What Is Built Up Roof?

A Built-Up Roof (BUR) is a roofing construction used for millennia. This classic roofing style comprises many layers of asphalt or tar coupled with felt and gravel to form a robust and dependable barrier against the elements. The BUR system is often used in commercial and industrial settings because of its dependability and long life span. Because the heavy-duty asphalt and tar layers give more protection from rain, snow, and intense heat, it is also extensively utilized in locations with high temperatures and weather conditions. This system has existed since the mid-1800s and is still popular due to its dependability and low cost.

Built-up roofing (BUR) has been a popular and stable roofing solution for decades. It is a popular material for flat and low-sloped roofs in both residential and commercial applications. As the name indicates, the BUR system comprises numerous layers of waterproofing materials such as tar, tar paper, and gravel. With a lifespan of 20 to 30 years, it is designed to be extraordinarily long-lasting, weather-resistant, and sturdy. It is also quite affordable compared to other roofing systems, making it a tempting option for many property owners.

Materials Used in The Construction of a Built-Up Roof

A built-up roof, or BUR, is a type of roofing system composed of multiple layers and involves several materials. It is a reliable and durable material that can protect against the elements. The following is a list of materials that are typically used in the construction of a built-up roof:

  • Tar or asphalt: Asphalt works as a waterproofing agent, protecting the roof from the weather, whereas tar is a bituminous compound that aids in bonding the roof’s other layers. Roofing felt, or roofing paper is frequently used beneath tar or asphalt to function as a moisture barrier and to give further protection.
  • Base Sheet: The foundation sheet is the first layer of material on the roof deck. A fiberglass reinforcing mat and an asphalt coating are frequently used.
  • Insulation Layer: This layer often comprises rigid insulation or rigid foam boards installed directly on top of the existing deck or substrate. The insulating layer reduces heat transmission, noise, and moisture intrusion.
  • Top Sheet Layer: The top sheet layer must be carefully installed to provide a watertight seal. It is also essential to ensure the top sheet layer is securely fastened to the underlying deck or substrate to provide adequate protection from wind and other weather conditions.
  • Tiles or shingles: The highest layer of the roof is made of tiles or shingles, which give protection from the elements such as wind, rain, and sun.
  • Protective Surface Layer: One of the most significant components of a built-up roof is the protective top layer, which shields the underlying components from the elements. This layer is often made up of some materials, including fiberglass felt, mineral-surfaced cap sheet, and various coatings or membranes.
  • Flashings and other accessories: Flashings and other accessories are required to keep the roof properly sealed and protected. Flashings are often composed of metal and are intended to cover portions of the roof that are more vulnerable to water penetration, such as corners and edges, as well as around vents and pipes.

Benefits of Installing a Built-Up Roof

Adding a built-up roof (BUR) may benefit any property. The BUR system comprises many layers of asphalt and reinforcing fabric, which can give excellent weather protection. The layers are often coated with gravel or stone chips, which adds extra UV protection and other environmental threats. Some of the advantages of using a BUR system for your next roofing job are as follows:

  • Durability: BUR roofs can be very resistant to damage from harsh weather conditions and other external elements if they have numerous layers of protection. Asphalt layers are a barrier against the weather, making them a great choice in places prone to high humidity, severe rainfall, and hailstorms.
  • Improved insulation capabilities: This roof comprises many layers of protective material put over the roof deck. This insulation technique helps to keep the building’s temperature stable, making it more energy efficient. The extra layers of cloth also offer additional protection from the elements, such as wetness, harsh temperatures, and powerful winds.
  • Enhanced fire resistance: Installing a built-up roof helps reduce the risk of fire damage, as the potentially explosive materials used in its construction are bound together with layers of asphalt and tar. This helps to reduce the chances of a fire spreading across the roof while also providing a layer of insulation against outside temperature fluctuations.
  • Reduced maintenance costs: One significant benefit of installing a built-up roof is the reduced maintenance costs that come with it. Built-up roofs are highly durable and require minimal maintenance. This means you don’t have to worry about regular inspections, repairs, or replacements.

Maintenance Requirements for A Built-Up Roof

Built-up roofs are one of the most cost-effective roofing systems available. They are frequently employed in commercial buildings due to their long-term durability and resistance to extreme weather conditions. While built-up roofs are noted for their durability, they require constant care to be functional and retain their integrity.

  • Remove debris and inspect for water penetration: This should be done to ensure that no water enters the roof’s system, as this could cause structural damage, mold, and other serious issues. It is essential to regularly inspect the roof’s flashings, drains, and other roof penetrations to ensure they are adequately sealed and waterproof.
  • Regularly inspect for signs of wear or tear: This includes examining any gaps, cracks, or other evidence of degradation that might jeopardize the roof’s integrity. Check for any loose or missing material that might cause water leaks or other problems.
  • Replace any damaged or worn-out material: This includes any roofing felt, gravel, or other material applied to the roof. Any areas of the roof that are cracked, torn, or otherwise compromised should be immediately replaced. In addition, it’s important to inspect the roof periodically to ensure that all components, such as flashings and trims, are properly sealed and in good condition.
  • Ensure proper drainage is maintained: Gutters should be cleaned regularly and blockages removed to avoid water pooling on the roof surface. Downspouts should be inspected for any signs of blockage or damage and repaired or replaced if necessary to allow for proper drainage.
  • Check flashings and sealants annually: Every flashing should be examined for adequate adhesion and dirt removed. Sealants should be inspected for signs of shrinkage, cracking, or disintegration. Any gaps in sealants should be resealed to preserve the underlying roof components.