roof felt

How Do You Felt a Flat Roof

You’ve likely heard the expression ‘having a roof over your head’ as a symbol of security and shelter. But what happens when that roof needs some attention? Felt roofing is a common method for flat roofs, and knowing how to do it yourself can save you time and money. So, where do you start? Well, the process may seem daunting, but with the right guidance, you’ll be equipped to tackle this project with confidence.

Assessing Roof Condition

Before you begin the process of felting your flat roof, thoroughly inspect it for any signs of damage, such as cracks, leaks, or deteriorating material. Start by checking the roof felt or underlayment for any tears, wrinkles, or areas where it may have separated from the roof decking. Look for any signs of moisture, as this could indicate leaks. Pay special attention to the edges and seams as these are common areas for wear and tear. If you notice any issues, address them before proceeding with the felting process to ensure a smooth and effective application. Additionally, examine the overall condition of the roof surface. Check for any ponding water, which could indicate improper drainage. Inspect the surface for any cracks or blistering, as these can compromise the integrity of the roof. Addressing these issues beforehand will help prevent future problems and ensure that the new roof felt is applied to a stable and secure surface. Taking the time to thoroughly assess the condition of your flat roof will help you identify any necessary repairs and ensure that the felting process is successful in providing long-lasting protection.

Gathering Necessary Tools

To begin felting your flat roof, gather the necessary tools and materials such as a utility knife, roofing felt, adhesive, and a ladder for access. These tools are essential for ensuring a successful and efficient flat roof felting process. Here’s a list of the specific items you’ll need:
  1. Utility Knife: This will be used for cutting the roofing felt underlayment to the required size and shape. Ensure that the knife is sharp for clean and precise cuts.
  2. Roofing Felt: Acquire the appropriate amount of roofing felt underlayment based on the size of your flat roof. It’s crucial to have enough material to cover the entire surface area without any gaps.
  3. Adhesive: Invest in high-quality adhesive designed for flat roof applications. The adhesive will be used to secure the roofing felt to the roof, providing a strong and durable bond.
  4. Ladder: A sturdy ladder is necessary for safe and easy access to the flat roof. Choose a ladder that’s the appropriate height for reaching the roof comfortably and securely.
Gathering these tools and materials is the first step towards a successful flat roof felting project.

Preparing the Roof Surface

You can enhance the adhesion of the roofing felt by thoroughly cleaning the roof surface before applying any materials. Start by removing any debris such as leaves, branches, and dirt from the roof. Use a broom or leaf blower to clear the surface effectively. Next, inspect the roof for any signs of damage, such as cracks or blisters, and repair them before proceeding. Any moisture or standing water should be addressed to ensure a dry surface for the underlayment to adhere properly. After the roof surface is clean and dry, consider applying a primer to promote better adhesion for the underlayment. The primer helps the underlayment bond firmly to the roof substrate, providing an additional layer of protection against water infiltration. Ensure that the primer is compatible with both the roof surface material and the underlayment to achieve the best results.

Applying Primer

After thoroughly cleaning and preparing the roof surface, the next step is to apply a primer to promote better adhesion for the underlayment. Here’s how to apply primer for felting a flat roof:
  1. Select the Right Primer: Choose a primer specifically designed for the type of roofing material you’re using. Look for a primer that’s compatible with asphalt roofing felt and is waterproof to ensure maximum effectiveness.
  2. Prepare the Surface: Make sure the roof surface is completely dry before applying the primer. Remove any dust, debris, or loose particles that could affect the adhesion of the primer.
  3. Apply the Primer: Use a paint roller or brush to apply a uniform coat of primer over the entire roof surface. Ensure that the primer is spread evenly to create a strong bond with the underlayment.
  4. Allow for Drying Time: Let the primer dry completely according to the manufacturer’s instructions before proceeding with the installation of the asphalt roofing felt. This ensures that the primer can effectively adhere to the underlayment, providing a secure and waterproof foundation for the flat roof.

Measuring and Cutting Felt Sheets

Measuring and cutting felt sheets requires precise attention to detail and the use of sharp, reliable tools to ensure accurate sizing for the flat roof installation. Begin by measuring the dimensions of the roof deck to determine the amount of roll roofing needed. Use a tape measure to carefully calculate the length and width, adding a few extra inches for overhang. When cutting the felt sheets, a utility knife with a fresh blade is essential for clean, straight cuts. Lay the roll roofing on a flat, stable surface and measure out the required length, marking it with a chalk line or a pencil. Use the straight edge of a board or a metal ruler to guide the utility knife along the marked line, ensuring a precise cut. Take your time to avoid mistakes, as accurately cut felt sheets will make the installation process much smoother.
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Once the sheets are cut to size, they’re ready to be carefully positioned and secured onto the roof deck.

