Built Up Roofing (BUR)

Call Us Today
  1. Home
  2. »
  3. Roof Types
  4. »
  5. Built-Up

At Action 1 Roofing, built-up roofing is something we help our customers with regularly. If you are interested in having this installed, you’re not alone. Built-up roofing is incredibly common on roofs that are flat or have very low slopes (such as commercial warehouse buildings). It’s made with layers of asphalt (otherwise known as bitumen) and reinforcing fabrics. On top, it’s finished with stone or gravel, depending on the performance and needs of the building it’s being applied on. Since this material is continuous, it creates a tight seal that shingles aren’t able to accomplish.

Types and Components of Built-Up Roofing

Built-up roofing has been around for quite some time, although materials and installation methods have improved in recent years. One of the most recent improvements is the addition of rigid insulation, which aids in energy insulation throughout the year. The construction of these types of roofs is generally the same, beginning with layers of bitumen and reinforcing fabrics before the final layer of gravel or stone is applied. Reinforcing fabrics are normally made with fiberglass, although they can also be made with organic materials.


The top layer of a built-up roof is just as important as the alternating layers that lie under it. This is normally made with gravel or small stones that will protect those layers underneath it from hail, water, debris, and even sunlight. However, there is one variation that can impact the stones that can finish this type of roof off. Ballasted roofs, which are specific types of built-up roofs, are made with larger stones that keep the layers underneath in place.

Built-Up Roofing Lifespan and Average Cost

The longevity of built-up roofing largely depends on the weather conditions outside and whether or not maintenance is done regularly. It tends to last longer in warmer climates, although it can last 15-30 years in any climate when it’s cared for properly. The average cost of installation of a built-up roof (tar & gravel roof) costs typically between $3,800 and $$7,000. Some of the variables that affect the price is slope, pitch, materials cost and the size of your roof. If you have a larger home and a larger roof, the costs will be higher.

Pros and Cons of Built-Up Roofs

With every roof, there are pros and cons for the material that is chosen. The same goes for built-up roofing, as there are some benefits and drawbacks that may impact your decision to have it installed. You can find some of the most notable pros and cons below.


  • UV resistant
  • Excellent for waterproofing
  • Top layer protects against debris
  • Fire-resistant
  • Easy to maintain
  • Repairs cost less than repairs on other types of roofs


  • Dangerous fumes can be released with hot bitumen installation
  • Unlikely to last as long as a metal roof
  • Can be expensive to install

The Installation Process Of A Built-Up Roof

There are two different installation methods for this type of roof. The first is the heated method, which liquefies the bitumen during installation. This creates a strong adhesive effect as the bitumen dries, although it does release dangerous fumes that can be toxic. This is why it’s important to have an experienced roofer do the installation with the proper safety equipment. It’s never recommended to heat or install bitumen on your own.

The other method of installation is to install the bitumen without heat. With this, a squeegee is used to help the materials adhere to the roof as effectively as they do with hot installation. This is a preferred method for some, as it does not release the same toxic fumes that the heated method can.

Hire an Expert Team for Built-Up Roofing

At Action 1 Roofing, we know how complicated any roof types are to work with. That’s why built-up roofing installation must be done by a knowledgeable and experienced roofer. Fortunately, we make it our priority to work with only the best contractors in the area. We thoroughly vet each company to ensure they are licensed, insured, experienced, and readily prepared to get the work done properly.

Before a built-up roof can be installed, it must be inspected by an experienced roofer. Action 1 Roofing only works with the best contractors in town, so you can trust that they’ll do a thorough inspection before any work begins. By getting a close view of the roof, they can note any problem areas beforehand. Once the inspection is done, they can discuss the damage with you and create an action plan.

Built-up roofing should only be installed on a strong and secure foundation. If there are cracks, leaks, blisters, open joints, or undulations, those must be addressed as soon as possible. Fortunately, on of our roofers will point out what repair work needs to be done after the inspection is complete. Taking care of repairs will ensure your roof can be installed without any existing problems. This can save you both time and money in the future, while also helping to increase the longevity of the new materials.

Replacement and Re-Roof

If you have an existing built-up roof, replacing damaged materials is possible. Your roofer can do this by cutting out the damage, making the necessary repairs, and installing the new materials. Although this may sound simple, it’s work that must be done by a professional who knows what they’re doing. Attempting these repairs on your own can result in weakened spots on your roof that can potentially lead to future damage.

If you are having a completely new roof installed, you’ll be able to discuss the installation method with your roofer before work begins. Once you agree to a timeline and budget, the work can begin. Fortunately, experienced roofers will know the exact steps to take to get your new roof installed the right way. If you have any questions or concerned, you can always touch base with your roofer or give our team at Action 1 Roofing a call. We’ll be with you every step of the way in making your built-up roof become a reality.

Schedule your service today
3 easy steps

Call Now