Oxidized Bitumen in Roofing

Creating weatherproof and durable roofs requires the right materials, and oxidized bitumen plays a crucial role in achieving these goals. In this introduction, we explore the importance of oxidized bitumen in roofing applications, highlighting its ability to provide superior protection against the elements and long-lasting performance.
A worker insulating a roof using Oxidized Bitumen in Roofing

Oxidized Bitumen in Roofing: Enhancing Weatherproofing and Durability

Achieving weatherproof and durable roofs is of utmost importance in the construction industry. Oxidized bitumen has emerged as a key player in this regard, offering exceptional qualities that contribute to superior weather resistance and long-lasting performance. In this article, we delve into the significance of oxidized bitumen in roofing applications, highlighting its ability to provide reliable protection against the elements and ensure the longevity of roofs.

Introduction to Oxidized Bitumen: Its Properties and Applications

Bitumen, often referred to as asphalt in the United States, is a semi-solid or viscous substance that is primarily used in the construction industry, particularly in road paving and roofing. Oxidized bitumen, also known as blown bitumen, is a specific type that is created by a process of air blowing. This process enhances the bitumen’s temperature and air pressure, which modifies its physical properties and turns it into a harder and more viscous material.

Oxidized bitumen’s unique properties make it an ideal choice for certain applications. One of the most noticeable characteristics of blown bitumen is its increased softening point and decreased penetration rate. These changes improve the material’s thermal sensitivity, making it more resistant to deformation under heat and stress, a trait that is particularly advantageous in warmer climates.

When it comes to roofing, oxidized bitumen plays a vital role. Its enhanced resistance to weathering and water damage makes it an excellent choice for waterproofing roofs. As a result, it is often used in the manufacturing of roofing felts, where it acts as an adhesive binder between the absorbent fibres.

Furthermore, the durability and elasticity of oxidized bitumen contribute to its use in the production of high-grade industrial products like pipe coatings and insulating materials. The substance’s temperature stability and resistance to chemicals add to its versatility, expanding its uses beyond just roofing materials.

Overall, oxidized bitumen’s unique properties, including its enhanced durability, water resistance, and thermal stability, make it a crucial material in numerous construction and industrial applications. Its role in roofing cannot be understated, as it contributes significantly to the overall quality and longevity of roofing materials.

Understanding the Role of Oxidized Bitumen in Roofing Systems

The versatility and robustness of oxidized bitumen have made it a preferred choice in various industrial applications. However, it is in the roofing industry that oxidized bitumen truly shines, due to its unique physical and chemical properties.

To begin with, the enhanced waterproofing characteristic of oxidized bitumen makes it an ideal roofing material. In this context, blown asphalt is most commonly used in the manufacture of roofing felts and membranes. These materials are typically applied in layers, with oxidized bitumen acting as the bonding agent that keeps the fibres of the roof felt intact. This results in a robust and water-resistant barrier that can withstand harsh weather conditions, thereby preventing leakages and extending the life of the roof.

Another crucial aspect of oxidized bitumen in roofing is its increased thermal stability. Roofs are exposed to varying temperatures and harsh sunlight, which can cause degradation over time. Oxidized bitumen, with its high softening point, can withstand high temperatures and resist deformation. This characteristic ensures the structural integrity of the roof, regardless of climatic conditions.

Additionally, the elasticity of oxidized bitumen allows it to accommodate minor movements in the roofing structure without causing cracks or openings. This flexibility, coupled with its durability, is instrumental in protecting roofs from damage caused by physical impacts or thermal expansion and contraction.

Lastly, oxidized bitumen’s resistance to aging and UV radiation further enhances the longevity of roofing systems. When incorporated into roofing materials, it can prevent premature aging and degradation, thereby reducing maintenance costs and ensuring a reliable and durable roofing solution.

Benefits and Limitations of Using Oxidized Bitumen in Roofing

Oxidized bitumen, with its distinct properties, offers several benefits when used in roofing applications. However, it is essential to consider its limitations as well. Understanding both the advantages and constraints can help make informed decisions regarding the use of oxidized bitumen in roofing projects.