Starting Felt Installation

To begin the felt installation, ensure that the roof deck is clean and free of any debris or obstructions. This step is crucial for a smooth and effective application of the underlayments and felt sheets. Here’s how to start the felt installation:
  1. Inspect the Deck: Before laying the underlayments, carefully inspect the roof deck for any signs of damage, such as rot or structural issues. Repair any damaged areas to ensure a solid and secure base for the underlayments.
  2. Apply Underlayments: Once the deck is in good condition, start by applying underlayments. These materials provide an extra layer of protection against moisture and help improve the overall integrity of the roof.
  3. Secure the Underlayments: Use appropriate fasteners to secure the underlayments to the deck, ensuring that they’re flat and free of wrinkles or bubbles. This step is essential for creating a smooth surface for the felt sheets.
  4. Begin Felt Installation: With the underlayments in place, you can now start the actual felt installation process, following the specific guidelines for the type of felt being used.

Securing Felt in Place

For a secure and long-lasting installation, ensure that the felt is firmly anchored to the roof deck using appropriate fasteners. Start by unrolling the asphalt shingle or tar paper and aligning it carefully with the edge of the roof. Once in place, use a staple gun or roofing nails to secure the material every 6 inches along the edges and every 12 inches in the center. This ensures that the felt is held taut and won’t shift or buckle during installation. As you work your way up the roof, be sure to overlap each row of felt by a few inches to create a waterproof barrier. After securing the bottom layer, repeat the process with the subsequent layers, making sure to stagger the seams for added protection. It’s important to inspect each fastener to ensure they’re flush with the surface of the felt, preventing any potential snags or tears in the material. By taking the time to secure the felt properly, you’ll guarantee a durable and weather-resistant flat roof.

Overlapping Felt Seams

Overlap each row of felt by a few inches to create a waterproof barrier, ensuring a secure and watertight flat roof. When overlapping felt seams, it’s crucial to follow the correct procedure to prevent any water leaks and ensure the longevity of your roof. Here’s how to properly overlap felt seams:
  1. Prepare the Surface: Before laying the roofing felt, ensure the surface is clean and free of any debris. Any protrusions or sharp objects should be removed to prevent damage to the felt.
  2. Apply Felt Adhesive: Use a suitable felt adhesive to secure the overlapping seams. Apply the adhesive evenly along the edge of the first layer of felt before laying the next layer on top.
  3. Align the Felt: When laying the next row of felt, carefully align it with the previous row, ensuring the correct overlap as per the manufacturer’s guidelines.
  4. Press and Seal: Once the overlapping rows are in place, firmly press the seams to ensure a strong bond. This will help create a watertight seal and prevent any moisture from penetrating the roof.
Following these steps will help you create a durable and effective flat roof using roofing products and felt adhesive. roof felt

Fitting Around Roof Protrusions

When fitting around roof protrusions, ensure that the overlapping felt seams are securely sealed to maintain a watertight barrier and protect the integrity of the flat roof. When working with roofing material, it’s crucial to carefully fit the membrane around any protrusions such as vents, chimneys, or skylights. Start by cutting the membrane to the appropriate size, allowing for an overhang of a few inches. Carefully fit the membrane around the protrusion, ensuring that it lays flat and smooth against the surface. Use a utility knife to create slits that allow the membrane to conform to the shape of the protrusion without forming wrinkles or bubbles. Apply a generous amount of adhesive around the base of the protrusion and press the membrane firmly into place, ensuring a secure bond. Finally, use a roller to smooth out any wrinkles and ensure that the membrane is tightly sealed around the protrusion.

Adding Edge Trims

Consider using edge trims to provide a clean and finished look to your flat roof, while also protecting the edges from potential damage. Edge trims are essential components of a roofing system, and their installation offers both aesthetic and functional benefits. Here’s how to add edge trims to your flat roof:
  1. Protection: Edge trims act as a protective barrier, preventing water from seeping into the roofing system and causing damage to the edges of the roof.
  2. Enhanced Appearance: By neatly finishing off the edges, edge trims contribute to a polished and professional appearance for your flat roof.
  3. Durability: Properly installed edge trims can enhance the durability of your flat roof by providing reinforcement and preventing wear and tear along the edges.
  4. Easy Installation: Edge trims are relatively easy to install, making them an accessible and practical addition to your roofing system.
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Incorporating edge trims into your flat roof not only elevates its visual appeal but also ensures longevity and protection for your roofing system. With their straightforward installation process, edge trims are a valuable addition to your flat roof maintenance routine.

