Torch-Down Roofs

Torchdown roofing provides an easy and economical way of roofing flat or slightly sloped buildings. As long as proper care is taken with the torch down roofing installation it will last for up to 20 years and require little maintenance in that time.


1. What Is Torch Down Roofing?

Torch down roofing or modified bitumen is widely used for roofing on flat roofs. Its name is derived from the method of torching the bitumen sheets onto a fiberglass base sheet in the roofing overlap areas during torch down roofing installation. The material used in the roofing torch down process is also sometimes known as rubberized asphalt. Melting of the bitumen by torching creates highly resistant and durable roofing. Because of this, torch-down roofs are long-lasting, with an average life span of up to 20 years.

One of the big advantages of torchdown roofing is its ability to protect the roofing from rainwater. This means it is particularly beneficial for flat roofing, where rainwater could otherwise collect on the surface and cause damage. Although it is slightly more expensive, the roofing torch down method is generally regarded as preferable to the alternative method of roofing used for flat roofs involving the use of tar and gravel. There are no noxious fumes associated with torch down roofing installation, and torch-down roofs are regarded as more durable and resistant. The high quality resins that are combined with the modified bitumen in torch down roofing installation also help to provide protection from UV rays that could otherwise prove damaging. Torch down roofing usually requires few repairs during its lifetime.

2. Staying Safe With Torchdown Roofing

Torch down roofing installation, like everything else, should be done as safely as possible. If you are planning to install your own torch down roofing, you will need some people to help you. Make sure before you start that you and your helpers are well informed about the roofing torch down procedure. You should also talk to people who have already taken part in the installation of torch-down roofs and ask for any advice they can give you.

Before you start, form your group into a team, and give each member of the team a specific task as part of your torchdown roofing project. Remind everyone of how essential it is to beware of fire when torch down roofing installation is being carried out. Inexperienced people should not try to operate the torch during torch down roofing. Anyone using the torch on the roofing should be careful that no people can be harmed and that there is nothing nearby that could catch fire during the roofing torch down exercise. Make sure eyes are protected when torch-down roofs are being installed and that adequate safety clothing is worn. Remember, too, that you and your team will be working at a height while doing the torch down roofing work, and will need to exercise special care when going up and down ladders.

3. Tools For Torch Down Roofing Installation

As well as having the right people to help you when you are planning a torch down roofing installation, you will also need the right tools for the job. Even if you are an enthusiastic home handyperson, the installation of torch down roofing is not the type of task most people perform regularly. It is therefore a good idea to get a list of all the tools you will need before starting your roofing torch down project, to make sure you have everything on hand when you and your team are ready to get under way.

The main tool required for torchdown roofing is a hot flame torch. Unless you are planning to install a lot of torch-down roofs, it would not make financial sense to buy a torch simply for one job. The best thing to do is find a store that rents them out. Roofing supply stores or general equipment rental stores should be able to provide you with the type of hot flame torch you will need for a torch down roofing installation. You will also need protective clothing and a sharp utility knife for cutting the roofing material in preparation for the torch down roofing installation.

4. Rooftop Delivery For Torchdown Roofing

Getting your team and tools together is important when you are preparing for a torch down roofing installation. Another important thing to remember is the fact that you will be working at quite a height while getting the torch down roofing in place. You'll also be using heavy material for the roofing torch down work, and you and your helpers will not be able to run up and down ladders carrying the rolls of roofing on your shoulders. This means that when you are getting organized for your torchdown roofing project, you will need to think about how you are going to get all the materials up to the roof.

If your roofing supply company offers roof top delivery of materials for torch-down roofs, you will find it is worth paying any extra cost involved for the convenience of having someone else do this part of your torch down roofing installation for you. If the company is not able to deliver the materials you need for your torch down roofing work, you will need to hire or borrow some equipment. Among the possibilities are portable conveyors and scaffolding, as well as man lifts. Make sure you know how to operate whatever equipment you choose, so that your roofing torch down operation can proceed as smoothly and safely as possible.

5. Getting The Most Out Of Torch-Down Roofs

After going to the expense of a torch down roofing installation, you will want to know that you are going to get quite a few years of service out of it. Whether you decide to go for two or three layer torch down roofing will make a difference to your new roof's life. A three-layer roofing torch down project will include a base, smooth torch down and granule surface torch down, and should last for about 20 years. Two-layer torchdown roofing, with a base and one torch down layer, should have a life span ranging from 10 to 15 years.

