Torch Down Roof | Discover Torchdown Roofing Pros, Cons & Costs

A torch down roof is not one of the most commonly known types of roofing, and it might not be a type of roofing that you have heard of. A torchdown roof is nothing more than rubberized asphalt roofing. This type of roofing is the most common type of roofing used on flat surfaces, though you might never have heard it called this name. This roofing is ideal for roofs that are on less than a 1 degree slope.

“Torch down roofs are not suitable for areas that are prone to high rain and snow fall as they cannot drain water efficiently. This would lead to water pooling or snow piling up on the roof, increasing the weight and possibly causing the roof to fail.”

Types Of Torch Down Roofing

2 layer torch down roofing

Offers less protection against rain and moisture – adequate for some areas of the United States. Typically comes with a 10-15 year warranty.

3 layer torchdown roofing

Typically thicker and better quality torchdown material. Better protection against moisture, rain or snow. Typically comes with a 20 year warranty.

How Is A Torchdown Roof Made

Torchdown roofing is made of layers of fiberglass, polyester, and bitumen. This mixture is then layered between layers of asphalt and gravel. This layering takes place on site to ensure that the product covers every inch of your roof. To seal these different layers together, installers will use giant blow torches to create a watertight seal. This is where this type of roofing gets the name torchdown from.

The final result of the vulcanization with the blow torch is a strong united fiberglass sheet. This layered but unified sheet will add strength and support to flat and low sloped roofs. Unlike other traditional tar roofs there are no flumes necessary with a torchdown roof.

This makes the roofing very water resistant. It will also repel UV rays from the sun, which equates to a much longer life span. The life span of torchdown roofing is about 20 years, and it requires less maintenance than a traditional tar roof. The final product is also much nicer looking than a tar roof.

The Advantages Of A Torchdown Roof

There are many different advantages to using a torchdown roof. They way the roof is layered creates both a strong and flexible product. The roof can move and shift without cracking or breaking; that means in extreme weather the roof can flex instead of failing. While torchdown roofing will flex in very extreme weather, conditions with heavy rain or snow may create too much added weight. The weight of water may cause the roof to fail and collapse in on itself.

While the roof can be extremely flexible, it is also extremely water resistant and durable. Since this type of roof is applied in layers, you can choose how many layers you wish to apply to your roof. Two-layer roofs will last about 10-15 years. If you choice to just add one extra layer, three total, you can expect the roof to last around 20 years. Moreover, since a torchdown roof is just a combination of asphalt and synthetic rubber and fiberglass, they are very easy to take care of.


Maintaining a torchdown roof is very simple. Since it uses a torch rather than a hot mop, there are not any dangerous odors associated with repairing or installing the roof. The hot mop method of making other asphalt roofs emits dangerous flumes that can actually be hazardous to your health. This is why people normally have to move out of their homes while reroofing tar roofs.

Torchdown roofing comes in sheets, making it easily replaceable. On the rare occasion that there is a leak or gap in your roof all you need to do is apply a sheet of torchdown roof and reseal it. This makes any repair a very simple process.

To add even more protection to your roof you can choose to wait a month or two before adding a top layer of sealant. This will add even more protection to your torchdown roof. Coating your roof will also add extra water and fire proofing capability. All the coating consists of is asphalt that is layered over the existing roof.

Other Uses

While torchdown roofing is most commonly used for bitumen asphalt, that is not the only use. This mixture of asphalt, rubber and fiberglass is usable all over your home. Any part of your home that needs waterproofing is the perfect place for bitumen asphalt. It can be used to seal basements, foundations, and garages. Just like when applied on a roof it creates water tight seal that helps protect your home.


When compared to traditional asphalt roofs, torchdown roofs are slightly more expensive. With that said the more money you spend, when compared to a traditional asphalt roof, will be made up in the repairs you will not have to pay for. And they save money in the long run with lower maintenance costs. Installing torchdown roofing now will save you more money in the long run, so it is definitely something to consider if you have an asphalt roof.

Related Topics