What Is Torch Down Roofing and How Does It Work?

a young worker handling a torch

When installing a roof, people often prioritize functionality, safety, and low costs. In the case of flat or low-angled roofs, torch down roofing ticks all the boxes. Its main material is modified asphalt that is heat-adhered to layers of fiberglass. Because it’s a difficult and dangerous process, only roofing professional should perform it. For that reason, torch down roof costs can get somewhat high. However, torch down roofing is a durable and resistant material that is perfect for urban, residential and commercial buildings. Moreover, its imperviousness to exterior elements makes it one of the most dependable materials out there.

What Is Torch Down Roofing?

an older man on a ladder

Torch down roofing is an excellent material that obtains its name from the way roofers apply it. It consists mostly of bitumen, a type of modified asphalt boasts excellent waterproofing qualities. Specialists normally use it in combination with fiberglass. Although it is primarily used in flat roofs, it can also be used in slightly angled ones. Many experts consider it to be one of the best materials for preventing moisture build-up without constant maintenance. One of its greatest advantages is that, except for snow-heavy climates, torch down roofing is can be used in all types of environments.

Essentially, there are two types of torch down roofing: Two-layer and three-layer. The first features a base layer and a torch down layer. Three-layered torch down roofs are more complex, featuring both smooth and granular torch down layers. The difference between the two systems is that the three-layered one is 25% more resistant. As a result, while two-layer torch down roofing lasts around 15 years, three-layer torch down roofing can last over 20 years without a problem. Among other factors, its preservation depends on a correct installation. In order to achieve it, this process should only involve professional roofers, who have the proper expertise and experience.

Pros and Cons of Torch Down Roofing


• It’s a perfect waterproofing material: The wonderful combination of modified asphalt and fiberglass results in a veritable barrier that will not let water through in the slightest. In addition, it’s a puncture-resistant material, guaranteeing there will be not sudden leaks in your home one day.

• It resists heat like no other material: Unlike other materials, torch down roofing can remain under the blazing sun all day without becoming damaged. In effect, it does not crack, melt or become brittle. For a petroleum-derived product, it is amazingly fire-resistant. However, additional coatings can greatly increase its fire-resistant properties.

• It’s extremely durable: Without a doubt, torch down roofing materials are amongst the most durable one available. Not only is this material long-lasting, but also easy to maintain. Although you will not need to make repairs to your torch down roofing too often, opportune interventions will prolong the duration of the installation.

• It does not emit harmful fumes: In many ways, torch down roofings is an advancement on the classic tar and gravel roofs. One of the most noticeable ones is that, unlike its predecessors, it does not emit unpleasant, toxic fumes. In fact, it’s so safe that it doesn’t even require people to evacuate the building during its installation.

• You can sometimes apply it over an old roof: One of the most distinct characteristics of this material is that, in certain situations, one can apply it on top of an existing roofing material. Of course, this depends entirely on the condition of the material and the architecture of the building.


• Its installation can be hazardous: Because torch down roofing is a complex process, it should be done only by experienced professionals. Predictably, the most dangerous part of the process is the actual torching of the material before roofers adhere and seal it.

• It is not resistant to scuffs or tears: Even though it is not too difficult to repair, some people complain about the material’s propensity to become scuffed, scratched or dented at the edges.

• Flat roofs do not have slopes: The lack of slopes on roofs tends to cause rain or snow to puddle up. Despite the fact that this roof is waterproof, this can cause various inconveniences. You can avoid all these issues by using building components with a higher structural load.

What to Expect from Torch Down Roofing

As I previously mentioned, torch down roofing installations have a tendency to be costlier than others. However, because of their resistance to outside elements and overall durability makes it an investment rather than a sacrifice. While there are less expensive options with similar appearances, there is no denying torch down roofing boasts a much higher quality. Torch down roofing demands a precise and professional installation using high-quality tools. Luckily, there are many experienced retailers that offer all the necessary torch down roofing supplies.

The cost of a bargain-grade version of this material is between 365 and 460 dollars for 1,200 square feet. Materials of a superior grade can cost twice as much. However, they provide an even more durable and dependable performance. Higher priced torch down roofing tends to have additional features such as high-quality underlayment, better resistance, thicker layers of material and even extended warranty terms. As long as professional roofers handle it, the installation process itself is straightforward enough. Moreover, roofers can complete the entire process within a few hours. Finally, you should keep something in mind. In order to avoid leakage problems, we recommend you to reseal your roof every five years.

Summarizing, we can say that torch down roofing is one of the best roofing options for people who seek high performance, durability, and functionality. Torch down roofing on flat roofs needs barely any maintenance at all. At the same time, it’s very easy to repair, making it perfect for multi-purpose, commercial and urban buildings. All these advantages are outshined by the incredible waterproofing properties of torch down roofing. However, it’s imperative to remember that torch down roofing is not something that amateurs can install. In reality, it’s a hazardous procedure that only professional should carry out.

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