Tar and gravel roofs are also known as Conventional Built Up Roofing or BUR roofs.
They are a flat or low-slope roofing barrier that consists of layers of asphalt and fiberglass plies that are mopped together using molten asphalt and covered with gravel to hold them down and protect against UV degradation. They are economical roofs and can last up to 20 years.
Tar and gravel roofs are a very high maintenance roof. With our hot and dry climate, we recommend getting maintenance every 2-3 years. The seals around pipes, penetrations, wall flashing laps, and canales expand and contract with the sun beating down on them, which can result in a crack in the seal.
Repairing tar and gravel roofs can be a difficult process should there be notable damage and/or poor installation. It can be very complex as the system is designed in a way that leaking can follow a sideways pattern making it difficult to find the initial leak in the tar & gravel roofing system.
There are a few different ways to look for a leak in a tar and gravel roof.
- Just like with other roofing systems, it is most important to first locate the entry-point where the leak is happening. To do this, you must look for areas where it looks like there might be a crack in a seal at the canales, wall laps, penetrations, etc. This is usually the most common source of a leak in the roof.
- If you do find cracks in the seal, you can take plastic cement and seal the crack.
- If this does not solve the leak, then there may be another problem. Older tar and gravel roofs can become brittle. The leak might also be coming from a tear in the plies. We recommend getting a roofing professional out there to assess.
If you are wondering if you need maintenance or just want an evaluation, please give us a call!