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IfItAintBrokeFixItAnyway 06-16-2007 08:08 PM

Roll Roofing Repair
My house has crappy roll roofing on part of the roof at about 1/12. A tree branch punched a hole (apx 5" dia) through the roof and sheathing. How do I repair this?

I'm pretty sure I did it wrong. I cut away the roofing, cut out the sheathing to the rafters and replaced it. Tucked 15# roofing felt under the entire hole (about 6" under the existing roofing material) and nailed it down. Got a scrap piece of roll roofing, cut it in half (rake-to-rake direction) so I could tuck it under and have an overlap that went with the flow of water.

It looks terrible and I'm afraid it's going to leak. Does anyone know the right way to do this? I guess the part I'm having trouble with is that I can't figure out how to get an overlap at the top and bottom edge. (It makes sense that I would need this so water would run off?) Should I just tuck a big piece under and roofing cement all around and be done with it

(I am *NOT INTERESTED* in hearing from roofing contractors about how this is not a DIY job.)


Ed the Roofer 06-16-2007 10:32 PM

PHP Code:

I'm pretty sure I did it wrong.
(I am *NOT INTERESTED* in hearing from roofing contractors about how this is not a DIY job.) 

Lighten up dude.

That initial posting comment will probably not lead to people being very helpful.

I'll answer your question either later tonight or tomorrow, when I get back home.

Talk to you later.


P.S. I can't resist or wait until later.

This is probably not a DIY job.:no:

Maybe instead, it is a, Have someone else do it for you job though.:whistling2:

I will still give you a correct and thorough response later, but I needed to get that out of me before I left the office.:thumbup: I might be the only one who will find humor in that, bit I needed that today.

Ed, again.

IfItAintBrokeFixItAnyway 06-17-2007 02:01 AM

Hey Ed,

Sorry man, I wasn't trying to turn anyone off. I've just been trolling these forums for a while and it really seems like some people in particular (not you) have been really snobby towards DIYers. Yeah, I know, I'm not a professional. I know there are risks. If I had the money to hire someone to do this, I would do it. But right now I've got other problems I need to deal with first. My house is 88 yrs old and has had a lot of typical "DIYer" mistakes in its lifetime.

I didn't metion this but the roof I want to repair is actually built and framed entirely on top of another roof that is at a perpendicular pitch. (I didn't know this until I replaced the sheathing, it's some kind of rubberized coated roof pitched up towards South and the top roof is pitched East...) Weird but I don't have the money or time to deal with that right now...

Anyway, I appreciate you taking the time to read my post. And I'd appreciate any input you might have... I'll take pictures of my bad repair job in the morning so you (or anyone else) can tell me what I did wrong.

I'm okay with the fact that I may fail repeatedly before I succeed. But I want the satisfaction! I'm not going to go calling a contractor to fix my screwup... :) I just might need to call them to ask how to fix it...


IfItAintBrokeFixItAnyway 06-17-2007 10:07 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Here is a picture of what I did. It actually looks better than it is.

I tried to separate the upper and lower courses of the old roofing to slide the patch into the overlap, but I couldn't get it apart and it ripped along that seam. :censored: Obviously that plan of attack failed due to my lack of understanding of how roofing cement works. (The only roofing I've done is 5-V tin roofing -- like carpentry but with metal)

I need to replace the whole section of the roof so this isn't permanent. I just don't want to have to deal with water damage in addition to replacing the roof! Suggestions for replacement material? (For a pro and for a DIYer, if different)


Ed the Roofer 06-17-2007 07:05 PM

In theory you did the patch correctly.

Since it is only a 1/12 pitch though, the seams may possibly still leak.

Did you apply the patch pieces in a light troweling of plastic roof cement first, ir is it nailed in dry?

It looks as if it is nailed in with just the piece of material over the patch area dry withput being first embeedded into an adhesive layer of plastic roofing cement.

What type of roofing material is it? If it is 90 # granulated roll roofing, it more than likely will leak.

To temporarily, (like for 2-5 years of waterproofing time) patch just that area only, without doing the whole roof, you should apply a layer of plastic fibered roofing cement in a light but consistently thick application over the seams for just a littly bit wider that 6 ". Buy a product called patching repair mambrane. Other names are minnie, ( asphalt impregnated rolls of cotton fabric), or it can be composed of fiberglass too.

Take your trowel and "Gently" embed the fabric into the previously applied roof cement, which will split the difference of each of the seams, 1/2 on each side of each of the seam.

Oh, and the bottom one, (the seam closest to the gutter or eave edge), will be the first one then the two side ones then the top seam.

After the bottom fabric is gently troweled into the roofing cement, apply a "Thin" coating of roof cement over the surface of the fabric. Just heavy enough so you do not see the fabric or pattern of the fabrics weave. If you apply too much cement on the surface, the sun will crack it and when it cracks, it will create further cracking to anything that it is adhered to.

After all 4 side seams are covered in this manner, lightly trowel in more plastic roof cement into the center of the square so it does not hold and retain water. Make this center area level with the side seam edges.

If you have extra fabric membrane after you do the 4 sided=s, then use this in that center area also to prevent future cracking as stated before.

Go from left to right when applying the fabric and roof cement in the center of your patch area.

At the top horizontal seam, make sure the edge of the roof cement is nice and smooth and troweled down to a nice taper, so water will not work its way into any large gaps or remain ponding there.

