Commercial Roof Coatings: Types & Purposes
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Commercial Roof Coatings: Types & Purposes

view of building's commercial roof

As a commercial property owner, you’re always looking for ways to save time and money to help your business operations thrive. When you’re experiencing roof issues, you may feel stressed or frustrated thinking about the significant monetary investment it takes to replace a large-scale commercial roof.

But there’s good news! Let us introduce commercial roof coatings.

Commercial roof coatings are taking the industry by storm because they’re a much more affordable, quick, and accessible way to prolong the life of your commercial roof compared to a full roof replacement.

Curious? Need commercial roofing solutions? Read on to learn everything you need to know about roof coatings.

What Is the Purpose of Commercial Roof Coatings?

So, why should you get a commercial roof coating? What’s the point? If your roof is in rough shape, shouldn’t you just get a new one?

Lots of questions. But we have the answers!

The purpose of a commercial roof coating is to increase the lifespan of your roof and improve its overall performance. Coatings are pretty magical, as they’re either sprayed or rolled over your existing roofing material. Since roof coatings are “monolithic,” they don’t have any seams, and they essentially rehydrate and re-adhere your roof together. Since coatings are one continuous self-adhering membrane, you won’t have to worry about installing special flashing around pipes or other vents.

A professional roof coating eliminates leaks and reflects UV rays to keep the building cool. A successful installation can last an impressive 10-20 years, meaning you get more money back in your pocket and fewer worries about leaks.

While roof coatings are a great solution for many commercial roofs, they likely aren’t the answer for roofs that have extreme damage. A professional roofing contractor will be able to lend their advice and let you know if you’re a candidate for a roof coating or if you need a full roof replacement.

The Benefits of Roof Coatings

Roof coatings are quickly growing in popularity because there’s a lot to love about them. They offer a whole slew of benefits, not only for business owners and property managers but also for the tenants and employees inside the buildings each day. Some of the many benefits include:

  • More Affordable Than a Roof Replacement: Full roof replacements can be quite expensive, especially on large-scale commercial buildings like industrial properties, resorts, or shopping malls. A commercial roof coating costs less upfront than a full re-roof.
  • Extend Your Roof’s Life: With a roof coating, you not only get to avoid the cost of a full roof replacement, but you also get to wait decades before needing one. Coatings help extend the life of existing roofs by rehydrating them, sealing seams, and reflecting UV rays.
  • Helps Cool Down Buildings: Roof coatings are known for successfully reflecting damaging UV rays, which cools down buildings. Not only does this mean you’ll enjoy lower potential savings on your energy costs, but your building will be much more comfortable. Something we frequently hear from our customers is how much more comfortable their employees or tenants are after a coating.
  • Increased Aesthetics: A roof coating offers the same aesthetic benefits as a fresh coat of paint. Your commercial property will enjoy a seamless, clean roof that looks as good as new. This helps boost curb appeal and property value.
  • Eco-Friendly & Reduced Waste: Many consumers make their buying decisions based on environmental impact. Roof coatings are a sustainable product that contains no volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Since the material extends the life of your existing roof, you avoid an unnecessary tear-off and disposal of old materials— doing your part not to contribute necessary waste to landfills.
  • No More Leaks: Roof leaks have to be one of the most annoying things to deal with as a business owner. Thankfully, roof leaks become very rare after roof coatings. They may still pop up every now and then over the years, but it’s rare!
  • Easy Installation Process: Roof coatings are easy for contractors to install, so you can get the roof service you need without interrupting your daily business operations. They’re also much quicker to apply compared to full roof replacements!

What’s not to love?

The 4 Types of Commercial Roof Coatings

Commercial roof coatings aren’t one size fits all. In fact, there are many different types of roof coating materials to fulfill different uses and application requirements. The main types of roof coating materials are:

  • Acrylic
  • Silicone
  • Polyurethane
  • Asphalt rubber membrane

Keep in mind that these aren’t the only roof coating options, but they are some of the most common ones.

1) Acrylic

Acrylic coatings are very popular, and they can be applied to single-ply and metal roofing systems. This material was originally developed to provide UV protection for spray foam roofs, and UV protection is definitely where it continues to stand out.

These coatings have been proven to reduce surface temperatures by as much as 20 degrees Fahrenheit! This is a massive benefit for people working in labor-intensive industrial applications.

Additionally, acrylic-based coatings are very weather resistant. They’re very flexible and provide impressive resistance to hail damage.

These coatings do best in regions with lower humidity levels and warm temperatures. (They don’t thrive in cold weather or high humidity.) They also can’t withstand ponding water.

Overall, 100% acrylic roof coatings are an economical choice and a wise investment for many property owners.

