A roll being applied using flame to a roof.


With so many roofing options, figuring out where to start can take time. How do you balance cost with durability, with aesthetics?

One lesser-used option is roll roofing. While it has a leg up on other roofing materials in terms of cost and ease of installation, there is still plenty to consider before purchase.

What Exactly is Roll Roofing?

You might see it called MSR, which is short for “mineral surface roof.” However, “roll roofing” makes sense to most people and is the more common terminology.

Also referred to as modified Bitumen, roll roofing gets its name because it comes in rolled-up sheets of roughly 100 square feet. This material is the same amount as the standard asphalt shingle square.

You might often see roll roofing on sheds, garages, porches, or low-sloped commercial buildings.

Types of Roll Roofing

Like tiles or shingles, roll roofing comes in several different materials. Each has advantages and disadvantages, so consider climate, budget, and how long you want your roof to last.

Asphalt Roll Roofing

Asphalt roll roofing is the most popular type of roll roofing for residential buildings. It resembles typical asphalt shingles—both involve coating a fiberglass mat with black asphalt, then covering it with mineral granules.

Asphalt roll roofing doesn’t always look as nice as asphalt shingles and doesn’t last nearly as long. But it is significantly cheaper, so many people use it for smaller structures like sheds.

A roofer applying sections of roll roofing.

Rubber Roll Roofing

Rubber roll roofing is generally reserved for commercial and industrial buildings and comes in three types:

  • TPO
  • EPDM
  • PVC

TPO (Thermoplastic Polyolefin) isn’t just the most common type of rubber roll roofing but one of the most common roofing materials for flat and low-sloped roofs. It can last 20-30 years and is often cheaper than other rubber options. TPO is Legacy Roofing’s choice for rubber roofing.

EPDM (Ethylene propylene diene terpolymer)is another trendy, durable rubber roll roof. Sometimes called rubber membrane roofing, EPDM has one of the best lifespans of roll roofing, lasting up to 30 years.

PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is one of the best roll roofs for Arizona due to how well it keeps the heat out. And like the other rubber roofs, PVC roll roofing can last 20-30 years.

Bitumen Roll Roofing

Bitumen combines asphalt and rubber layered between fiberglass sheets. It’s used in areas that need more weatherproofing, as bitumen is incredibly hardy. However, it has a shorter lifespan than rubber roll roofs, approximately 12 years.

Pros of Roll Roofing

Not all settings warrant roll roofs. Each carries advantageous benefits in certain situations and drawbacks that warrant extra considerations.

It’s Cheaper Than Most Roofing Materials

All types of rolled roofing will be cheaper than any tile or shingle. Asphalt rolls can be as low as $100 per roll, while asphalt shingles are often $125 per square. This price consideration often leads to rolled roofing being the material of choice for those small home structures. Of course, it often costs more in application.

It’s Best for Low-Sloped Roofs

Any rolled roof material will be the best for flat and low-sloped roofs. While no roof is truly flat, roofs with extremely low slopes have more difficulty resisting pooling water. Roll roofs have extraordinarily tight seals and are extremely weather resistant.

You Can Install It Over Other Materials

You might need a temporary roof over your old one for a few reasons. Either a contractor can’t get the materials right away, or you want to save on energy costs during the summer.

Stacked rolls of roll roofing.

Cons of Roll Roofing

If you’re installing a roof on an industrial or commercial building, there aren’t any downsides to bitumen or rubber roll roof materials. However, homeowners have a few more considerations to make.

It’s Far Less Durable Than Other Materials

If you’re going the asphalt route, shingles can last 15 to 30 years. Asphalt roll roofing? 5 to 15 years. Yes, it is significantly less costly than other alternatives, but you have to replace it far more often.

It’s Unattractive

You want your home to have some curbside value. Unfortunately, roll roofing is not the answer for an aesthetically pleasing home. It functions well enough as a temporary solution, but in the long term, it’s better to use it in the shed in the backyard. It has to be either pressure-applied or heated with a torch to achieve adhesion.

Ready to Get Rolling?

Roll roofing isn’t for every situation but it works incredibly well when needed. If you think it’s the solution for your building, call Legacy Roofing. Our years of experience mean your roof lasts as long as possible. Call us today for a free estimate.

Schedule an appointment or inspection with Legacy Roofing today!

If you would like Legacy Roofing to inspect your roof and offer a free estimate, please call us, or fill out the contract form below. Legacy will send a trained estimator to inspect and offer an experts opinion on the size and scope of your job.

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Legacy Roofing LLC - Prescott

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Servicing All of Northern Arizona

Legacy Roofing

Legacy Roofing LLC - Prescott