Making a commercial flat roof watertight has always presented a bit of a challenge. Classic systems used on steep-slope roofs just won't do. But once the interesting properties of crude oil were discovered, everything changed. For over a hundred years, low-slope roofing technology meant a built-up asphalt system. While the relatively new single-ply membrane roofing materials have almost eclipsed the old systems, built-up still offers so many benefits that it continues to hold a place in the market. With modern cold-applied options available now, the application is safe and reliable. Here are five great reasons to install a built-up roofing system on your low-slope commercial building.
1. Excellent Water Resistance
Asphalt offers tremendous waterproofing qualities. When installing a built-up roof, layers of asphalt adhere together layers of reinforcing fabric (the plies) on top of the rigid insulation or recovery board layer. The more plies, the more waterproof and long-lived the roof.
2. Fewer Roof Leak Opportunities
Whether the bitumen or modified bitumen asphalt component is applied hot or cold, built-up roofs have no seams to crack open and allow water penetration. Also, hot-applied built-up requires no plates and screws to fasten it to the substrate, another source of potential leaks on other roof systems. If superficial fissures occur as the roof ages out, the multiple layers thwart rain well until they can be repaired. Also, because the asphalt is rendered liquid for application, it enables superior seals around penetrations, creating a monolithic covering that easily prevents leaks.
3. Exceptionally Durable
Built-up roofs can take a pounding from hailstorms in stride. While many single-ply membranes offer strong resistance to ordinary hail, even exceptionally large stones can't wipe out a built-up roof. Similarly, built-up is impervious to high winds throughout its entire lifecycle. Plus, a lot of foot traffic has virtually no effect on the system. Equipment technicians traversing the roof pose no threat to it, and dropped tools won't puncture it.
4. Very Long Life on Your Commercial Building
While built-up roofs can cost more upfront to install, with a sufficient number of plies, they can easily last 50 years with regular maintenance. When properly installed, built-up systems require very little maintenance. Thus, the amortized costs can be lower for built-up than any other system.
5. Possible Energy Savings
For a long time, mineral aggregate, usually pea gravel, commonly served as the barrier between the asphalt and UV rays. Now, however, reflective coatings serve well as the final protective layer against the sun. With a cool white topcoat spread over the surface, the sun's rays bounce back up leaving a cooler interior in the building, lowering energy needs for air conditioning. Also, with a cooler roof, your building helps relieve the urban heat island effect.
Built-up roofing systems are here to stay. With many modern enhancements, they can provide the long-lasting, durable solution you want for your commercial or industrial building. MG Roofing has over 40 years of experience installing built-up roofs in Northern Alabama. Give us call today to learn more about them.