  1. Excellent Waterproofing: Oxidized bitumen is highly effective in providing superior waterproofing properties to roofing systems. It forms a durable, impermeable barrier that prevents water penetration and protects the underlying structure from moisture damage.
  2. Thermal Stability: With its high softening point, oxidized bitumen exhibits remarkable thermal stability. It can withstand temperature extremes without losing its structural integrity, ensuring long-term performance and resistance to thermal stress.
  3. UV Resistance: Oxidized bitumen possesses good resistance to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which helps to protect the roofing system from the harmful effects of the sun’s rays. This characteristic extends the lifespan of the roof by reducing the risk of premature aging and degradation.
  4. Flexibility and Crack Resistance: The elasticity of oxidized bitumen enables it to accommodate the natural movements and stresses experienced by roofing systems, such as thermal expansion and contraction. This flexibility helps prevent cracking and ensures the integrity of the roof over time.
  5. Durability: Oxidized bitumen is a highly durable material that can withstand the rigors of various weather conditions, including heavy rain, snow, and wind. Its resistance to weathering and aging contributes to the longevity of roofing systems.


  1. Application Challenges: Oxidized bitumen requires careful handling and application techniques. It typically needs to be heated to high temperatures during installation, which can pose challenges in terms of safety precautions and equipment requirements.
  2. Limited Cold Temperature Flexibility: While blown bitumen performs well in hot climates, it can become less flexible in cold temperatures. Extreme cold conditions may cause the bitumen to become brittle and susceptible to cracking.
  3. Maintenance and Repairs: Like any roofing material, oxidized bitumen may require periodic maintenance and repairs to address wear and tear, such as cracks or damage caused by foot traffic or falling debris.
  4. Limited Design Options: Oxidized bitumen is available primarily in black or dark colors, limiting the design options for those seeking more diverse aesthetic choices for their roofing systems.

By considering the benefits and limitations of using oxidized bitumen in roofing, professionals can make informed decisions based on project requirements, climate conditions, and long-term performance expectations. Proper installation, regular maintenance, and adherence to industry best practices can maximize the advantages while mitigating any limitations associated with this roofing material.

Comparison of Oxidized Bitumen with Other Roofing Materials

When it comes to selecting the right roofing material, it is essential to consider various factors such as durability, cost-effectiveness, installation requirements, and performance under different weather conditions. Here, we compare oxidized bitumen with other commonly used roofing materials to help you make an informed decision.

  1. Asphalt Shingles:
  • Durability: Asphalt shingles have a relatively shorter lifespan compared to oxidized bitumen. They typically last between 15 to 30 years, while oxidized bitumen can have a longer lifespan of 20 to 40 years.
  • Cost: Asphalt shingles are generally less expensive than blown asphalt roofing materials.
  • Installation: Asphalt shingles are relatively easier to install compared to oxidized bitumen, which requires heating during installation.
  • Performance: While asphalt shingles offer good protection against the elements, they may be more prone to wind and hail damage compared to the robustness of oxidized bitumen.
  1. Metal Roofing:
  • Durability: Metal roofs have excellent durability and can last for 40 to 70 years. They often outperform oxidized bitumen in terms of longevity.
  • Cost: Metal roofing tends to be more expensive upfront than oxidized bitumen. However, it can provide long-term cost savings due to its durability and energy efficiency.
  • Installation: Metal roofing installation can be more complex and time-consuming compared to oxidized bitumen.
  • Performance: Metal roofs offer superior resistance to fire, wind, and impact. They are also energy-efficient and can help with reducing heating and cooling costs. However, they may produce more noise during rainfall compared to oxidized bitumen roofs.
  1. EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) Roofing:
  • Durability: EPDM roofs have a lifespan of around 20 to 30 years, which is comparable to oxidized bitumen.
  • Cost: EPDM roofing is generally more cost-effective than oxidized bitumen, making it a popular choice for budget-conscious projects.
  • Installation: EPDM roofing is typically easier and faster to install compared to oxidized bitumen.
  • Performance: Both EPDM and blown bitumen offer excellent resistance to UV radiation and weathering. EPDM is known for its flexibility and ability to withstand extreme temperature changes. Oxidized bitumen, on the other hand, provides better thermal stability and waterproofing capabilities.
  1. Concrete Tile Roofing:
  • Durability: Concrete tile roofs are highly durable and can last for 50 years or more, outperforming oxidized bitumen in terms of longevity.
  • Cost: Concrete tile roofing is generally more expensive upfront compared to oxidized bitumen.
  • Installation: Concrete tile roofing requires a more labor-intensive installation process compared to oxidized bitumen.
  • Performance: Concrete tile roofs offer excellent fire resistance and durability against extreme weather conditions. However, they are heavier than oxidized bitumen, requiring proper structural support.

