Do Roof Coatings Really Work?

Roof maintenance is important for protecting the asset that is most essential for keeping tenants dry and preventing water intrusion from above. An important component of this asset management strategy is regular roofing replacement.

But unexpected problems often arise. What if an 8- or 10-year-old roof starts leaking but is not budgeted for replacement for several years? What if rising costs for heating and cooling a building have become a more important consideration?

Is it a Viable Option?

In both cases a roof coating might be a viable solution provided the existing roofing system is a good candidate for a roof coating, the maintenance service provider specifies an appropriate coating, and workers install the coating properly.

Evaluating roof coatings for use on existing roofing is similar to evaluating replacement roofs for a particular building, construction type, climate, and other special considerations. Owners and Managers need to fully research coatings and carefully choose the most appropriate product.

Are all Roof Coatings Compatible with my Roof?

No, not all roof coatings are compatible with all roofing products.  Applying a coating might not correct many types of roof problems. Understanding roof coating options and application requirements can help managers avoid the most common problems that undermine the investment of time and money.

Determine a Purpose

The first question a manager should ask is, “What is the primary purpose for a roof coating on this building?”

If the primary purpose is to provide limited solar protection for the roof surface or to add to the potential service life of the existing roof, owners and managers have many product choices.

If the primary purpose is to provide maximum solar protection for an existing roof, a highly reflective white roof coating is required, and the choices are somewhat limited.

If waterproofing and or leak repair is also a goal, then a monolithic waterproof coating, such as a urethane or a combination of products, is a more appropriate selection.

Looking to Save Energy?

Finally, if the primary purpose is to save energy or comply with energy codes, a highly reflective surface is essential, and a manager might add a sprayed polyurethane foam (SPF) to the assembly.

Once owners and managers have established goals for the project, they can further narrow their product choices by evaluating existing building and examining product characteristics.

Managers should consult with a technical representative, read manufacturer recommendations, and ensure the contractor follows recommended practices for all coating applications.

Posted in NIR Blog.