BUR: Installing a Built-Up Roofing System on New Orleans Commercial Structures

Reputable New Orleans roofing companies have been installing built-up roofing systems for decades. This is because they have held up well against the test of time, and the harsh environment we live in here in southern Louisiana.

For decades, these systems have been used extensively as a replacement for existing roofing systems and in new construction projects. Specifically designed to endure harsh weather extremes, and challenging saltwater climates, they are the ideal solution for business structures along the Gulf Coast.

What Is a Built-Up Roof?

A built up (BUR) roofing system continues to be one of the more popular roofing solutions used on commercial structures with a low slope. A low slope roofing system can be measured at 14° (3:12) or less. A built-up roofing system can be comprised of a variety of different materials. Typically, several layers of a high quality bitumen surface are installed. A finish is then applied over the top, which can be either a coating or aggregate layer.

Innovative technology has created built-up products that blend a durable insulation layer as an additional key component of the built-up roofing. The layers, or fabrics, which are laid down during the process are typically referred to as ply sheets. The sheets can be reinforced using organic mats or fiberglass mats, as dependent on the specific type of application.

Kinds of Built-Up Roofing

New Orleans roofers install numerous kinds of built-up roofing systems. Generally, a built-up roof system consists of a number of layers or plies of high quality roof felt that have been laminated with bitumen. The roofing material usually consist of coated felt, bitumen-saturated felt, polyester felt, or another type of fabric. Next, the application of a surfacing material is laid down. This can be asphalt, slag or gravel (aggregate), or even a cap sheet with a granule surface.

There are significant benefits to installing a built-up roofing system. These include:

  • Relatively inexpensive considering its long-term lifecycle
  • A high level of versatile options
  • Simple to repair
  • Low maintenance
  • Excellent durability
  • Relatively lightweight
  • Excellent waterproofing protection
  • High-level ultraviolet protection
  • Last significantly longer in Louisiana inclement weather

Primary Benefits

The primary benefits of installing a built-up roofing system include proper installation, and a low cost of materials. In addition, the finished product offers low maintenance and high durability. One of the main reasons for installing a BUR system is that it can withstand hurricane force winds. In addition, it can be easily repaired or patched as needed over time.

Contractors will typically lay down a minimum of two layers and up to four layers of material. Each additional ply is redundant to the system, and creates a higher level of resistance against water, fire, wind and potential puncture.

Routine Inspection and Care

By routine inspection, we can quickly spot any potential issue including tears or holes in the membrane. Additionally, they are qualified to make the repairs, without invalidating the warranty. Part of the inspection process will evaluate pitch pans and flashing to ensure there is no infiltration of moisture or water.

Additionally, we often recommend treating BUR membrane roofs with a reflective white coating. This will help minimize damage caused by UV rays, and prolong the lifespan of the roofing system.

With the installation of a white reflective coating over the built up roof system, the building can improve its energy efficiency. The white reflective coating creates a “cool roof,” which helps minimize cooling cost during the hot New Orleans summers. Many of these reflective coatings are mopped or poured onto the roof structure, and will not invalidate the warranty.