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BUR (Tar and Gravel) Roofing - Flat Roof Replacement

What is BUR?

Tar and Gravel Roof Replacement Toronto

Built-Up Roofing (BUR – "tar and gravel" – coal tar - asphalt and gravel) is the most classic "tar and gravel" system of roofing. Traditionally flat roofs have been installed by setting three to four layers of coal tar with coal tar saturated felts (tar-paper). Typically, the surfacing is gravel set in a flood-coat of hot asphalt. Coal tar is a by-product of the coal manufacturing process and makes an excellent water and oil resistant material. An unusual feature of a coal tar roof is its ability to soften in warm temperatures and "heal" itself. The warmer the temperature the faster and easier the membrane adjusts to changing conditions sealing minor ruptures and abrasions helping to keep it young.

BUR flat roofs can be expensive on new constructions because of the increased cost of oil causing asphalt built up roofs to be one of the more expensive roofing systems to install. However, tar and gravel flat roofing systems have a long service period if it is well maintained and repaired.

Tar and Gravel Roof Replacement & Recovery

Built-Up Roofing is a popular roof because it has a long service life especially when properly maintained. On a life cycle cost basis, there are few commercial roofing systems that have outperformed coal tar. It is multi-layered so it has greater puncture resistance and provides more protection against leaks.

Industrial Tar and Gravel Roof Replacement

If you think your roof may need to be replaced or re-roofed, a thorough thermographic infrared roof inspection is always the first step. Due to the unique materials on a Built-Up Roof it may be hard for a walk-on inspection to really tell you what is needed. Many contractors will just recommend a complete flat roof replacement because they just cannot detect the issue. An infrared inspection should be a priority before any work begins

Infrared scanning technology will allow you to locate the exact location of the problem. No guessing involved. Infrared roof scanning technology allows us to visually track the path of your roofs moisture from its origin to its manifest. The technology uses digital images as well as infrared imaging providing the exact location.

If a complete flat roof replacement is required we will remove all of your roof layers including ballast, membranes, and insulation right down to the roof decking. Then we will install a new roof that matches your needs including a vapour barrier, insulation, waterproofing, roof system membranes and ballast.

If a flat roof recovery is required, we will remove the ballast layer and a layer of the roof membrane and replace it with new material, waterproofing and a new ballast layer.

If you have been having repeated issues with your BUR flat roof and have had unsuccessful attempts at repair, do not hesitate to call us. Improperly repairing a Built-Up Roof can result in worse damage to your roof and can potentially create problems elsewhere. “Tar and Gravel” roofs have been an industry standard for many decades so Roof Maintenance.ca contractors regularly replace or re-roof and maintain Built-Up Roofing systems across the GTA. Our experienced roof technicians use only modern equipment to provide reliable, warrantied services.

Call us for more information on commercial roof replacements or for a quote on replacing your Built-Up Roof.

Pros and Cons of Built-Up Roofing

.BUR Flat Roof Replacement Toronto


  • It provides excellent waterproofing protection.
  • Built-up Roofing provides ultra-violet protection.
  • Low- maintenance.
  • It lasts longer to weather inclemency
  • Gravels or minerals can be used as surfacing material.
  • Low-life cost maintenance


  • Slower Installation
  • Hazard fumes and vapors when installing it.
  • High installation costs.
  • Susceptible to wind and water damage.

Learn more about our flat roof replacement services on other flat roof types.

We value our clients and believe in 100% customer satisfaction. We provide a 7 year leak free warranty (*on new work only). Stop waiting and contact us today to request a BUR roof replacement cost quote.

Latest News & Posts

Commercial Industrial RoofingRoof Scan.ca Acquired by Roof Maintenance.ca In a push to provide the Greater Toronto Area with the highest quality commercial and industrial flat roofing services available, Roof Maintenance.ca has acquired ownership of infrared flat roof inspection expert and industrial roofing contractor Roof Scan.ca. This unification of companies will create the most effective commercial and industrial roofing services the Greater Toronto Area [...] Read more

Contact Information

Roof Maintenance.ca
Toronto Flat Roofing Contractors specializing in flat roof repair, flat roof replacement and maintenance since 1999.
  • Mailing Address
  • 1630 Sismet Rd #1
  • Mississauga, ON. L4W 1R5