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Maintaining Your Modified Bitumen Roof

Gone are the days of old asphalt roofs. Many homeowners are quickly embracing a modern alternative: modified bitumen. This type of membrane roofing system offers a variety of benefits. It’s affordable. It’s versatile. It’s durable. But it’s important to show your roof a little TLC in return.

Preserve the life and benefits of your roof by adopting a regular inspection schedule and maintenance program.

Importance of Proper Maintenance

If you properly maintain your modified bitumen roof, you will advance its performance and extend its life.

One of the biggest advantages of modified bitumen roofs is their excellent waterproofing protection. But seasonal elements can abuse the roof’s materials and cripple its structural integrity. A consistent and thorough maintenance program can pinpoint weak areas so you can reinforce them before they evolve into a leak.

Did your roofing system come with a warranty? Or did you buy a warranty afterward? The terms and conditions may require regular maintenance.

According to the National Roofing Contractors Association and the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association, manufacturers and contractors void their warranties all the time for neglected inspections, repairs, and maintenance. Don’t put your warranty in jeopardy over an inspection that only needs to be performed a few times a year.

Recommended Schedule for Inspection

The National Association of Home Builders recommends professional inspection for steep-slope roofs every three years. For low-slope roofs, like those forged with modified bitumen, you need to inspect twice a year.

You’ll want to inspect the roof before severe weather conditions approach and again after. By doing so, you’ll prepare your roof for adverse conditions, determine any damages, and make necessary repairs.

Items to Check During an Inspection

During a typical roof inspection, a contractor will look out for problems with the following:

  • Insulation
  • Drainage
  • Structure

Inspections for your modified bitumen roof will cover those same issues, as well as a few more specific defects. Read on to learn about these potential problems.

Broken Welds

Some modified bitumen roofs are assembled by welding together several separate pieces. These welds have the potential to come apart. After the welds break, pieces can start to lift and expose the wood. If you do not patch these areas quickly, you run the risk of water infiltration, causing rot and decay.

Holes and Rips

Items as common as trees, ultraviolet sun rays, and even foot traffic can damage your roof. Debris blown across your roof by high winds can tear tiny holes in the material. But tiny holes and tears in your roofing membrane can turn into leaks. That’s why it’s important to patch them immediately.


When moisture gets trapped in your roofing system, it can cause the membrane to blister. However, this problem isn’t always moisture related. It can be the result of shoddy adhesion or even air entrapment. To prevent further blistering and damage, new roofing cement may need to be reapplied.

Ponding Water

We define ponding water as water that remains on the roof longer than 48 hours. If you find any spots with standing water, you have drainage issues with your system. Rectify the situation by adding drains to low spots or by cleaning out debris from other clogged drains.

Why Hire a Professional

Of course, there are many other issues to watch out for when inspecting your modified bitumen roof. Hire a professional who is familiar with complex roofing systems. He or she can identify and address any issue or simply let you know that your roof is holding up all right.

If your roof is overdue for an inspection or you’d like additional maintenance tips, consult with your professional roofing contractor.