The Pros And Cons Of Built-Up Roofing For Commercial Buildings

21 December 2015
 Categories: Construction & Contractors, Articles


If you own a commercial building that is in need of a new roof, you may be looking at many roofing types. Unlike residential houses, the roofs on most commercial buildings are flat, and as such, use different materials. Learning about the pros and cons of different commercial roofing materials will help you select the one that makes the most sense for your building. Here are some of the pros and cons of using built-up roofing for commercial buildings.

Cons of Using Built-Up Roofing for Commercial Buildings

  • Identifying a Leak Can Be Challenging

One of the challenges associated with built-up roofing is that identifying the source of a leak can be challenging. If you have one layer of roofing, you can typically identify the crack or flaw, and surmise that that is where water is leaking into your space from. However, if you have multiple layers of roofing piled on top of another, finding the leak may be challenging. You may have a crack on the exterior of the roof and smaller cracks in the various layers of roofing. This means water may flow through multiple channels or pathways when it leaks into your building. As such, targeting the source of the leak and correcting it can be a bit harder with this type of roofing.

  • Short Lifespan

One of the biggest downsides to built-up roofing for commercial buildings is that this material has a relatively short lifespan. There are many factors that play a role in the lifespan of this material, including the weather elements it is exposed to and the thickness of the roof. But, in general, this has a lifespan of about 10 to 15 years. While this roof is relatively inexpensive to install, it has to be replaced often. Some commercial business owners would rather invest more money up front for a roof that last longer. Only you can decide which makes the most sense for you.

Pros of Using Built-Up Roofing for Commercial Buildings

  • Requires Little Maintenance

The majority of built-up roofs are made from a combination of tar and gravel, which is extremely durable.These materials are layered together to create a built-up roof. One of the biggest benefits to this type of roof is that it doesn't require much maintenance. Rubber commercial roofs need to be checked for cracks often. Metal commercial roofs need to be cleaned and sealed often. And asphalt roofs need to be checked for wearing asphalt granules. If you are busy and don't have the time or desire to constantly check or maintain your commercial roof, this type of roofing is ideal for you.

  • Can Withstand Heavy Amounts of Traffic

Another major benefit to built-up roofing for commercial buildings is that this roofing material is able to withstand heavy amounts of traffic. Many roofing materials are not designed for individuals to walk across. They can deteriorate, crack or become damaged if contractors are not careful while making repairs to anything on the roof, such as an air conditioner or satellite system. However, built-up roofing systems are very strong and can sustain the weight of people walking across them regularly. If you are looking to install something unique, such as a roof top break room or viewing deck, or simply have items that need repairs often on your roof, this roofing material may make the most sense for you.

There are many different materials you can use on your commercial roof. Asphalt, bitumen, rubber, metal and built-up roofing are some of the most popular options. Learning about each roofing type, and learning the pros and cons, will help you select a material that fits in with the needs of your building and your budget. Talk to a company like Bell Roof Co to learn more.