Build-up Roofing For Business – What Is It? What Are the Pros and Cons? Albany Roofing has some ideas

Building up a roof is one of the most common roofing systems used on low-sloped or flat roofs, mostly for commercial buildings. Its name comes from the multilayers of materials that create a seamless, waterproof roof. These flat roofs include several components, and they can offer you a number of benefits. Here, we’ll cover everything you need to know about BURs-pros and cons-so you can decide to install one or not!

BUR – what is it?

Flat roofing materials that are built-up are called built-up roofing systems, or BURs. A variety of materials are applied to create the final result, including bitumen, felt, asphalt, and other materials. Typically, they are applied layer by layer and are relatively easy and quick to install. Over the past century, BURs have also been used as a flat roofing material. Despite these changes and morphs, they are still an advantageous and effective material to use for a flat roof.

Why is BUR useful?

It’s great for roofs that have heavy traffic (like commercial buildings), since built-up roofs are easy to install and provide long-term stability against harsh weather conditions like wind and rain. The investment lasts for many years, and they provide excellent durability. Building up a roof can be done in many ways, and using many materials is not a requirement. Here’s a basic example of what goes into a standard BUR:

Insulated Layer

Roofing insulation is installed above the roof decking and roof sheathing. Keeping the roof sheathing moist and warm, rigid foam insulation makes sure your building is protected from the cold. Underlying the roof sheathing with insulation is less effective.


BURs commonly use asphalt as the first layer, but coal tar or cold-applied adhesive can also be used. Heat is applied to the asphalt prior to spreading it flat and evenly across the roof surface with a mop or some other type of spreading tool.

Cover Board

In addition to providing extra durability under the asphalt layer, the cover board is usually made from lightweight, assembled composite material. In addition to creating a flat surface on which to build layers of asphalt and plywood, it helps with water resistance and longevity.

Asphalt & Ply Sheets

A layer of hot asphalt is laid down, followed by a sheet of single-ply asphalt, followed by another layer of asphalt and a sheet of single-ply asphalt, and so on until three to four layers of each are in place. You need to alternate the layers of your roof to prevent it from being damaged by strong winds, heavy rains, or extremely high or low temperatures.

Roof coating that reflects light

It is crucial for protecting against ultraviolet light to have this layer. Today, most commercial roofs have a highly reflective top layer, allowing them to reflect as much as possible of the sun’s ultraviolet rays, keeping your roof cooler and keeping your energy bills low.


Lastly, the gravel roof is covered with a layer of gravel, usually about an inch thick, according to your preference. Providing this top layer with corrosion protection and debris protection is the ultimate goal. Moreover, gravel protects the layers beneath, so they last longer and require fewer repairs because of the heavy blow of severe weather.

Building up a roof’s pros:

Building up a roof on a flat or low-slope roof is a good idea because of its versatility and excellent water repellency. As they are constructed with heavy materials, they offer protection against the elements like wind and rain as well. Because of this, you will have fewer repair needs down the road.

Weatherproofing at its best

Your roof is sure to withstand even the harshest weather conditions thanks to its multi-layered design. In case you install and maintain your asphalt and bitumen properly, your roof will be watertight to prevent water from leaking inside.

Protection from UV rays

Reflective coatings on top of your roof will provide protection from harsh UV rays, which otherwise heat up your roof and make your HVAC work harder, and wear down the materials on your roof.


A high amount of heat is necessary to ignite Tar, making it extremely flame-resistant. Consequently, you can rest easy knowing your building has some safeguards against fire spreading quickly if a fire spreads on your roof.


Built-up roofs require very little maintenance. With proper installation and minimal maintenance, a built-up roof can last 20 to 40 years. Every year, you need to make sure there are no cracks, holes, or pools of water. A few repairs may be necessary over its lifetime, but a whole replacement will not be necessary until many years down the road.

Installable and maintainable at an affordable price

Built-up roofs are among the most economical flat roofing materials. The cost of a roof replacement depends on many variables, including the materials used, the location, and which contractor you hire. Considering its long lifespan, ceramic tiles are one of the most cost-effective materials, even though their prices can range from $250 to $800.

A built-up roof’s Cons:

The downside to built-up roofing is its general wear and tear and the possibility of storm damage, despite its affordability and long lifespan. One roofer Albany NY has to offer, has agreed with these claims, for both commercial roofing and residential roofing projects.


Built-up roofs are frequently damaged by freeze-thaw cycles. Before starting any job, you should check whether your warranty covers workmanship when cracks develop in your BUR.

Water Pooling:

It is possible for your flat roof to pond water if it experiences heavy rain that passes unchecked. A water leak can eventually damage or weaken structural components in built-up roofs.


The last thing you want is a leaking roof paired with a hot sun causing blisters. Built-up roofs are more prone to tearing when they have blisters, especially in areas with high foot traffic. You should deal with it right away since it is dangerous.

During installation, maintenance, and periodic inspections, built-up roofs can avoid most of their downsides. Built-up roofing is an excellent choice if you want a durable roof for a reasonable price.