A tar and gravel roof is a type of built-up roofing that is most commonly used on flat-roofed commercial buildings. It consists of a tar layer that has a gravel layer sealed into it.

1. Seamless Construction

Seams on a flat roof system are the primary spots for new leaks to spring up. A built-up tar and gravel roof doesn't use the membranes found in other flat roof systems, which means there are no seams that can begin to leak. Overall, tar and gravel roofs tend to be more resistant to leaks because the tar creates a solid, seamless membrane and the gravel layer provides yet another layer of protection against leaking.

2. High Traction Surface

Many commercial buildings make good use of the extra real estate on the roof by using it to place HVAC and ventilation systems. This means that maintenance workers may need to access your roof year round. Tar and grave roofs are strong enough to withstand foot traffic without damage. The gravel also provides good traction, which means the roof is safer to access when it's wet or icy.

3. Hail Damage Resistant

If you live in a climate where hail is a common weather occurrence, then you may be concerned about your roof's ability to resist damage. Hail can punch holes through some membrane-style flat roof systems, or the impacts can compress roofing materials so that they are weakened. Tar and gravel roofs are one of the most durable options when it comes to hail. If some damage does occur, a fresh layer of tar and gravel will fix it.

4. Long Working Life

The lifespan of a tar and gravel roof can be measured in decades, especially since damage can easily be roofed over. As a general rule, you can keep adding a new layer of tar and gravel as the roof ages up until the weight of the roof approaches the limits for the building structure. The materials used to make a tar and gravel roof are both weather and UV resistant, which means less damage and a longer roof life.

5. Easy Maintenance 

There is very little maintenance required for tar and gravel. Generally, periodic inspections are needed throughout the year to locate any issues on the roof. If issues are found, they can be patched or roofed over. Otherwise, there isn't much ongoing maintenance to keep up with.

Contact a commercial flat roofing installer if you want to learn more about tar and gravel roofs.