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Pros and Cons of Hot Tar Roofs

Worker installing tar foil on building rooftop

How much do you know about hot tar roofs? Hot tar roofing may seem old-fashioned, but there are some surprising benefits to the material that you’ll want to know about if you’re selecting a new roofing material for your building. What are the pros and cons of hot tar roofs?

Pros and Cons of Hot Tar Roofs

When deciding to repair or replace a commercial roof, understanding the materials you’ll be working with is essential. If you pick a suitable material, you’ll have a solid roof that keeps your energy bills low and gives you years of reliable service. If you choose the wrong material, you’ll have more problems to deal with down the line. Understanding the pros and cons of roofing materials is the best way to make an informed choice.

What Is a Hot Tar Roof?

A hot tar roof is a type of flat commercial roof that consists of layers of roofing tar and roofing felt. Sometimes, fiberglass and other materials are used as well, and gravel is often placed on top as a final layer. These layers get “built up” by being stacked on top of each other, creating the protective roofing structure that will protect your business. So, what are the pros and cons of hot tar roofs?

PRO: Hot Tar Roofs Are Cost-Efficient

Because hot tar roofs are made of affordable and easily-available material, they’re often the cheapest flat roofing option for your business. If you’re watching your building maintenance budget, a hot tar roof will give you plenty of value for your investment.

CON: Hot Tar Roofs Are Heavy

The materials that make up a hot tar roof are affordable, but they’re also pretty heavy, which can cause some wear and tear on a building’s structure. A hot tar roof may require strengthened joists or other structural updates for your roof, so be sure to work with an experienced roofer if you’re planning to have it installed.

PRO: A Hot Tar Roof May Lower Your Heating Bill

Hot tar is an efficient insulator that prevents heat from leaving your building during winter. Some estimates say that a building owner can save nearly ten percent of their annual heating bill by installing a hot tar roof.

CON: Hot Tar Roofing Can Be Dangerous

A hot tar roof may sound like a simple structure, but it’s not a project for a roofing amateur. Working with hot tar and fiberglass is dangerous, and unless you’re a roofing professional, you probably don’t have the experience or equipment to handle it safely. Just another reason that it’s best to work with professionals.

PRO: Hot Tar Roofs Stand Up to the Elements

If installed correctly, hot tar roofing is water-tight, which can help your building avoid moisture issues. It’s also less susceptible to weather damage than roofing systems that use shingles. If your building is in an area that experiences extreme weather, a hot tar roof could provide you some peace of mind.

CON: Gravel Management Can Be Annoying

Gravel is a reliable topper for a hot tar roof, but wind and other elements can sometimes make it tough to manage. Some cleaning and maintenance are required to avoid gutters and other essential roof hardware getting clogged with gravel.


Now that you know the pros and cons of hot tar roofs, are you ready to get one for your business? If you need more information, we’re here to help.

With over 20 years of experience in residential and commercial roofing, Taylor-Made Roofing is a company that you can trust with all of your roofing needs. Our family-owned business offers quality services, a reassuring warranty, and free estimates. For more information, please give us a call at 417-326-8778 or contact us online. We look forward to hearing from you!

Fully licensed and insured, Taylor-Made Roofing is ready to take care of your roof.
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