Torch Down Roofing 101: Is It Right For You?

Using torches to repair your home may sound like an unlikely combination but in the case of torch down roofing, it’s one that may have several rewards.

What is Torch Down Roofing?

Torch down roofing is a type of installation where sheets of modified bitumen, a type of asphalt that is mixed with rubber or plastic, are laid down on a roof and then adhered to the surface using an open-flame propane torch. This process may be repeated for two or three layers.  Because of the additional safety measures involved, torch down roofing requires highly trained and certified roofing professionals.

Once all the sheets are properly “torched-down” to your roof, it creates a waterproof layer that also can expand and contract in response to both hot and cold weather conditions without incurring any damage to the roof, such as melting or cracking of the sheets.

What are the two types of torch down roofing?

There are two-layer and three-layer systems, in which both have a base and a smooth cap sheet. A base sheet is made of modified bitumen that is adhered to the overlay board through torching or other methods. Afterwards, a smooth cap layer is torched onto the base to create a seal.

In a three-layer system, a final application of a layer with granules is laid down using similar techniques. This step helps increase the roof’s durability by offering more protection against the elements, heat and cold, and other benefits such as an increase in energy efficiency.

What are the Pros of Torch Down Roofing?

Your roof is your home’s first line of defense against precipitation — that’s why it’s important to make sure that your roof can withstand any potential heavy snowstorms, hail, or rainy days. That’s why torch down roofing may be a great option for your home.

It offers superior water-resistant properties due to the way that the bitumen layers are welded together to create a seamless surface. For homeowners with flatter roofs in snowy climates, avoiding water collection on your roof can be a challenge. Torch down roofing allows waters to drain instead of pooling on your roof, creating sagging weight, or seeping into the overlay boards. Also, this type of roof is very durable for both extremely hot or cold climates because the layers are less likely to melt or crack.

In addition, torch down roofing affords other benefits such as UV ray resistance and reflectivity, which can keep a home’s heating costs down and make it more energy efficient. In the event of a repair, torch down roofs require rather simple and less invasive steps — a roofing professional will use a torch to weld down a patch of modified bitumen to fix any rips of broken seams.  

Is Torch Down Roofing Right for Me?

Torch down roofs are best suited for buildings with a ¼ pitch, especially those in snowy environments. According to Verisk Analytics, in 2004, more than 41% of all estimated home improvements involved roofing repairs. Given the increase in harsh weather conditions, that percentage has surely increased. That’s why it’s so important that your roof is sturdy and ready to hold up for any storms for years to come. Homeowners with slightly pitched roofs who are seeking more weather-durable options will benefit.