How To Fix A Bubbling Flat Roof Without Hiring A Professional

Hot tar flat roofs are popular due to their durability and long lifespan. However, they can develop issues over time, including the formation of bubbles. These can be caused by trapped moisture, debris, or improper installation, and if left unchecked, they can lead to cracks and leaks that are expensive to repair. While hiring a professional roofing contractor for major repairs is always best, fixing minor issues on a flat roof can be straightforward with the right tools and precautions — the primary steps include adequate preparation, filling the bubbles with hot tar, and sealing the roof.

Taking the necessary precautions when working on a flat roof and handling hot tar is essential, as it can be dangerous. However, by doing it yourself, you can save money and ensure the repair is done correctly. It's important to note that prevention is better than cure when it comes to bubbling, so regular maintenance and inspections are vital to prevent further damage.

How to repair a flat roof

The first step in fixing a bubbling roof is to prepare the damaged area. Begin by cleaning the roof's surface to remove any debris, dirt, or loose material. Next, locate the areas where the bubbles have formed. To release any trapped air or moisture and allow the roof material to lay flat again, use a sharp knife to cut an X-shaped slit in the center of each one, being careful not to cut into the underlying roofing material.

Next, heat the tar in a large pot until it becomes fluid and pourable. Use a trowel to apply the tar under the slits — making sure you fill the entire area to ensure a complete seal. Use a roller or a flat tool to smooth out the tar and ensure it is level with the surrounding surface.

To be sure the repair will last, you can also place a patch over the hole. First, use a brush to apply a layer of tar over the surrounding area, then press a piece of roofing fabric into the tar, ensuring it covers the entire surface and extends several inches beyond the edge of the repair. finally, apply a layer of hot tar over the fabric, ensuring to saturate it thoroughly. Allow it to dry completely before adding a second layer.

Preventing damage to your roof

There are a number of ways to help prevent bubbles from forming. Most importantly, ensure that a professional roof contractor installs the hot tar flat roof correctly in the first instance. Proper application of the tar and fabric and ensuring that the roof is installed on a clean and dry surface is essential, just as using the wrong materials can cause further damage and lead to the formation of bubbles. 

Regular maintenance, including cleaning the roof and checking for signs of wear, can help you spot any problem areas before the bubbles form. Remove any debris or pools of water from the roof to prevent moisture from becoming trapped beneath the surface. If you are having constant issues, ensure the roof has adequate ventilation to allow for proper airflow and to avoid moisture buildup, which can be achieved by installing vents or adding insulation to the roof.