Rolled Roofing: Costs, Installation, and Best Manufacturers (2023)

There are multiple options to choose from if you are considering re-roofing your home. However, if you are looking for a roofing material that is affordable, easy, and quick to install, turn your attention to rolled roofing. It offers you a superb opportunity to install a do-it-yourself roof devoid of the complexities of most roofing installations.


In this article, you will get more information about what rolled roofing is its pros and cons, why it is a reasonable roofing option for you, and our preferred manufacturers.

What Is Rolled Roofing?

Rolled roofing has two layers of mineral-surfaced shingles that come in rolls. The layers of shingles are attached to an under-layer for backing. The material is relatively thinner and less durable compared to most roofing materials. It lasts an average of 10 years before it needs to be replaced. On the other hand, it is cheaper than the more common roofing materials such as asphalt shingles. It costs about $1.50 to $2.50 per sq. ft.

Rolled roofing has slight similarities with shingle roofing because it is oil-based and it is an asphalt product.

Also known as mineral-surfaced roofing (MSR), rolled roofing usually comes in rolls of 100 sq. ft., and you can find it in any home improvement store. One roll is approximately 36 ft (10.97 m) long by 36 inches (0.91 m) wide.

Several types of rolled MSR roofing are used to supplement other roofing materials. For example, saturated felt is mainly used as roofing underlayment.

Pros and Cons of Rolled Roofing

It is clear that rolled roofing isn’t for everyone. It has desirable qualities and a few qualities that some property owners wouldn’t want in a roofing material.


  • It’s Cheap!

This is perhaps the most notable quality. Rolled MSR roofing is the cheapest roofing material, even compared to the low-cost composite roofing shingles.

Many other roofing materials require one to incur large initial costs and require the services of a large team of roofing professionals to install. This is costly.

Rolled MSR roofing is cheap to purchase and does not have to be installed by a professional roofing contractor. It is even cheaper when you install it yourself using a little DIY knowledge. You do not need to break the bank to have your entire roof covered with rolled roofing.

  • It Is Quick and Easy to Install

You can roll out a square of rolled MSR roofing within a few minutes as opposed to roofing materials such as shingles which have to be applied one by one. It is one of the simplest and quickest solutions the market can offer.

The installation process is very easy. You do not need a costly roofing firm for this— you can do it all by yourself.

  • It Is Adaptable and Versatile

Rolled MSR roofing can be cut to your desired size and shape, making it very adaptable. It can also be used to repair roofing problems in shingle roofs instead of overlaying or relaying the entire roof with more shingles.

  • Best for Low-Incline Roofs

Rolled MSR roofing works well for slightly sloping roofs. Their drainage is good when used on these roofs. Installing them on these relatively flat roofs is easy and one requires no special equipment to pull it off.

They, however, should not be used on completely flat roofing structures because this will lead to roof leaks.

(Video) Roll Roofing A Small Flat Roof with Greg Zanis

  • Easy Transportation

Rolled MSR roofing is reasonably lightweight compared to other materials such as composite shingles that may require large vehicles to transport them to the site. Rolled roofing comes in units of material that are lighter (about 75-pounds) and are compactly rolled up and sealed.

If you opt for DIY roofing, you do not need to worry about having to use machinery to move the rolls to the roof. You can either move them yourself or use the assistance of one extra person (maybe a friend, neighbor, or family member) to help you get the job done.


  • Less Durable

Rolled MSR roofing is one of the least durable roofing products.

Rolled roofing is less durable compared to shingles. Roofing shingles work well on your roof because they are installed in a network of multiple, loosely interlocking shingles that have the allowance to expand and contract without stressing neighboring shingles. This is not the case with rolled roofing because it acts as one big shingle that tears at changes to the building structure.

  • It Is Less Attractive

You can’t depend on your rolled MSR roofing to make your structure more attractive. If one is looking for this quality from a roofing material, they’d rather go for roofing shingles, colored roofing metal sheets, or slate tiles. They are generally considered less attractive to an extent where homeowner’s associations in gated communities may not allow you to install them on your home.

Rolled roofing comes in very limited colors. Black MSR is the most common color you will find in the market. This will not really add to the look of your property. Rolled MSR roofing can even reduce the resale value of your property due to reduced aesthetic quality.

Rolled Roofing: Costs, Installation, and Best Manufacturers (1)

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  • Short Lifespan

Rolled MSR roofing will last about 5-8 years. This is incomparable to composite shingles that can last up to 20 years or longer.

After staying on your roof for a few years, rolled roofs start developing bald spots and lose their grains. Rolled MSR roofs get damaged fast due to the fact that they respond poorly to changes in the home structure.

Since they are composed of large sections, they do not move easily in response to expansion and contraction as is the case with shingles that can easily shift since they are composed of several small units.

Rolled Roofing Installation

With basic carpentry skills, anyone can easily install this type of roofing. It is often installed on the bare wood sheathing. For a sloped roof, the exposed-nail method would work just as well.

For a slightly sloped roof, the concealed-nail method is a better option. If you have to use it on a flat or nearly flat roof, use double coverage.

You may need to ask someone to assist you as you install rolled MSR roofing.

Prepare the roof by tearing off the old roofing shingles and by preparing your property for the roofing process. You can rent a garbage bin to throw all of the old shingles into, or layout a tarp below your roof to catch any of the old shingles as you rip them off the roof.

