Roof Coatings

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Coatings generally look similar to paint, however, they are applied much thicker and utilize fiber reinforcement at corners and detail. These products are usually applied by rolling or spraying on the surface. Roof coatings have additional chemicals that make them elastic, meaning as your building and roof product move, the coating can stretch without breaking. Roof coatings are becoming increasingly popular as there are more manufacturers and the technology is improving.

Roof coatings are a less expensive way to repair or recover a roof. Metal roof seams and rust can be coated instead of replacing all panels. Modified bitumen, EPDM and TPO roofs can be coated to prevent leaks, after a proper inspection and the use of the correct products. As technology has increased, there are different coatings for each surface. Most coatings require a product-specific primer before final application. Property owners should consult their tax accountant for possible tax savings when the coating is treated as a repair.

Roof coatings are highly reflective products that can reduce your energy and air conditioning costs. Significant savings can be had by applying over a dark EPDM or smooth modified bitumen roof. On a hot summer day, roof temperatures can be well over 100 degrees, but coated roofs can be under 100.

Uses:

  • Surfacing – Commonly used as a surfacing due to granule loss or to add reflectivity to a dark roof.
  • Leak Repair & Maintenance – Increasingly being used in field roof repairs. They can be used for seams and holes in a metal roof. They can also be used on EPDM roofs that have deteriorated and have numerous small holes. As TPO roofs deteriorate, the surface thins. Coatings can extend the useful life by adding surface coating to thin areas.
  • Roof system – Coatings can be applied as a complete and fully-warranted roof system. This usually requires multiple coatings and a polyester fabric at penetrations and seams.

Precautions:

  • Skill – Seemingly easy to apply, many mistakes can be made by an untrained hand. A coating is a roofing membrane intended to protect the interior from water and a small mistake can lead to a large loss. A professional should be consulted for the right product and use.
  • Repairs – Different roof materials require different treatments and coating products. The repair made on your roof may not be proper if a random coating is applied. Having a roofer who is knowledgeable about product compatibility is paramount to your coating project.
  • Considered A Roof – International Building Code says the roof must be removed if 2 or more roofs of any type exist. Though a coating is light weight, it may be interpreted to be a second roof system. After hail or other causes, the roof may have to be removed to the deck because it is considered a second roof. Documentation should be maintained to clarify if the coating was applied as a surfacing or roof system.
  • Ponding – Most coatings do not perform in standing water. The coating will release leaving the underlying surface exposed.
  • Shingles – The NRCA does not recommend applying coatings to shingle roofs due to the inconsistent surface and space between shingles. This can allow moisture to build up from condensation and other causes.

Repairs are tax deductible the same year, while improvements must be amortized. This means your coating as a repair to your roof may be deductible in full in the same year.

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