Tar torchdown roofing is one of the most popular types of roofing materials in all parts of the world for buildings with flat roofs or 1-degree sloped roofs. Tar torchdown roofing, also called modified bitumen roofing, involves laying down fiberglass base sheets on the flat sub-roof, and then applying sheets of flame-activated rubberized asphalt membranes which are vulcanized onto the fiberglass base sheet by means of hand-held torches. This type of roof has largely replaced hot-tar and gravel roofing due to its clean look, ease of installation and durability; however, it is not recommended for areas that experience heavy rain or snowfall, because pooling water has been known to penetrate the overlapping roof membranes or cause leakage problems at penetration points.
Tar torchdown roofing manufacturers and color choices
Some of the most respected names in roofing materials manufacture modified bitumen roofing for commercial, industrial and residential markets. Polyglass USA, a subsidary of the Polyglass group of Treviso, Italy, is an industry leader in tar torchdown roofing products--its modified bitumen products are approved by the Florida Building Code, as well as Florida's hurricane-prone Miami-Dade and Broward counties.
Texas Refinery Corporation manufactures a modified bitumen membrane system that is approved by Underwriters Laboratories Inc. as a Class A roofing material. Other leading manufacturers include these companies:
- Firestone Building Products
- Johns Manville Roofing Systems
- CertainTeed Roofing--Low Slope
Each manufacturer has its own line of colors, but as an example of the many choices available, Polyglass USA manufactures tar torchdown roofing in the following colors:
- Green or pine green
- Red or red blend
Most manufacturers fabricate several types of tar torchdown roofing using non-woven polyester or fiberglass reinforcement. The material comes in either single or double-ply.
Durability and energy efficiency
Tar torchdown roofing has gained a following with building owners and contractors because it is moderately inexpensive, easy to install, and it combines excellent weather resistance with long-term strength and flexibility. In addition to being highly flexible and able to withstand extreme temperature changes, the material is resistant to punctures or tears, as well as to chemicals, grease, and ultra-violet radiation from the sun. Multi-ply torchdown roofing has a life expectancy of up to 20 years with no leaks if properly installed and maintained. Repairs are simple as well, since most modified bitumen manufacturers also make a self-adhesive product that can be applied over seams and other troublesome areas of the roof.
Additionally, many tar torchdown roofing products help save energy by providing high reflectivity of the sun's heat, which helps keep buildings cooler and therefore reduces energy consumption.
Cost, purchase and installation
Typical costs for a torchdown roofing are roughly $250 to $350 per square, which is the equivalent of 100 square feet. If your roof is 2,000 square feet, or 20 squares, expect to pay between $5,000 and $7,000. However, costs can be lower depending on geographical location. The best way to get an accurate gauge on pricing is to fill out the short form on this page and connect with a qualified roofing contractor who can provide a more detailed cost estimate. Make sure the work goes to a licensed contractor familiar with the intricacies and safety requirements of applying torchdown roofing products.