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What You Need for Rolled MSR Roofing Installation


  • Carpenter’s square
  • Measuring tape
  • Chalk-line
  • Tin shears
  • Hammer
  • Utility knife


  • Roll roofing
  • Flashing
  • Primer
  • Flashing and sheathing nails
  • Roofing cement

Quick and Easy Installation Steps

  1. Roll Out the Materials

Before you begin the installation process, install the drip-edge flashing, primers WSU (if needed), and roofing felt.

Prepare the roofing cement, drive nails near the edges and smoothen out any creases. You can also install flashing, but it is common practice to apply an 18-inch-wide strip of rolled roofing.

Rolled Roofing: Costs, Installation, and Best Manufacturers (2)

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  1. Attach The First Sheet

To start off the roofing process, properly position the first course in such a manner that it overhangs the drip edges. Drive nails every 3 inches (ca. 8 cm) at one end of the rake. Be sure to pull it taut and drive nails along the eave edge.

For good installation and finish, make sure the nails are only one inch from the edges. You could also add a 3-foot wide strip on the 18 inches.

  1. Attach The Second Sheet

As you place the second sheet, have it overlap the preceding one by 4 inches (ca. 10 cm). Alternatively, use a different type of rolled roofing to cover that area. Use a chalk-line to indicate the top of the next sheet. Roll the next sheet out along this marking and drive in nails for the first sheet.

  1. Spread The Roofing Cement and Seal the Vents

Spread a 6-inch-wide layer of the roofing cement you prepared on the edge of the first sheet and have the second sheet entrenched in the cement. The aim of all these is to ensure that no two butt joints are closer than 2 ft (ca. 61 cm). from each other.

The vents are sealed by spreading the roofing cement around the plumbing pipe and cutting a 2-feet-wide hole in a piece of the roofing material. Make sure the roofing piece overlays the lower course by at least 4 inches (ca. 10 cm). Embed the cut roofing pieces in the cement. Add boot flashing for more roof protection.

  1. Overlap The Valley

Install the rolled roofing from one side of the roof across the center of the valley by 2 feet (ca. 61 cm). Overlay the valley as you work from the other side. Hit a chalk-line and trim the piece found at the center of the valley. Attach the pieces using a bed of cement approx. 4 inches (ca. 10 cm)-wide and ensure the nails are 12 inches (ca. 30 cm) away from the center of the valley.

  1. Lay The Final Piece

To lay the final piece, simply overlap the sheets at the ridge of the roofing structure using roofing cement and nails. The peak embedded in the cement should be well covered.

Where Can You Use Rolled Roofing?

Rolled MSR roofing is uncommon on residential structures and any other structure meant for occupancy.

You can use it for utilitarian structures such as potting sheds, garages, barns, and work sheds.

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Rolled MSR roofing works well for slightly sloping roofs. The safest minimum pitch for rolled MSR roofing installation is a 2-inch rise to a span of 12 inches. If the slope of the roof is less than this, use the concealed-nail method. It is not advisable to use this type of roofing on a flat roof as this may lead to leaking on your roof.

Rolled Roofing: Costs, Installation, and Best Manufacturers (3)

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Rolled Roofing Manufacturers

Johns Manville Roofing Systems

Johns Manville focuses majorly on manufacturing commercial roofing products.

They produce durable and flexible EPDM rubber membranes. These rolled roofing products are thicker and have a more uniform surface finish.

They also produce SBS bituminous membrane which is a modified bitumen rolled roofing product engineered for elasticity.

Carlisle SynTec Systems

Carlisle has a track record of producing great TPO (Thermoplastic Polyolefin) rolled roofing sheets. Their Sure-Weld TPO membranes contain the industry-leading OctaGuard XT weathering package for enhanced long-term weathering.


Founded in 1983, MBTechnology specializes in the manufacture of SBS Modified Bitumen roofing and underlayment systems. Their rolled roofing products can be applied using heat welding, adhesives or hot asphalt.

Malarkey Roofing Products

Malarkey Roofing Products prides itself on being able to manufacture top-notch, innovative products that are performance-driven with service and integrity at the forefront of its mission statement. They have several rolled roofing products to choose from.

This includes their 524G RCap Plus, 626G Paragon RCap, and AVRS systems. All of their products come with a reflective cap sheet. Their AVRS (advanced vegetative roof systems) is engineered to integrate with multiple roofing materials and greatly reduces the amount of heat entering the building.

“Rolled roofing materials are a budget-friendly and easy-to-install option for consumers and contractors alike to use across a wide variety of applications. We highly recommend Malarkey Roofing Products for anyone searching for the perfect roofing material solution for their shed, barn, or other utilitarian buildings they may require a new roof for.” – John Wilmer, Fortress Roofing & Exteriors

In Conclusion

Rolled roofing is becoming increasingly popular among property owners who use it as an alternative for conventional tiled roofing and asphalt shingles. Their increasing popularity is attributable to the balance between their cost-effectiveness and durability. Their installation process is very simple. Homeowners can save lots of money by choosing the DIY option over hiring a roofing professional.

Depending on the type of rolled MSR roofing you choose, your roll roof can last 10 to 20 years and also depends on how well you maintain it.

After reading this article, we believe you’ve got all the information you require in deciding whether you will be installing a rolled roofing system on your property. You now know the notable advantages and some of the disadvantages of this type of roof.

Its installation process is simpler than any other roofing material you will ever come across. They are summarized into 6 easy-to-follow steps. Try it and see the difference it can make on your property.

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