The fast majority of office buildings in the United States employ a flat roofing system, and for good reason. This durable roof structure allows businesses to save space and simplifies the process of making repairs (to a point). However, flat roofing systems also come with inherent challenges that can cost your company thousands of dollars if not addressed in a timely manner. This oh-so-important program of continued maintenance and repair can be difficult to manage, which is where a flat roof coating comes into use…
What are Roof Coatings?
Simply put, roof coatings form a small protective layer over your existing rooftop. The installation process is about as complex as spreading a couple coats of paint on your roof. Once spread over your roof, these coatings also work to mend small tears and punctures in the roofing material. On average, commercial-grade GAF flat roof coatings (or whatever brand you select) will last for approximately ten years.
Which Roof Coating is Best?
There are a wide variety of coating products available on the market, but most commercial consumers prefer an elastomeric roof coating. Sometimes called a cool roof coating, elastic coatings provide a number of cost-saving benefits for your commercial roofing system. There’s the restorative properties we mentioned that can repair minor degradation in your rooftop. More importantly, these roof coatings prevent additional damage from occurring, such as:
- Impact damage from debris and hail
- Moisture degradation from leaks
- Natural corrosion from sunlight, water, and rusting
- Weakened material strength from UV radiation
The rubberized nature of elastomeric coatings enable your roof to absorb much of the impact force of hail without taking any serious damage. If you’re looking for maximum impact absorption, an EPDM rubber roof coating might be ideal for your business. Just make sure to ask your local roofer if your current roofing system will require a special primer before having your flat roof coating installed.
When it comes to stronger waterproofing protection, silicone coatings act as a flat roof sealant for your building. If you’ve ever suffered a roof leak at home or at the office, you know how frustrating the resulting damage and expenses can be. Ponding (pooling) water is one of the biggest difficulties that flat roofs have to contend with. When you install a silicone coating however, you’ll notice a marked improvement in protection against leaks. Unlike many other coating materials, silicone doesn’t chalk after prolonged UV radiation exposure.
Which Roof Coatings Provide the Best Energy Efficiency?
Generally, the most reflective coatings will generate the best energy savings. This light reflection also protects your rooftop from ultraviolet radiation, which naturally degrades almost all forms of roofing. If you’re wondering which roof coatings do this best, you’ll have a few options to choose from:
- Urethane-Modified Acrylic
Acrylics provide excellent sunlight reflection and UV ray protection for a very affordable cost. While basic acrylic products don’t always perform well in circumstances with pooling water, they can be modified for stronger water-resistance. That’s where urethane-modified acrylics come in handy, as they feature stronger water and impact protection.
Polyurethane flat roof coatings are best known for their durability. They form a strong protective barrier against hail and other forms of impact trauma. Unlike other forms of coatings, polyurethanes endure foot traffic very well. White polyurethane products supply the best energy efficiency with increased sunlight reflection.
We’ve already talked about the benefits of silicone, so we’ll skip to a couple of frequently asked questions that relate to energy efficiency.
Does a White Roof Reflect Heat?
Yes! In the majority of cases, white roofing will reflect a higher percentage of sunlight. As a result, less heat penetrates the rooftop to impact the conditioned air in the building interior. By extension, rooms cool in shorter times, HVAC units can turn off sooner, and less energy is spent cooling the building. Of course, a fully functional cooling and heating system will also conserve energy and save you money. Don’t use a roof coating as an excuse to put off your American Standard gas furnace repair (or whatever hardware maintenance your building needs).
Can Elastomeric Roof Coatings Be Tinted?
Yes! In fact, many businesses like to have their roof coating tinted to another color besides white (for style purposes). This is great for rooftops whose color has faded from prolonged UV ray exposure. If you choose to have your flat roof coating tinted, it’s generally recommended to stick with a lighter color and retain your energy-saving benefits.
Schedule Your Flat Roof Coating Today!
If your company’s rooftop is in need of a restorative coating, talk with one of our courteous roofers at Great Lakes Commercial Roofing! We’d be happy to provide you with more information about selecting a coating product and how long installation may take for your roof. Give us a call today at 412-256-8050.