Felt roofs have been a popular roofing option, particularly for sheds, a single garage, and an outbuilding (although they can also be used in other situations as well). Even with the development of new techniques and materials, a felt roof can often be the best option for your roofing project. Here at CheckaRoof we will professionally lay your felt roof so that you can be sure it will last as long as it can.
A felt roof consists of two to three layers of felt sheeting that together form an impenetrable layer. It is easy to imagine felt as being weak and soft but felt roofs really are anything but. The sheets are usually covered in a material such as tar to create a waterproof seal.
Felt roofs are usually installed on flat roofs, although they can also be used on pitched roofs or curved roofs, and they are commonly seen on sheds, garages, and outbuildings.
Roofing felt can feel like quite a low-tech option for a flat roof, especially when compared with options like EPDM rubber roofing or GRP fibreglass. But even when stacked against these new roofing materials, felt roofing continues to hold its own. It very much seems to be a case of "If it ain't broke, don't fix it". Let's take a look at the many benefits of this roofing option.
One of the great benefits of roofing felt is its versatility. It can be installed on a flat roof, yes, but it can also be installed on a pitched roof, or a curved roof, or a roof that has an unusual shape. And this is because it is a moldable, pliable layer.
Another key benefit of shed felt is that it is an extremely lightweight roofing material. This makes it suitable for even very small buildings that wouldn't be able to take the weight of a more hefty roof covering.
Even though it is lightweight and pliable, don't be fooled into thinking that felt roofing is fragile. It is quite the opposite. Because they have no seams and the materials that the felt is coated in, felt roofs are almost completely waterproof and they are also highly resistant to tearing and is resistant to UV rays.
This means that they will hold up against weather damage both during the winter and the summer, and can hold their own against high winds and some impact.
And if a felt roof does get damaged, it is easily repairable. Unlike some roofing materials, felt roofs can be patch-repaired in no time and, if done properly, the patch shouldn't be noticeable. Repairing it is also relatively inexpensive compared to other options.
Installing felt roofing is also on the lower end of the cost scale. In fact, it is probably the cheapest option available. The materials themselves are cheaper for some of the other alternatives and they are relatively quick to install which reduces the labour costs if you are using roofing experts to install the flat roof.
Some roofing materials, such as GRP fibreglass, can only be installed in perfect weather conditions. This can easily delay a roofing project while you wait for the weather to change. Felt roofing, on the other hand, can be installed in just about any weather condition.
The finish of a felt roof can be completed in various colours and styles to make it as aesthetically pleasing as you want it to be.
There are three different methods for installing felt on a flat roof. Let's take a quick look at the installation process for each of them. Most of the time, it would be better to use a professional roofing contractor to complete the job because of the tools needed and the expertise required to do the job well.
This is the traditional method for installing a felt flat roof and it has somewhat fallen out of fashion in favour of the torch on felt technique.
With the pour and roll technique, each layer of felt is applied to a layer of hot bitumen, which is then squeezed out of the edges as the layer of felt is rolled on. This creates a tight seal.
Proponents of the pour and roll technique say that it is the most durable and long-lasting way of applying roofing felt to a flat roof because it creates a much stronger seal than other techniques.
It can be difficult to apply, however, and is quite a time-consuming method. Because of this, many roofing contractors prefer to use a different method for installing the roofing felt.
This is far and away the most popular technique for installing a felt flat roof and is a popular choice for many homeowners. It uses many of the same principles as the pour and roll technique, mainly that heated modified bitumen will create a strong waterproof seal, but it is a more convenient method.
With the torch on felt technique, the bitumen is spread on the surface cold with the roofing felt layered on top, and a blow torch is used to heat the bitumen and create the seal.
The torch on felt method is much safer than the pour and roll method because it doesn't involve transporting hot bitumen. Because of the hot flame, however, it is also best to leave torch on felt roofing to the roofing experts.
This is a flat roofing technique that is often favoured by people who are DIY-ing their felt roofing. It doesn't carry with it the safety concerns that you would find with the pour and roll or the torch on felt roofing techniques. Instead, it uses cold adhesive to stick the layers of felt together.
The advantage of this method is that it is very easy to install, even without the use of specialist tools or equipment. But it is nowhere near as long-lasting or durable as the hot methods.
All the different methods of installing roof felt will use a similar general process (even though the method of adhesion will vary). They will each generally used three layers of roofing felt to create the roof surface.
The first step is to make sure that the area is prepared and ready for the felt roofing to be installed. Ensure that the decking is suitable and will be able to hold the felt roof and check that it is dry and that there are no nails poking out.
The first step is to lay the first underlay on top of the prepared decking. This is also known as the venting layer and it uses a vapour control sheet to make sure that moisture can be ventilated out of the building.
The second sheet of underlay is bonded to the first layer and is finished with sand. This helps it to bond with the final layer of felt.
The final layer, also known as the cap sheet, has a mineral finish and is the part of the felt flat roofing that will protect it from the elements. This sheet can come in various colours to really personalise your style.
For drainage, most felt roofing is carefully overlaid over the guttering to create gutter drips and flat roof outlets can also be installed to help with drainage. Lead flashings are usually installed around the edges to further protect the building from moisture.
While felt roofs can be a great option for many roofing projects, there are some things that you should consider before making your final decision.
Felt roofs are not maintenance-free, and it is important that the roof is checked for damage regularly, especially after extreme weather conditions.
If you do decide to do the repairs yourself, they can sometimes look messy and untidy because it is difficult to get the entire surface to look uniform. On the other hand, bringing in a professional every time a repair is needed can end up being a costly option.
Felt roofs don't have the longest lifespan when compared to other roof options. They typically last around 10-15 years, although reinforced felt can last longer. So while they may be cheaper at the initial outlay, replacing them more often can end up being more expensive.
Felt roofs cannot be recycled and the use of crude oil does throw up its own environmental concerns. This is a particular problem if the roof does need to be replaced more frequently than other roofing options.
Flat felt roofs have been a popular option for many, many years because they have so many benefits. They are inexpensive, versatile, and surprisingly durable. They are also a good option for less traditional roof structures, as well as structures that can't take much weight. If you think that a felt roof is the perfect option for your shed, outbuildings, garages, or more, get in touch with us today and we will install it quickly and professionally so that your roof looks perfect for years to come.