Like all industries, the roofing trade uses a number of acronyms, abbreviations and terms to describe different products, methods, roofing materials and procedures. BUR is an abbreviation for built-up roofing, which is the most popular choice for low-slope roofs, especially for commercial buildings. The first use of BUR dates to the early 1800s, and although technology has brought certain changes, the basic procedures for installing a BUR system would be familiar to most builders from that era.
As you might suspect, built-up roofing involves the installation of multiple layers of materials. When viewed in cross-section from the deck up, the first layer is often rigid insulation that is topped with asphalt or another bonding agent before a cover board is placed. The ply sheets are then installed. Ply sheets typically consist of a base sheet or venting sheet that may be fiberglass or organic, up to four layers of roofing felt and a layer of asphalt. The exact number of ply sheets required varies, but most BUR installations are four-ply roofs. The roof is usually finished by applying a layer of asphalt over the top and crowning it with gravel. However, there are also coatings that can be used to reflect heat and mitigate the effects of the UV rays that the sun emits.
Benefits of BUR
Built-up roofs offer a number of advantages. They can typically be installed over virtually any type of deck; it is important, however, that the substrate used is the proper one for the type of deck. They are durable and have a long life when properly installed and adequately maintained. Even without reflective coatings, built-up roofing systems resist the transfer of heat from the exterior to the building’s interior, and they can also reduce the amount of heat lost from the interior during cold weather.
With multiple plies consisting of multiple layers, built-up roofs offer greater protection against leaks than roofing systems consisting of only two or three layers of single-ply materials. In addition, asphalt has outstanding waterproofing properties that reduce the chances of water penetrating to the building’s interior.
A built-up roof can be much more economical to install than most other high-performance roofing systems for commercial buildings. The cost of maintenance also compares favorably over the life of the roof.
Built-up roofing resists damage from inclement weather; BUR is designed to resist uplift during high winds. Furthermore, BUR systems are subjected to testing by independent labs to ensure that they meet extremely rigid requirements for fire resistance.
Maximizing the Life of BUR
The first key to obtaining the maximum life possible from your built-up roof is to choose a reputable, experienced contractor who has the proper equipment and the expertise to ensure that the installation is performed properly. The second key is to choose a reputable, experienced contractor to conduct periodic inspections and make timely repairs. If a built-up roof does not receive the proper maintenance, it can fail prematurely, requiring you to replace the roof long before its expected life is up and placing the contents of your building at risk from roof leaks.
If you need a built-up roof installed, inspected or repaired, you can trust the Austin roofing professionals at Alpha Roofing Industries. We are a commercial roofing company and our services including flat roof replacement, metal roofing systems and asphalt shingle installation. We also offer roof repair, install skylights and conduct roof inspections and offer a variety of preventive maintenance plans. We have built our reputation on our customer service, our superior craftsmanship and our professionalism. To request a free quote, simply submit our online form or call (512) 777-1086.