Your Roofing Solutions Experts for Over 3 Generations

Estimates & Service

Phone+1-877-281-6900 Service AreasService Areas


Built-up roofing

Posted on

Built-up roofOver the years, roofing technology has developed and advanced, certainly, new materials have made modern roofing work a different animal than in the past. Composite shingles, fibreglass shingles and other materials that encompass roofing materials have led to developments that have provided a homeowner with a great deal of value. The developments have provided added life to the products that are installed on a roof and the longevity of the products have provided the kind of value that older products just didn’t. It is funny though, all that is old is new again and in the roofing business, some companies use a tried and true method for a new roofing installation called built-up roofing. The roofing system is over 100 years old and like the name says it is a build-up of materials that cover your roof to create an excellent roofing system for your home. At AM Roofing Solutions we have many years of experience installing many types of roofing systems and we have led our industry in the installation of many built-up roofing systems. The system is installed on low-slope roofing systems and it is made up of many layers of bitumen surfaces and is finished with an aggregate-coated or layer of material. Developments in built-up roofing have led to the installation of a rigid layer of insulation. The layers are referred to as ply sheets and they are made of organic materials or fibreglass that are formed into mats. The common size of the mats or ply sheets is approximately one metre in size to cover the areas they are installed in.


Layered roofing systems and how they compare to other roofing systems

•    A built-up roof is a type of roofing system, not a style of a roofing system. When we think of roofing styles, think of a gabled roof or a bonnet roof. To get a handle on a built-roofing system, think in terms of climate and materials used to complete the work. A standard built-up roofing system will have a life expectancy of 15-30 years and is generally installed in fair weather climates.

•    To get an apples to apples comparison, let's look at a slate roof or an asphalt roof, or a metal roof, or a wood shingle roofing system for value in the products. A slate roof will last for 100 years; an asphalt roll roofing system is predicted to last 10 years, a metal roofing system has a shelf life of 50 years. When we examine wood shingle systems like cedar or shake and composite single roof systems they will hold the same lifespan as a built-up roofing system in performance and duration.


Types of built-up roofing systems

•    A built-up roofing system comes in three distinct types: smooth asphalt built-up systems, hot or cold built-up systems, and ballasted built-up asphalt roofing systems. They are installed in three components that include a bitumen material, ply sheets, and at least one or more layers of coatings. The type of coating that is chosen for the roofing system can be integral when costs are factored in and the level of durability that a roofing system will have.

•    The bitumen that is used for a built-up roofing system is made of asphalt, coal tar, or a cold-applied adhesive. When you take into consideration the costs and budget you have available will determine what materials you use to mix and match the materials you have installed on your roof. In the main, a ballasted asphalt roof is commonplace due to a couple of factors that revolve around the outstanding finish it provides and the protective aspect it provides for fire prevention.

•    If you have environmental concerns when your roofing system is installed, a cold built-up roof is the one for you. It is applied with a sprayer or can be rolled on with a brush and requires no heat to get the product to adhere to any surface that you have on your roof. A cold built-up roof performs better than a hot roof application and isn’t weather-dependent for installation.


A built-up roofing system offers many advantages for a homeowner and it is in the money it will save the homeowner over time. First and foremost, a built-up roof will save money on maintenance; it is ultra-violet resistant and has a high degree of water resistance. Let’s not forget that a built-up roof will last a lot longer and will be able to withstand heavy weather events better than other systems that you could choose from. While a built-up roof might take some more time to install – except for cold built-up roofing systems – it is worth the investment. With a strong maintenance plan, a built-up roofing system will be an excellent choice for your home's needs.

When repairs are needed, a simple process can be assumed to take care of open joints on roofing system. It works like this, add cement to the open seam, and hold it down so it will bond to the substrate. If you have trouble getting the bond to adhere, you can add a piece of felt and lay it over the open joint. The next step is to secure it with nails, then add a layer of gravel over the area and wait for the area to dry.

A small blister in the roofing system is a small repair that can be done quickly and easily. You need to take a knife to the blistered area and make an incision, and allow the open area to dry. If it is damp, keep cutting until you have reached an area that is dry, remove the felt that is consistent through the layers and replace the old felt that is removed. Next, apply some asphalt and cover the exposed area with chipping to seal the exposed area. If you have no chippings or they are hard to acquire, you can use a liquid-applied coating for great results.

If you have undulations on the roof, it can be alleviated through the application of additional layers on the roof until the roofing system is level. But, bear in mind the substrate needs to be in good condition otherwise the work is all for not because the substrate will fail over time.

If cracks develop in a built-up roofing system, the repair is quick and easy for a homeowner. Removing debris in the area of the crack is step one, apply some asphalt cement to the area and lay some roofing felt to the crack. Make sure that you have at least 15cms of coverage in the area for overlap to ensure that the area is covered. Next, step and repeat, apply another coating of asphalt cement and add some gravel to the cement.

To get the best results for any repairs your built-up roof needs call us at AM Roofing Solutions and let our 60-plus years of experience take care of your problems. Once we have made the adjustments your roof needs, we will issue you a warranty for a 10-year cycle to cover anything that happens going forward.

When you identify problems on your roof, reach out to us for the help you need. We will attend your home for a personalized consultation that includes a no-cost meeting, free inspection, and free estimate when you call us today at 1.877.281.6900

Leave a Comment

AM Roofing Solutions Locations and Service Areas

Click on the area of interest to find out more

Ontario Map London Territory Guelph Territory Owen Sound Territory Collingwood Territory Muskoka Territory

Please, enter a valid value

AM Roofing Solutions
Some text
Meet the Team:


Office Administrator

Some text

Please, enter a valid value