Installing Drip Edges

To ensure proper water drainage and edge protection, start by securely fastening the drip edge along the eaves of the flat roof. Begin by positioning the drip edge along the edge of the roof, ensuring that it overhangs the edge by about half an inch. Use roofing nails to secure the drip edge, placing them every 8 to 10 inches along the edge. Make sure that the drip edge is straight and securely attached to the roof. Once the drip edge is in place, you can proceed with the installation of the asphalt or roof shingles. The drip edge provides a smooth transition for the shingles, ensuring that water runs off the roof without seeping underneath. It also helps protect the edges of the roof from water damage, preserving the integrity of the structure. When installing the shingles, be sure to overlap them with the drip edge to create a watertight barrier. This ensures that water is directed away from the edge and off the roof, preventing potential leaks and water damage.

Applying Adhesive

Apply adhesive to the substrate in a continuous, even layer, ensuring full coverage and a strong bond for the roofing materials. When applying adhesive to a flat roof, it’s crucial to follow these steps:
  1. Prepare the Surface: Clean the substrate thoroughly to remove any debris, dirt, or old adhesive. A clean and smooth surface will ensure better adhesion and a longer-lasting roof.
  2. Choose the Right Adhesive: Select an adhesive specifically designed for flat roofs. Consider factors such as the type of roofing material and the climate in your area to ensure the adhesive is suitable for the project.
  3. Use the Proper Tools: Apply the adhesive using a notched trowel or a brush designed for the specific type of adhesive being used. This will help achieve an even application and proper coverage.
  4. Follow Manufacturer’s Guidelines: Adhesive products come with specific instructions regarding application, drying times, and environmental conditions. Adhering to these guidelines is essential to ensure the adhesive cures properly and provides the necessary bond for the roofing materials.

Ensuring Proper Drainage

How can you ensure that proper drainage is maintained on a flat roof? Proper drainage on a flat roof is crucial to prevent water from pooling and causing damage. To achieve this, ensure that the roof has a slight slope towards the drainage system. This can be achieved by using tapered insulation or ensuring that the joists are installed with a slight slope. Additionally, make sure that the gutters and downspouts are clear of any debris that could obstruct the flow of water. Regularly inspect and clean them to prevent water from backing up onto the roof. When applying the roofing materials, pay attention to the seams and joints to ensure they’re properly sealed to prevent water penetration. Properly installed flashing around roof penetrations such as vents and chimneys is also essential to prevent water damage. Lastly, consider using roofing materials specifically designed for flat roof applications, as they often have built-in features to facilitate proper water drainage. By taking these steps, you can help prevent water damage and prolong the life of your flat roof.

Inspecting for Imperfections

Inspect your flat roof regularly for imperfections such as cracks, blisters, or punctures, which can compromise its integrity and lead to water infiltration. Here are some key areas to focus on during your inspection:
  1. Roof Membrane: Check for any signs of damage or wear on the roof membrane, such as tears, cracks, or bubbling. These can be indicators of underlying issues that need to be addressed promptly.
  2. Flashing and Edging: Inspect the flashing around vents, chimneys, and edges of the roof. Look for any gaps, rust, or loose sections that could allow water to seep through.
  3. Drainage System: Ensure that the gutters, downspouts, and drains are clear of debris and functioning properly. Clogged drainage can lead to water pooling, which can accelerate wear and tear on the roof.
  4. Insulation and Asphalt Shingles: Examine the insulation for any signs of moisture or damage. Additionally, assess the condition of the asphalt shingles, looking for cracks, curling, or missing pieces that could compromise the roof’s ability to keep water out.
Regular inspections can help you identify and address imperfections before they escalate into more significant problems, ultimately extending the lifespan of your flat roof and ensuring its continued effectiveness in protecting your property.

Allowing for Cure Time

After inspecting your flat roof for imperfections, it’s important to allow for cure time before proceeding with any repairs or maintenance. Whether you’re applying new roofing material or making repairs, allowing for proper cure time is crucial to ensure the longevity and effectiveness of the work. When working with asphalt-saturated roofing materials, such as felt, the cure time is essential for the material to adhere and form a strong, waterproof seal. Rushing the process can lead to premature wear and potential failure of the roofing system. Typically, asphalt-saturated roofing materials require time to settle and adhere to the substrate before they’re exposed to the elements. This cure time allows the material to form a secure bond with the roof, creating a durable barrier against water, UV rays, and other environmental factors.
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Additionally, allowing for cure time can prevent potential issues such as blistering, wrinkling, or poor adhesion, which can compromise the effectiveness of the roofing system.

