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Built-up roofing, commonly known in the industry as BURs, is the standard materials that most of the low-sloped and flat roofs are made out of, and there is a good reason why. These are heavy-duty materials that last longer than other kinds of materials out there. It is made out of bitumen, a mixture of certain hydrocarbons, usually found in petroleum residue. The bitumen layer is generally coated with a gravel layer to make it look good, along with a layer of ply sheets between them.

The ply sheets are usually specialized fabrics, which are made stronger using fiberglass. These sheets are then layered on top of the bitumen layer, which can either be hot and in a liquid state or be cold and in a more viscous form. This step helps bond them together, giving your built up roof a more substantial structure.


The gravel layer on top of the ply sheets is usually laid out to ensure that your built up roof has a more finished look. Moreover, it protects the other layers from directly being exposed to sunlight or other harsh weather conditions. Doing this also makes it easier to walk on the roof. Although there are no recommendations by the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) for what products to choose or which manufacturer to select. However, they recommend that the materials used in the manufacture of your built up roofing system follow certain standards that the American Society has issued for Testing and Materials (ASTM).


Built-up roofing usually requires regular coatings as maintenance for commercial roof to help prevent it from solar damage. Although the top gravel layer does offer some protection, the heat can still get through the top layer into the bottom layers, causing the bond strength to weaken down, thus causing your built up roofing system to develop cracks and leaks. However, it is essential to note that this coating is entirely different from waterproofing. This coating does not prevent water from seeping through the layers and leak from your built up roofing. It just prevents solar damage. These roofings usually require a new solar coating once every 3 to 5 years.


When looking for a contractor, you should make sure that they provide warranties for the roofings they make for you, or it could cost you a high price a few years down the line. A manufacturer warranty should generally cover any defects that might have occurred during the layering of your built up roofing. In addition, the contractor’s warranty should cover any issues that might have caused due to improper installation of your systems. Usually, the contractor’s warranty lasts for anywhere between one and three years. Make sure you perform your due diligence and that you read the National Roofing Contractors Association’s recommendations which cover the topics of such warranties.

You should also make sure that your roof is inspected at least once every year, even if it is being coated regularly, to make sure that any issues arising due to unforeseen circumstances are avoided before they become a huge unavoidable inconvenience in the future.