The Advantages of Torch Down Roofing for Denver CO Homes this 2019

You've seen many Denver homes and commercial properties exclaim the advantages of torch down roofing. Many mention its affordable price and easy installation difficulty.

True enough, it is easy to perform torch down over existing roof you may have. However, torch down roof has pros and cons similar to any other roofing material.

In this post, you'll know more about this roofing material such as torch down roofing cost and torch down roofing life expectancy. Additionally, we'll talk about 2 layer torch down roofing and compare it with its three-layer variant.

Torch down roofing underlayment is an excellent roofing material. Take a look at its big picture to make the best decision for your new roof.

Everything You Need to Know About Torch Down Roofing

  • What is Torch Down Roofing?
  • Two Layer vs Three Layer Systems
  • Advantages of Torch Down Roofing
  • Disadvantages to Take Note Of
  • Ensuring an Excellent Torch Down Roofing Installation

What is Torch Down Roofing?

Single-ply membranes such as rubber roofs/EPDM and TPO roofing materials have self-adhering surfaces allowing any Denver homeowner to perform a DIY installation over a handful of weekends. However, roof adhesives will wear off within two decades as the materials reach the end of their lifespan.

Modified bitumen and PVC roofs use torch down installation methods to achieve an airtight seal. One of the clearest advantages of torch down roofing is the melted membrane layer on top of the roof deck or sheath underneath the material. In turn, it becomes an effective ice dam against rainwater and snowmelt leaks.

contractors unfurling a modified bitumen torch down membrane

Single-ply membranes are self-adhering. Unfortunately, the sticky material will wear off especially when the roof material is reaching its last few years.

Should I Use The Two or Three-Layer Torch Down Roofing System?

PVC membranes come only in single yet extremely thick membranes. However modified bitumen has two torch down system variants.

The two layer system has one base layer and one torch down layer. The base layer faces the exterior of your roof. On the other hand, the torch down layer has a granular surface mixed with asphalt and lime. During installation, contractors use a heat-weld to melt the asphalt and lime combination on your roof deck.

Three layer systems have multiple torch down surfaces. It is made up of a base layer, a smooth torch down layer, and the granular surface layer. The dual torch down characteristic gives homeowners an excellent airtight seal that guarantees no leaks throughout its lifespan.

Both materials can last for 15-20 years.

the granular part of a modified bitumen torch down roof

Two and three-layer torch down roofing have a granular surface that melts and attaches to the roof sheath or deck.

The Advantages of Torch Down Roofing

Leak Resistant

One of the best advantages of torch down roofing is its strong resistance to leaks. When we compare it to self-adhering single-ply roofing membranes and traditional asphalt roof underlayment, torch down roofing's heat-welding mechanism ensures protection from leaks because of its completely-melted torch down surface.

Self-adhering roofing is easy to install. Unfortunately, some adhesive layers in a handful of seams can come loose especially if the roofing material has reached the last 3-5 years of its lifespan. On the other hand, modified bitumen and PVC torch down roofing do not have these issues until they get worn and torn over time.

Excellent UV Protection and Insulation

Self-adhering materials such as single-ply membrane and asphalt underlayment can only do so much for insulation when their adhesive layers get loose. However, due to its airtight seal and exceptional material density, one distinct among all the advantages of torch down roofing is its UV reflective capability. In turn, torch down roofs provide excellent insulation for any property.

UV rays can penetrate thin single-ply membranes. However, with modified bitumen and high-density PVC roofs, you'll find no problems with improving the indoor temperature of your property.

Top Quality Fire Resistance

Even if torch down roofing materials melt with heat welds, they are extremely fire resistant. In fact, many modified bitumen manufacturers add multiple fire resistance layers on top of the torch down granular layer. With additional density, torch down roofs do not contribute to any fire hazard after contractors install it as your new roof.

No Noxious Fumes

Modified bitumen is the successor of the traditional tar and gravel roof. However, substituting a heat weld for tar removes the presence of post-installation noxious fumes.

Tar and gravel roofs use multiple waterproof and fireproof layers of materials. Then, contractors use tar to sandwich all the layers together in a single, dense material. While it provides superior UV ray protection, hailstorm resistance, and overall excellent roofing, tar and gravel roofs emit noxious fumes.

The smell is troublesome enough that homeowners or tenants must stay away from the home for two weeks or more.

With modified bitumen and PVC roofs, property owners and tenants can move into the property as soon as contractors finish its installation.

Some Disadvantages You Need to Know

Fire Permits Required

Heat welders are dangerous materials. Any homeowner planning to do a DIY installation will require a local Denver fire operating permit. Unfortunately, this means homeowners must prove their experience in using heat welds or torches to gain permission to install their torch down roofs on their own. In addition, inexperience with heat welds can overheat certain installation spots and even cause fires.

a contractor holding his helmet in full view

Qualified contractors make it easy to obtain heat weld building permits required for installing torch down roofing.

Poor Tear Resistance

Modified bitumen will withstand fires and foot traffic. Unfortunately, it is not resistant to tears hailstones and windstorm debris can cause. These elements will bruise and tear off parts of your torch down roof. While you can use additional modified bitumen to patch these damages, it can affect the overall aesthetic of your property.


Torch down roofing has 15-20 years of lifespan for 2-3 layer variants respectively. While they're relatively affordable at $350-$450 for a 1,200 square feet roof, the lifespan positions torch down roofing as an excellent "patch" roof useful for post-storm roofing. However, expensive torch down roofing variants have higher-density materials with excellent tear and damage resistance.

Then again, you can use PVC as an alternative torch down roof material. While it costs about $14-$16 per square foot, PVC lasts for 30-40 years, has excellent damage and hailstorm resistance, and can even carry materials up to 300 pounds per inch (PPI).

Related: 2019 Top Picks for Budget-Friendly Roofing Materials

How to Ensure I Have an Excellent Torch Down Roofing Installation

As we have mentioned, heat welds require professionals to obtain local building permits that guarantee a safe roofing installation for your property. In this case, you'll need to find a Denver CO contractor with decades of experience installing torch down roofing materials.

In case you haven't yet, you can trust Roper Roofing to install your torch down roofing the quickest and most efficient way possible. Over our 15 years servicing residential and commercial properties across Colorado we have obtained top ratings on HomeAdvisor and are a licensed Owens Corning contractor. Work with us today!


795 McIntyre St. Suite 303
Golden, CO 80401

Phone: 720-809-7586



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