Why We Don’t Install Modified Bitumen Roofing

by | Jun 25, 2024 | Featured, Planning and Budgeting

Recently, I wrote a blog post about whether modified bitumen (mod-bit) was a good roofing system and how most problems occur because of poor installation. As a result, some may wonder whether our company installs those systems.

The answer is “no”, we do not install modified-bitumen flat roofing systems. But the reason isn’t because we think it’s a bad roofing system. It’s because the demand and cost equations don’t work in this geography. I’ll explain more below.

Lack of Demand

Our customers are not requesting mod-bit roofing.

Asphaltic roof systems make up less than 30% of sales in the US and Canada. This jives with everything we have experienced here at Flat Roof Solutions and in the northeastern region of the US. Customers are requesting single-ply membranes (like TPO, EPDM, or PVC) for their roofs, not mod-bit. We therefore don’t have a reason to train up a crew to install or support a system that has no demand from our customer base.

 

Increased Cost

Additional insurance is needed when working with mod-bit roofing. Mod-bit roofing involves using an open-flame torch to melt the bitumen and bond roofing system layers together. The use of an open torch poses a potential fire hazard and risk that must be accounted for via a hot-torch roofing insurance policy. These policies can be very expensive.

Since we have experienced no demand for these systems, there’s no reason for us to get this additional insurance or to recommend a product that is losing market share in our area.

Conclusion

Unless we develop a customer base that is actively specifying mod-bit roofing and they look to have a decent volume of work done, we won’t be installing these systems in the future. Not because they are inferior, but because the demand doesn’t warrant the additional cost.

Expert Advice

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Author

Jared Van Vranken is Vice President and lead estimator at Flat Roof Solutions in Malvern, PA. Jared has directed the installation, repair, recovery, and replacement of commercial flat roofs for more than a decade at Flat Roof Solutions. He guides clients in selecting the best roofing materials for their needs and budget.

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