The Benefits and Challenges of Roof Coatings

  August 13, 2012

I'm Steve Schuster, associate editor of Maintenance Solutions magazine. Today's topic discusses roof coatings.

Roof coatings are not a cure-all that will correct every roofing problem managers encounter, or effectively prolong the life of every existing roof system. But when properly designed, applied and maintained, they are the ticket to sustaining an existing roofing asset and benefiting bottom line. Consider the benefits:

Increased roof life. Workers can repair, coat and restore moderately aged roofs to a maintainable condition. They can even restore roofs that have been leaking if the amount of wet insulation is relatively low and they can identify, remove and patch the affected areas before coating.

With careful monitoring and timely performance of remedial work, the roof might be a candidate for subsequent re-coating projects to further extend the roof's life. Finally, reflective coatings can slow the affects of ultraviolet (UV) and heat aging of roofing membranes by reducing rooftop temperatures.

Reduced construction debris. Recent estimates indicate roofing projects generate 40 percent of construction waste entering landfills. When workers apply a roof coating at the proper time in a roof's life cycle, it can delay the need for costly replacement, as well as prevent the need to tear off and dispose of the old insulation and roofing membrane.

Reduced energy use. The reflective and emissive properties of many coatings result in decreased roof temperatures and energy use requirements during daytime hours, reducing the load on the HVAC system.

Increased employee comfort. Unconditioned spaces can experience a reduction in temperature.

Aesthetic improvements. Rather than replacing an unsightly, aging roof for aesthetic purposes, managers can improve the appearance of a roof that is visible from the ground or adjacent buildings through the application of a coating.


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