Redoing a home’s roofing system can be quite the challenge for any homeowner. Should you choose asphalt shingles, metal roofing, or maybe even polymer-modified bitumen membrane?

Well, a little research about the costs of various roofing materials would show you that the most affordable option is roll roofing. But is that an option worth considering just because of the cost factor alone? This short read should help you make an educated decision.

What is rolled roofing?

Rolled roofing is a mineral surfaced roofing material that is sold in rolls. This is the most affordable roofing material money can buy and is really easy to install as well, making it an easy DIY project for homeowners.

However, roofing contractors will testify to the fact that this thin material actually drops the resale value of a property when used on an occupied structure. Instead, roll roofing is best used for unoccupied structures, such as garages, tool sheds, and other out structures. 

The only thing rolled roofing has in common with asphalt shingles is that it is essentially an oil-based asphalt product. However, while composite asphalt shingles are smaller, one roll of MSR, as roll roofing is also called, covers an area of 100 square feet, or a composite shingle square.

This thin material is sold in rolls of 36 feet long by 36 inches wide and is installed in long strips.

The material is far less durable than asphalt shingles are. In fact, some types of rolled roofing, such as builder-grade saturated felt with asphalt, are used as an underlayment.

Where can this material be used?

rolled roofing
  1. The thin nature of MSR (mineral surfaced roll) as a rolled roofing material means it is not very durable. This makes it a bad choice for residential roofing. However, it is a good fit for shops, garages, work sheds, barns, and even for your kid’s treehouse.
  2. This material is best suited for slope roofing with at least a 1:12 roof pitch. That means your roof declines one inch vertically for every 12 inches horizontally. However, the advised minimum pitch for a rolled roof is 2:12.

What are the advantages of roll roofing?

Here are some of the pros of roll roofing.

  1. It is the most affordable of all roofing options, cheaper than even low-grade composite shingles. Even the nails needed to install it are inexpensive.
  2. This is the best way to cover low incline roofs. However, nailed-down roofing is not ideal for flat roofs, since they are liable to leak.
  3. Installing a roll of MSR takes just a matter of minutes since they come in rolls. This makes them easier to install than shingles, where installation is one shingle after another. In fact, homeowners can install an MSR roof as a DIY home improvement project

The process simply involves measuring your roof, cutting the roll into horizontal strips, and then using roofing nails to secure the roll.

  1. Sold in 75-pound units, rolled roofing is very lightweight and easy to transport.
  2. The material is easy to cut into customized strips to use for eaves, rakes, ridges, and hips.
  3. You can use this material to re-roof over your existing roof, just as long as you clear out all debris so as not to puncture the roll.

What are the disadvantages of roll roofing?

rolled roof

Here are the cons of choosing roll roofing.

  1. Your color choices are limited to black, and occasionally, tan, green and gray.
  2. The material is not very durable and tears really easily. 
  3. While composite shingles will last you at least 20 years, rolled roofing has a much smaller lifespan of seven to eight years.
  4. It is not aesthetically pleasing at all and is likely to negatively affect your home’s curb appeal.
  5. Not only does your home’s curb appeal go down, you can also expect the resale value to plummet. At best, we’d suggest you consider this as a stop-gap arrangement until you can actually get a new roof for your home. 

Key takeaways

Roll roofing may be the most affordable roofing material on the market, but that does not necessarily make it ideal as a roofing choice for your home. This is because it is not durable, aesthetically not pleasing, and can even reduce your home’s resale value.

It is, however, a great choice of non-occupied structures, as an underlayment and as a temporary roofing solution, considering it is also very easy to transport as well as install.

Is roll roofing worth considering? was last modified: July 1st, 2022 by Narayan Shrouthy
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Roll roofing is generally less expensive than other types of roofing materials, imagine why?