Many different types of roofing systems are applied to homes with flat or low-slope roofs. One of the most common types is torch-down roofing. This roofing system is highly durable, leak-resistant, and provides superior protection against UV rays and heat.
Here, we will look a bit more closely at torch-down roofing so that you know exactly what it is, how it works, and whether it’s the right option for your home.
Torch-Down Roofing Explained
Torch-down roofing, also known as torch-on roofing, is so named because of its installation process. It involves laying out two or three layers of modified bitumen sheets onto the roof and then using a propane torch to heat the material. Once the layers reach the right temperature, the seams melt together to create a secure, leak-proof seal.
The layers of a torch down roofing system consist of an asphalt compound called bitumen, which is modified with plastic or rubber. The plastic is called Atactic Polypropylene (APP) and is designed to withstand extreme temperatures.
The rubber is called Styrene Butadiene Styrene (SBS). It has a lower melting point than an APP membrane, which means roofers can use it in torch-down roofing, self-adhering, and cold-processed systems.
The main strength of torch-on roofing membranes is that they can contract and expand without cracking or melting. As such, they can tolerate the extreme heat and cold that come with seasonal changes. Modified bitumen is strong, durable, and lightweight.
Two-Layer and Three-Layer Systems
Torch-down roofing systems are available in two layers or three layers.
The two-layer torch-down roof comprises one smooth cap sheet and one base sheet. Conversely, a three-layer system features the same cap and base sheets and an additional granulated cap sheet.
The extra coarse layer helps extend the life of the roof and typically enhances the roof’s fire resistance, energy efficiency, curb appeal, and other features.
Roof Situations Ideal for Torch Down Roofing
A torch-down roofing system is best for low-sloped roofs, as opposed to the steep pitched roofs most homes have. It is recommended for roofs with pitches between 1/2:12 to 3:12. On slightly sloped roofs, torch-down systems stand up to the elements, including snow, rain, and extreme temperatures.
This roofing type is inappropriate for completely flat roofs because it is not designed to handle ponding water.
Advantages of Torch Down Roofing
One of the most significant advantages of torch-on roofing is its flexibility. The asphalt layer contains additives that allow the sheets to contract and expand as the temperature changes without splitting or cracking. Where changing temperatures may damage other roofing materials due to their rigidity, torch-down roofing works well in all climates.
White or light-colored torch-down roofing reflects sunlight, which can help lower your cooling bill in hot weather. The granulated cap layer included in the three-layer application also comes in different colors that protect against UV rays and heat.
Durable and Lightweight
Modified bitumen sheets are lightweight, weighing about two pounds per square foot. But they’re also strong enough to protect your home from the elements. The sheets have a consistent thickness of about 3 to 4 mm across the entire roof. This conformity makes for a highly durable roof. The lifespan of a torch-down roof is 15 to 20 years.
Easy to Maintain
Compared to other low-slope roofing materials, torch-down roofing is straightforward to maintain. It needs little maintenance other than clearing off the debris and patching holes.
And because roofers can seal the layers relatively quickly, the process of repairing torch-on roofing is less intensive and less expensive than fixing several other types of roofs. Patches or modified bitumen may be added to ripped or broken seams.
Torch-down roofs can be highly fire resistant, particularly with the granulated cap sheet. They offer homeowners peace of mind.
Water resistance is a significant benefit of torch-down roofing systems. When the roof has a low slope, it becomes much more difficult to drain off. What’s more, snow may melt off very slowly. Torch-down roofing has outstanding water-resistant properties. Properly installed and maintained, it will prevent water from pooling on the roof and promote drainage.
While this type of roofing is highly durable and long-lasting, always remember that excellent roofing results do not come from materials alone but also from the experience and quality workmanship of roofers like S&S Roofing. When it comes to roofing services in Arlington, WA, our clients experience first-class expertise and knowledge. You deserve that too! Contact us today to learn more and get a free quote.