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  • Writer's pictureChad Brittian

Roof Leak- Using Tar On Asphalt Shingles

Your asphalt roof is leaking. Can you use tar as a quick fix? The answer…sure! (We say this hesitantly) Truth is, you can use whatever you’d like, that is, if you’re positive the leak is originating from that location and are willing to spend the extra money when you need a roofing contractor down the line.

We’ve had many calls where either the homeowner has been instructed to “slap some tar” on a leaky area or an old school contractor has done this as a cheap repair. This can be a huge hassle when the next contractor comes in to fix the problem because lets, face it, tar will only hold for so long.

Tar, as a quick fix, will end up costing you a lot more money in the long run.

Why? There are a few reasons.

1. In order to “plug” the leak, a good amount of tar is usually applied to the area. If it’s over asphalt shingles, there’s a good chance a large area will have to be torn off and replaced once it’s time to have a contractor come to fix the persistent leak. Tar sticks to everything and gets very hard once it’s settled.

2. Applying tar over a long period of time is a bad idea. If multiple layers of tar have been applied, (believe us we’ve seen it), removing the tar is a huge job and can take many man hours. Protecting shingles within that perimeter is going to be very difficult and as stated above, a larger area will need to be torn out and replaced whereas without tar, the repair may have been minor.

3. Depending on where the leak occurred, applying tar could damage your decking, exterior walls or siding. If the leak originated near an exterior wall or dormer, tearing that tar out could damage your siding. If it’s just a leaky roof and enough damage has been done due to the leak and or tar, some decking may need replaced when tearing off shingles.

Bottom line, you can apply tar until your heart’s content…but be prepared to pay for it in the long run. We recommend always contacting a reputable Indianapolis roofing contractor to assist with roofing repairs. We understand this can be costly but it will save you a lot of money when you end up needing to replace the area of shingles.

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