Several factors determine the type of roofing your roofer will use, one such factor being roof pitch. Different roofing types are meant for different types of roof pitch. When it comes to flat roofs, or roofs with minimal pitch, single-ply membranes like EPDM or PVC are viable options. However, torch down roofing is the one more commonly used. But what exactly is torch down roofing, how does it work, and is it the right roofing type for me?

Torch Down Roofing

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Torch Down roofing, officially known as modified bitumen, is a rolled roofing product consisting of a non-woven polyester mat and a membrane embedded in a thick asphalt layer.

The material is strong, durable, and weighs less than two pounds per square foot. It also comes in two different types of sheets: smooth and granulated. The granulated sheets come in different colors that reflect the sun’s rays, keeping your home cooler and reducing your energy bills.

Though granulated sheets are more common, you could opt for smooth sheets. A significant advantage of smooth sheets is that you can use them as a substrate for new roofing in the future, saving you on costs. With granulated sheets, you will need to tear them off before installing a replacement roof.

How Much Does Torch Down Roofing Cost?

Though the cost heavily depends on the price of the components and roofing contractor you choose, torch down roofing normally costs more than standard asphalt roofing. When torch down roofing was first introduced, it was cheaper than hot tar roofing.

The costs of liability insurance due to working with an open flame has increased the price over the years. Despite the increased upfront costs, torch down roofing could save you money down the line, eliminating the need for constant repairs.

How Is Torch Down Roofing Installed?

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Its installation process is what inspired this roofing system’s name. The material typically comes in rolls. The sheets are then laid on top of your flat roof, and a torch or open flame is applied to the overlap areas, melting them onto the surface to create an impermeable layer.

If you want to learn more about the what kind of pricing to expect from this project, read our guide on total costs associated with flat roof replacement.

For additional protection, you can apply an extra coating a month or two after your roofing has settled, making it more fire-resistant and protecting it from heat by reflecting the sun’s rays. You also have the option of choosing between a single or dual-ply system. According to Gotcha Covered Contracting, single-ply is the most common flat roofing material.

Why Choose Torch Down Roofing?

There are several benefits that, depending on your situation, could make torch down roofing the better option. Some of these benefits include:


While several other roofing materials crack, the asphalt layer contains rubbery additives that allow the roofing material to contract and expand in extreme cold and heat. Its flexibility is a significant advantage and makes it perfect for flat or low-slope roofs.


If your roof is at risk of being punctured from various falling objects, torch down roofing is perfect because the plies applied are significantly thicker. One sheet can be up to three times thicker than the standard membrane in a PVC flat roofing system.

Solves the Condensation Problem

As heat moves from your home’s interior to its exterior, condensation tends to occur. Lighter colored roofs tend to rot from the inside out because they reflect solar radiation, preventing them from getting hot. Dark-colored torch down roofs usually reheat under sunlight, vaporizing the moisture formed from the condensation, preventing rot and other damage.


This roofing material is highly water-resistant and is also resistant to UV rays, punctures, and other potential damage. Its durability leads to minimal repairs, allowing it to last up to 20 years.

Editorial Contributors
Matt Greenfield

Matt Greenfield

Matt Greenfield is an experienced writer specializing in home improvement topics. He has a passion for educating and empowering homeowners to make informed decisions about their properties. Matt's writing focuses on a range of topics, including windows, flooring, HVAC, and construction materials. With a background in construction and home renovation, Matt is well-versed in the latest trends and techniques in the industry. His articles offer practical advice and expert insights that help readers tackle their home improvement projects with confidence. Whether you're a DIY enthusiast or a seasoned professional, Matt's writing is sure to provide valuable guidance and inspiration.

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