Many Houston buildings with flat or nearly flat roofs are topped with built-up roofing, also known as tar and gravel roofing. Built-up roofing (BUR) is composed of layers of fiberglass-based asphalt sheeting that has hot bitumen, or asphalt, applied between each layer. Then, the surface is coated with asphalt and a layer of gravel or crushed rock to anchor the material and lessen the effects of sun and abrasion. Because the gravel is a light color, it reflects the UV rays and the heat of the sun. Depending on how severe the weather is during the lifespan of the roof, a built-up roof can last between 10 and 20 years.
Another form of built-up roofing for your Houston roof is asphalt roll roofing, which is frequently used on warehouses, garages and outbuildings. Its lifespan is 5 to 15 years, which is why it is the least expensive commercial and Houston residential roofing material available. It is usually used by a Houston roofer for flat or low-pitch roofs. While BUR is a very economical choice, it is decidedly not an environmentally friendly roof covering. It is too heavy for many structures, and if it starts leaking, it can be hard to find the leak. It is also not recyclable.
In days gone by, Houston residential and commercial roofing companies used tar paper for tar and gravel roofs. Nowadays, BUR with modified bitumen and fiberglass membranes can last as long as 15 to 25 years. The bitumen, which is infused with plastic, is built up with layers of polyester or fiberglass. This gives it a rubbery texture that is elastic and quite durable. Depending on the kind of building, modified bitumen is a terrific material choice. It can be used in single or multiple layers. A Houston roof company can apply it with a torch or a cold-applied process. The seams are sealed by mopping hot asphalt on them, or they can be welded or melted shut.
Modified bitumen is used extensively for retrofitting. It resists cracking or splitting. Like tar and gravel, modified bitumen needs a surfacing material usually made from mineral blends or crushed gravel. It can be Energy Star compliant if it has factory-applied “cool” coatings. Modified bitumen is durable and flexible, which makes it a popular choice in Houston. Although performance issues can occur if it gets too hot, an elastomeric coating can help lower the surface temperature by reflecting the sun’s heat.
Paramount Roofing Company has been applying built-up roofing and modified bitumen in the Houston area for over 20 years. We can take care of new installations, repairs and replacement roofs. Contact us online, or give us a call at 713-748-4000. Our owner will come to your location, discuss your situation, examine your roof and give you a free estimate with no obligation.