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Flat or low-pitched roof structures are commonly seen on homes and commercial buildings alike. They are usually asphalt-based and can either have a gravel or a smooth surface, which are great for protecting against weathering. When you have a built-up roof system, it’s only a matter of time before it will start to break down and show signs of cracking and splitting. It is crucial that you repair the system right away before any serious leaks occur. General maintenance and repairs are pretty simple with this type of roofing. Here is how it works:


Preparing the Area

The first step is to prepare for repairs by cleaning the surface of the roof. You don’t want any dirt or other debris getting in the way of your repairs, so try your best to clear the surface of your roof prior to applying the patch. This is an important step that ensures that your patch adheres properly to the surface of your roof and that rocks and dirt don’t get embedded in it. If you have a gravel surface, this will be a little tougher than usual. With a gravel surface, you will have to remove the gravel prior to patching the surface. To do this, you will need to use a pry bar to scrape the gravel away from the surface. Once enough gravel has been removed at least six inches beyond the patch area, sweep the surface thoroughly with a brush to free the area of any leftover dust or dirt.


Priming the Surface

Once you are sure that the surface is free of any moisture or debris, you can use a roller or brush to apply asphalt primer on the surface. These products are also often available in a spray can form as well. You want to make sure that the primer dries completely before trying to patch anything because wet primer will not restrain the adhesion of the patching material. Applying a primer to your roof will allow the patch to stick more efficiently, resulting in a high-quality and durable repair.


Getting the Fabric Ready

When the primer has dried out completely, you should prepare your asphalt cotton mixed fabric by measuring the fabric out about three inches past the edge of the patch area. Aim to cut the fabric into 4-inch-wide sets and 6-inch-wide sets. You can do this using a pair of scissors.


Patching the Roof

Get your trowel and apply the asphalt flashing cement on the surface of the roof. After you finish applying the flashing cement, it’s time to place the four inches of cotton into it, using a trowel to embed the fabric before applying an additional layer of asphalt flashing cement that extends a little bit past the length of the cloth. Next, you will embed the 6-inch fabric over the patch, making sure it extends beyond the other fabric in all directions. Press the patch fully into the flashing cement with the trowel. Finally, you will need to add a finish coat of asphalt mastic to your roof patch. At this point, you can reset the gravel over the area you repaired to maintain a uniform look on your gravel.