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What Are the Benefits of Built-Up Roofing in San Diego?

Roof Replacement in San Diego by Peak Builders

When it comes to roofing solutions in San Diego, a wide array of options are available. However, one option that stands out for its durability and resilience is built-up roofing. In this article, we’ll explore what built-up roofing is, its different types, its suitability for the San Diego area, its unique advantages, a comparison with modified bitumen roofing, and how Peak Builders can transform your home with it. We’ll also answer some frequently asked questions.

What is a Built-Up Roof?

Built-up roofing, often referred to as BUR is a roofing system that has been in use for over a century. It’s constructed by layering multiple plies of roofing felt or fiberglass mats, alternating with layers of asphalt or coal tar. These layers create a strong, waterproof membrane that provides excellent protection against the elements. Built-up roofs can be surfaced with materials like gravel or mineral granules to enhance their longevity and resistance to UV rays.

What Are the Different Types of Built-Up Roofs?

When considering built-up roofing systems, it’s important to understand that they can vary in composition, primarily based on the materials used for waterproofing. Two of the most common types are asphalt-based and coal tar-based built-up roofs, each offering unique benefits.

1. Asphalt-Based Built-Up Roofing (BUR):

Asphalt-based BURs are the more prevalent choice in San Diego and many other regions. These roofs are constructed by layering multiple plies of roofing felt or fiberglass mat, alternating with layers of asphalt. The top layer is often finished with a protective surface coating like gravel or mineral granules. Asphalt-based BURs are known for their versatility, cost-effectiveness, and proven track record. They offer excellent waterproofing and UV protection, making them well-suited to San Diego’s climate.

2. Coal Tar-Based Built-Up Roofing (BUR):

Coal tar-based BURs, on the other hand, use coal tar pitch as the waterproofing material instead of asphalt. While less common than asphalt-based BURs, they have their own set of advantages. Coal tar is highly resistant to water penetration, chemicals, and UV rays, making it an excellent choice for areas with heavy rainfall or industrial pollution. However, due to its specialized nature, coal tar-based BURs may be more expensive and less commonly used in San Diego.

The choice between these types of built-up roofing depends on factors like the local climate, budget considerations, and specific project requirements. Asphalt-based BURs are often preferred in San Diego due to their versatility and cost-effectiveness.

Is Built-Up Roofing Suitable for San Diego?

Absolutely! San Diego’s Mediterranean climate, characterized by mild, wet winters and warm, dry summers, creates an ideal environment for built-up roofing systems. Here’s why built-up roofing is a great fit for San Diego:

  1. Rain Resistance: While San Diego experiences relatively mild rainfall, the occasional rain can be intense. Built-up roofs excel at providing robust waterproofing, ensuring your home remains dry even during infrequent heavy downpours.
  2. UV Protection: San Diego’s sunshine is a prominent feature of its climate, but it can also lead to roof damage. Built-up roofing systems, especially those with reflective coatings, act as a shield against harmful UV rays, extending the life of the roof.
  3. Heat Resistance: Built-up roofing’s layered structure provides insulation against extreme heat, reducing the need for excessive cooling during the hot San Diego summers. This can translate into energy savings and increased comfort indoors.
  4. Longevity: In a region where homeowners seek durable solutions, built-up roofs have a proven track record of lasting for decades with minimal maintenance.

Built-up roofing is not only suitable for San Diego but also an excellent choice. Its resilience against occasional rain, strong sunshine, and heat makes it a dependable roofing solution for homes in the San Diego area.

Built-Up Roofing Advantages in San Diego

  1. Durability: Built-up roofs are known for their longevity. They can withstand the test of time and are less prone to damage from temperature fluctuations and UV exposure.
  2. Waterproofing: San Diego may not be known for heavy rainfall, but when it does rain, a waterproof roofing system is crucial. Built-up roofs provide exceptional waterproofing capabilities.
  3. Energy Efficiency: Built-up roofing can be installed with reflective materials that help keep your home cooler in the scorching San Diego summers. This can lead to energy savings by reducing the need for air conditioning.
  4. Low Maintenance: Once installed, built-up roofs require minimal maintenance, saving homeowners time and money in the long run.


Roof replacement by peak builders of San Diego


Built-Up Roof vs. Modified Bitumen

When considering roofing options, it’s essential to understand the differences between built-up roofing and modified bitumen, especially in the context of San Diego’s unique climate. Both roofing systems offer durability, but the choice between them depends on various factors.

Built-Up Roofing (BUR):

Built-up roofing has a long history of providing reliable protection to homes in San Diego. This roofing system consists of multiple layers of roofing felt or fiberglass mat, alternating with layers of asphalt. It’s then finished with a surfacing material like gravel or mineral granules. This design not only offers excellent durability but also provides superior waterproofing, which is crucial in areas like San Diego, where the occasional heavy rain can occur.

The combination of layers in BUR acts as a barrier against UV rays, helping to maintain a stable indoor temperature and potentially reducing cooling costs during San Diego’s scorching summers. The resilience of built-up roofing makes it a preferred choice for many homeowners in the region.

Modified Bitumen Roofing:

Modified bitumen roofing is another solid choice for roofing in San Diego. It’s made from asphalt with added modifiers to enhance its performance, making it more flexible and durable. Modified bitumen roofing typically comes in sheets, which are heat-welded or cold-applied to create a watertight seal.

While modified bitumen roofing can handle San Diego’s climate, it may be considered more suitable for regions with colder or wetter conditions due to its design and insulation properties. However, some homeowners in San Diego may opt for modified bitumen roofing for its specific advantages, such as ease of installation and cost-effectiveness.

Choosing the Right Roofing System:

Selecting between built-up roofing and modified bitumen ultimately depends on factors like your budget, climate considerations, and personal preferences. Peak Builders can help you make the right choice for your San Diego home, taking into account the specific requirements of your roofing project.

How Can Peak Builders Transform Your Home with Built-Up Roofing and More?

At Peak Builders, we offer a comprehensive range of services to enhance and protect your home. While our expertise in built-up roofing is unmatched in the San Diego area, we are a full-service home improvement company, catering to a variety of needs including full home remodeling, kitchen remodeling, bathroom remodeling, and even roofing replacement.

Our team of experts understands the unique challenges and opportunities presented by homes in San Diego County. Whether you’re looking to transform your entire home, update your kitchen or bathroom, or simply replace your roofing with a durable built-up system, Peak Builders is your trusted partner.

Additionally, we are proud to offer solar power system installations in San Diego County. As the need for sustainable energy solutions grows, we are committed to helping homeowners harness the power of the sun to reduce their carbon footprint and energy bills.

When you choose Peak Builders for your home improvement projects in San Diego, you’re not just getting a contractor; you’re getting a partner dedicated to turning your vision into reality. Contact us today to discuss your roofing, remodeling, and solar power needs.


When it comes to roofing in San Diego, built-up roofing emerges as a robust, long-lasting, and cost-effective choice. Its ability to withstand the local climate and its numerous advantages make it a standout option for homeowners in San Diego County.

FAQ about Built-Up Roofing in San Diego

How long does a built-up roof typically last in San Diego?

Built-up roofs in San Diego can last anywhere from 20 to 30 years or more with proper maintenance.

Is built-up roofing suitable for commercial properties in addition to residential homes?

Absolutely! Built-up roofing is used widely for both residential and commercial properties in San Diego.

What other services does Peak Builders offer in addition to roofing?

In addition to roofing, Peak Builders offers full home remodeling, kitchen remodeling, bathroom remodeling, roofing replacement, and even solar power system installations in San Diego County.

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