Milwaukee, Wisconsin's Nationwide Styrene Butadiene Styrene (SBS) Modified Roofers

SBS Bitumen roofing project in MilwaukeeModified Bitumen (MB) is asphalt that has had modifiers added to it to give it plastic or rubber-like properties. The most common types of modifiers being used in Wisconsin and across the U.S. are APP (Atactic Polypropylene) & SBS (Styrene Butadiene Styrene).

Rolls of modified bitumen membrane come in widths of 36" (0.9 m) to approximately 39" (1 m) and cover an area of approximately 100 square feet to 112 square feet per roll. Surfacing for these roll materials consist of a smooth surface, or mineral granules, aluminum, copper, or an aggregate such as gravel or slag that is set it hot asphalt.

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Modified Bitumen roof systems consist of one, two, or three ply systems. The type of substrate will often determine the type of system being installed. Modified membranes can also be installed in conjunction with built-up roof materials (such as multiple plies of fiberglass felt) to form a "hybrid" roof system. Modified roofs have proven performance on residential, commercial, and industrial applications. Roofhelp recommends all modified roofs be installed on slopes not less than 1/4" per horizontal foot (stated "quarter in twelve" or "quarter-inch slope") in order to achieve positive drainage.

Cutaway of SBS roofing

Commercial SBS Modified Membrane System from Wisconsin Roofers

SBS roofing installationWhile APP was being looked into in southern Europe, northern Europe was experimenting with a different type of modifier called Styrene Butadiene Styrene (SBS). The French and Germans found that if they added 10%-15% of SBS rubber to asphalt, the asphalt’s characteristics changed to those of the rubber additive. They learned that they could stretch the SBS modified asphalt up to six times its original length and that, unlike the APP, it would return to its original size when allowed to relax.

There are a wide range of reinforcements used in SBS roofing materials. These include fiberglass or polyester mats and scrims, or combinations of both. The fiberglass mats range in weight from 1.0 to 2.5 pounds per 100 square feet or around 50 to 125 grams per square meter. Polyester reinforcements range in weight from 3.5 to 5.0 pounds per 100 square feet or 170 to 250 grams per square meter. The type of reinforcement used depends on the material’s performance requirements.

SBS membranes can be hot asphalt applied, torch applied, or cold process applied.

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