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Tar and Gravel Cost Calculator – How It Works

Tar and Gravel Cost Calculator – How It Works

When it comes to putting a new flat roof on your business or home in the Boston area, you certainly have a few different options to consider. One of the most budget friendly and energy efficient ones that should be on your short list is a tar and gravel roof. While it may not seem as modern or as neat and flashy as a rubberized or a metal roof, this old stand by still has a number of benefits that make it a great choice overall. In addition, using a tar and gravel cost calculator to estimate your total cost is a fairly simple process. And as one of the leading roofing contractors in Ma, Mass-Tech Roofing and Building Co.​​ offers fair and accurate roofing estimates.

Tar And Gravel Cost Calculator – How It Works

Advantages and Disadvantages of a Tar and Gravel Roof

But before we talk about how to calculate the cost of a tar and gravel roof, it’s important to talk about exactly what this type of roofing is, and why it can be a great choice. Another name for a tar and gravel net is a BUR or built-up roofing. Essentially layers of tar, gravel, adhesive, and roofing felt are layered one on top of each other to create the roof needed. While the process of installation may be a bit messy, and we certainly would recommend that you hire a professional to do it, this method of roof replacement does have a few benefits.

The first, and probably the most popular reason to use this roofing system is its longevity. Under normal conditions, if the roof is installed properly, a tar and gravel roof can last at least twenty years. It’s also one of the least expensive roofs to install overall, since the cost of the materials is often quite low. If you’re working on a tight budget, and you want more roofing bang for your dollar, this factor alone may make a BUR roof a viable option.

Of course, there are some disadvantages to using a tar and gravel roof. The first is that this roofing system isn’t a “set and forget” type of thing. It does require routine maintenance to maintain it’s durability over time. It’s essential that the roof be inspected regularly for holes, tears, or areas of abnormal wear or tear. Second disadvantage that many people cite is the fact that the materials used, including the tar, adhesive and bitumen are far from environmentally friendly to the local area. Also, if your area is prone to excessive heat, something that does happen on a rare occasion in Massachusetts, the tar materials can become damaged by the heat. Also, if the building is likely to be bombarded by excessive rain or snow, a tar and gravel roof might not be the best option due to the increased chance of water infiltration.

What You Need to Consider

So if you’ve decided to go with a tar and gravel roof in the Boston area after you’ve considered it’s strengths and weaknesses, the next step is to get a few different estimates of the overall cost of installation. If you want to get a head start on things, or if you merely want to get a ball park figure for your personal knowledge, an online tar and gravel roof cost calculator can be a great place to start. Often these calculators can take a number of factors into consideration including the cost of materials in your area, and labor costs for installation. However, it’s important to remember that these costs alone don’t provide a truly accurate picture of the total cost to put in a tar and gravel roof. Often these calculators will ask you for a total square footage, and using industry provided information will spit out a number for making comparisons. However, it’s important to remember that this number is based on the idea of a perfectly rectangular or square roof. If your roof isn’t in a perfect polygon shape, there will be an increase to the overall installation cost due to having to put in additional seams, wasted material, and increased amount of time needed to get the job done. So be sure to take that into consideration when using the cost calculator.

Another factor that tar and gravel cost calculators don’t often take into account is the time of year that the project is being undertaken. Extreme temperatures, both hot and cold will often cause significant delays in the process, which can lead to additional costs for labor overall. And don’t worry, the increased work time isn’t due to the professionals lack of work ethic. It’s basically for safety reasons. Up on the roof of a building, both wind and temperatures can have a much stronger effect then down near the ground. If the temperatures are about say eighty degrees Fahrenheit for example, they can easily lead to dehydration or even heat stroke if the workers don’t take the necessary precautions. Also, higher temperatures often mean a stronger chance of thunderstorms, which offer their own host of potential dangers. Colder temperatures can lead to frostbite or hypothermia just to name a few. So it’s important that the workers take cooling or warming breaks in order to stay safe. It’s one of the reasons why many roofers recommend doing a replacement in the early fall or mid-spring.

Another factor that many cost calculators don’t always consider is the cost of removing the previous roof. While most reputable roofing companies that serve the Boston area will do this in their estimates without hesitation, a cost calculator simply can’t take such unique details into account. Often the tear-off process can be quite labor intensive, so many companies provide a hourly rate with a minimum of at least four hours for the job.

Making the Cost Calculator Work for You

All things considered, using a tar and gravel roof cost calculator is a good idea to get a general idea of the cost of replacing your roof, provided that you take into account that not everything is built into the calculator. As a general rule, you’ll want to add between 7% and 15% of your total cost as given by the online calculator to account for these things.

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