Built-Up Roofing (BUR) systems have been prevalent in the roofing industry for decades. BUR systems provide extraordinary protection for commercial and industrial buildings based on their demonstrated durability and longevity. This exhaustive guide will examine the composition, benefits, installation process, maintenance, and troubleshooting of Built-Up Roofing systems.
Whether you are a property proprietor, a roofing professional, or someone interested in learning about BUR systems, this article will provide you with insightful information about this time-tested roofing solution.
1. What constitutes a built-up roofing system?
A Built-Up Roofing system, known as a “tar and gravel” roof, comprises multiple layers of bitumen (asphalt or coal tar) alternated with reinforcing felts. These felts are typically fabricated from organic materials such as paper or fiberglass, producing a durable and impermeable roofing membrane.
2. Composition of Built-Up Roofing
A typical Built-Up Roofing system is composed of the layers listed below:
a) Roof Deck: The roof deck is the foundation for the BUR system and can be made of wood, concrete, or metal, among other materials.
b) Vapor Retarder: This layer inhibits moisture movement into the roofing assembly, thereby decreasing the possibility of condensation.
Insulation materials, such as rigid boards or foam, are added to increase energy efficiency and regulate interior temperature.
d) Base Sheet: The base sheet is the first layer of bitumen-impregnated felt, which gives the roofing system strength and stability.
e) Bitumen Layers: Multiple bitumen-soaked felts are layered on top of one another to form a waterproof membrane.
f) Surfacing Material: A protective surface, typically gravel or mineral particles, is applied to the BUR system to shield it from UV rays and weathering.
The advantages of built-up roofing
Built-Up, Numerous advantages of roofing systems make them a popular choice for commercial and industrial applications:
a) Durability: BUR systems have a long lifespan and can withstand heavy foot traffic, making them suitable for roofs with high foot traffic.
b) Waterproofing: The multiple layers of bitumen and felts form an effective waterproof barrier, minimizing the risk of water damage and leakage.
c) UV Resistance: The surface material offers UV protection, extending the roofing system’s lifetime.
d) Fire Resistance: Due to the use of bitumen and gravel layers, Built-Up Roofing systems have superior fire resistance.
e) Low Maintenance: BUR systems require minimal maintenance after installation, reducing long-term costs.
Process of Installing Built-Up Roofing Systems
a) Roof Inspection: Built-Up Roofing (BUR) system installation begins with a comprehensive roof inspection. An expert roofing professional evaluates the condition of the existing roof to determine which areas require repair or preparation before BUR installation. This phase is essential for establishing a solid base for the new roofing system.
b) Roof Preparation: Following the completion of the roof inspection, the next stage is roof preparation. The roof’s surface is meticulously cleaned and freed from debris, grime, and loose materials. It is essential to prepare the surface properly to ensure the adhesion of the BUR layers and the roofing system’s overall performance.
c) Base Sheet Installation: The base sheet is the first stratum of the BUR system. This layer comprises bitumen-impregnated felt, which gives the roofing assembly its initial strength and stability. Depending on the installation technique, the base sheet is applied to the cleaned roof deck using hot asphalt or cold adhesive.
d) Application of Layers: The essence of Built-Up Roofing is its multi-ply construction. After the foundation sheet has been installed, alternating layers of bitumen and felts are adhered together. Each layer is distributed uniformly across the roof’s surface, resulting in a durable and impermeable membrane.
e) Surfacing: The top layer is coated with a surfacing material to safeguard the BUR system from UV rays and weathering. Typically, gravel or mineral particles are used as the surface material. This layer increases the roof’s durability and provides an aesthetically pleasing finish.
f) Final Inspection: a final inspection concludes the installation process. A qualified roofing expert inspects the entire Built-Up Roofing system to ensure that each step was performed correctly and that the system operates as intended. This final inspection is essential for identifying and promptly addressing potential issues or defects.
Built-Up Roofing installation requires meticulous planning, attention to detail, and expert craftsmanship. Inspection and preparation of the roof provide the foundation for a successful installation by ensuring the existing roof is prepared to receive the BUR layers. Applying layers of bitumen and felts alternately produces a robust and waterproof roofing membrane. The addition of surface material protects and extends the roofing system’s life.
By adhering to these installation procedures and conducting a comprehensive final inspection, property owners can rest assured that their Built-Up Roofing system will provide exceptional protection and durability for decades.
3. Upkeep and Problem Solving
Regular maintenance is required to ensure the longevity and optimal performance of a Built-Up Roofing system. Here are some maintenance recommendations and typical troubleshooting issues:
a) Regular Roof Inspections: Schedule routine roof inspections to identify and promptly address any potential problems.
b) Clearing detritus: Regularly remove residue and leaves from the roof surface to prevent ponding water and drainage problems.
c) Repairing fractures and Blisters: To prevent water infiltration, immediately repair any fractures or blisters in the roofing material.
d) Resurfacing: Over time, the material used for the surface may erode. Resurfacing the roof can restore UV protection and prolong its lifespan.
Engage a professional roofing contractor for routine maintenance and repairs.
Built-Up Roofing systems have an established track record of durability and dependability, making them a popular option for commercial and industrial structures. Property owners and roofing professionals need to comprehend the composition, benefits, installation process, and maintenance requirements of BUR systems. By adhering to proper maintenance procedures and addressing any issues promptly, you can ensure that your Built-Up Roofing system provides excellent protection and lasts for many years.
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