2) Silicone

Coming in as the most elastic roof coating material, we have silicone! 100% silicone coatings are very malleable and adhere wonderfully to existing roof surfaces. Thanks to their elasticity, they rarely grow brittle or stiff, which allows them to provide great weather resistance.

While other coating materials can’t withstand ponding water, silicone does the best job of handling it long-term. It also successfully provides UV protection to cool down buildings and reduce energy costs. This is a better coating option for regions with high humidity levels.

Silicone is a little pricier than other coating materials and can hold onto dirt on the surface. But even with these considerations in mind, it still remains a very popular roof coating material.

3) Polyurethane

Originally developed specifically for spray foam roofs, polyurethane roof coatings are now used as a coating solution for a wide range of roofing membranes. Polyurethane shines in the impact resistance category. It does the best at standing up to impact-related weather and foot traffic, so it’s great for rooftops that see a lot of visitors.

Typically, polyurethane coatings are applied in two parts:

  • Aromatic Coating: The aromatic coating is the base coat material. It’s incredibly durable but doesn’t offer great UV resistance. So that’s where the next layer comes in…
  • Aliphatic Coating: The aliphatic coating is the top coat, and it’s very UV resistant. It also remains clean and holds its color.

Polyurethane also does a great job of protecting the original roofing material from mildew and chemical exposure.

4) Asphalt Rubber Membrane

Asphalt rubber membrane roof coatings are sometimes better known by their longer and more formal name… “fluid-applied asphaltic rubber membrane system.” Say that ten times fast.

Essentially, asphaltic rubber membranes can be installed with a spray application. They were originally developed as an affordable option for extending the life of commercial roofs and executing repairs to help roofs maintain their integrity.

The fluid asphaltic rubber material has all the elasticity of rubber with the waterproof nature of emulsified asphalt. These coatings are also monolithic with no seams and dry into a rubber-like membrane that stands up to weather impacts.

The waterproof benefits take effect immediately, so you can start enjoying a better-performing roof right away.

The Difference Between Roof Replacements & Coatings

If a roof coating helps your roof last another 10-20 years, what’s the real difference between that and a roof replacement?

Essentially, a roof replacement or re-roof involves completely removing the existing roofing materials. A roofing crew will strip your roof of the existing materials down to the roof deck. If your roof deck is rotten, they’ll replace it along with the felt underlayment (or “ice and water shield”). Lastly, they’ll secure brand a brand new roof membrane on top.

Commercial roof coatings allow you to leave your existing roof in place. Instead of ripping everything up and replacing it, a new layer is sprayed or rolled over the top of your existing roof to add a new layer of protection.

How Much Do Commercial Roof Coatings Cost?

We keep talking about how much more affordable roof coatings are compared to total roof replacements. But by how much exactly? Well, on average, roof coatings cost between $2-$6 per square foot, depending on the material used and your location.

For comparison, a TPO roof replacement starts at $4-$10 per square foot, on average.

How to Choose a Reliable Roof Coating Contractor

So, you’re feeling convinced that you’d like to try out a roof coating, but you’re not sure where to start. Considering how many business owners get let down but unreliable roofing contractors, we don’t blame you. Follow these tips to find a trustworthy local roofing contractor that can handle a commercial roof coating installation:

  • Good Online Reviews: Unbiased, third-party reviews hold a lot of weight when it comes to choosing a good commercial roof contractor. Don’t automatically write off a company if they have one or two poor reviews. Instead, see if and how the company replied to the review. If they did everything they could to make the situation right, that speaks volumes. However, if a company has a large handful of poor reviews, you may want to focus elsewhere.
  • Has a Local Office: Working with a local contractor is hugely important to keep the project on track. Make sure the roofing company is locally based. It’s even better if they have a physical office location and local phone number!
  • Plenty of Experience: Even though everyone has to start somewhere, it’s better for your peace of mind to work with a roofing company that has plenty of experience. Even if the company is new, find out how many years of industry experience the staff has. A good general rule is to work with a company that’s been in business for at least as long as the warranty they offer.
  • Consistent Communication: Working with an unresponsive contractor is frustrating for everyone. Take note of how each company communicates when you call around for estimates. If one takes days to return your call or email you the project proposal, you’re definitely better off working with a company that offers prompt and reliable communication.

Central Florida’s #1 Commercial Roof Coating Contractor

We hope this ultimate guide to roof coatings helped you understand more about the service and if it’s the right choice for your property. If you’re located in Central Florida, get in touch with Trust Roofing to get started with your roof coating project.

As the highest-rated commercial roofer in the area and with over four decades of experience, you can rely on us to get the job done right. Talk to you soon!

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