Plane roofs are prone to various deteriorations such as rust, dirt, and snow. These can easily stay for a long time creating leakage and damage on such roofs. Tarring a plane roof can be a one-stop solution to all these problems. 

It is not always necessary to tar a flat roof, sometimes slanted structures can also be tarred. But, tarring is most efficient in plain roofs.

Now, thinking of it, tarring may seem to be confusing or laborious work. Initially, it may concern you if you do not know how to tar a roof. But let me assure you this process is way simpler and easier to do than it seems.

Let’s skim through this brief discussion to get you an idea about the tarring of a roof.

What is roofing tar?

Roofing tar is a long-lasting substance produced from coals and hydrocarbon residues that is mostly used to protect plane roofs. It is resilient to every sort of weather, making it ideal for flat-roofed houses.

Required Tools

There are a couple of tools that are needed when applying tar to the roof. These tools are:

  • A ladder
  • Tar
  • Face mask
  • Globes
  • Roller
  • Pole, etc.
How To Tar A Roof

How to Tar a Roof: step by step

Roofing is challenging work and often needs a skillful and experienced person to work. But tarring is quite simple and following these steps can help you a lot.

Step 1 : Inspection:

It is always the best idea to do a thorough inspection before starting any roofing job. It will help you to make a decision whether your roof needs any alterations or not.

Step 2: Measure the roof area

Make sure to properly calculate the exact dimension of the area that you want to cover using tar. Adding a few extra feet to your measurements is a good choice as sometimes you need to apply the tar twice in some areas.

Step 3: Buy roofing tar

Buying the roofing tar from any local store is the next step. Now, you have the measurements, just go to a shop and consult with the owner about what material your roof is on, what is better for such roofs, what are the tars available at this time, rate, and so on. 

After a brief discussion, select a tar according to your roof materials and budget and purchase it.

Step 4: Mark area

Now, climb up your roof and mark up the area you want to tar using chalk. After marking, prepare yourself by wearing gloves, shoes and start pouring the tar into a bucket.

Always keep in mind that you have to start your process from such a place that you can tar all the way and can easily climb down by ladder. Never step on the tar just after applying it. This will ruin your roof as well as your shoes. 

Step 5: Start applying tar

Start applying the tar by dipping the roller into the bucket and making a stroke each time. Repeat the whole process until all the area you have measured is covered.

When applying tar, always look for a perfect temperature and that should be between 40 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not apply tar when the temperature is above that otherwise, it will drip and create mess everywhere. 

Pros of tarring

  • Tar is highly resistive to the sun’s UV radiation.
  • Flat roofs are exposed to all kinds of elements such as rainwater, snow, wind, and heat.
  • Slanted roofs have a certain slope so these elements either slip away or cannot stay on the surface.
  • Tar can protect a flat roof from these.

Cons of tarring

  • On the other side, tar is a poisonous substance.
  • It has a very bad smell and that is why the homeowners are advised to stay elsewhere when tarring is performed on the roof.

Final words

Tarring is a relatively cheap solution to flat roof problems. It can be said that it is a temporary solution. But if applied correctly, it can function properly for many years.
Hopefully, after reading this article on how to tar a roof, the process is not an issue for you. So, if you make up your mind to do some tarring, it is always a good choice to consult a professional before you start.


As a civil engineer and roofer, I love to share the experience that I have gained through the last couple of years. In the roofing industry, practical experience is a very crucial fact that can help you a lot. Hence, I want to help you with my blog.

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