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Built-Up Roofing

We provide the best roofing services in southeast WisconsinTar and gravel roofing is the most economical commercial roofing option

The Built-Up Roofing System (BUR), also known as “tar and gravel” roofing, is one of the oldest roofing systems in the US. It is commonly used for flat and low-slope roofs on commercial buildings, schools and government facilities.

Built-up roofs are comprised of 3 or more alternating layers of bitumen (asphalt, coal tar or an adhesive that doesn’t require heating) and reinforcing fabrics (glass-fiber or organic mats). This membrane is then covered with gravel (or some other aggregate), a layer of hot asphalt, or a coating of aluminum or elastomer.

How long does a built-up roof last?

In southern Wisconsin, the built-up roofs we install have a service life of 30 to 35 years. Environmental conditions, foot traffic, roof slope and the quality of the installation all affect the service life of a built-up roof. Additionally, the number of plies (the felt sheets sandwiched together) is a factor.

Characteristics of Built-Up Roofing:

  • Very cost-effective roofing
  • Multiple plies provide protection even if an outer layer is damaged
  • Excellent waterproofing
  • Low maintenance
  • Gravel (or other aggregate) surface withstands daily wear and tear well
  • Takes longer to install than EPDM roofing
  • Installation is messy and smelly
  • Traditional built-up roofing lacks flexibility necessary for large expanses of roof, particularly in cold climates. A cold built-up roof (applied with a sprayer or squeegee) performs better in our climate.
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