Composite Panels VS Built-up Roofs

Composite Panels

Benefits of composite panels

  • Quick & easy to install – produced as single units/easy to cut if required.
  • High insulation despite low thickness – their high insulation potency also means they’re extremely energy efficient.
  • Eco-friendly process – reduced greenhouse gas emissions in production, installation & transportation stages, saving fuel, energy and human effort.
  • Often made from leftover material – further reducing carbon footprint.
  • Less material required for installation compared to other systems – less wastage and more efficient.
  • Easily removed and replaced – great for building refurbishments.
  • Extremely flexible aesthetics – wide range of paints and coatings available.

Drawbacks of composite panels

  • Prone to dents and damage.
  • Not resistant to extreme weather.
  • Material is more expensive despite having a lower production time.
  • Aluminium composite panels require additional waterproofing.
  • Regular (although low-level) maintenance is required to maintain good condition.
  • Heavy marketing from manufacturers skew the fact – manufacturers offering a wide range of quality & prices means it’s easy to get sold a poor-quality product. Expert, non-biased advice is required.

Summary of composite panels


Composite panels are an excellent replacement for wood and steel systems because they are much lighter and therefore can be transported, installed and removed more efficiently. The improved efficiency of composite panels means it is much more eco-friendly, which is becoming an increasingly major factor for commercial and industrial property owners, managers investors.

Composite panels can also be a good long-term investment if the quality of the end product is assured and if the panels are regularly maintained. However, composite panels are susceptible to damage and it can be difficult to determine the quality of the material prior to it being installed, so it is vital that external expert advice is sought, otherwise it could be a very expensive mistake!

Built-Up Roofs (BUR)

Benefits of built-up roofs

  • Better noise and heat insulation
  • Better natural fire protection – particularly important considering recent catastrophic events involving other roof systems
  • Long life-span & high durability – resistant to weather and impact damage
  • Flexible aesthetics – designers can incorporate a range of looks, such as smooth asphalt, cold build-up, ballasted asphalt
  • Good UV protection – preventing oxidisation of the roof’s surface
  • Low maintenance & easy to repair

Drawbacks of built-up roofs

  • Difficult & lengthy installation process
  • Potentially dangerous installation – harmful and hazardous fumes can sometimes be released during installation.
  • Could become expensive in the long-term – due to the complicated process involved in removing and replacing the system (typically every 10-15 years).

Summary of built-up roofs


The quality and safety of built-up systems can vary vastly depending on the specific materials used, but generally built-up systems are fairly long lasting & highly durable. However, this comes with the compromise of having a long and difficult installation process which – if required several times within a long-term lease or ownership – can lead the them becoming an expensive longer-term option.

Composite Panels vs Built-Up Systems: Our Conclusion

There is no one-size-fits-all answer, because the roof you require will depend on your primary objectives and requirements of your roof:If you are looking for an eco-friendly and efficient roof system that’s easy to install and replace, composite panels are usually the better option, but we advise that you do your research and get an expert to review your options.If you are looking for a highly durable and safe system which can withstand high levels of footfall – and are willing to be patient in the early stages of installation, a built-up system will usually be the better option of the two.

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