How to repair a tar & gravel roof

Written by amanda c. kooser
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How to repair a tar & gravel roof
Fix a leak in your tar and gravel roof. (Different coloured gravel image by Tjobbe from

Tar and gravel is a common roofing method used for structures with flat roofs. Also known as built-up roofs, these roofs use layers of asphalt and roofing paper or membrane material topped with gravel. Minor leaks can often be repaired by the homeowner without requiring a complete roof replacement. Repair supplies can be purchased at a local home improvement store.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Rake
  • Broom
  • Roofing patch
  • Roofing fabric
  • Trowel

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  1. 1

    Locate the source of the leak. The actual location of a leak may be some feet away from where the water is showing inside the building. Check along the parapets of the roof, around metal flashing and any place where water flows between roofing sections. Look for places where the gravel is missing and the asphalt layers appear damaged.

  2. 2

    Rake the gravel away from the leak area. Sweep off the dust and smaller rock pieces until the area is clean of debris.

  3. 3

    Apply roofing patch with a trowel over the leak area. Extend the patch area out several inches past the damaged spot.

  4. 4

    Cut the roofing fabric to cover the patch area. Lay the roofing fabric over the patch. Apply another layer of roofing patch on top of the fabric. Smooth the edges of patch down to match the rest of the roof.

  5. 5

    Sweep and rake the gravel back over the patch area.

Tips and warnings

  • Use wet patch roofing patch material if you need to repair a roof that is still damp.

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