Regardless of whether you want your torchdown roofing to have two or three layers, you will have to use a base sheet. Because of its importance to the torch down roofing installation process, you should make sure the base sheet is good quality. Don't be tempted to cut costs by using substitutes, such as rubber roofing, for your torch down roofing. This base sheet will provide the foundation for the next one or two layers of your torchdown roofing that you install. You should, therefore, ask your supplier for the type of fire-resistant fiberglass base sheet that is designed for this task, to ensure your roofing torch down is as safe and secure as possible. Using anything else as the base for torch-down roofs would be false economy, affecting the roofing's life and effectiveness.

6. Installing Torch Down Roofing

The installation of torch-down roofs does not always require the removal of the existing roof. Whether you need to do this or not depends on the condition of the roofing that is already in place. Before starting your torch down roofing installation, check carefully to see if it is necessary to take off the existing roof or whether you can do your torch down roofing installation over the top of it. Removing roofing when you don't need to will create unnecessary work for you and cost you time and possibly money that you may be able to save. At the same time, you want your torch down roofing project to be as successful as possible, so if you need to take the roof off first it is worth the time and effort involved.

The decision about whether to remove an existing roof before getting under way with roofing torch down work depends on the condition of the roofing. It needs to be stable and fairly smooth, to enable you to attach the torchdown roofing base sheet to the sheathing by nailing through the existing roof. If you think the condition of the roofing will make it too difficult to do this, you will have to remove the roof first. It's worth going to the trouble of doing this to ensure your torch down roofing installation is as easy and effective as possible.

7. Torchdown Roofing Benefits

In some ways torch-down roofs are similar to the tar and gravel roofing used on roofs that are flat or very slightly sloped. The main difference with torch down roofing is the addition of layers of polyester or fiberglass with bitumen to the tar and gravel system. The torch down roofing installation process involves torching these layers down. The main tool for the torch down roofing work is a flame throwing torch whose heat is used to join the roofing sheets together.

For roofing that is flat or has an extremely slight slope, such as less than one degree, roofing torch down is effective and, in the long run, economical. Even though it may be a little more expensive than the tar and gravel method, torchdown roofing provides more strength and resistance than tar and gravel roofing and also lasts longer. Torch-down roofs also look more attractive, enhancing the overall appearance of your property. A torch down roofing installation is a good choice for most areas apart from those that experience regular heavy rain or snow falls where constant heavy precipitation onto torchdown roofing may cause damage. Apart from such extremes of climate, torch down roofing provides an extremely effective way of roofing a low sloped or flat roof.

8. Torch-Down Roofs Need Little Maintenance

Torch-down roofs are strong, easy to repair and need little maintenance. As well as being strong, torch down roofing is also flexible, because of its blend of asphalt with synthetic rubberized polymers. This means a roofing torch down application is more adaptable to extreme changes of weather and other climate changes. While other types of roofing are sometimes subject to leakages in wet weather, torchdown roofing is known for its resistance to rain and for its durability. Torchdown roofing is also highly regarded for its ability to resist such weather conditions as wind and hail.

On the rare occasions that torch-down roofs need repairing, this is easy to carry out. Once the initial installation work is completed, any slight gaps or leaks that develop in torch down roofing can be repaired without the need for using torches. If, over the years, torch-down roofs require any patching up, you'll find it easy to obtain modified bitumen sheets that are self-adhering. These enable you to carry out any quick repair work on your torch down roofing without it becoming a major or expensive exercise. Depending on whether you use one or two layers, your torchdown roofing should last from 10 to 20 years and give you little trouble during that time.

9. Torchdown Roofing Costs

As with any major project, you should take the time to obtain a number of cost estimates before going ahead with your torch down roofing installation. There will be a number of factors to take into account, such as whether you do the work yourself or hire a roofing contractor and where you choose to buy your roofing torch down supplies. Overall you should find that torch down roofing is only slightly more expensive than the tar and gravel type of roofing that is used for similar, flat-roofed buildings.

Even thought the cost is a little higher, this should be offset by the many years of life you can expect from torchdown roofing and the minimal costs of its maintenance. You will also find that torch-down roofs are extremely resistant to weather and are, therefore, unlikely to suffer the type of damage that results in costly repairs. Another advantage is the long life you can expect from torch down roofing that has been installed correctly and has received any maintenance and repairs it requires. With a life span of up to 20 years, torch-down roofs more than pay for themselves. It is therefore worth taking the time to check out the credentials of contractors or to make sure you know how to go about the work yourself in order to be sure you will receive this long service from your torch down roofing installation.
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