Building Better Roofs With Asphalt

Asphalt roofing products offer many benefits for commercial low-slope applications.

WASHINGTON, DC November 18 – Asphalt roofing products have been the dominant roofing system protecting North America’s buildings for the last 100 years. Today, they are still the most widely used and reliable roofing system available. Excellent value, long life, proven durability, flexibility, compatibility with existing systems, ease of re-roofing, and superior long term performance make them the most consistent popular choice for building owners, specifiers, and contractors.

To focus on this remarkable performance record and highlight new technical developments in the area of asphalt roofing materials, the Asphalt Roofers Manufacturers Association (ARMA) is launching a multi-million dollar advertising campaign designed to update the trades and educate consumers regarding the proven benefits and technological advances in asphalt roofing materials, application, and in place performance.

“So much has improved technologically in terms of low-slope asphalt roofing systems and applications over the last few years,” said Russ Snyder, executive vice president of ARMA. “Now, more contractors are successfully using new application methods and improved adhesives such as low-fuming asphalt and VOC-compliant cold adhesive. These advancements virtually eliminate fumes and odors typically associated with earlier low-slope application techniques.” “Other advancements in heat welding and material handling techniques for modified bitumen and built-up roofing further enhance employee and property safety,” he added.

According to a survey conducted by the National Roofing Contractors Association, one of the construction industry’s oldest trade associations, modified bitumen and built-up roofing systems continue to hold more than a 30 percent share of low-slope contract sales in today’s marketplace. Newer environmentally-friendly application techniques and materials continue to fuel growth in the use of these low-slope asphalt roofing systems. In some areas of the country, asphalt roofing systems constitute 50 percent to 80 percent of the commercial or low-slope roofing market.

“Many commercial contractors have begun using low-fuming asphalt and cold process adhesive application techniques which have been used successfully for the past 20 years,” said Tom Hutchinson, a member of the American Institute of Architects, and director of moisture protection at Legat Architects. “These installation techniques continue to complement all the advantages of BUR and modified bitumen roofing, such as proven reliability, value, strength of the membrane system, and multi-ply redundancy, but without the smell and fumes. They have even been used successfully on high density, fume-sensitive occupancy type buildings such as health care facilities, schools, food preparation centers, airports, fashion malls, fine hotels and financial and office centers.”

In addition, Hutchinson points out that when properly designed and installed, low-slope asphalt roofing systems have a long track record of success. This track record is primarily due to resistance to water and leaks, fire and wind uplift resistance, multi-ply designs or redundancy, low maintenance, ease of repair, and unique product designs that offer different combinations of strength and elasticity suitable for various construction situations. A variety of metallic or gravel surfacings and coatings are available to address the issue of energy efficiency. Proper care of a commercial roofing system is also an important ingredient for the long-term durability of a commercial low slope BUR roof or modified bitumen roofing system.

The Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA) is the North American trade association that represents the majority of the asphalt roofing industry’s manufacturing companies and their raw material suppliers. Together these companies produce a variety of bituminous-based residential and commercial roofing systems, including asphalt shingles, roll roofing, built-up roofing systems, and modified bitumen-roofing systems. ARMA is committed to serving the asphalt-roofing industry and its consumers by facilitating the dissemination of the latest general and technical information on roofing materials, practices and issues; facilitating and sponsoring research to encourage the improvement of product performance; and serving as the industry’s voice in contributing technical data and information to building and code officials, regulatory agencies, and allied trade groups. For more information, visit

-- # --