Built-up roofing (BUR) has been a common feature of commercial and industrial properties since the 1870s. If your real estate is experiencing leaks as a result of decades of patching a built-up roof, you may even wonder if your roof is a 19th century original. There’s a reason built-up roofing has stuck around so long. It’s affordable, and it’s relatively easy to install.
The problem with BUR
A number of factors are contributing to a decline in BUR installation. Shifting economies and changes in the processing of petroleum have both contributed to a decline in the quality of asphalt, the primary component of built-up roofing. Built-up roofing is also vulnerable to softening and deterioration in hot climates like southern Louisiana. Fluctuating temperatures and wind lift cause sheets to pull apart, and UV rays and ponding break down BUR materials, exposing buildings to continuous damage.
Modern alternatives to built-up roofing
While asphalt-based roofing materials like BUR are experiencing a decline in popularity, forward-thinking business owners are taking a look at modern materials such as silicone-based roofing. These BUR alternatives are more robust and provide added value to commercial and industrial buildings in the form of energy efficiency, moisture-resistance, and protection from UV rays.
One of the primary advantages of a silicone roofing system is that it eliminates the need for a costly tear off your existing BUR roof. It can be installed directly over worn out BUR on commercial and industrial rooftops, preventing leaks and improving energy efficiency in one swoop.
What happens during a silicone roof installation?
Assessment of the pre-existing substrate
The first step that a professional contractor takes before beginning an installation is to thoroughly assess the condition of the pre-existing substrate. By taking a core sample and conducting adhesion tests, contractors can determine how many layers of roofing exist, what condition they’re in, and how well silicone will adhere to the surface. Taking the time to truly understand the situation before offering solutions ensures a durable, long-lasting silicone roofing system.
Thorough cleaning of the BUR
Once an assessment is conducted, your roofing contractor should eliminate dirt and debris from your existing BUR. As your BUR ages, it sheds materials, which accumulate on your roof. More buildup is contributed by natural elements such as animals, trees, and storms. Asphalt and other components of BUR also discharge oils that can damage adhesion. If a contractor doesn’t thoroughly clean a rooftop of this debris, the silicone will not adhere as effectively and leaks will find their way through.
Prime the built-up roofing
Sunlight Contractors uses GacoFlex E5320 to prime roofing substrate before applying silicone. This multi-purpose primer improves the adhesion of most surfaces, including BUR, and it also helps prevent asphalt bleed-through.
Seal any breaches in the pre-existing roofing substrate
Finally, it’s critical to seal any fissures, channels, and cracks that already exist on the roof. It’s not uncommon to find equipment, ductwork, and other protrusions on commercial and industrial rooftops. Each of these, as well as channels created by construction crews, electricians, and plumbers, create a leak zone that should be sealed before your silicone roof is installed. We use GacoFlex SF2000 SeamSeal to perfect your roof’s surface and guarantee long-lasting protection.
Apply silicone roofing system
Once your rooftop is prepared, your contractor will apply a high-quality silicone roofing system directly to the pre-existing BUR. The smooth silicone surface create a seamless barrier that safeguards your business real estate against ponding water, ultraviolet light and severe weather. With the watertight seal of silicone, leaks become a thing of the past without a time-consuming tear-off that interrupts your normal business operations.
If you’re ready to say goodbye to your 19th century roof and hello to modern materials, get in touch with the roofing professionals at Sunlight Contractors. We work with the most durable, reliable silicone roofing system on the market, and our contractors have years of experience in assessing and restoring commercial and industrial roofs.