Built-up Roofing
Built-up Roofing

Built-up Roofing: A Reliable and High-Quality Standard Roofing System


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In terms of commercial properties, various and different types of roofing preferences are available in the market. One excellent option commonly used, particularly in low-rise commercial buildings, is built-up roofing. It was first popularized in the year of 1970s. There are many new and upgraded roofing materials over the years, yet many roofers, business owners, and contractors still have a high preference for built-up roofing. 

For this blog, everything to know about built-up roofing will be outlined, serving as a guide for roofers. 

What is Built-up Roofing?


Built-up roofing is shortened for BUR is a common roofing material used for low-slope roofs. This type of roofing is typically composed of alternating layers of bitumen (asphalt) and reinforcing fabric. It is expected to be completed with a top layer of aggregates like gravel or stones. BUR is preferably used for flat or low-slope roofs because it can create a nonstop sealed surface.

A built-up roof is a lasting roofing system, and it is also widespread throughout the ages because of its aesthetical looks and sturdiness. It can handle more structures and foot traffic on the roof surface, which is very beneficial in the long run. Moreover, a built-up roof has the following advantages that have made it a popular standard option, among other roofing systems. 

·        Great insulators – the various layer of BUR has made them great insulators. By default, it can save a consumer from increasing electricity consumption by keeping the cold and hot air inside the rooms. It is one of the reasons why roofers always pitch the idea of choosing built-up roofing instead.

·        Very economical – BUR is considered a great investment, unlike any other high-performance roofing systems. It is not too costly and has promising longevity.

·        Resistant to fire – A Factory Mutual Research Corporation company had made several tests in every installed BUR system. They executed various and thorough examinations for this roofing system. BUR is necessary to meet the fire resistance requirements even before the start of the installation. 

·        Multi-layered protection – BUR is capable of providing long-lasting protection against various elements. The watertight barrier is responsible for creating multiple layers of bitumen saturated.

When it comes to BUR’s lifespan, it varies largely from the specific materials used and the climate. Built-up roofing is believed to have an average life expectancy of 20 to 30 years. Other BUR constructions can last up to 40 years. Generally, this roofing system can be charged higher and better in warmer climates compare to cold regions.

4 Basic Components of the BUR system


Built up-roofing is also termed as “tar and gravel” roofing. The tar is a viscous material colored in black. Bitumen is a combination of hydrocarbons derived from natural sources or can be made from petroleum distillation residues. It sounds excellent or fancy, but it only means that bitumen is commonly made from coal tar, asphalt, or cold-applied adhesive. 

BURs are quite similar to a layer cake but much more robust and reinforced fabric. The reinforced material is identified as the ply sheeting. The bitumen is applied directly to the top of the other at least four times. The last layers in the roof system is a coating of crushed gravel and rocks. In most cases, a base sheet is being laid down first to make up the initial ply. It will then be secured using fasteners. 

Here are the following components of a built-up roofing system.

· Membrane

· Surfacing material

· Roof deck 

· Insulation

· Vapor retarder

The very core of this roofing system is the membrane. Roofing membranes are made up of bitumen. Bitumen is also known as the major agent for waterproofing commonly applied in any roofing plies alongside roofing felt.

4 Basic Repairs for Built-Up Roofing


With all the structures, BUR also requires various repairs regularly. Damages found in built-up roofs must be addressed faster before further damage can destroy the roofing and the other materials below the roofs. Many recurring problems can be fixed by following the common simple repairs below. It serves as a guide for roofers whenever repairing BUR systems.

1. Blister 

Small to large blisters keep on appearing on the roofs from time to time. Blisters can be quickly fixed with the use of a knife by merely cutting it. The spots should be dried out as much as possible. If the tip layers are quite dumped, keep on cutting it down until a dry layer will emerge. Please get rid of the piles and make sure to install new plies over the area. Next, apply the asphalt and cover it immediately with chippings. Roofing professionals are given another option to use liquid-applied coatings above the repaired portions if there are no chippings available.

2. Open-joints

To repair seams or joints that have been unexpectedly separated, add some cement right under the open seams. Next, hold it down to let it adhere to the substrate. But if it doesn’t work as expected, try chopping a large piece of plies and place it over the open joints. The next step will be securing it using nails and covering the material with roofing cement. Lastly, spread a sufficient amount of gravel into the cement and allow it to dry.

3.       Cracks 

Cracks that are found on asphalt surface areas must be an easy fix. Begin in cleaning the area of any debris and gravel. Next, apply a coat of roofing cement over the surface areas and make sure to install some roofing plies. At least four inches of overlap is necessary to ensure that you are covering the spot. Roofers like you can repeat the process all over again if there is no progress. For the final touch, apply one last coat of asphalt cement on the area.

4. Undulation or waves

Sometimes, there are issues of roofing undulations, and the only way to fix BUR undulations is to add various layers to the top area. By doing so, there is a balance in between. Next, make sure the substrates are in a good and perfect condition before repairing such issues.

3 Critical Reasons why Roofers Need a Project Management Software


Ensuring that all project phases are properly taken is one of the most vital tasks every roofing contractor should accomplish. Gathering all project details, pooling the team to execute the job, and monitoring all related tasks are expected to be done in the most efficient and faster way. That is why they need to possess the best management skills to cover and execute all activities and tasks. 

Fortunately, there are advanced project management tools available in the market today. And what’s more impressive is that these technologies are now accessible to be used as a project management app. It does make the work of every roofer much easier and extra convenient, making every aspect more cost-effective and profitable. Below are the few things a project management tool contributes:

· Allows proper crew scheduling and more systematic material listing

Since using the software tool has allowed roofing contractors to have a more detailed listing, it also minimizes ordering unnecessary materials for a project. All crew who are the users can properly utilize all of the materials to be used. It means that roofers no longer need to waste money when making redundant purchases.

·        It boosts efficiency and allows the business to coordinate in all moving parts

In the years gone by, it could have been said that the critical part of any roofing job was to get a client to sign on. Today, getting clients and have them agreed on the process is only just the beginning. Every process can become increasingly complex as the project begins. The project management application is a life-saver for roofing professionals as it makes everything organized and less complicated.

· It provides instant and continuous updates on-site

Project management tools are now also available in the mobile app. By merely installing the mobile phone application, roofers can upload all files and even on-site photos. It is a way of letting everyone on the team, including the clients to track and review the project status, seeing how everybody is making progress while working. 

Built-up Roof Material Standards


NRCA or the National Roofing Contractors Association doesn’t offer a suggestion referring to the products and other manufacturers. However, the association is very particular in advising the use of bitumen, plies, and matting for BUR systems. Adhering to the standards generally held by ASTM International is also one of the many important things to prioritize. 

In looking for roofing warranties in this system, knowing the two specific kinds of warranties is necessary. The first warranty comes from the manufacturer. It is a type of security that covers any found defects that might have occurred amidst roof membranes’ production. It is suggested to read advisory bulletins where the topics and issues are usually addressed. The last warranty respectively comes from the contractor yourself. It is to ensure that a roofer like you can guarantee in covering all items regarding installations.

Key Takeaways


There are many great reasons why BUR has remained a reliable standard and best option in commercial roofing for the past years. It is an excellent alternative compared to the other roofing system because of its insulation and durability properties. Before installing the system, it is crucial to conduct detailed and comprehensive research to ensure that other considerations are prioritized.

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