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What Is a Built-Up Roof?


Options for roofing are plentiful, whether you’re buying a new roof for your home or a commercial building. What is a built-up roof? A built-up roof is created by “building” layers of bitumen, a viscous substance that is gathered as a byproduct of the petroleum industry, with other materials. You typically see bitumen used to smooth the surface of the road, but its tough, sticky consistency makes it a great material for flat or gently sloped rooftops as well.


What Is a Built-up Roof?

So what is a built-up roof? A built-up roof is typically composed of alternating layers of bitumen with reinforcing fabrics and insulation. A final coating seals everything in and competes the process. The layers of insulation are called ply sheets, and they are usually reinforced with fiberglass or an organic material.

The Benefits of Built-up Roofing: What Can You Expect to Gain?

Resistant to Fire and Uplift

This type of roof has been tested by third-party groups and found to be resistant to both fire and wind damage. If you live in an area with heavy wind, you’ll be glad to know that the uplift risk is low with a built-up roof. This is because the roof is a sealed, solid structure rather than a formation of individual shingles that could get blown off.

Amazing Protection

Along with protecting your property from fire and wind, a built-up roof also does a great job of guarding against moisture. The multiple layers of bitumen form a solid seal that will protect your roof from leaks for many years to come.

A More Comfortable Space

Bitumen and the other materials used for built-up roofing are resistant to thermal transfer, meaning that they help keep your home or building warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.


Investing in a built-up roof can do a lot for your finances. Not only is this type of roof very inexpensive when compared to other options, but it will also save you money on your monthly utility bills.

A Heavy Load: Are There Any Negatives to Built-up Roofs?

Built-up roofs’ thick layers of bitumen are great at insulation, but they can also be quite heavy. If your building isn’t constructed well, a built-up roof could begin to sag and sink over time. Ask your contractor to examine your property first to decide whether a built-up roof would be inappropriate.

In addition, note that the success of a built-up roof depends on its construction. For example, the black color of the roofing material can absorb a lot of sunlight, creating heat in the rooms below. However, a quality contractor will include UV-blocking coating for your roof, which will remedy this potential issue. When installed correctly, a built-up roof will keep out more heat than it lets in.


If you need helping installing a commercial roof and you live in southern Missouri, contact Taylor-Made Roofing for help. With over 20 years of experience in residential and commercial roofing, Taylor-Made Roofing is a company that you can trust with all of your roofing needs. Our family-owned business offers quality services, a reassuring warranty, and free estimates. For more information, please give us a call at 417-326-8778 or contact us online. We look forward to hearing from you!

Fully licensed and insured, Taylor-Made Roofing is ready to take care of your roof.
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