What is bitumen and why do we use it in roofing?
Bitumen has been utilised for its adhesive and waterproofing qualities for over 5,000 years, making it one of the oldest known engineering material still used today. It is particularly popular in the roofing industry, as it can create a watertight structure which is proven to stand the test of time. As such, this article will explain what bitumen is and why it has remained such a popular roofing component for so many years.
What is bitumen?Typically a term used interchangeably with asphalt, bitumen is a sticky, viscous and waterproof substance which is commonly used for paving and roofing. The versatility of bitumen has made it one of the most highly demanded construction materials in the world, as more than 100 billion tonnes is used every year across the globe.
Why is it used in roofing?Looking back into the history of bitumen, there are examples of its waterproofing capabilities being used to bond walls of water tanks together as early as 3000BC. Since then, bitumen has remained one of the leading roofing components still used today, with 10% of global bitumen production going to roofing where its waterproofing is invaluable.
Over the years, developments in technology and materials have paved the way for innovative roofing systems. As such, modified bitumen is one of the most common materials used for membrane roofs which are typically found on most commercial buildings, as well as an increasing number of residential properties, too.
As a key component of asphalt, bitumen boasts a plethora of benefits which has made it so popular for roofing:
- Easy to maintain
What types of roofing can bitumen be used for?As mentioned, the exceptional waterproofing qualities of bitumen makes it perfectly suited for a range of roofing materials, such as: