All liquid tar roofs, modified or not (mod bit roofs, BUR roofs, SSBS or SBS and a host of other “old school” flat roofs), are a tar or asphalt based liquefied “glue” which has a sheet of fiberglass or tar paper laid into it. This can be 2 layers, 3 or 4, or even 5 and repairs can be a single layer on top or just a layer of asphalt. This is ancient technology; even the modified bitumen’s are typically 30 year or older attempts to make a better mousetrap. Unfortunately, all “improvements” since the late 70’s stem from either environmental and/or occupational laws or, more commonly, cost reduction. No “improvement” has improved anything, but a manufacturer’s bottom line and the biggest “improvement” in modern times is the addition of fillers into your asphalt.
Here is your bottom line for all these products. An old roof might have asphalt or tar in its purest form. Today, it may be as much as 50% or more filler, which is just a nice word for dirt. Black mica, ground tires, and carbon waste are all added to all the formulations to cheapen the product and make the manufacturer more competitive. They know consumers won’t find out soon enough and won’t do their due diligence. Plus, the manufacturer of any organic roof base has no name recognition whatsoever, no “skin in the game”, so no risk in getting caught. Do not plan on getting more than 10 to 15 years anymore, which is right in line with current survey results (12.5 years to 13 years).
Modified bitumen really does defy exact description/definition. Many manufacturers that you will never know the name of use the term because their BUR roofs or a new fangled sheet or roll uses a mix of asphalt, polymers, and extenders. The goal is to make a plastic from oil based products. So, be it styrenebutadienestyrene (SBS), atactic or amorphous polypropylene (APP), styreneethylenebutylenestyrene (SEBS) or amorphous polyolefins (APO). The bottom line in all this was a noble effort is to make your roof flexible in more extreme conditions. From -20 below to 260 degrees where asphalt cracks/melts from about 35 to 95 degrees, so it’s better,but that was the goal, but the roofs still fail prematurely.
No matter the manufacturer’s name, polymer type, reinforcement, or surfacing, the most important component in modified bitumen is the blend. A little research will yield a chart that shows factors such as flexibility and life expectancy and how filler affects these factors. Most people don’t have a clue which manufacturer even made their “goo” and they will never know how much dirt is in the formula. Buyer beware, the “dirt” quotient grows every year and these roofs, like all the other tar based roofs, used to last 30 years and now last 12.5 based on surveyed owners reported failure dates.
Just pinch a portion off with your fingers and rub your fingers together. That’s not tar folks, that’s dirt with tar on it.
Another major annoyance for professionals in this industry is the aluminized coatings often found on tar based roofs. The idea behind the aluminum coating is that it will keep the sun off, if gravel is not used. These coatings have ABSOLUTELY NO LONG TERM WATERPROOFING value whatsoever. If your roof is leaking and the roofer suggest more silver crap, fire him!
We at 777 can either resurface the roof with real modern chemistries or replace it with a great membrane roof. These applications are also a thermally reflective cool roof, which can save money and that expensive A/C equipment atop your roof. 777 roofing resurfaces flat roofs, commercial roofs, industrial roofs, metal roofs, TPO roofs, Hypalon roofs, cap sheet roofs, tar roofs, EPDM roofs (rubber roofs) and “mod bit” or BUR roofs. We also provide the absolute best PVC roofs, such as the IB Systems PVC roofing by 777 Coatings Corporation, AKA 777 roofing. As an expert multifaceted roofer, 777 roofs is your best roofing choice on any flat roof surface.