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What is Built-up roofing?

Aug 25

Built-up roofing (BUR) is a roofing system consisting of layers of fabric roofing panels that are sealed with asphalt. It is then placed on top of the flat roof structure of a building. The aggregate material is then covered. It is cost-effective and efficient. BUR can last up to 40 years.


BUR is an excellent option for many buildings. However, there are many things to know before you use it in your building. BUR is an innovative roofing system; you need to understand it before applying it to any building. Let's have a closer look at built-up roofing. This is a comprehensive guide to BUR.

What does a built-up roof mean?

A term used in construction is "Built roof." This term and this roofing style are not well-known. A built-up roof refers to a treated roof that uses specialized roofing materials to strengthen and seal low-slope roofs. BUR comprises multiple layers of adhesive, alternating ply sheet fabrics, and surfacing and finishing materials.


This method is a popular way to finish a roof. It can be used for flat roofs or roofs with minimal slope. A built-up roof has multiple layers of specialty materials and adhesives. Unfinished roofs are more susceptible to damage and can develop cracks and leaks. Adequately sealed and completed roof will strengthen the roof, prevent damage like leaks and cracks, and significantly extend the roof's life expectancy.


A roof comprises three components: layers of reinforcing fabric called ply sheets; adhesives such as bitumen and asphalt to seal the roof's ply layers; and a final layer of material.


Modern built-up roofs include insulation layers that improve the structure and quality.

The layers of roofing material can be layered or made up as a single sheet and then stuck together using a hot or cool adhesive, such as bitumen.


To protect against the elements, insulation layers are added to the roof during installation. Finally, the entire roof is sealed with reflective spray-on coating. After applying these layers, you will apply an aggregate material to the roof's surface. This protects the roof against impact damage and UV rays.


BUR materials can vary depending on who is installing the roofing and the budget. You can consult it with professional roofing contractor Toronto about the BUR materials. Weather exposure and time are also factors.


BUR materials can be installed on flat roofs or low-slope roofs. Because of the way it is applied, you cannot install it on sloped roofs.

Common materials for BUR include

  • Asphalt
  • Bitumen
  • Cold adhesive
  • Fiberglass
  • Pearlite
  • Organic fabric components
  • Gravel
  • Stone

What is the Lifespan of a BUR Roof?

BUR has been a widely used roof material worldwide for many decades. But how long can it last?

Depending on the roofing materials, BUR can last between 15 and 40 years.

BUR's lifespan is also affected by the roof's temperature and the installation and application quality. Cold temperatures reduce BUR's lifespan. Its longevity will depend on how many layers are in the BUR.


Built-up roofing is a durable roofing option for flat roofs. BUR will last between 25 and 40 years before it needs to be replaced. However, roofs can still be damaged.


BUR life expectancy depends on the design and installation. Each layer of roof-top construction, also known as plies, is responsible for approximately five years of roof life. The roof's lifespan will increase the more layers you use.

How long does A BUR Roof last 

BUR with cold adhesive will last for longer than those using hot adhesive. It is also essential to consider the type of fiber used in the ply layers.

BUR is not as durable in hot environments as in the cold. This is due to its nature. BUR's materials delaminate faster in hot temperatures, making the roof more unstable.

BUR's lifespan is also affected by how it is applied. BUR that is appropriately applied will last longer than poorly applied BUR. The average life expectancy of a BUR is between 15 and 30 years.