Built Up Roofing

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What is Built Up Roofing?

Built-Up Roofing (BUR) is a traditional and commonly used roofing system for low-slope or flat roofs. It is sometimes referred to as “tar and gravel” roofing. BUR systems consist of multiple layers of bitumen (asphalt or coal tar) alternating with layers of reinforcing fabric, which is often fiberglass or polyester. These layers are typically built up to create a durable and weather-resistant roofing membrane.

The construction of a Built-Up Roofing system typically involves the following layers:

Base Sheet: The base sheet is the first layer, usually made of fiberglass or other reinforcing materials. It provides strength and stability to the roofing system.

Interply Sheets: These layers are placed between the bitumen layers to enhance the system’s strength and durability.

Bitumen Layers: Bitumen, either asphalt or coal tar, is heated and applied to the roof in layers. It serves as the waterproofing material in the BUR system.

Surfacing: The top layer of a Built-Up Roofing system is often covered with gravel, mineral granules, a cap sheet, or a reflective coating. This layer helps protect the roof from UV radiation, weathering, and physical damage.

The number of bitumen and reinforcing layers can vary depending on the specific requirements of the roofing project. The application of these layers is typically done using hot-applied or cold-applied methods, depending on the type of bitumen used.

Built-Up Roofing systems have been widely used for decades and are known for their durability, resistance to weathering, and ability to provide effective waterproofing. However, they can be heavier than some modern roofing systems, and installation often involves working with hot materials, which requires careful safety considerations. As technology has advanced, other roofing systems like single-ply membranes have become popular alternatives to Built-Up Roofing in certain situations.

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