If you need asphalt roofing contractors in Harrisonburg, then there’s nobody better to call than Topline Roofing.

But first, let’s have a close look at asphalt roofs, and ask why they are not as popular as they used to be?

What’s the Deal With Asphalt Roofs?

Asphalt roofing systems are rarely installed on flat roofs these days. This is mainly because of three primary objectives/reasons:


The rising cost of asphalt (which is a petroleum product) makes the quotes you get from asphalt roofing contractors seem very high. Lots of asphalt and fiberglass felt is required for four- or five-layer asphalt roofs.

Beyond the cost of materials, comes the labor charge. Lots of hard manual labor and time is required to apply/install four- or five-ply built-up roof systems (BURs). It is very labor-intensive work.

More equipment and setup time is required to complete this kind of work.

Worker’s comp and liability insurance rates are increasing for these types of hot asphaltic roofing systems as well.


Let’s face it: with all the emphasis put on going green and saving the environment,

this commercial roofing system is just not ideal.

An asphalt roof requires lots of product from Mother Earth and creates a very messy, sticky and smelly environment for all involved.


As we mentioned above, insurance rates are increasing for asphalt roofs, and there’s a good reason for that.

Over the years, many employees of asphalt roofing contractors have been badly burnt with this hot asphalt. It is heated up to 425 to 500 degrees for roofing application.

Working with hot asphalt can (in a word) be downright dangerous!s!

Asphalt Roofing Q&A

Q. What about quality… are these older, built-up roofing systems any good?
A. Yes, probably the best ever for dead-level flat roofs! Many of these older built-up roof systems, when installed correctly, have lasted 30 to 40-plus years.

Q. Why the long-lasting life expectancy?
A. Because when this system is installed, it has up to five layers of roofing applied. Each ply/layer of fiberglass paper is embedded into hot roofing asphalt. At this point, the five layers of the roof will be at least 120 mils thick!

After the core of the five-ply roof is installed by a competent asphalt roofing contractor, the system will be completed one of two different ways:

#1 Finished top surface:
Protective hot asphalt glaze coat is mopped overtop of the five plies. (This is a smooth asphalt built-up roof (BUR) finished top surface.)

#2 Finished top surface:
Protective hot asphalt as a flood coat is poured over the top of the five plies, and small gravel is evenly applied into the heavily poured hot roofing asphalt. (This is a tar and gravel built-up roof (BUR) finished top surface.)

After the top asphalt glaze coat and flood coat with gravel are applied, the built-up roofing systems are well over 150 mils thick. Also, with all the plies embedded into each other, there are no single seams.

Reasons built-up (BUR) roof last longer:

  • Much heavier/thicker roof at 150+ mils, compared with single ply systems at .045-.060-.080 mil
  • All five plies are embedded together, so there are no single seams

Q. Does Topline Roofing & Restoration Systems, LLC, still provide service to install the hot asphalt built-up roof (BUR) systems?
A. Yes we do, whenever it is requested. We have all the asphalt machines and equipment necessary for installation.

Q. Do you handle roof repairs/maintenance work on most roofs with hot asphalt/paper?
A. Yes, we are asphalt roofing contractors, experienced with any asphaltic-based roof systems.

Q. Are there any newer types of roofing systems that have replaced (BUR) roof systems?
A. Yes, they have manufactured a single ply asphaltic based roof called modified bitumen.

modified-bitumen-roofingModified bitumen single-ply roof systems:

  • Modified bitumen has a core of strong, premium fiberglass/polyester/composite mat that is coated with polymer-modified asphalt and is smooth-surfaced.

Q. Are all modified bitumen membranes smooth-surfaced?
A. No, there are also granulated modified bitumen membranes.  (Like on the face of shingles)

Q. How is modified bitumen installed?
A. There are three different application processes.

#1 Torch applied:
This is the heat-welded application. (The most common.)

#2 Mopped roofing asphalt:
The membrane is applied with hot mopped roofing asphalt.

#3 Self-adhered:
The membrane is manufactured with self-adhering tape.