Plan Re-Coating Schedule To Help Maintain Roof

OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: Roof Coatings Can Protect Environment, Help Maintain Operating And Capital BudgetsPt. 2: Solvent-based, Water-based Roof Coatings Have Pros And ConsPt. 3: This Page

Over the longer term, it makes sense to plan a re-coating schedule that calls for a new coating every eight to 12 years, Sosinski 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, Blank advises.

"How was their competitive advantage derived?" Blake 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," Ripps says. "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," Ripps 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, Meyer says. But that's not the case everywhere. "The sad reality is that all areas have not adopted the building codes. There are several companies that sell roof coatings without any credentials, only on price or their specification," he adds.

The moral? "Do your homework, buy from a reputable company, and make sure the building envelope is safe," Meyer advises.

When you do, you are more likely to obtain the financial and environmental benefits that roof coatings can offer. As Sosinski notes, in the past, a building with a 60-year life span typically would go through three or four roofs.

"If you can, with roof coating, cut that to two, the building owner saves money and also reduces the amount of roofing debris being sent to the landfill," he says.

Even though they're continually exposed to the elements, "roofs are one of the most neglected parts of a building, but one of the most primary," Sosinski adds. The right roof coatings, properly applied, can be a cost effective way to extend the life of the roofing system.

About RCMA

The Roof Coatings Manufacturers Association (RCMA), based in Washington, DC, is a national trade association for the manufacturers of asphaltic and solar reflective roof coatings, as well as companies that supply the roof coating industry. Its mission is to advance, promote and expand the market for roof coatings through education, advocacy and technical advances.

For instance, earlier this year, the RCMA hosted a webinar on volatile organic compound (VOC) regulations affecting the industry. Also this year, the RCMA arranged a Government Affairs Fly-In, allowing member companies the opportunity to meet with members of Congress.

Although roof coating technology continues to advance, the use of coatings as a way of protecting buildings dates to at least 3000 BC, the RCMA says. That's when Egyptians began applying varnishes and enamels made of beeswax, gelatin and clay to waterproof their wooden boats.

Across the globe, Asian cultures in the second century BC also were using lacquers and varnishes to cover buildings, artwork and furnishings. Similarly, the early Greeks and Romans used paints and varnishes to protect their buildings and ships.

The progress has continued. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, for instance, scientists developed a number of new organic, inorganic and synthetic materials for use in coatings, binders and solvents. And the past 40 years saw the development of polymers.

More than three-quarters of current RCMA member companies are owned by family members or employees, with two-thirds having fewer than 250 employees.

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  posted on 10/30/2013   Article Use Policy

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