Take a closer look at built-up roofing systems including how they work and find out why they are so popular in commercial roofing.
As one of the most reliable and certainly one of the oldest commercial roofing systems, BUR (built-up roofing) is ideal for buildings that require low slope materials. Since the early 19th century, built-up roof systems were commonly called a tar and gravel roof. They originally consisted of some type of underlayment (usually tarpaper) that was covered with gravel. Today, roofing contractors install advanced materials using the same principle.
A built-up roofing system is constructed with multiple plies (layers) of high quality roofing felts that are then laminated with bitumen. In all, the built-up roofing system contains organic fibers that are bitumen-saturated, and polyester felt, or fiberglass.
BUR is highly versatile, and can be designed to meet specific requirements for a huge array of commercial structure waterproofing applications. The system can be designed to provide basic protection against outdoor elements. However, the roofing system can be layered deep with three plies, or four plies, to stand up against heavy wear and tear, while providing a high level of resistance to meet the qualifications of the manufacturer’s warranty.
Built-up roofing systems have earned a long-lasting reputation with roofing contractors, and commercial building owners. Architects and engineers often request the use of built-up roofing systems on their low slope projects. Typically, the installation cost of a built-up (BUR) roofing system can be significantly higher than other applications designed for low slope. However, with its durability and longevity, it is a far superior solution.
There are significant benefits of a built-up roofing system for commercial structures, over other low slope applications. These include:
- A huge range of installation application methods
- A significant proven track record of long-lasting performance
- An established effective roofing system that is hail, wind and/or fire rated
- A huge assortment of top surfacing options
- A hybrid-performance building component when installed with insulation
- Durable tensile strength
- Optimal waterproofing characteristics
- Competitive lifespan costs
- Extended long-term warranties available
Available uses for BUR
Built-up roofing materials are an ideal solution for a variety of applications. They offer excellent waterproofing safeguards, a durable surface and protection from ultraviolet light, while requiring only a low level of maintenance. The variety of applications ideally suited for built-up roofing includes:
- New construction
- Reroofing directly over an existing commercial built-up roof
- Installation on commercial and industrial buildings
- Ideal solution for parapet walls along the roof perimeter
When properly installed, a built-up roof can offer the commercial structure over three decades of continuous protection against the elements. The high quality materials offer waterproofing, resistance to corrosion and fire, and much more.
Installing a Built-Up Roof
The key to its longevity are the materials that are used, and the proper preparation of the surface. Any raised edges, buckles or blisters will need to be removed or flattened before installation. The roof is then checked for any valleys, drains, flashing, or edging to ensure that no repairs need to be made at these locations. The surface must be entirely free of any paint, rust, oil, dirt, grease or gravel.
The rolled roofing is then applied to the roof substrate. Based on the requirements of the commercial building, three, four or more layers will be applied, increasing its durability and longevity. After installation, the built-up roof is durably strong, and can be coated with a highly reflective material to guard against UV rays, and heat gain from direct sunlight.
Highly skilled commercial roofing contractors can help the commercial building owner decide the best effective BUR roofing system for a new installation, or a roof replacement. They can choose between cold or hot applications to meet the specific requirements of the roof.
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