roof coating

Do Roof Coatings Work: Solutions for Commercial Buildings



Do roof coatings work on a commercial building? Building owners may be rightfully hesitant to make the investment if they aren’t sure how effective the coatings actually are. We’re here to inform you what kind of roof coatings there are, how they protect your building, and whether they save you money in the end.

Will Roof Coating Work on Your Roof?

Consider the type of roof you need on your building to work with a roof coating. Only when your roof has a slope of ¼” per foot or more, doesn’t use scuppers for primary drainage, has an edge-mounted gutter or interior drains, and has no ponding water, will it be eligible to work with most roof coatings. There are a few different types of coatings which we will further detail below.

Waterproof Coating

When dealing with a flat roof, waterproofing coatings can help extend the life of your roof under certain circumstances. It’s important to note that many roof coatings sold in stores are actually only reflective and not waterproof at all, despite how they are advertised. Check the tech data sheets to be sure before purchasing one. If your coating is in fact both waterproof and reflective then it will save you a bundle since you won’t have to continuously fix the ponding water issue.

reflective coating

Reflective Coating

Reflective coating will extend the life of your roof and reduce energy costs by lowering heat transfer into your building. Roof coating manufacturers can estimate your savings dependent on your location, cost of electricity, and insulation with computer programs they have. You can apply a white coating or an aluminum one used with asphalt via spray, roller, or brush. Remember that actual roofing contractors can provide you with a quality job that will prove both reflective and waterproof.

Silicone Roof Coatings

Some solvent based coatings, such as silicone roof coatings, are better for the environment due to their minimal VOC levels. They are able to resist leaks better, and can be applied in colder weather, but they aren’t breathable. This means any moisture stuck within the existing roofing system can’t escape, eventually causing blisters on the roof. These can then rupture and allow bulk water to enter the existing roof assembly and building. Also, silicone is resistant to roofing materials sticking to its surface once the applied substrate finishes curing. Silicone roof coatings are however advertised as moisture curing, UV resistant, and non-chalking. They are the easiest to install, keep a cool roof, and last on average ten years. After this time has elapsed you can just respray over the current coating and it will last another decade. Therefore, a silicone roof coating will prove cost efficient since it’s quick and easy.

Acrylic Roof Coatings

Elastomeric roof coatings, which are made of an acrylic base, are quite strong and able to withstand foot traffic, despite popular belief. They are dense, durable, and flexible. They cannot, however, withstand ponding water, and emulsify, making a hole in the spray polyurethane foam used to level the area by redirecting water flow to exit points. You can then re-apply the coating in these areas if the weather is right at the time and the area hasn’t become too wet to fix the problem. Once the spray cures adding the coating over it will provide further protection against water penetration and make this area on level with the rest of the surrounding roof. Another positive about the elastomeric coatings is that they are fully capable of surviving extreme weather. Ice, rain, snow, wind, and extreme heat don’t stand a chance against these coatings and they’ve been known to outdo some serious hurricane-force winds and debris in the Gulf Coast. Acrylic coatings may last longer and withstand more than a silicone coating, thus saving you money over a longer period of time.

metal roof

Metal Roofs

What if you have a rusted metal roof? It can in fact be coated after the rust has been addressed. If the roof is “red rust” the rust has to be removed or treated with a corrosion inhibiting primer and the rusted fasteners should also be treated or replaced. If the roof is “white rust”, which means it’s made of aluminum or zinc, you can coat it once it’s been cleaned.

Upkeep on your Roof Coating

It’s important to inspect your roof twice a year or after high winds/a major storm. In order to maintain your coating you should apply additional coating to any area with damage, including the underlying substrate. Be sure to check the manufacturer’s warranty to see what requirements the warranty program may have.

All in all, the best roof to apply a coating system to is one that’s in good condition with: a dry roof substrate, a low-slope, good drainage, and a great location with warm weather. This allows for the existing substrate to dry out when it has been wet. You also don’t want heavy dust from industrial areas or leaves from nearby trees to coat your roof. If your roof doesn’t meet these qualifications, then a total roof replacement is your best bet. Pro Painters is happy to apply our roof coating system to a solid roof at your business. We have you covered for any of your commercial painting desires so reach out to us today!