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What is Roof Sealant?

Mary McMahon
Updated May 16, 2024
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Roof sealant is a product which can be applied to roofs to seal them against the weather. This product is commonly used on flat roofs, because standing water on the roof can eventually lead to leaks during the winter. Roof sealants for sloped roofs are also available, along with specialty products which are designed to go with roofing products such as shingles. Using a roof sealant can extend the life of a roof and confer other benefits.

In some cases, it may be necessary to hire a roofing contractor to apply roof sealant. Some products are only available to contractors, and others require special skills which the average property owner may not have. In others, it is possible to apply a roof sealer independently, or with some help from friends, with many products coming in the form of liquids which can be applied with paint rollers.

On a roof which is designed to be used with a sealant product, periodic reapplications of roof sealant will protect the roof. The sealant can prevent leaks in addition to minimizing damage caused by UV exposure. Being in the hot sun can cause a roof to bleach, crack, or develop other problems which may manifest during the rainy months. Roof sealants can also improve efficiency; just applying a white coating to a roof can cut down on heating costs substantially, in addition to making the surrounding environment cool. In urban areas, people are sometimes encouraged to use white or light roofing materials to bring temperatures down.

When selecting a roof sealant, it is important to choose a product which will be safe for use on a given roof. If people are not sure about whether sealant is appropriate or which product to use, they should consult a contractor or experienced roofing advisor at a home supply store. It is also a good idea to buy all of the needed sealant at once, as this will make it more likely that the sealant came from the same batch and is therefore consistent. Many hardware stores have very forgiving return policies, so it's OK to buy a few extra containers and return them if they are not needed.

Roof sealants should not be applied to roofs which need repair. Sealant enough cannot resolve problems such as major leaks, missing shingles, and so forth. The roof should also be cleaned before the sealant is applied, and it helps to apply the sealant on a cool, dry day. Roof sealants get messy, and many people find that it helps to wear overalls or old clothing so that they do not need to worry about spills. Shoes can be covered to protect them from spilled or slopped sealant.

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Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a HomeQuestionsAnswered researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By anon105767 — On Aug 22, 2010

Is there nothing here about toxicity of roofing sealant? What if the AC sucks it into a building?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

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