Low slope roof repair question

Hi All,

I recently bought a house built in the 60ies in San Diego.
It’s a low slope roof. When I bought it 8 months ago the roof was in good condition but now there are cracks all over the place. I think originally it had a tar and gravel roof which was painted over with some elastomeric coatings. There are not too much gravel on the roof they must have removed most. There seems to be two layers coating on top of the gravel a yellowish and a white on top.
I started scraping off the first coating until I hit the yellow coating. But it’s a huge area and I was thinking about scraping off only the worst areas.
I’m planning put elastotape on the scraped off edges to prevent further peeling offs.
Can I put a new coat of Elastomeric coating on top of the scraped off area or should I apply some asphalt emulsion first?
I’m thinking about leaving the area untouched where I can’t find any cracks. Your help would be greatly appreciated.


for some reason I can’t attach the pictures

You may be able to recoat those areas, but that looks like a cover up job to me. I have not seen someone try to coat over tar and gravel before, that’s a first for me.

More than likely you need it torn off and a new roof installed.

Is it leaking ?
Age of the roof?
Is it leaking in more than one area?

I have seen very few manufacturers of elastomeric coatings allow for coating over tar and gravel and when you looked at how much product was needed, and it was always the premium products required, it was never cost effective. You could tear it off for the same price on the couple of jobs I priced.

If you dare try to save that, scrape off what’s loose. Power wash it, but power washing the roof take alot of skill to do and not cause more harm than good, and then re-coat it. The edge details are going to be the devil.

Tear it off. If this were my roof, or I was proposing a roofing solution, I would tear it off.

Hi Andywrs, Grumpy,

Thanks for your help.
The roof was not leaking during the few days in winter when it was raining. But that time there were no cracks.
I don’t know how old the roof is the worst case scenario is 40 years.
Now I know it was a flipped home… The inspector was on the roof but didn’t spot that the previous owner painter over the gravel.
They yellow stuff is maybe liquid rubber spayed on top of the gravel.
If I tear it off then I’d have to lay down fiberglass mat and apply asphalt emulsions on top of it. Hopefully the plywood is in good condition. I wouldn’t dare to replace it.


Why not? Can’t put new roof over bad wood.

The best solution is to re-roof. If it only has one roof, you can put a single ply over the whole thing.
If you re-coat it, using emulsion isn’t a bad idea to give some body to the system. After the emulsion is down, let it age out a bit before using an elastomeric roof coating.

Can I put emulsion on top of the existing elastomeric coating? Because I’m not sure if I’ll be able to scrape off the whole roof. Some areas don’t scrape off easily. By the way is there a better tool scraping off the roof I’m currently using a painters tool. It’s really slow.

You are in LOVE with the idea of coating this roof, even against the advice of some roofers who are warning you of the pittfalls of doing so. We all make our own beds, and have to sleep in them. Good luck.

Can it be done? Yes. If you are really and truly going to do it the right and proper way following the manufacturer specification, it’ll will NOT be cost effective. What is the benefit of this love affair of yours in re-coating over the gravel?

I suggest you once at least look into the idea of re-roofing, planning will not hurt. Don’t do it, just look anyway.