Mineral Surface Roll Roofing: Buyer’s Guide

In this guide, we'll go over mineral surface roll roofing features, pros, cons, costs, and installation process so you can have a better idea if this roofing option is a good fit for you.
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Reviewed by JC Sanjuan — General and roofing contractor with over a decade of experience in residential and commercial construction. He specializes in project management, quality workmanship, client satisfaction, and solving roofing challenges.

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When it comes to roofing materials, we usually hear about asphalt shingles and metal roofs for steep roofs. However, there’s another option that’s great for certain situations such as for low slope roofs — and it’s called mineral surface roll roofing, also known as modified bitumen roll roof.

In this guide, we’ll cover its features, pros, cons, costs, and installation process so you can have a better idea if this roofing option is a good fit for you.


Terms You Should Know

First, here are some important terms you should understand when it comes to mineral surface rolled roofing:

  1. Roll roofing: Roofing material made off asphalt and a layer of mineral granules on top. This material is often use it for flat or low-sloped roofs.
  2. Underlayment: It’s a layer put between the roof and the roofing covering. It stops water and adds extra protection in case roof covering material ever fails.
  3. Seam: This is where two pieces of rolled roofing meet and are sealed together. Sealing them well is super important to keep water out.
  4. Flashing: Metal or special roofing material used to stop water from getting in at joints or seams on the roof.
  5. Slope: This means how steep or flat the roof is. Roofs can be very flat, a little steep, or really steep.
  6. Deck: It’s the strong base of the roof, usually made from wood or special board.
  7. Roof Vent: Roof accessory that lets air in and out of the attic. It helps control temperature and moisture.
  8. Eaves: This is the part of the roof that sticks out over the walls.
  9. Pitch: It’s the inclination of the roof. A 4:12 pitch means it goes up 4 inches for every 12 inches of roof.

What is Mineral Surface Roll Roofing?

Mineral Surfaced Roll is a roofing product reinforced with glass fiber and coated in asphalt. It features a ceramic granular surface to protect against UV rays, weathering, and physical damage. The bottom side is lightly coated with a mineral release material.

Usage

This roofing material is versatile, designed for both new roofing and re-roofing installations. It works well with hot mopping asphalt, cold process adhesives, or mechanical fasteners. It’s often used in residential low-slope areas like porches and carports, or as a flashing material. Additionally, it serves as an effective base sheet in commercial roofing applications.

Features and benefits

  • Versatile and easy to handle
  • Durable and cost-effective
  • Reinforced with glass fiber mat ensuring dimensional stability during installation
  • Minimal dead load weight
  • Low-slope residential and commercial use
  • Factory controlled characteristics
  • Available in multiple colors to complement most shingle applications: white, black, cedar blend, weatherwood, dark brown, red, hickory, slate grey and green

Different styles of applications and installation

  1. Torched down application: This method involves heating the underside of the roofing material with a torch as it’s rolled out. This technique melts the material, allowing it to bond securely to the base. It’s often used for bitumen-based materials and is ideal for flat or low-slope roofs.
  2. Mopped on application: Here, hot asphalt or adhesive is mopped over the roof base. The roofing material is then rolled onto this adhesive layer. This traditional method provides a strong, durable bond and is commonly used for built-up roofs.
  3. Peel-and-Stick application: A more modern approach, this involves roofing materials that come with a pre-applied adhesive layer. These are simply peeled off and adhered directly to the roof base, making for a cleaner and more straightforward installation process.

Disadvantages of mineral surface roll roofing

  • Limited aesthetics
  • Susceptible to punctures
  • Shorter lifespan, averaging 10-15 years
  • Not suitable for roofs steeper than 2:12

Mineral Surface Roll Roofing Costs

The cost depends on the type of material, the brand, and where you live. On average, it costs about $7.31 to $10.97 per square foot to replace a flat mineral surface roll roof.

Here is the average roof replacement cost for a 1-story home with a flat roof by home size:

Home Size Lower-End Mid-Range Higher-End
1,000 $7,310 $8,130 $10,970
1,250 $9,138 $10,163 $13,713
1,500 $10,965 $12,195 $16,455
1,750 $12,793 $14,228 $19,198
2,000 $14,620 $16,260 $21,940
2,250 $16,448 $18,293 $24,683
2,500 $18,275 $20,325 $27,425
2,750 $20,103 $22,358 $30,168
3,000 $20,103 $22,358 $30,168

Mineral Surface Roll Roofing vs. Other Options

Let’s see how rolled roofing compares to other roofing options:

Compared to asphalt shingles

Mineral surface roll roofing often ends up costing about the same as asphalt shingles. Despite the fact that these are installed in flatter roofs, they require more material for installation than asphalt shingles. When installing roll roofing materials, like this one, there tends to be significant material wastage. Factors such as seams, overlaps, and unusable short leftover pieces play a role. The waste factor for roll roofing is around 20%-25%, compared to 10%-15% for asphalt shingles. This means roofers need to buy and handle more materials.

