Built-up roofing has been used in the United States for over 100 years. It’s a “tar and gravel” system of alternating layers of bitumen and fabrics that create a membrane on the roof, and each layer is referred to as a “ply.” Sometimes, a base sheet is used for the first layer (which is mechanically fastened to the roof deck). But most of the plies on a built-up roofing system will be adhered to — even if it’s directly applied to the roof deck or insulation. The reinforcing fabrics are called “roofing felts” or “ply sheets,” and they’re made of a mixture of glass and fiber or some other organic material.
The bitumen is made of either asphalt, coal tar, or some other cold-applied adhesive. The asphalt or coal tar is heated before it’s applied with a mop or mechanical spreader, but cold-applied adhesives are usually made of solvent-based asphalts that don’t need to be heated. The top-layer surfacing for a built-up roofing system can be made up of any of the following:
- An aggregate mixture (such as gravel, slag, or some other mineral).
- Cap sheets that are made of glass and fiber or are surfaced with some other reinforcing mineral.
- Hot asphalt that’s mopped over the entire surface.
- An aluminum or elastomeric coating.
Be sure to speak to a professional for more information about what will work best for your roof.
The Benefits of a Built-Up Roofing System
A built-up roofing system can have a lifespan of 15-30 years, depending on the materials. But some of them can last up to 40 years. This is comparable to asphalt shingles, which have a similar lifespan. For the most part, built-up roofing does better in warmer climates than in colder areas. So, it could be a good solution for the hot weather of the Coastal Bend.
There are other roofing materials (such as metal) that can last longer, but a built-up roof can give you good protection against water and ultraviolet radiation (which is made possible by the top layer). Built-up roofing is resistant to fire, which can also be an advantage. Not to mention, the lower cost that’s required to keep it maintained.
The downside to built-up roofing is that it can take longer to install. With the exception of cold-applied bitumen, it can leave people exposed to hazardous fumes. The cost of installation, for the most part, is relatively high, and some systems can be susceptible to wind and water damage. This is a major consideration for anyone living in the Coastal Bend, especially during hurricane season.
Commercial Roofing Experts for Businesses in the Coastal Bend!
If you need a new roof for your commercial space, Bayfront Roofing and Construction is here to help. We have a team of experts who have been trained and certified in all areas of roofing, so we can handle any type of project. That’s why we’re one of the best commercial roofers in Corpus Christi. So if you want to find an experienced roofer for your business in the Coastal Bend, get in touch with us today!