Modified Bitumen Roofing: A Versatile and Durable Choice for Commercial Buildings

built up roofing bur

Modified Bitumen (MB) roofing systems present an excellent roofing solution for commercial buildings, offering durability, flexibility, and a cost-effective lifecycle. With advancements from leading brands like CertainTeed, GAF, Polyglass, IKO, and Tamko, MB roofing continues to evolve, combining traditional methods with modern technologies. The result is a roofing system that not only meets the diverse needs of commercial buildings but also offers long-term performance and reliability. Whether for new construction or retrofit projects, modified bitumen roofing remains a top choice for those seeking a balance of quality, durability, and cost-effectiveness in their roofing solutions.

Description and Key Features

Modified Bitumen roofing is a type of asphalt roofing similar to Built-Up Roofing (BUR). It combines traditional roofing methods with modern technological advancements. MB roofing is known for its strength, flexibility, and durability. It typically comprises five layers: insulation, modified base sheets or plies, adhesive layers, a top ply of modified bitumen, and a surfacing layer.


The core of modified bitumen roofing is bitumen modified with polymers (like APP or SBS), which enhance its strength and flexibility. This modified bitumen is then reinforced with fiberglass or polyester fiber matting for increased stability and tear resistance.


MB roofing systems are highly durable and resistant to tears, punctures, and foot traffic. They also offer enhanced flexibility compared to traditional asphalt roofing, making them more adaptable to temperature fluctuations and building movements. Modified bitumen roofs are also known for their waterproofing capabilities and can be made highly reflective for energy efficiency.

Climate Considerations

Modified bitumen roofs perform well in various climates. The flexibility of the membrane makes it suitable for areas with temperature extremes, as it expands and contracts without losing its integrity. In warmer climates, a reflective coating can be applied to reduce heat absorption and save on cooling costs.

Building Design and Purpose

MB roofing is ideal for commercial buildings with low-slope or flat roofs. Its multi-layered structure provides robust protection and durability, making it a good choice for buildings that require a long-lasting roofing solution with minimal maintenance.

Advantages and Disadvantages

The advantages of modified bitumen roofing include high durability, resistance to weather and UV rays, and easy maintenance and repair. However, the installation process can be labor-intensive and may require specialized equipment. Also, MB roofing can be susceptible to scuffing during hot weather.

Cost and Longevity

Modified bitumen roofing systems offer a good balance of cost and performance. They are generally more affordable than some other commercial roofing options and offer a lifespan of 20 years or more, depending on maintenance and environmental conditions.

Popular Brands

CertainTeed: Known for their high-quality building materials, CertainTeed's modified bitumen roofing products are renowned for their reliability and performance. They offer a range of MB roofing solutions suitable for various commercial applications.

GAF: As one of the largest roofing manufacturers in North America, GAF offers a wide array of modified bitumen roofing products. Their MB systems are known for their quality, durability, and ease of installation.

Polyglass: Polyglass is a leading manufacturer of modified bitumen roofing and waterproofing membranes. Their products are well-regarded for their innovative technologies, including patented self-adhesive membranes.

IKO: IKO offers a range of roofing solutions, including high-quality modified bitumen roofing systems. Their products are designed for superior weather protection and longevity.

Tamko: Tamko’s modified bitumen roofing products are known for their durability and ease of installation. They offer both APP and SBS polymer-modified options catering to different roofing needs.

Maintenance Requirements

Maintaining a modified bitumen roof involves regular inspections and cleaning to remove debris. It's important to promptly repair any punctures or tears and check flashings and edge details for signs of wear. Although MB roofs are durable, they should be inspected at least biannually and after major weather events.

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