What is a Ballasted Roof?
A ballasted roof is a type of flat roof that uses stones or gravel to weigh down the membrane underneath. The rocks replace plates and fasteners or adhesives to keep the roof in place.
The definition of the word ballasted is a system of heavy material, like rocks, to weigh something down for stability. So, a ballast roof, or rock roof, uses rocks, stones, or gravel to weigh down loose-laid insulation and roof membranes. Standard ballast roof membranes include EPDM, PVC, or TPO. This roofing method was widespread in the 60s and is still common today.
Ballast Pros and Cons
When considering whether ballasted roof systems suit your project, weigh the pros and cons. Property owners choose ballasted roofing because it is easy and less expensive to install and generally requires less labor.
Because rocks and stones weigh down the insulation and roofing membrane, the membrane will be better protected and last longer. The ballast stones also hold down the roof in high wind and extreme weather conditions, provide UV protection, absorb heat, and are highly fire resistant. Therefore, ballast roofs are incredibly durable while also being energy efficient.
Another pro is that since no adhesives hold the roof down, all the materials are completely recyclable. Lastly, since stones and round rocks cover the roofing membranes, a stone ballast roof has a very desirable aesthetic.
Even though ballast roofs are visually attractive and less expensive to install, they can be costly to maintain. Leaks can be hard to find because a contractor will need to move the rocks around to search for the source of the leak. Moving the stones can be time-consuming and potentially further damage the roof if done incorrectly. Always hire a trusted roofer like Austermiller in Tennessee for ballast roof repair and installation.
Furthermore, replacing a ballast roof is difficult because the roofer must remove all the rocks but ensure the existing membranes stay in place. As a result, ballast roof replacement is a tedious process that can take longer than other roof replacements.
You may need to replace only the ballast roof rocks if they have worn down from weathering and foot traffic over time. Prevent damage from roof traffic by installing a walkway with large, flat stones.
Replacing only the rocks is easy as long as there is no damage to the roof membrane. Have a professional like Austermiller inspect your roof for any damage so you can have a leak-free roof for years.
Ballast Installation, Repair, and Replacement in Tennessee
When we install your ballast roof, the process is very straightforward. First, we clean and clear any existing roof. Next, we place the best insulation suited for your project and lay the TPO, PVC, or EPDM membrane on top. Finally, we carefully bring ballast stones up to the roof and evenly lay them across.
Because of the easy installation, we can install your roof in a wide range of weather conditions. However, we will only install a ballasted roof if the substructure can withstand the added weight of the rocks, 10 to 25 pounds per square foot.
Roof maintenance generally requires either rock replacement or leak repair. The rocks will wear down because of the weather or foot traffic. Weather will cause the stones to crack and become sharp, which can puncture the membrane. Foot traffic can put pressure on the rocks and cause them to pierce the membrane. You can prevent foot traffic damage by creating a walkway with large, flat stones.
Rock replacement is relatively simple, but repairing leaks can be tedious and complex since the rocks must be moved around to find the leak source. However, a ballasted roof’s membrane will generally last longer since the rocks protect it. Ensure an experienced roofing professional like Austermiller installs your ballasted roof to prevent punctures and leaks.
Contact us at Austermiller for a quote to start your next roofing project!