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Plano Roofing: Article About Pros and Cons Of Modified Bitumen

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When commercial property owners first call a Plano roofing contractor to request an estimate for replacing a flat or low slope roof, they are not certain what type of material they will need. There are a number of options, including built up roofing and roll roofing, as well as the traditional asphalt and gravel roof. However, in many situations, modified bitumen is the best solution.

Although the formula varies by manufacturer, modified bitumen is typically made by applying asphalt to which modifiers have been added to a sheet of fiberglass or polyester. Granules may be added, but modified bitumen can also have a smooth surface. Different techniques can be used to apply modified bitumen products, including adhesives, but the most common method requires the contractor to use a torch to seal the seams and edges.

Modified bitumen has a number of distinctive advantages. It is relatively inexpensive, especially when the life of the roof is factored into the equation; depending on the manufacturer, warranties for modified bitumen range anywhere between 10 and 20 years. Other choices, such as roll roofing, have seams that often weaken in time and allow leaks, but when properly installed, modified bitumen provides a seamless, waterproof cover. Modified bitumen is durable and flexible, so it is less likely to suffer major cracking or damages from hail damage.

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As standing water can cause it to deteriorate prematurely, modified bitumen works best of roofs that have an adequate drainage system in place. It can withstand a certain amount of foot traffic; occasional access to maintain a rooftop HVAC system or to clean a skylight will not usually result in major problems although it may cause some degranulation. However, for roofs that have features that are regularly used by occupants, the traffic can be sufficient to damage the modified bitumen. Without granules or a reflective coating, modified bitumen can absorb enough extra heat to raise the building's temperature or increase cooling costs. In addition, applying modified bitumen is not a job for the untrained, and since each manufacturer's specifications vary somewhat, property owners must find a contractor whose training and experience matches the particular modified bitumen product.

Whether a modified bitumen roof is the ideal solution for a specific building depends on a number of factors that can only be determined after a qualified roofing contractor inspects the site. In many cases, however, modified bitumen is the best choice for a low slope roof.

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