What Is Built Up Roofing?
What is built up roofing? Buried underneath the roof is an interlocking system of beams and flashing designed to provide structural support for the entire roof system. It is also the most affordable roofing solution because it requires little maintenance, and because of the way it is built, there is little possibility for flash cracks. However, what is often forgotten is that what is typically termed “built-up” or “combined” roofing actually involves much more than mere flashing layers. In fact, the entire roof system may include as many as 10 individual building materials, including flashings, insulation, sheathing, and more.
There are many types of traditional roofs used in both homes and commercial buildings, but what is typically seen is a single-ply membrane system. Built-up roofs are typically composed of either clay or rubber tiles, with each layer consisting of a thin, aggregate base layer and a top layer composed of a reinforcing material, like gravel or stone. Common materials used for this type of roofing are asphalt shingles, asphalt tiles, rubber rugs, and metal sheets. Rubber and stone are usually combined with other materials like clay particles to increase both the strength and durability of the roofing systems.
The benefit of using a combination of materials is that it increases the lifespan of your roof. Traditional single-ply roofs deteriorate significantly after just a few years, whereas built-up roofing systems can often last decades or longer before needing repair or replacement. Even if your roof has suffered minimal damage from a storm or hurricane, you can often achieve a high degree of repair or replacement with little effort. The great thing about asphalt or gravel-based roofs is that they don’t need replacing as often, so they can save money in the long run, even though there might be a slight upfront cost associated with purchasing and installing them.
What is built up roofing also has another advantage in comparison to flat roofs: you can make the system more efficient by reducing the number of layers required. Flat roofs only have one layer of gravel, and then the rest of the roof is made of concrete or tile. This means that the heavier the load, the higher the levels of gravel must be. If you have heavy loads, you may have to add several layers to accommodate the increased weight. What is also great about built-up roofs is that you can often create a sloped pattern within the roof to take advantage of any natural drainage systems available on your property.
There are two types of built-up roofing systems: one uses bitumen or asphalt shingles and another uses rubber or clay layers. With the use of bitumen or asphalt shingles, you have the ability to create layers that are resistant to water and insect damage. If you have a period roof with lots of exposed gutters and downspouts, you should consider using bitumen layers for added protection. Another great thing about using bitumen is that you will generally be able to eliminate any tacky material like asphalt that can build up on the roof.
Asphalt and clay layers are less flexible and durable than the bitumen, but they are much easier to install and maintain. What is great about these two systems is that they can be combined for a steeper roof, which can improve drainage and keep water from pooling on the flat roofs. If you want to learn more about what is built up roofing, contact your local contractors today and ask them for additional information.