Torch Down Roofing Systems

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Why Torch Down Roofing?

Torch-down roofing, also referred to as torch-on roofing, is a type of roofing material commonly applied to commercial properties with flat roofs. The material itself is made of rubberized asphalt, and it’s become popular thanks to its time-tested durability and affordable price.

Benefits Of Torch Down Roofing

For flat roof applications that require the consistent product results and come in within budgetary constraints, Torch Down Roofs can be a great option

Torch Down roof benefits:

  • Waterproof: The process of melting the asphalt directly onto your roof creates a rugged barrier¬†
  • No Solar Breakdown: It will neither melt nor become brittle, helping to ensure long-lasting performance.
  • Limited Maintenance: The rugged nature of torch-down roofing renders it resistant to tears and puncture damage, helping to reduce the need for roof repairs
  • Lifespan: Can often last up to 20 years when professionally installed

A Proven Track Record

Torch Down Roofing is popular with many contractors in southern California, mainly because of its ease of installation and its adaptability.

Energy Saving Tile And Slate Installations‚Äč

Torch Down Roofing is a type of roofing that consists of rolled-on modified bitumen (similar to asphalt) that is adhered to layers of fiberglass with a flame torch. Torch Down Roofing is used only for flat or low-slope roofs.

Some contractors use this system because the modified bitumen can bond tightly to metal flashings and the rubbery additives in the asphalt allow the roofing to expand and contract, where other roofing systems may crack.

Two & Three-Layer Torch Down Roofing Systems

A two layer torch down system has one base layer and one torch down layer. The base layer rests on the exterior of your roof.  The torch down layer rests on top of the base layer and has a granular surface mixed with asphalt and lime. During installation, we use a heat-weld to melt the asphalt layer.

Three layer systems have multiple torch down surfaces. These systems are made up of a base layer, a smooth torch down layer, and the granular surface layer. The dual torch down characteristic gives building owners a more secure seal that better protects against leaks throughout a roof’s lifespan.

Both two layer and three layer systems can last for 15-20 years.

Torch Down Roofing Benefits

Torch Down roofs offer some of the best benefits for commercial buildings.

Leak Resistant One of the best advantages of torch down roofing is its strong waterproofing capability. When compared to self-adhering single-ply roofing membranes and traditional built-up roof systems, properly installed torch down systems often better protect against water damage.
Excellent UV Protection and Insulation Most self-adhering and single-ply membrane systems have limited benefits with respect to insulation. These systems often develop cracks and only offer a thin layer of protection. Torch down systems, on the other hand, create an airtight seal and have exceptional material density. Further, torch down systems often have excellent UV reflective capability.
Fire Resistance Even though torch down roofing materials melt with heat welds, they are highly fire resistant. In fact, many modified bitumen manufacturers add multiple fire resistance layers on top of the torch down granular layer. With additional density, torch down roof systems do not contribute to any fire hazard after we install them.
No Noxious Fumes (Unlike Tar & Gravel) It is important to know that the ‚Äúmodified bitumen‚ÄĚ used in a torch down roof is the successor of the traditional tar and gravel roof materials used in older built-up roof systems. Substituting a heat weld for tar removes the presence of post-installation noxious fumes.

Tar and gravel roofs use multiple waterproof and fireproof layers of materials. Then, contractors use tar to sandwich all the layers together in a single, dense material. While tar and gravel provides superior UV ray protection, and great protection in wind storms, they also emit harmful noxious fumes which can actually delay building occupancy after a job is complete.

Torch Down Roofing Disadvantages

Poor Tear Resistance Modified bitumen will withstand fires and foot traffic. Unfortunately, it is not resistant to the tears that windstorm debris can cause. These elements will bruise and tear off parts of your torch down roof. You will need to use additional modified bitumen to patch these damaged areas.
Lifespan Torch down roofing has 15-20 years of lifespan for 2-3 layer variants respectively. FiberTite and Foam roofs, on the other hand, have proven to be longer lasting with proper maintenance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Torch Down roofing typically lasts about 15 years.  Also called modified bitumen, due to the 
mixing of asphalt with rubber compounds, torch down roofing provides additional strength and 
resistance to a flat or low sloped roof. It is not, however, suited to areas prone to high rainfall or 
snowfall. 
A mat of fiberglass, polyester, or other material is often used as a sturdy core for torch down 
roofing membranes. Manufacturers also may embed small granules into the top of the 
membrane to add fire resistance, color options, ultraviolet (UV) radiation protection, or other 
distinctive characteristics. 
One of the primary differences is the way these two roof systems are installed.  A Torch Down 
modified bitumen roof is rolled onto the roof, but still displays the built-in redundancy of an 
asphalt built-up roof.  Torch Down roofs also have UV resistance and the flexibility of a modified 
membrane. There are two types of Torch Down roof systems: atactic polypropylene (APP) and 
styrene-butadiene-styrene (SBS). 
Torch Down roofing can be walked on regularly.  It has superior strength that can resist tears and punctures due to various external factors like walking on the surface. If you have heavy foot traffic on a torch down roof, you will still want to inspect it regularly to make sure that none of the seams have been peeled up. 
Standing water on a flat roof is a common problem. When water ponds it can sometime permeate the seams in a flat roof system cause mold and/or structural damage.  When McCormack installs a Torch Down roof, we make sure to design proper drainage to avoid ponding.