. They will have all the necessary know-how on how to handle the mixture as well as the required equipment to do so and the equipment to protect themselves and their workers while applying the coal tar.
What is the best climate to tar a roof and how long does it last?
As stated above, you really want it to be as dry as possible for the roofing tar to cure and dry effectively. While it can be applied in temperatures as low as 40 degrees Fahrenheit the tar will not set or cure until the temperatures reach at least 70 degrees Fahrenheit. You will need this temperature to be as close to 70 degrees for several days to ensure you have a strong bond and will not risk any dripping or leaking when it gets to hotter or colder seasons.
You want to avoid rain and snow at all costs. Rain will ruin the tar entirely and will create a massive mess for your home and will not allow the tar to cure fully. The best time of year varies from state to state as many states have wildly different climates. I cannot recommend enough that you contact a local roofing pro to get some idea of the best times to do this work.
Should you maintain your roof well it can last you anywhere between 20 to 30 years. I must add however that within these 30 years you will need some maintenance and patchwork done to ensure a watertight seal on your roof.
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How do you apply roofing tar
Applying the tar is not too difficult, and we will summarize it here in a few simple and easy to follow steps. But before we start we need to choose a good time of the year to do this work, as stated before you need the weather for at least a few days to be warm and dry with a minimum temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit for the tar to cure.
What tools will you need?
- Roofing tar
- Face or gas mask
- Heavy duty gloves
- Roller with extended pole
Step 1: You need to purchase the right amount of roofing tar from your local hardware. The employees at the store will be able to help you with this, you do need to know, however, the exact dimensions of the area you are wanting to cover. It is also recommended that you add a few feet extra to this figure just to be safe. Take this information to the store with you and ask as many questions you can to ensure you understand fully the tar you choose and how much you will need to cover the surface area you require.
Step 2: Next you want to get onto your roof and mark out where you want to start applying the roofing tar and where you want to finish. You’ll want to tar in a way that you can begin at the far end and never get yourself stuck in a corner. At the same time though, in one session you want to be able to start in the far corner and work your way to the finish where you have set up your ladder so you can make your way down.
Step 3: Take your bucket and roller onto the roof and begin to apply the tar in short, smooth strokes. Keep the bucket on a dry area and working back towards your ladder ensuring even coverage over your roof. Once the whole surface area is covered, allow for the tar to sit and cure for at least the minimum amount of time shown on the packaging.
Pros and cons of roofing tar.
Pro: For flat roofs, this tar is a great option. It is resistant to rain, snow and most importantly, resistant to ultra-violet rays from the sun, and does a great job of protecting your roof from all of these weather conditions including wind.
Pro: Applying roofing tar to your roof is a relatively easy endeavor and can be learned quite quickly. We would, however, with the risk of the tar not curing properly if done in the wrong weather conditions, recommend contacting a contractor to assist you in doing this work.
Con: The fumes given off by roofing tar is really very dangerous, it should be used with extreme caution ensuring you have the right equipment if you are going to be doing the application yourself. Goggles and a mask is of utmost importance.
Con: Applying it to your roof requires very strict weather conditions. If not taken into consideration you risk the tar not curing correctly and could cause a massive mess for your home.
As you can see, tarring a roof has a large range of benefits and is relatively easy to apply by one person on your average sized home. It is a great option that you have at your disposal for any flat roof. It is long lasting and great at creating a watertight seal for your roof.
Jack French is the CEO of EZPZ Roofing. He has over 10 years of experience in the construction industry and has been with EZPZ since its inception. Jack is a hard worker and a natural leader. He takes great pride in his work and always puts the customer first.