Finally, asphalt shingles have more style options, and they can last 20-30 years or more. They’re better at handling different weather conditions.

Compared to metal roofing

Mineral surface roll roofing is about 40%-50% cheaper than metal roofs. However, metal roofs can last 40 years or longer than roll roofs, making it a good long-term investment. Metal roofs are durable against weather, fire, and pests. They also help save energy by reflecting heat.

Maintenance Tips for Mineral Surface Roll Roofing

Here are the best tips to keep your flat roll roofing in good shape:

Regular cleaning

Clean your roofing now and then to get rid of leaves, dirt, and stuff. Dirty roofs can get damaged over time. Use a broom or leaf blower to keep it clean.

Gutter maintenance

Make sure your gutters and downspouts are clear of debris and working right. Clogged gutters can get back up and ruin the fascia and edge of your roof.

Visual inspections

Check your roof twice a year, such as in spring and fall. Look for damage like holes or loose parts. Fix any problems to stop water from getting in.

Minor repairs

If you spot small holes or tears, fix them as soon as possible. Use roofing cement products to seal them up. Clean the area well before applying the cement.

Sealing seams and overlaps

Check these spots for wear or lifting. If needed, add more roofing adhesive to make sure they’re sealed tight.

Ponding water

Flat roofs aren’t perfectly flat; They need a slight slope to drain water. Keep it that way to stop water from staying on the roof too long. Fix sagging spots quickly.

Mineral Surface Roll Roofing Installation Guide

If the project involves replacing an existing mineral surface roll roof, roofers will first remove the old material. The work will include replacing any damaged wood, installing weather-resistant bases, adding flashing and vents, and finally, laying the new roofing material. If the flat roof does not have at least a 1/4 : 12 pitch, roofers will often need to taper the roof to create a slight slope for drainage

Step 1. Inspection
Before installation, a thorough inspection is conducted to check the condition of your existing roof and look for any underlying issues that need to be addressed.

Step 2. Removal of old roofing materials
Old materials are removed to create a clean surface for the new installation.

Step 3. Repair or replacement of decking
If the base layer beneath the roofing material is damaged or rotten, it may need to be repaired or replaced.

Step 4. Installation of underlayment
A weather-resistant underlayment is installed over the roof decking to provide an extra layer of protection against water infiltration.

Step 5. Flashing installation
Flashing is installed around roof features like chimneys, vents, and valleys to prevent water penetration.

Step 6. Installation of surface mineral rolls
The chosen roofing material is installed according to manufacturer specifications and local building codes. Depending on your selection, the rolls will either be torched down, mopped on, or applied with a peel-and-stick method to adhere to the base.

Step 7. Ventilation installation
Proper ventilation is key for a healthy roofing system. Vents are installed to allow air circulation, which helps prevent moisture buildup and extends the life of your roof.

Step 8. Ridge cap installation
Ridge caps are installed at the peaks of the roof to provide a finished look and enhance the weather resistance of the roof.

Step 9. Cleanup
The work area is cleaned up, and debris from the old roof is removed.

Step 10. Final inspection
A final inspection by contractor and building inspector is conducted to ensure that the new roof meets quality standards and complies with local building codes.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is rolled roofing, and what types are available?

Rolled roofing, also known as modified bitumen roofing, is a flexible and durable roofing material primarily designed for low-slope or flat roofs. There are two primary types of rolled roofing: smooth-surfaced and granulated-surfaced, each with its unique characteristics.

What are the advantages of using rolled roofing?

Rolled roofing offers several advantages, including being cost-effective, easy to install, durable, versatile, water-resistant, and lightweight. It also comes in a variety of colors to complement your property’s aesthetics.

What are the drawbacks or limitations of rolled roofing?

Some drawbacks of rolled roofing include limited aesthetic options compared to materials like asphalt shingles or metal roofing, susceptibility to punctures, a shorter lifespan compared to certain materials, and limited weather resistance in extreme conditions. It may not be suitable for complex roof designs.

What are some essential maintenance tips for rolled roofing?

  • Regular cleaning
  • Gutter maintenance
  • Visual inspections
  • Addressing minor repairs
  • Sealing seams and overlaps
  • Preventing ponding water
  • Trimming overhanging tree branches
  • Snow removal (in heavy snowfall areas)
  • Avoiding foot traffic
  • Professional inspection (every few years)
  • Keeping records of inspections and maintenance

References:

NRCA. (2021). NRCA Roofing Manual: Steep-slope Roof Systems. National Roofing Contractors Association. https://www.nrca.net/

NRCA. (2023). NRCA Roofing Manual: Membrane Roof Systems. National Roofing Contractors Association. https://www.nrca.net/

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