How to Install Rolled Roofing

Are you looking to install rolled roofing on your home? In this guide, we’ll show you the step-by-step process to get the job done.

You’ll gather the tools and materials you need, prepare the roof surface, install the underlayment, and attach the rolled roofing.

We’ll also teach you how to seal the seams and edges to ensure a watertight finish.

With these instructions, you’ll be able to maintain and extend the lifespan of your rolled roofing.

Let’s get started!

Key Takeaways

  • Properly preparing the roof surface is essential before installing rolled roofing, including cleaning, priming, and repairing any damage.
  • The underlayment should be installed starting at the bottom edge of the roof, securing it with roofing nails or staples, and ensuring proper overlap and alignment.
  • Rolled roofing should be measured, cut, and unrolled without pulling or stretching too tightly, and then attached to the roof surface using a nail gun or recommended adhesive.
  • Seams and edges of the rolled roofing should be sealed using roofing cement, applied with a putty knife or trowel, and smoothed for a tight seal.

Gather the Necessary Tools and Materials

To begin installing rolled roofing, you’ll need to gather the essential tools and materials. Having these items ready will make the installation process smoother and more efficient.

First, you’ll need a tape measure to accurately measure the roof dimensions. This will help you determine the amount of rolled roofing material needed. Next, grab a utility knife to cut the roofing material to the correct size. Make sure the blade is sharp to ensure clean cuts.

Additionally, you’ll need a roofing nail gun or hammer to secure the roofing material to the roof. This will provide stability and prevent it from shifting or coming loose. Don’t forget to have enough roofing nails or staples on hand for the installation.

A ladder is also a must-have tool to access the roof safely. Choose a sturdy ladder that reaches the desired height. Lastly, you’ll need a broom or brush to clean the roof surface before installing the rolled roofing. Removing debris and dirt will help the roofing material adhere properly.

In terms of materials, you’ll need rolled roofing material, which can be found at your local home improvement store. Make sure you have enough to cover the entire roof area. Additionally, you’ll need roofing cement to seal any gaps or seams in the rolled roofing.

Following these guidelines and gathering the necessary tools and materials will set you up for a successful rolled roofing installation.

Prepare the Roof Surface

Before you begin installing rolled roofing, it’s crucial to prepare the roof surface properly. This involves cleaning and priming the roof to ensure a good adhesive bond.

Additionally, any old roofing must be removed, and any damage or leaks should be repaired before proceeding.

Clean and Prime Roof

Start by thoroughly cleaning and priming the roof surface using a high-quality primer. This step is crucial to ensure proper adhesion of the rolled roofing material and to improve the overall durability and longevity of the roof. Before applying the primer, remove any dirt, debris, or loose materials from the roof surface. Use a broom or leaf blower to sweep away any loose debris, and then wash the roof with a solution of water and mild detergent. Rinse thoroughly and allow the roof to dry completely before applying the primer. The table below provides a quick overview of the materials and steps involved in cleaning and priming the roof surface:

Materials NeededSteps
Broom or leaf blower1. Sweep away loose debris from the roof surface.
Mild detergent2. Wash the roof with a solution of water and mild detergent.
Water hose or pressure washer3. Rinse the roof thoroughly and allow it to dry completely.

Remove Old Roofing

To begin preparing the roof surface for the installation of rolled roofing, you’ll need to remove the old roofing material. This is an important step to ensure a smooth and secure installation.

Start by assessing the condition of the existing roof. Look for any signs of damage, such as loose or missing shingles, cracks, or leaks. Once you have identified the problem areas, you can begin the removal process. Use a pry bar or a roofing shovel to carefully lift and remove the old roofing material. Take caution not to damage the underlying structure.

Dispose of the debris properly, either by hiring a waste removal service or by taking it to a designated landfill. Once the old roofing material has been removed, you can move on to the next step of the installation process.

Repair Any Damage

First, assess the condition of the roof surface and address any damage that needs repairing. Look for any signs of cracks, holes, or loose shingles.

Here’s how to repair any damage and prepare the roof surface for rolled roofing installation:

  • Fixing cracks and holes:
  • Clean the damaged area, removing any debris or loose material.
  • Apply a roofing cement patch to seal the crack or hole, using a putty knife. Smooth the patch to ensure a tight seal.
  • Replacing loose or damaged shingles:
  • Carefully remove the damaged shingle by lifting the edges and pulling out the nails.
  • Slide a new shingle into place, aligning it with the surrounding shingles. Secure it with nails, ensuring a tight fit.

Install the Underlayment

Lay out the entire surface area of your roof with a layer of underlayment before installing the rolled roofing. The underlayment acts as a protective barrier, preventing water from seeping into the structure of your roof and causing damage. It also provides an extra layer of insulation and helps to reduce heat transfer. When choosing underlayment, consider factors such as climate, durability, and cost. Common types of underlayment include asphalt-saturated felt, synthetic materials like polyethylene, and rubberized asphalt.

To help you visualize the process, here is a table outlining the steps to install the underlayment:

1Start at the bottom edge of the roof and roll out the underlayment horizontally. Overlap each row by at least 6 inches.
2Secure the underlayment using roofing nails or staples. Place them every 6 to 8 inches along the edges and every 12 inches in the field.
3Repeat the process for each subsequent row, ensuring proper overlap and alignment. Trim the underlayment as necessary around obstacles such as vents and chimneys.
4Once the entire surface area is covered, inspect the underlayment for any wrinkles, tears, or gaps. Smooth out any imperfections and make any necessary repairs.

Remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and local building codes when installing the underlayment. Taking the time to properly install the underlayment will provide a solid foundation for the rolled roofing and help extend the lifespan of your roof.

Unroll and Attach the Rolled Roofing

Now that the underlayment is properly installed, it’s time to unroll and attach the rolled roofing to your roof surface. Follow these steps to ensure a successful installation:

  • Prepare the rolled roofing: Start by measuring and cutting the rolled roofing to fit the length of your roof. Leave an overhang of about 2 inches on each side for proper coverage. If necessary, make multiple cuts to cover the entire surface.
  • Unroll the roofing: Begin at one end of the roof and unroll the roofing material, making sure it’s straight and aligned with the edge. As you unroll, avoid pulling or stretching the material too tightly, as it may cause tears or wrinkles.
  • Attach the roofing: Secure the rolled roofing to the roof surface using a roofing nail gun or adhesive recommended by the manufacturer. Place the nails or adhesive along the edges and in the middle of the rolled roofing, ensuring that they’re evenly spaced. It’s important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the type and placement of fasteners.
  • Overlap the roofing: As you continue unrolling the roofing material, overlap each consecutive strip by about 3 inches. This will create a watertight seal and prevent any water from seeping through the seams. Secure the overlapping sections with nails or adhesive just like the rest of the roofing.
  • Trim and finish: Once the rolled roofing is fully installed, trim any excess material using a utility knife. Be careful not to damage the underlying layers or the integrity of the roofing. Finally, inspect the entire roof for any loose edges or areas that may require additional fasteners.

Seal the Seams and Edges

To ensure a watertight seal and prevent any leaks, carefully seal the seams and edges of the rolled roofing using an appropriate roofing sealant. This step is crucial in ensuring the longevity and effectiveness of your rolled roofing installation.

Start by inspecting the seams and edges of the rolled roofing for any gaps or spaces. These areas are prone to water penetration and can cause leaks if not properly sealed. Use a brush or broom to remove any dirt or debris from the seams and edges to ensure a clean surface for the sealant to adhere to.

Next, apply the roofing sealant along the seams and edges of the rolled roofing. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific type of sealant you’re using. Use a caulking gun or brush to apply an even and consistent layer of sealant. Pay extra attention to areas where two pieces of rolled roofing meet or where the roofing meets any flashing or vertical surfaces.

After applying the sealant, use a putty knife or your fingers to smooth and flatten the sealant along the seams and edges. This will help ensure a tight and secure seal. Take care to remove any excess sealant to achieve a neat and tidy finish.

Allow the sealant to dry completely before proceeding with any further steps or exposing the rolled roofing to any weather conditions. This will ensure that the sealant has ample time to cure and provide maximum protection against water infiltration.

Maintain and Extend the Lifespan of Rolled Roofing

Take proactive steps to maintain and extend the lifespan of your rolled roofing. By implementing a regular maintenance routine, you can ensure that your roofing stays in optimal condition for years to come. Here are some essential maintenance tips to help you get started:

  • Regular Inspections
  • Schedule regular inspections of your rolled roofing to identify any signs of damage or wear and tear. Look for cracks, tears, or loose seams that may need immediate attention.
  • Clear any debris, such as leaves or branches, that may have accumulated on your roof. This will prevent clogging and potential water damage.
  • Cleaning
  • Keep your rolled roofing clean by removing any dirt, moss, or algae that may have formed. Use a soft-bristle brush or a broom to gently sweep away the debris.
  • Avoid using harsh chemicals or power washers, as they can damage the roofing material. Instead, use a mixture of water and mild soap to remove stubborn stains.
  • Regular Maintenance
  • Trim any overhanging tree branches to prevent them from scratching or damaging your rolled roofing. Falling branches can cause significant damage, so it’s essential to keep them at a safe distance.
  • Check and maintain the gutters regularly to ensure they’re clear of debris. Clogged gutters can lead to water pooling on the roof, causing leaks and other issues.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does Rolled Roofing Typically Last?

Rolled roofing typically lasts for about 10-15 years. It provides a cost-effective option for temporary or low-slope roofs. Regular maintenance and proper installation can extend its lifespan.

Can Rolled Roofing Be Installed Over an Existing Roof?

Yes, rolled roofing can be installed over an existing roof. It’s a cost-effective option that saves time and effort. However, it’s crucial to ensure the existing roof is in good condition and doesn’t have any underlying issues.

What Type of Underlayment Is Best for Rolled Roofing?

For rolled roofing, the best type of underlayment depends on your specific needs. Common options include felt paper, synthetic underlayment, and rubberized asphalt. Consider factors like climate and budget when choosing.

Is Rolled Roofing Suitable for All Types of Climates?

Rolled roofing is not suitable for all types of climates. It may not hold up well in extreme weather conditions such as heavy rain or high winds. Consider other roofing options for better durability.

Can Rolled Roofing Be Easily Repaired if Damaged?

Yes, rolled roofing can be easily repaired if damaged. You can patch small holes or tears with roofing cement and a patch. It’s important to fix any damage promptly to prevent further issues.


In conclusion, installing rolled roofing is a straightforward process that can be accomplished with the right tools and materials.

By properly preparing the roof surface, installing the underlayment, and attaching the rolled roofing, you can ensure a secure and durable roof.

Don’t forget to seal the seams and edges for added protection.

With proper maintenance, rolled roofing can have an extended lifespan, providing reliable protection for your home.

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