"Think Like Water" is an expression I like when doing repairs. Where would you go if you were being diverted from your natural gravitational path?

Once a year, check on the condition of the surface exposed roof cement and see if it is getting burned out and starting to crack. If it is significant, then just apply a light coating of roofing cement to the surface again, but the initial patch should weather just fine for the first 2-3 years before needing this maintenance procedure.

Final note: To save the bucket of roofing cement that you purchase, (5 gallons = about $ 15.00), after you are done using it, trowel the top surface nice and smooth and pour a couple of inches of water on top of it. Save the lid and tap it back onto the 5 gallon bucket and crimp down the lids fastening flanges either with a hammer, a screw driver, or the pointy tip of the trowel and store it away. The next time you need to use it, the top will look a little grey instead of black, but it will still be soft and trowelable after you dump out the water, (if the bucket doesn't rust out).

Clean the trowel blade by scraping the excess roof cement into the side edge of the bucket and let it sit in a coffe can filled with gasoline for a day, then wipe it clean with a disposable rag or jab it into some loose dirt or sand and it will be like brand new again, except for how messsy you will have gotten the handle and your fingers and your hand. I guarantee you will find roof cement on parts of your body you didn't even think you touched.:laughing:


P.S. There was recently another thread about doing a "dope", (roof cement), and minnie patch which had a lot more replies, so if you need further information, just click on the previous threads or do a search for the word " Jute " or "dope and Minnie", because we got into a tangent side discussion about the various terms around the country used for similar products.

IfItAintBrokeFixItAnyway 06-17-2007 09:06 PM

Ed, I don't think I would have ever searched for a "dope and minnie" patch job. Then again, after reading that thread it seems like a regional thing.

I didn't put any roofing cement under the patch, just nailed down some tarpaper. I just troweled about 2-3" wide around the overlapping on all edges and between the top/bottom halves.

So I guess, if I'm understanding correctly, I would apply the dope/minnie patch on top of what I already did? And I should probably put nails around the edges every 4-6" under the cement/fabric/cement...?

I don't have any idea what kind of roofing it is, it's the only roll roofing that Lowes sells here in Jacksonville, FL, so it's probably garbage and I probably paid too much. 108 sqft per roll / 36" wide, if that tells you anything, I chucked the paper wrap. It feels like asphalt roofing shingles but rolled up.

Thanks for the info and the cleanup / roofing cement tips...!

I spent all day in the back yard limbing a dead pecan tree with a 1980's Honda Civic and a potato gun. Hopefully I can keep the rest of the limbs from punching more holes in the roof.

I'm really starting to think that roofing that involves tar and asphalt is just masochistic and [cough, cough] not a DIY job. Maybe I should replace the entire roof with 5-V tin. :) I'll take saw-dust and splinters over trying to get roofing cement out of my skin -- any day.

Thanks again,

Ed the Roofer 06-17-2007 11:15 PM

Okay, now I know for sure what I am dealing with per your description of the material.

It is 90 # granulated roll roofing, which is the most basic roofing material available and usually only applied properly with a full asphalt adhesive which gets squegied (sp) on. If you can still get the nails out of your existing patch material, cut two new pieces and trowel roofing cement under them prior to laying them in place and then nail them in.

Then, do the roofing cement and cotton reinforcement, (or polyester or fiberglass) patching as previously suggested.

Good luck,

Spray some WD-40 on your hands or motor oil on your gloves to keep the roof cement from sticking to your skin and gloves.



IfItAintBrokeFixItAnyway 06-18-2007 12:59 AM

Cool, WD-40 hand lotion :)

Well, I was basically trying to mimic the way the existing roof appears to be installed... Nailed down 15# tarpaper w/ the 90# granulated roofing material on top. It appears to be held to the tar paper with bands of roofing cement (2-3" wide and about 12" part). So maybe it just wasn't installed correctly in the first place. Would not surprise me at all considering some of the other BS I've found in this house. Probably someone trying to cut costs of roofing cement...

Thanks again for all your help...


Ed the Roofer 01-11-2008 10:25 PM


They make a version of roofing cement called MBR Roofing Cement, which is intended for modified bitumen.

Here is a link to that product:

Each product manufacturer should be contacted for approved products first.

I am bringing this topic up for the modified bitumen patch currently being discussed.

The reason that regular Plast Asphalt Roofing Cement should not be used, is that the product contains solvents as part of its composition to keep the dope from getting too stiff and to be pliable during the troweling process while applying it.

The material needs air and time for the solvents to "Flash" out of the cementious material, otherwise, if encapsulated, the solvents may be able to leach into the roofing materials and eat its way through it.


I am adding a link to another similar thread for some additional information and advice. Ed

philips1674 09-13-2009 05:32 PM

Roll Roofing question
I sense that your first approach was basically correct. Most repair jobs are extensions of what went wrong in the beginning. I always say if you don't understand what broke it then you most likely win't be able to fix it. Okay! think of it this if you were trying to get water to penetrate the roofing membrane what would be some of the reasons you would not be able to? why is it that water does not leak out of a glass? or why is it that your coffee does not leak out of your cup? because it is sealed of course! well the same principle applies to your roof! Seal it! Oh! yeah try not to make a research project out of it!:thumbup:

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