What is an SBS roofing system?

by | Dec 12, 2019 | Roof Repair | 0 comments

Owning a building means worrying about maintenance and trying to choose the right materials, which is no small task, especially when it comes to roofing. Thankfully, with today’s technical advancements, the lifespan of building materials is longer than ever. 

Plus, most repairs are easier to do. Investing in your building’s longevity doesn’t have to cost a fortune, though. 

Modern materials cost less to buy and maintain and are more durable than materials of years past. This is especially true of roof systems. SBS roofing is one of the most accessible roofing systems to date. What is SBS roofing? Keep reading to find out what it is, what its advantages are, and how to install it.

What Is SBS Modified Bitumen Roofing?

Gone are the days of traditional roofing felts. Modern roof buildings are now mostly made with flexible, bituminous, and modified bituminous membranes. These flexible membranes are more versatile and perform better than traditional roofing felts while also being compatible with re-roofing projects and asphalt products.

SBS stands for styrene butadiene styrene. SBS or styrene-butadiene-styrene polymer is a mixture of asphalt and fillers that are turned into reinforced rolls used on roofing systems. SBS rolls are more weather-proof and flexible than other roofing materials.

SBS modified bitumen roofing is a flexible material made out of synthetic rubber and asphalt. It’s less likely to be damaged by the sun or ice, or crack over time than other roofing materials. 

It’s also lightweight and can move with the building, withstanding pressure and lasting longer than most other roofing materials. Most manufacturers use composite, polyester, or glass reinforcements with SBS. 

SBS modifiers seem to have plastic and rubber-like properties. They can soften with heat and also harden when cooled. SBS roofing systems are an excellent substitute for traditional asphalt systems and work well on institutional, industrial, and commercial buildings with low sloping roofs.

SBS roofing systems are strong and durable and able to withstand even the harshest weather conditions. They are also more affordable than a lot of other systems. You don’t have to worry about sacrificing aesthetics for cost, though, because this kind of roofing system is beautifully designed.

Advantages of SBS

SBS modifiers can improve a roofing system’s elasticity and softening point and slow down its aging process. SBS-modified roofing membranes, or “SBS roofing,” are among the most popular flexible membranes in today’s market. They’re able to keep their shape, even at high temperatures, and are easier to use for most any roof project.

SBS modified bitumen increases a roof’s lifespan and makes them easy to repair. There are several benefits to using SBS roofing systems with cold adhesives. For one thing, they’re environmentally-friendly and add a water-resistant layer to roofing systems. 

Unlike some other adhesives, cold adhesives also don’t have an odor so they can be used on occupied buildings without special handling precautions or restrictions. They come in smaller packages and can easily be carried by elevator. Cold adhesive SBS membrane systems are also easy to install on buildings with limited rooftop access without cranes or heavy equipment. 

Contractors who use cold adhesives save money. They don’t have to worry about hot kettles or open flames, which keeps costs low and may lower insurance rates and improve working conditions for the crew. Cold adhesives also create long-lasting roof systems that pass aged and unaged fatigue tests.

Installing SBS

SBS roofing is versatile and can be applied using various methods, including hot asphalt, self-adhered asphalt, torch, and cold adhesives. Cold adhesives are just as popular as hot asphalt in today’s low slope roofing market. 

Cold adhesives and other asphalt-based products such as plastic primers, sealants, cement, and flashing cement are all important for today’s roof membrane systems. Cold adhesives are usually made with fibers, solvent, fillers, stabilizers, and bitumen, but some also contain SBS or other rubber polymers. Solvents weld the adhesive to the bitumen surface as they evaporate.

It would help if you avoided contact with possible sources of ignition when using cold adhesives. Always use sand-surfaced sheets when applying cold adhesives to the roofing membrane. If the membrane isn’t flat, make sure to relax the sheets before installing them. 

Working with cold adhesives works best in temperatures between 50 degrees and 100 degrees Fahrenheit. If working in temperatures under 50 degrees Fahrenheit, be sure to cut the sheet rolls into halves or thirds and let them relax before installing.


Now that you better understand SBS roofing systems, you’ll be able to make better decisions for your building and its maintenance. An inexpensive roofing system like SBS is extremely valuable and can easily improve your building’s lifespan. 

Of course, it’s up to you to decide whether an SBS roofing system is worth it or not. Hopefully, this guide helped you realize how pivotal a reliable roofing system can be for your property and helps you begin your journey to revamping your building. 

Robert Johnson

Robert Johnson

Robert has over 40 years of experience in roofing industry and proud to share his experience and knowledge with local residents. He can be found blogging on Top Roofing Contractors site or actively building his roofing business in GTA.

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