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Construction Concerns: Combustible Metal Deck Roofs

Article and photos by Gregory HavelFor decades, builders have been using metal roof decking supported by bar joists, covered with combustible insulation board and a roof membrane that is often topped with gravel. The earliest of these roofs had melted asphalt mopped onto the steel roof deck to hold down the insulation board with additional melted asphalt mopped between and on top of the layers of roofing felt. This was known as a “built-up” roof and was inexpensive when compared with other types of roofs.(1)A potential problem with this type of roof was recognized more than 50 years ago: If a fire heated the underside of the roof deck, it could melt, vaporize, and ignite the a...

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