Roof Coatings: The Ultimate Roofing Solution?
Roof Coatings: The Ultimate Roofing Solution?
There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to roof coatings. Some people think that roof coatings are a layer of paint to make your roof look new, others think it’s a temporary fix for roof leaks until a proper replacement can be budgeted for and performed.
However, roof coatings offer a great way to restore your roof system quickly, cost-effectively, with minimal disruptions, all while providing warranty coverage. Along with being a quick and seamless roofing solution, roof coatings have additional benefits such as UV reflectivity, increasing energy efficiency, and providing a sustainable membrane that can be maintained and repaired easily.
What is a Cool Roof?
A cool roof reflects sunlight to keep the roof and building cooler. Reflective roof materials enable the building to be more energy efficient in the warmer months. The Cool Roof Rating Council is a nonprofit organization that develops independent methods for evaluating and labeling the radiative properties of roofing and exterior wall products. All roofing products’ solar reflectance and thermal emittance are rated on two scales from 0 to 1, with 1 being 100% reflective or emissive. Some states, such as California, have requirements for roofing materials to meet a certain Cool Roof rating.
Darker colors tend to absorb more light and heat, whereas lighter colors tend to reflect and emanate more light and heat. Reflecting this light as opposed to absorbing it helps keep buildings cooler, and in turn, requires less energy to keep it cool in the summer.
When should you consider a roof coating
If you’re looking for a waterproof solution for your entire roof, you’ll want to get a waterproof roof coating as soon as you observe small roof leaks. It’s also a good idea to get a waterproof roof coating when your existing roof is reaching the end of its warranty. A full roof replacement is often a long, labor-intensive, and expensive process. Alternatively, a roof coating is a quick, easy, affordable process that can extend the life of your current roof.
When installing a waterproofing roof coating such as an elastomeric coating, remove and replace any saturated areas of the roof. This ensures no moisture gets trapped in the system once the seamless roof coating is applied. Roof coatings are the most cost-effective waterproofing option when less than 25% of the roof is saturated with moisture.
Reflective coatings, such as aluminum coatings, are specifically designed to provide optimal reflectivity. Their reflective properties fight against UV degradation, which is when UV rays from the sun cause roofing materials to dry out and crack. This also helps the building owner save on heating and cooling. Reflective coatings should be applied after other repairs, i.e., fixing a leak, because they do not waterproof the roof system. Reflective coatings should be reapplied every 5-7 years after the initial application to ensure continued coverage.
Common Types of Roof Coatings
Elastomeric Roof Coatings
A roof coating must be capable of being stretched at least twice its original length and recovering to its original dimensions to be considered elastomeric. These coatings are in liquid form and applied using brushes, rollers, and high-end sprayers. Elastomeric roof coatings are a roof sealant that is applied to the entire roof, creating a seamless, monolithic layer, which creates a waterproof barrier.
Most elastomeric roof coatings come in white, adding reflective properties as well as meeting the Cool Roof requirement. Elastomeric coatings are also available in the color gray and can be used in cold weather climates to help provide heat savings. These coatings are designed to restore your existing roof while providing additional system warranties.
Types of Elastomeric Roof Coating:
Silicone Roof Coatings
Silicone roof coating is very resistant to UV radiation, reflecting up to 90% of UV rays. This means silicone-based coatings have great resistance to sun degradation, and high reflectivity, which allow them to meet the Cool Roof requirement. Due to their high solid content, they are very durable and flexible. Single-coat applications are often possible due to the high solid content, which reflects decreased labor costs and application time. Silicone roof coating is also more effective than other systems, such as acrylic roof coatings, at withstanding ponding water, making them a great choice for nearly all weather conditions.
An acrylic roof coating is a great choice for many roof systems. Due to the ease of application, it is also one of the most affordable options for restoring your roof. However, these coatings are water-based, meaning there are several limitations. The first of which and most important to consider is that they are not designed to withstand ponding water for very long and can become brittle and delaminate from the roof system. This means they should only be applied on roof systems with positive slopes, allowing for runoff. In addition, these coatings are unable to be applied in cold weather, unlike silicone coatings which are solvent-based and have a broader application window.
The most impact resistance of all the other elastomeric options. Urethane coatings are known for their exceptional adhesion, they can adhere to nearly all roof systems easily. They are also resistant to UV degradation and are highly reflective. These coatings are generally more difficult to apply, which can increase labor costs. Urethane roof coatings do not handle standing water well, so this coating is great for a steep-sloped roof.
Metal Roof Coatings
Aluminum roof coating is designed specifically to reflect the sun’s damaging UV rays to protect your roofing system from UV degradation and increase the roof’s life expectancy. The reflectivity properties also help insulate your entire roof by reducing the amount of heat that enters the roofing system. These coatings are easy to apply and typically installed by brush, roller, or airless spray. You can consider these coatings to be more of a roof enhancement as they provide no waterproofing properties.
Applying a Roof Coating
Proper surface preparation is imperative to the longevity of the roof system. If the surface is not prepared properly, the coating will not adhere to the roof. To paint a house, you must first wash the dirt off so the paint sticks. The same principle applies when you apply a roof coating. It will not last if the surface isn’t cleaned before application.
Benefits of Roof Coatings
Roof coatings are a great solution for limiting the environmental impact of waste. Coatings are designed to restore your current roofing system and extend the life of that system, which in turn, minimizes and in some cases eliminates the need to tear off the existing roof. Roof coatings reduce landfill waste and associated costs and there are many products available that save energy by meeting Cool Roof requirements. They also have low VOC content. Roof coatings with low VOC content have less pungent smells, so people inside the building aren’t inconvenienced by a bad smell when applied.
Rising material prices have heavily impacted the construction industry over the last year and people are looking to save money wherever they can. Roof coatings are a cost-effective way of restoring your roofing system and extending its life. Your typical roof replacement requires hours of tear-off and prep work before the new roofing system gets installed. By applying a roof coating, you can often eliminate the need for tear-off all together which will reflect lower labor costs, disposal fees, equipment costs, all while giving you a leak-free roof membrane, backed by your installer and the manufacturer.
A roofing system is most vulnerable in 3 areas: at the seams, flashings, and penetrations (such as vent pipes). By applying a roof coating to the entire roof surface, you seal all these vulnerabilities with a seamless membrane. If you ever need to repair, the coating can be added afterward to cover small cracks or penetrations to maintain the seamless application.
From a sustainability perspective, roof coating systems are designed to be renewable. What does that mean for you as a property owner/manager? It means that these systems can be serviced and maintained to ensure you get the most out of your roof coating system. Once the useful life of the roof coating has been reached, an additional layer can be applied to extend it further.
When completing roof maintenance or replacements, the biggest complaint we receive is about the disruptions their tenants or customers endure during the process. While Deer Park Roofing, Inc. strives to keep tidy worksites, roofing can still be loud and often requires machinery and dumpsters on-site that take up parking spots. Depending on the size of the roof, jobs could take weeks or months to complete. A great way to avoid the disruptions of a roof replacement is the use of a roof coating. The process is quicker and easier, allowing us to get in and out without interrupting normal business operations while the coating is being applied.