Conducting Water Test

You can test the waterproofing of your flat roof by conducting a water test to ensure that the roofing system effectively repels water and prevents leaks. Follow these steps to conduct a water test on your flat roof:
  1. Prepare the Area: Clear any debris from the roof surface and ensure that the drainage system is unobstructed to allow water to flow freely.
  2. Simulate Rainfall: Using a hose or buckets of water, pour a significant amount of water onto different sections of the roof, paying close attention to potential problem areas such as seams, flashing, and low spots.
  3. Check for Leaks: While the water is being applied, have someone inspect the interior of the building for any signs of water penetration. Look for water stains, drips, or puddles.
  4. Monitor Over Time: After the test, continue to monitor the interior for a period of time to ensure that there are no delayed leaks or seepage.

Finalizing Roof Inspection

Once the water test has been completed and any necessary repairs have been made, finalize the roof inspection by documenting the results and ensuring all safety measures are in place before proceeding with any roofing work. Begin by carefully examining the shingles to check for any signs of damage or wear. Look for curling, cracking, or missing shingles that may need to be replaced. Additionally, inspect the flashing around vents, chimneys, and skylights to ensure they’re intact and properly sealed. Document any issues found during the inspection for future reference. Next, it’s important to check for any signs of moisture or water damage. Look for water stains on the ceiling or walls inside the building, as this could indicate a leak in the roof. Additionally, inspect the attic or roof deck for any signs of mold, rot, or water infiltration. If any moisture issues are identified, they should be addressed before proceeding with the roofing work. Before beginning any repairs or installation of roofing materials, ensure that all safety measures are in place. This includes using appropriate personal protective equipment, securing ladders, and establishing barriers to prevent falls. roof felt

Maintaining Felt Roof

To maintain a felt roof, regularly inspect for any signs of damage, wear, or deterioration that may require attention. Look for cracks, tears, or blisters in the felt material, as well as any areas where the felt may be pulling away from the roof structure. Addressing these issues promptly can prevent further damage and prolong the lifespan of your roof. Here are some key maintenance tasks to keep your felt roof in top condition:
  1. Clear Debris: Regularly remove leaves, branches, and other debris that can accumulate on the roof, as they can trap moisture and accelerate the deterioration of the felt material.
  2. Check for Ponding Water: Ensure that the roof is properly sloped to prevent standing water, as excessive ponding can weaken the felt and lead to leaks.
  3. Inspect Seams and Flashing: Check the seams and flashing for any signs of separation or damage, as these areas are common entry points for water and can compromise the integrity of the roofing system.
  4. Apply a Heavy-Duty Roofing Coating: Consider applying a heavy-duty roofing coating to provide an extra layer of protection and extend the life of the felt roof.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Do I Know if My Flat Roof Needs to Be Felted?

If your flat roof is showing signs of wear and tear, like cracks or leaks, it’s time to consider felting it. Don’t procrastinate! Addressing this issue promptly can prevent more extensive and costly damage.

What Are the Best Types of Materials to Use for Flat Roof Felting?

When felting a flat roof, the best materials to use are high-quality bitumen felt or EPDM rubber membrane. These materials offer excellent waterproofing and durability, ensuring long-lasting protection for your roof.

Can I Felt My Flat Roof on My Own, or Do I Need to Hire a Professional?

You can felt your flat roof on your own, but 70% of DIY roofing projects result in errors. Hiring a professional ensures proper installation, avoiding costly mistakes and potential leaks. It’s worth the investment for long-term peace of mind.

What Are Common Mistakes to Avoid When Felting a Flat Roof?

When felting a flat roof, avoid common mistakes like improper surface preparation, inadequate overlapping of felt layers, and using low-quality materials. Ensure proper drainage and consult a professional if you’re unsure about any aspect of the process.

How Often Should I Inspect and Maintain My Felted Flat Roof?

Inspect and maintain your felted flat roof at least once a year. Regular checks can catch small issues before they become big problems. Keep an eye out for tears, punctures, and signs of water damage.


Now that you’ve felted your flat roof, it’s like giving it a protective shield against the elements. Just like a sturdy shield protects a warrior in battle, the felt will shield your roof from the harsh weather. With proper maintenance, your felt roof will continue to stand strong, just like a warrior with their trusty shield by their side.

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