Roofing is a major project. Even with the latest advancements in the technology, repairing and replacing roofing material should still be approached with care and consideration. A DIY-er can do it, yes. But if you don’t know what you’re doing it won’t be the expert repair job that you need. And when it comes to the roof, it has to be an expert job. Otherwise, you’ll believe it was until the rain starts pouring into your bedroom!

Replacing or repairing the roof can be a tedious task. Fortunately, roll roofing has streamlined the process.

Roll Roofing

Roll roofing replaces the application of individual shingles. It’s a little thinner than shingles, but it’s essentially the same materials you’d get in shingles and, more important, it’s as strong as shingles. The rolls come in long strips of about 100 square feet, 36 feet long by 36 inches wide. That makes its size comparable to a standard shingle.

Before embarking on the project, make sure your structure is rolled roof compatible. These materials are intended for specific projects and homes. It cannot be applied to any structure. Do a little research, take pictures of the roof and have some conversations with a knowledgeable source. If your roof fits the bill, look forward to cutting costs significantly compared to a standard roofing project. Expect the project to go much faster as well.

The Project

If you’re choosing to do it yourself, little construction experience is needed. Take note that roll roofing does work best on sloped surfaces. If dealing with a flat roof, you’re going to need a double layer of the material to maximize protection.

For the project, you are going to need a painter’s tray, a broom, roofer’s cement, roofing nails and roofing primer.

  1. Start by sweeping away all the debris on the roof. You’ll need to remove everything that might impede a proper seal or tear the roll roofing material. Foliage, roofing sediment and rocks are among the many impediments to the project.
  2. After the surface has been thoroughly cleaned, prepare the roofing primer according to the directions that came with the product. If you have more than one can, only do one at a time. Otherwise you run the risk of letting any sitting primer dry out.
  3. Pour the primer into the painter’s tray. Use the roller to apply no more than a 1/8” coating to the roof section.
  4. Time for the cement: brush the roofer’s cement across the first 2” of the edging of the existing roof. This creates a new drip edge.
  5. Now quickly and carefully lay starter strips of the rolled roofing in 9” wide applications along the newly applied cement. Take your roofing nails and hammer a nail every 3”.
  6. Once the material is secured in place, continue rolling roofing along newly installed edging across the roof. You should overlap the strips a good 17” or so. If you’re working on a slanted roof, you’ll only need to overlap between 2” to 3”. Additional layers aren’t necessary in this situation.
  7. Now hammer roofing nails every 3” to 4” to secure the new material to the roof.


There are many reasons for roof repairs: lack of maintenance, wind damage, improper design, weathering, loose insulation, base flashing, open or broken seams in metal curbs. The list can go on and on. The fact is no one really climbs on their roof proactively from time to time to see if there are any preventive matters to deal with. If you do find yourself with a serious problem, it’s probably best to let an experienced engineer take a look.

For smaller issues, roll roofing makes for an excellent alternative. It’s convenient and doesn’t require a lot of experience in construction.