It’s important to note that the suitability of a particular roofing material depends on various factors, including climate, building design, budget, and personal preferences. Consulting with roofing professionals can help determine the best choice for your specific project needs.

The Process of Applying Oxidized Bitumen in Roofing: A Comprehensive Guide

Applying oxidized bitumen in roofing requires careful planning, proper preparation, and precise execution. This comprehensive guide outlines the step-by-step process of installing oxidized bitumen roofing materials to ensure a successful and durable roof.

  1. Roof Preparation:
  • Ensure the roof deck is clean, dry, and free from debris. Repair any damaged or deteriorated areas.
  • Check the roof slope and ensure it meets the manufacturer’s recommendations for the specific oxidized bitumen roofing system.
  • Install appropriate underlayment, such as a vapor barrier or insulation board, as specified by the roofing system requirements.
  1. Materials and Tools:
  • Gather all the necessary materials, including oxidized bitumen rolls or sheets, fasteners (nails or screws), adhesive or hot asphalt, and any additional accessories required for the specific roofing system.
  • Ensure you have the appropriate tools, such as a roofing hammer, utility knife, measuring tape, chalk line, and safety equipment.
  1. Application Process:
  • Start by installing the starter course. This is typically a strip of oxidized bitumen material applied along the eaves of the roof.
  • Unroll the oxidized bitumen rolls or sheets, positioning them from the bottom of the roof upward. Overlap the sheets according to the manufacturer’s instructions, typically around 2 to 4 inches.
  • Secure the oxidized bitumen sheets to the roof deck using the recommended fasteners. Nails or screws should be placed at designated intervals along the edges and within the field of the material.
  • Apply adhesive or hot asphalt to the overlaps and edges of the oxidized bitumen sheets to create a strong, watertight seal. Follow the specific instructions for the adhesive or hot asphalt application.
  • Use a roofing hammer or roller to firmly press the oxidized bitumen sheets into place, ensuring proper adhesion and eliminating any air pockets or wrinkles.
  • Repeat the installation process, working your way up the roof until the entire area is covered.
  1. Flashing and Detailing:
  • Install flashing materials, such as metal flashing or pre-formed bitumen flashing, at roof transitions, penetrations, and edges to provide additional waterproofing protection.
  • Pay attention to critical areas, such as chimneys, vents, skylights, and roof valleys, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper flashing installation.
  • Ensure all flashing components are securely fastened and properly sealed with the appropriate adhesive or hot asphalt.
  1. Finishing Touches:
  • Trim any excess oxidized bitumen material using a utility knife to achieve clean and precise edges.
  • Inspect the entire roof for any missed fastenings, loose seams, or areas that require additional attention. Make necessary repairs or adjustments as needed.
  • Clean the work area and remove any debris from the roof.

Remember, it is crucial to follow the specific installation guidelines provided by the oxidized bitumen manufacturer. Consulting with roofing professionals and adhering to local building codes and safety regulations will help ensure a successful and long-lasting oxidized bitumen roofing installation.

Maintenance and Repair of Roofs with Oxidized Bitumen

Roofs with oxidized bitumen, known for their durability and weather resistance, still require regular maintenance and occasional repairs to ensure their longevity and performance. This guide provides essential information on the maintenance and repair of roofs with oxidized bitumen.

  1. Regular Inspection:
  • Conduct regular visual inspections of the roof to identify any signs of damage, such as cracks, blisters, loose seams, or punctures.
  • Inspect flashings, vents, and other roof penetrations for proper seals and ensure they remain intact.
  • Check for debris accumulation, such as leaves or branches, and remove them to prevent water pooling and potential damage.
  1. Cleaning and Debris Removal:
  • Clean the roof surface regularly to remove dirt, moss, algae, or other debris that can degrade the oxidized bitumen over time.
  • Use a soft-bristle brush or a low-pressure washer to avoid damaging the roofing material. Avoid harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaning methods that may compromise the integrity of the surface.
  1. Repairs:
  • Promptly address any identified issues or damage to prevent further deterioration.
  • For small cracks or punctures, clean the area thoroughly and apply an appropriate bitumen repair sealant or patching material according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • In cases of larger or more extensive damage, consult a roofing professional for an accurate assessment and professional repair.
  1. Maintenance Tips:
  • Keep gutters and downspouts clear to ensure proper water drainage from the roof. Clogged gutters can lead to water backup and potential roof leaks.
  • Trim overhanging branches to prevent them from rubbing against or damaging the roof surface.
  • Avoid walking directly on the oxidized bitumen roof, especially during hot weather, as it may cause softening and indentations. If accessing the roof is necessary, use walkways or crawl boards to distribute weight evenly.
  1. Professional Inspections:
  • Schedule regular professional inspections by a roofing contractor, especially after severe weather events or at least once a year.
  • Professionals can identify potential issues that may not be visible during routine inspections and provide expert recommendations for maintenance and repairs.

