Apartment buildings, commercial spaces, manufacturing facilities, storage structures, and even airports have one thing in common: flats roofs. Flat roofs are everywhere, and for quite a few legitimate reasons. Relatively speaking, flat roof installation is very quick and very affordable. Due to the nature of the materials involved, even the smallest nooks and crannies can be sealed and weatherproofed. In addition, a flat roof is simple to maintain and add on to.
Such a popular form of roofing requires a capable work force; but not just any work force. Flat roof work is grueling, dangerous, and a generally demanding trade. In years past, workers would use crude methods of tar boiling and pouring. There was no regulation system and broad uniformity in methodology across the field was unheard of.
Today, the concept is surprisingly much the same, but with the addition of modernized equipment, norms, standards, and a much matured and evolved methodology as a whole. Workers first install a base layer consisting of a melted and evenly spread asphalt mixture. This same application is performed repeatedly, but with the placement of layers of specialized felt and fiberglass between the layers of asphalt.
This entire process is referred to by quite a few names. Some call it “multi-ply roofing.” Others call it “tarring.” Today’s most common term for the process is hot-mopping. A flat roof itself is also more correctly referred to as a BUR roof, or built-up roof. This is in reference to the many layers used in building-up the final, roof product.
Workers today benefit from cutting edge tar heating methods unlike anything of the past. These special boilers can be used at ground level, pumping the mixture up to the roof, or on the roof itself. There is also the modern ability to capture and limit the release of all the noxious fumes involved with flat roofing. There is more safety, more know-how, and more versatility in the field than ever before.
Regardless, hot-mopping is still a demanding profession, staying true to its nature over 100 years ago. Next time you are out and about, take a look around. You now have the very interesting back-story and basics of the flat roofing that is so heavily relied on today.