a roof with a chimney

What Is BUR Roofing and Why Should I Use It?

Built Up Roofing (BUR), often called "tar and gravel" roofing, has been a reliable choice for over a century. It consists of multiple layers of bitumen-saturated roofing felts or mats alternated with layers of bitumen, surfaced with aggregate materials. This roofing method offers several advantages for various applications, which we will discuss in this article.

What is a Built Up Roof?

Built Up Roofing, or BUR, is recognized for its durability, longevity, and excellent waterproofing capabilities. BUR roofs are created by applying multiple layers of bitumen-saturated roofing felts or mats. Bitumen, a thick, black material derived from crude oil, acts as the waterproofing element in the system.

Why Should You Use Built Up Roofing?

  • Proven Durability: BUR systems have a long track record of durability. They are known to last 20-30 years or more with proper maintenance, making them a cost-effective choice for residential and commercial applications.
  • Waterproofing: The multiple layers of bitumen and roofing felts create a highly effective barrier, crucial in regions with heavy rainfall or harsh weather conditions.
  • Strength and Resilience: Built up roofing can withstand foot traffic and resist damage from falling debris, making it suitable for roofs with heavy equipment or frequent maintenance activity.
  • Fire Resistance: BUR systems are inherently fire-resistant due to bitumen's non-combustible nature, contributing to fire protection and safety in residential and commercial structures.
  • Energy Efficiency: BUR roofing can be adapted to include insulation materials, contributing to energy efficiency and potentially reducing heating and cooling costs.
  • Low Maintenance: BUR requires minimal maintenance. Routine inspections and small repairs are generally needed to ensure their longevity.
  • Seamless Installation: The installation process is seamless, as the layers adhere to each other using hot asphalt or cold adhesive, eliminating the need for seams or joints prone to leakage in other roofing systems.
  • UV Protection: The aggregate surface layer protects against ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which is important in sunny, hot climates.
  • Cost-Effective: Though the initial installation cost might be slightly higher than some other roofing systems, the longevity and low maintenance costs make built up roofing a cost-effective choice over the long term.
  • Versatility: BUR is suitable for many structures, including flat and low-slope roofs, making it a versatile option for residential and commercial applications.

Applications of Built Up Roofing:

  • Commercial Buildings: Due to its durability, fire resistance, and ability to handle heavy equipment or foot traffic, BUR is commonly used on commercial structures like warehouses, factories, and office buildings.
  • Residential Roofs: BUR can be a viable choice for homeowners seeking a durable and long-lasting roofing system, especially in regions with extreme weather conditions.
  • Institutional Buildings: Schools, hospitals, and other institutional buildings often benefit from the resilience and longevity of BUR roofing.
  • Historic Buildings: BUR can be suitable for restoring and preserving historic structures, providing an authentic appearance and modern waterproofing capabilities.
  • Green Roofing: Built Up roofing can serve as a base for green or vegetative roofing systems, contributing to energy efficiency and sustainability.

Built Up Roofing (BUR) is a reliable, time-tested roofing system known for its durability, longevity, and excellent waterproofing capabilities. It's a cost-effective choice for various applications, including commercial buildings, residential homes, institutional structures, and historic buildings. With its proven track record of durability and resistance to fire, water, and UV radiation, BUR remains a solid option for those seeking a roofing system that can withstand the test of time. It is advisable to consult with a professional roofing contractor to determine if BUR is the right choice for your specific needs.

Contact Findlay Roofing today to schedule a consultation if you need a roof replacement.

  • 1
  • 2


Testimonials Icon


We want you to be completely confident in your decision when choosing Findlay Roofing. That's why we trust our customers to share their experiences.


We're here to help! 770.516.5806

Findlay Roofing 4181 Jvl Industrial Park Dr, Marietta, GA 30066 e-mail: sales@roofroof.com