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Over the longer term, it makes sense to plan a re-coating schedule that calls for a new coating every eight to 12 years, one expert says. "Don't wait for it to start cracking and peeling." He adds that many roofs can be re-coated for the service life of a building. "As long as the base coating is solidly attached, the next coat can be applied and will look good."
While applying a roof coating should be less expensive than re-roofing, that doesn't mean it makes sense to go as cheaply as possible. Before considering a low-cost operator, find out why the company is able to offer a lower cost, another expert advises.
"How was their competitive advantage derived?" he says. If it's simply from using an inferior product, it's probably not worth it. An inexpensive coating that lasts a fraction of the time or requires more applications than other coatings likely will end up costing more time, money, and aggravation overall.
"There are differences among producers regarding the suggested coverage rate of their coatings," says another manufacturer representative. "This factors into cost of material as well as, more importantly, the cost of labor." A less expensive coating may not have the hiding power of a higher quality coating, and so will require multiple coats. And lower-quality resins may be quicker to crack or lose their adhesive properties, so that the coating erodes more rapidly.
"The cost of labor is the largest component of cost in construction," the manufacturer rep says. It doesn't make sense to spend less on a product that is lower quality only to have to recoat the roof more frequently — which boosts labor costs. "Over time this is more costly to the building owner," he adds.
Many local code authorities require roof coatings to meet ASTM standards for such attributes as tensile strength and permeability, as well as fire resistance. But that's not the case everywhere.