Top Benefits of Flameless (Cold ply) Flat Roofing

In a previous article, we discussed the concept and application methodology of cold applied modified bitumen roof assemblies. 

In our efforts to make the public at large more familiar with this flat roofing option; it is important to discuss the many benefits of using such a system.

To briefly re-cap; traditional two-ply modified bitumen systems have been installed using either an open flame torch method or applied using hot asphalt which is heated in a tar kettle. The flame applied option was most popular due to its ease of mobility, whereas hot asphalt applied systems were commonly completed on larger commercial or industrial projects. 

The cold applied method which utilizes special adhesives, was more typically specified by engineers on projects such as hospitals and schools and long term care homes, where the risk of fire spread or the use of odorous asphalt was not permitted due to the nature of such facilities. 

In earlier incarnations of cold applied systems one of the drawbacks was that one required above zero degree temperatures in order to properly apply the adhesive bonding products. Manufacturing leaders in the field such as Soprema™ developed advanced adhesive products which now permit such installations at temperatures of -10  degrees Celcius. 

For many people in the Eastern and central regions of Canada and the U.S. that install flat roofing, or those that specify or purchase flat roofing systems; the first advantage of cold applied modified bitumen technology becomes the fact that winter installations are possible and can be completed competently. 

The key when doing such work in colder temperatures as with any flat roofing material is to insure that one is working with clean and dry surfaces. 

A second advantage of cold applied mod-bit is that the spectrum of projects has increased to include any type of buildings with a combustable substrate, and those that don’t. Examples of buildings that have combustable substrates include residential flat roofs constructed with board decking or plywood decking, and similarly  smaller scale commercial buildings having wood decks ,typically constructed prior to the 1970’s, as well as heritage buildings for sure, and high occupancy buildings.

Advantage number three involves the fact that the installation of cold applied modified bitumen roof systems is a more friendly option towards the environment. It is a long-known fact that burning any type of asphalt into the atmosphere contributes to ozone depletion and air pollution. Cold applied adhesive does not require burning of asphalt and is termed to be a low VOC product. (VOC having reference to off-gassing). Educated consumers of today are highly conscious of selecting products that represent a greener option.

A further benefit of using cold applied technology and one of the most important reasons pertains to the health and safety of workers involved in the flat roofing industry. It becomes obvious that working with a tar kettle or fumes which are emitted from burning rubber cannot be the best for lung health. 

When it comes to flame applied flat roofing systems, there is a greater risk of fire. Even being careful and highly experienced in the activity, does not help the fact that sooner or later, some degree of fire will result. In many instances, a minor fire which can be contained on the roof still results in interior damage as a result of fire-fighting efforts which involves hacking the roof apart and spraying water just to be sure all perils are mitigated and in keeping with standard protocols.

Older homes as an example, do have dried out lumber. Even sawdust trapped beneath a surface the roofer cannot see, can be enough of a catalyst to spark a fire. Using cold applied technology removes the need for fire watches after the finish of a day’s installation efforts.

This fire issue dovetails onto the insurance industry where payouts of claims, even minor events; tend to be hefty, and the roofing contractor is the one who ends up paying in the final analysis. Factually today, many roofers do not have comprehensive insurance for hot or torch applied flat roofing applications. The simple reason is that they cannot afford it. Roofing contractors are at the mercy of a small handful of insurers that issue policies to the trade in the first place. 

One must do a very high volume of such business in the first place to cover six-digit annual premiums, As a result, many roofers risk doing such work which is a kin to playing Russian roulette. Sooner or later there will be a bullet in the chamber, which translates into a fire among hundreds of jobs that were successfully completed.

For the roofing contractor it almost becomes a no brainer to offer solutions that greatly reduce perils for their clients and families.

Related Content: Eco-friendly Flameless (Cold Ply) Flat Roofing System

To note is that consumers have a responsibility to protect themselves by insisting on flameless flat roofing solutions from their selected roofing contractor. While the initial installation cost may be slightly higher as a percentage; what price can you place on not having to flee one’s home in the middle of the night when a hidden smoulder beneath the surface of the roof erupts into a bonified house fire.

There is a famous photograph of the Chrysler building being erected in the early part of the last century. Many would be familiar with the image of iron workers casually sitting on a steel girder poised several hundred feet up in the air, eating their lunch with the ease as if they were sitting at ground level. No one in the photo is wearing a safety harness. 

That would certainly not happen today. Why? Because we know better now. So the parallel conclusion to be drawn in relationship to flameless flat roofing, is that we have proven technology available today that allows us to provide a safer option for our clients and the planet.

What is highly important to both the consumer and the roofing contractor alike, is the desire to have completed a high-quality flat roof installation.

Cold applied modified bitumen systems still utilize an initial base ply which is fully adhered using an adhesive which is designed for a particular temperature period of the year; either summer or winter grade.

The second ply granular surfaced cap sheet is then fully adhered to the base ply, also using a prescribed adhesive coat. The finished appearance is similar to a torched or hot applied two-ply modified bitumen assembly.

A benefit of cold applied is that one is less likely to have voids in application of the field surface of the membrane. When doing a torch applied method, it can be easier to have inconsistency where flame contact may not make the rubber molten enough to bond, as often the surface of the mod may not be equally heat applied. In other words, one is very much reliant on the competency of the torcher and their techniques for consistency. 

Also critical is the bonding of overlapping seams in the material. Cold applied mod bit application utilizes hot air via a robotic welder to complete field seams. The result is a more consistent temperature and a stronger weld of the seam. Human error can be greatly reduced particularly on larger projects. 

Factually, all methods rely on skilled competence, but it is fair to state that the cold applied methods provide for less chance of system failure due to application.

The cold applied choice is now available for residential consumers, just as it has been available for commercial, industrial, and institutional clients for many years. 

To learn more about cold applied flat roofing, and commercial, industrial flat roofing systems and repairs,  roof assessments and maintenance; contact : or view our teams on YOU TUBE™.