Modified Bitumen (MB) or Modified Bitumen Membranes (MBS)
Modified bitumen membranes (MBS) combines the features of a built-up roof with added tensile strength from its polymer modification. Using a reinforced sheet that is prefabricated in the plant, modified bitumen systems require a less labor-intensive application and can be applied in both commercial and certain residential applications.
Modified bitumens generally use a traditional waterproofing medium -- asphalt -- modified with atactic polypropylene (APP), styrene butadiene styrene (SBS), synthetic rubber or other agents that create a uniform matrix that enhances the physical properties of the asphalt. SBS and APP are the most common bitumen modifiers.
- SBS (Styrene-Butadiene-Styrene) modifies the asphalt by forming a polymer network within the bitumen. SBS gives the bitumen rubber-like characteristics and improved resistance to aging and weathering. Most SBS-modified bitumen sheets are either set in hot mopping asphalt, torch-applied or adhered with cold-process adhesives. SBS-modified bitumen sheets that do not have factory applied granule or foil surfacing need some form of field-applied ultraviolet protective coating.
- APP (Atactic Polypropylene) is a thermoplastic polymer which forms a uniform matrix within the asphalt. This enhances the bitumen’s performance by increasing its UV resistance, increasing its flexibility at low temperatures and improving its flow resistance at high temperatures. APP-modified bitumen sheets are generally applied using a propane-fueled torch. Applicators use the heat to soften the modified bitumen on the underside of the sheet. The sheet's bottom surface becomes a molten adhesive which flows upon the substrate and then cools to form a waterproof adhesive bond. Some APP sheets can also be applied with cold process adhesives.
The application of modified bituminous roofing is a construction process that involves the skillful arrangement of several components as specified for the process. Roof performance is determined by factors that include building design, job specifications, materials quality and suitability, application procedures and maintenance. The level of quality in the workmanship during the application process is critical.
Since gaining acceptance in the roofing industry during the 1970s, the use of modified bitumen membrane roofing systems has increased steadily. Today modified bitumen membranes are the fastest growing roofing materials in the industry.
Considered a quality “hybrid” system, MBS provides the features of a built-up roof with the added tensile strength and elongation of a modified bitumen cap sheet, as well as the quality assurance of in-plant membrane fabrication uniformity and control, and reduced labor requirements for installation.
In addition, MBS products undergo the same fire and uplift resistance testing standards as BUR, providing the commercial customer full assurance of appropriate fire and uplift resistance.