How often do you need to seal your flat roof?

commercial flat roof with a white flat roof coating

Protecting Your Building’s Roof

In Pennsylvania, the weather gets brutally cold and wet, which takes a toll on commercial roofing. With that in mind, owners of commercial structures must choose a roofing material that can withstand the weather and provide a long lifespan. This is the area where winter weather can shorten the life of almost anything, especially a flat roof. 

Understanding Flat Roof Coatings

Today, we’re going to discuss flat roof coating and answer some commonly asked questions. It may seem like an added expense, but a properly applied flat roof coating is both a money and a time saver. 

Why should I coat my flat roof, are there benefits?

The biggest benefit is flat roof coating for ponding water problems. A flat roof coating will help minimize and prevent water leaking when it does pond because the drains are clogged. Other benefits that flat roof coating provide when it is properly applied include:

  • Flat roof coating extends the lifespan of the roof by reducing the heat transfer to the building’s interior during the summer. Reapply flat roof coating every five years will extend the life another 10 years. 
  • Flat roof coating reduces the thermal shock with temperature variations that cause random contraction and expansion of the original roofing membrane. This keeps the membrane from wearing out faster. 
  • Flat roof coating can reduce energy costs as it reflects the UV rays by 80% on average.
  • Flat roof coating can be applied during business hours without any effect on business, employees, or customers.
  • A flat roof coating will reduce maintenance costs.

What is the best coating for a flat roof?

Today’s technology has created advances in flat roof coating options. It is easier now to coat a commercial flat roof with any of these materials: 

  • EPDM – A single-ply product makes this easy to apply. A synthetic rubber provides a vapor barrier and the EPDM helps with making joints. This flat roof coating will last for years. 
  • Chlorosulfonated Polyethylene – A synthetic rubber flat roof coating that allows the contractor to heat the joints, making it easier to combine separate parts in one sheet.
  • Cold Liquid Application – This flat roof coating is composed of different, fast curing materials that can be applied any time, with the exception of a snow covered roof. 
  • PVC Roof Coating – This flat roof coating has variations between manufacturers, but is increasing in popularity, giving EPDM flat roof coating a run for its money. 
  • Silicone Coating – The main strength of this flat roof coating is its non-organic nature. It’s a more durable option with a distinctive, glossy white appearance, which also makes it better from an aesthetic standpoint. 

How do you apply a coating on a flat roof?

Once a flat roof has been inspected and damages repaired, the roof should be thoroughly cleaned then allowed to dry completely. Most flat roof coating materials are applied by large brushes or rollers. Now, for a question – do commercial building owners use flat roof sealants for leaks?

Yes – often the reason a commercial building owner will request a flat roof coating is to stop small leaks. A professional roofing contractor will typically recommend an elastomeric flat roof coating so that the rubber-like properties will contract and expand with the temperature changes and the original roofing surface. This flat roof coating will seal up any small cracks, holes, or split seams so that any chances of leaking are minimized. .

How often should you coat a flat roof?

To maintain the original roof’s integrity and extend its life, a flat roof coating is recommended about every five years. If monthly inspection finds any issues, a new flat roof coating may be needed sooner. This is usually caused by various extreme weather conditions. 

How do you seal an old flat roof?

If the goal is to avoid a new roof for a little longer by applying a flat roof coating, any asphalt patches and silicone caulking should be totally removed. The patches and seams should be refilled with roofing caulk then self-adhesive. Next, butyl roofing tape should be applied to any seam or tear that the caulk can’t mend. Once this is all in place, the flat roof coating can be applied.

Can metal be used on a flat roof? Can you coat metal?

Yes, metal roofing is used with success, especially aluminum roofing for coastal regions, which is cheaper than copper or zinc choices. Steel is the most affordable of metal materials used on commercial structures with flat roofing or sloped roofing. It also offers great benefits when it comes to durability and energy efficiency, along with being environmentally friendly with its recyclability. The benefits of metal roofing can be extended even further with the application of a flat roof coating. 

worker applying a flat roof coating

In Closing 

Flat roof coating will extend the life of your commercial structure’s roof, and so will monthly inspections performed by you or your staff and annual inspections by a professional roofing contractor that knows flat roofing. Commercial building maintenance is a must for protecting your property and the contents inside, as well as the safety of your employees, customers, and visitors.