Remember to consult the specific maintenance guidelines provided by the oxidized bitumen manufacturer and follow local building codes. Regular maintenance and prompt repairs will help extend the lifespan of the roof and ensure optimal performance of the oxidized bitumen roofing system.

Future Trends and Sustainability of Oxidized Bitumen in the Roofing Industry

As the roofing industry continues to evolve, there is a growing focus on sustainability and environmentally friendly practices. The use of oxidized bitumen in roofing systems aligns with these trends and offers potential advancements for the future. Here are some future trends and considerations regarding the sustainability of oxidized bitumen in the roofing industry.

  1. Green Roofing Solutions:
  • The integration of oxidized bitumen in green roofing systems is gaining momentum. Green roofs provide numerous environmental benefits, including improved energy efficiency, stormwater management, and enhanced air quality. Oxidized bitumen acts as a waterproofing layer in these systems, contributing to their durability and longevity.
  1. Enhanced Energy Efficiency:
  • The development of oxidized bitumen roofing materials with improved energy efficiency is a growing trend. Reflective coatings and cool roofing technologies can help reduce energy consumption by reflecting solar radiation and lowering the roof’s surface temperature. This, in turn, reduces the cooling load on buildings and contributes to energy savings.
  1. Recycling and Circular Economy:
  • Emphasizing the recycling and repurposing of oxidized bitumen materials is becoming increasingly important. Recycling technologies can recover and process old roofing materials, transforming them into new products or incorporating them into pavement construction. The circular economy approach minimizes waste and reduces the environmental impact of blown asphalt in the roofing industry.
  1. Alternative Binders and Additives:
  • Research and development efforts are exploring alternative binders and additives to enhance the sustainability of oxidized bitumen. These innovations aim to reduce the reliance on petroleum-based materials, decrease greenhouse gas emissions, and improve the overall environmental performance of roofing systems.
  1. Life Cycle Assessments (LCA):
  • Conducting life cycle assessments for oxidized bitumen roofing systems helps evaluate their environmental impact throughout their entire life cycle. LCA considers factors such as raw material extraction, manufacturing, installation, use, and end-of-life disposal or recycling. Implementing LCA methodologies provides valuable insights for making informed decisions regarding the sustainability of oxidized bitumen roofing systems.
  1. Embracing Renewable Energy Integration:
  • Rooftops can be utilized for the integration of renewable energy technologies, such as solar panels. Oxidized bitumen roofing materials can provide a suitable base for solar installations, contributing to the generation of clean energy and further enhancing the sustainability of buildings.

By incorporating these future trends and sustainable practices, oxidized bitumen can continue to be a valuable roofing material that aligns with environmental objectives and reduces the industry’s ecological footprint. Embracing innovation and sustainability will ensure the continued relevance and viability of oxidized bitumen in the roofing industry.


This article explores the significance of oxidized bitumen in roofing applications. By examining its properties, benefits, limitations, application process, maintenance, and future trends, it is evident that oxidized bitumen plays a crucial role in providing durable and waterproof roofing solutions. Its enhanced thermal stability, resistance to weathering, and flexibility make it a preferred choice for various roofing projects. Furthermore, as sustainability becomes increasingly important, the integration of oxidized bitumen in green roofing systems and the focus on recycling and circular economy practices contribute to its long-term viability. With the continuous advancements in energy efficiency and the adoption of renewable energy integration, oxidized bitumen roofing is poised to meet the evolving needs of the industry and promote environmentally friendly practices.

Purchasing This Product from Petro Naft

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Oxidized Bitumen (Air-Blown Bitumen)

Prepared by the PetroNaft Co. research team.


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