Rolled roofing is often marketed as an inexpensive, easy-to-install roofing option. But is it right for you? Read on to learn the pros and cons associated with this roofing product.

Mineral Surface Roll Roofing 

Roll roofing (MSR) is an oil-based, mineral surfaced asphalt product available in 100-square-foot, 75-pound rolls. Although this product is similar to asphalt shingles, it is much cheaper, less durable and considerably thinner. Rarely, roll roofing is used on residential homes; more often, it is used for shacks, garages, workshops, gazebos and smaller buildings.

MSR is often used on low-sloped roofs. For instance, if your roof pitch has a 1:12 pitch, it means it declines up to an inch vertically for every 12 inches horizontally. This would make it a good candidate for MSR as long as the contractor uses the concealed nail fastening method. Otherwise, the safest minimum pitch for MSR 2:12.


Installing roll roofing involves placing rolls of material that have been cut into long strips at specific lengths for the various areas of a roof. There are several types of rolled roofing materials used as supplements to other roofing products. One example is saturated felt, a builders-grade felt infused with asphalt and mainly used as an underlayment.

MSR is an inexpensive roofing option because the labor and material costs are low. In essence, materials are limited to little more than the roofing rolls and nails. Some homeowners decide to use MSR to re-roof over an existing degraded roof. In these instances, the underlying roofing materials have to be carefully prepared ahead of time. This means removing gravel, debris or residue from the existing roof covering to keep from puncturing or damaging the rolled roofing. With all that said, rolled roofing is not a preferred roofing option for most occupied residences due to concerns about durability, aesthetics and resale value.

roll roofing installation

What Are the Pros and Cons?

As with all roofing types, MSR has some distinct advantages and meaningful drawbacks. Before you consider it as a potential roofing product, it’s important to understand the benefits and limitations, so you can make an informed decision.

Advantages of Rolled Roofing

  • Rolled roofing is the least costly type of roofing material, even compared to budget-friendly composite shingles.
  • It is the best way to cover low-incline roofs, but shouldn’t be used on flat roofs since this will lead to leaks.
  • Unlike shingles, which are applied one by one, rolled roofing can be installed rather quickly.
  • The product is easy to transport, while shingle bunches can be heavy and awkward to deliver to a job site.
  • A very adaptable material, rolled roofing can be cut into 12-inch by 36-inch strips to act as ridges and hips or 9-inch strips for rakes and eaves.

Disadvantages of Rolled Roofing

  • Color options are limited; black MSR is the most commonly available, although green, gray and tan are sometimes found.
  • Rolled roofing is less durable than interlocking shingles, which can expand and contract to cope with weather and structural changes.
  • MSR is generally considered a less attractive material compared to shingles, and many HOA’s forbid its use.
  • Unlike composite shingles which have a lifespan of up to two decades; rolled roofing generally lasts from five to eight years.
  • You can expect very poor resale value on occupied residences using this type of roofing material.

Rolled roofing also tends to start developing bald spots and lose its grains after just a few years. Also, a rolled roof’s larger sections will not move as well as the home contracts and expands. One of the benefits of roofing with shingles is that the many hundreds of small units can shift and move as the house shifts and moves.

Need an affordable way to repair or replace your existing roof? A to Z Roofing is Colorado’s go-to source for fast, reliable and affordable roofing services. Since 1994, we’ve been repairing, restoring and replacing roofs using only state-of-the-art products installed by expert technicians who put the customer first.

If your roof is aging or has been damaged by Colorado’s harsh weather, we can help. We know how challenging it can be to find a reputable local roofing company. There’s no shortage of door-to-door roofing salespeople using low-quality materials and high-pressure tactics. A locally owned company, A to Z has earned a widespread reputation as one of the state’s leading roofing contractors by providing quality workmanship and honest, attentive customer service. Contact us today for a free estimate on your next roofing project.