built up roof system

What Is A Built Up Roofing System?

Jim Morris
Updated on
Jim Morris

Jim Morris

Jim Morris loves to travel and visit a lot of architecture sites worldwide. He shares lots of information and is always looking forward to the next article on interior design, architecture and landscaping.
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Built up roofs have been used for well over 100 years. In the 1970s, built up roofing systems began to gain more mainstream popularity in the United States because of their durability and ultraviolet protection. A roof is an important element in every structure, which is why people are always looking for high-quality roofing systems that can protect their families and valuables from harsh weather conditions and dangers present outside. 

A built up roofing system is a roof where multiple layers of asphalt or tar are alternated with ply sheets. This layer is then applied over the reinforcing fabric, which can be various different materials, such as organic or fiberglass mats. Often times, this layer is applied over insulation that is already attached to the roof decking. However, insulation, while generally recommended, is not a mandatory component in a built up roofing system. Built up roofing systems are typically used on low-slope or “flat” roofs. 

Continue reading to see if a built up roof is the right solution for you.

How Long Does A Built Up Roofing System Last?

The lifespan of a built up roofing system is contingent on a couple of factors. These factors include:

  • Climate. As a general rule of thumb, a built up roofing system typically lasts longer in a warmer region than in a cold climate.
  • Materials used. Depending on the quality of materials used, a built up roofing system can last anywhere between 15 to even over 40 years.

On average, the life expectancy is approximately 15 to 30 years. However, with the help of high-quality materials, consistent maintenance, and favorable weather conditions, a built up roofing system can remain standing for over 50 years.

As mentioned earlier, the durability of built up roofing systems is one of the reasons why people choose to invest in them for their residential and commercial properties. Having this type of roof installed in your property will cost you at least USD$5.50 per square foot, but the price can increase depending on the size of your home and the materials you want to use. 

This amount might be expensive for some, but the durability of a built up roofing system makes it one of the most cost-effective investments any property owner can make. 

What Are The Advantages Of A Built Up Roofing System?

Many built up roofing systems that were installed over 40 years ago still remain today. And, even if there are countless types of roofing materials available today, property owners still choose to install a built up roofing system, and the benefits that this roof type can offer might be the reason why. 

These are a few of the benefits of utilizing a built up roofing system.

  • Protection. Built up roofs typically provide impressive waterproofing and ultraviolet protection. Because of the multiple layers of bitumen and saturated felts, among other potential material combinations, a built up roofing system creates a barrier that guarantees protection against the elements for many years.
  • Energy efficient. With a built up roofing system, you are able to save energy by utilizing your property’s heating and cooling systems less often. Built up roofs usually include special coatings that reflect ultraviolet rays, which help maintain a consistent building temperature. This means that when you use a built up roofing system, your interiors will stay warm or cold for longer periods of time. This can result in lesser energy bills. 
  • Durability. A built up roofing system is fire-resistant and is able to withstand strong winds. The durability of this roofing system will give property owners peace of mind, knowing that their investment won’t get damaged regardless of how harsh the weather outside is. 
  • Low-maintenance: Unlike other roofing materials and types, a built up roofing system is very easy to maintain. This kind of roof has fewer individual parts that need to be repaired or fixed, and is likely to get damaged over time. 
  • Fire-resistant: Because of its aggregate top layer, built up roofing systems are also known to be fire-resistant. Using this type of roof will lessen your property’s susceptibility to start and spread fire. 

Are There Any Repairs I Should Expect Once My Built Up Roof Is Installed?

Like with other types of roofing, small problems will begin to pop up over the years. For the most part, these issues are simple and can be remedied fairly quickly. However, it is important to have any damages fixed as soon as possible to help mitigate any future problems. These are a couple of common and basic roof repairs you might expect:

  • Cracks. As time goes on, you may begin to notice small cracks on the asphalt surface. This is generally a quick and easy process. A coat of asphalt cement is placed over the crack, followed by roofing felt. These steps are repeated until the area is completely covered.
  • Blisters. After a few years, you may notice that your built-up roof has small blisters. Using a knife to cut the blister, allow that spot to dry before removing the plies and installing new felt over that area and covering it with asphalt.

Whether you are looking for a knowledgeable expert to install your built up roof, a trusted confidant to guide you through your roofing journey, or an experienced professional to help you with roof repairs, Jackson Contracting Inc is here to lend a hand.

Jim Morris

About the author

Jim Morris

Jim Morris loves to travel and visit a lot of architecture sites worldwide. He shares lots of information and is always looking forward to the next article on interior design, architecture and landscaping.
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