Portland Metro Area : 503-667-0175503-667-0175 503-667-0175
Seattle Metro Area : 253-589-8999253-589-8999 201-594-0900

A Guide to Built Up Roofs from McDonald & Wetle

Built up roofing (BUR) systems have stood the test of time and are currently the most popular commercial roofing systems in the world. McDonald and Wetle is proud to bring you some of America’s toughest BUR systems.


There are several types of built-up roofing systems. Two common options are the smooth asphalt (hot or cold) roofing systems and ballasted asphalt built-up. Ballasted asphalt, in particular, has become very common as it provides an excellent finish surface and is made from a more fire resistant material.

Cold built-up simply refers to BUR systems where the asphalt is applied cold. Typically, asphalt is applied in hot form. But for cold BURs, cold asphalt is sprayed or applied with a squeegee. This process doesn’t produce as much fumes as hot application and is desirable for environmentally sensitive projects. Cold-applied asphalt also has been found to be more durable.

Advantages of Built up Roofing Systems

Built up roofing systems from McDonald & Wetle have several advantages over single-layer roofing options;

  • Easier installation

When working with built-up roofs, the multiple plies get fused together using hot or cold asphalt to create a monolithic barrier. Unlike single-layer systems, the roof is firmly and completely adhered without the need for ballast or fasteners.

  • Superior water resistance

The multi-layered reinforcement offers greater protection, reducing the risk of leaks. Single-ply systems only offer one chance of preventing a leak. If water passes the first layer, it will trickle down into the house. Additionally, it is common knowledge that asphalt delivers up to five times greater leak resistance.

  • Longevity

Built up roofing systems also are extremely durable. Each ply in the system is reinforced with a mat of fiberglass while most single ply systems aren’t reinforced at all. Then, you have to consider that for any BUR system, multiple plies are combined and positioned between layers of watertight asphalt. The result is usually a very strong roof that can last many decades.

  • Ease of maintenance

Finally, it’s a lot easier to maintain BUR roofing systems compared to single-layer roofing systems. Whether it’s repairing open joints or sealing cracks, you’ll take less time doing the repairs and the results last longer.

Get started

Contact McDonald & Wetle at 253.589.8999 in the Seattle Metro Area and 503.667.0175 in the Portland Metro Area to get a quote.

Contact Us
McDonald & Wetle

Portland Metro Area

2020 NE 194th Avenue, Portland
OR 97230, USA
Phone: 503-667-0175 503-667-0175
Hours of Operation:
Monday-Friday 8am to 4pm

Seattle Metro Area

9420 39th Avenue, Lakewood
WA 98499, USA
Phone: 253-589-8999 253-589-8999
Hours of Operation:
Monday-Friday 8am to 4pm

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