Roof coatings, most often used on commercial buildings, can be a great investment for the property owner to make when hoping to keep labor costs low and be more environmentally conscious. Although there are many benefits of roof coatings, there are several core benefits that make it well worth the consideration. One of the main benefits of roof coatings is that they act as a barrier to help protect the roof from natural elements like sun rays by increasing UV protection and helping to reduce the building’s overall energy costs. Another benefit is they limit the expansion and contraction cycles that can lead to premature failure of the underlying membrane in maintenance applications. Roof coatings are also water-resistant, however, some coating materials are better than others when it comes to preventing pooling water. Lastly, roof coatings can be a cost-effective option when compared to a full roof replacement. To help you determine which roof coating material will work best for your next commercial roofing project, below is our pros and cons list of common types of roof coatings. 

 

Acrylic Roof Coatings

Acrylic roof coatings are often a popular choice when working with sloped metal roofs. However, they can also be a good solution for a variety of conventional flat roof substrates including EPDM, modified bitumen, built-up roofs, single-ply, and spray polyurethane foam.

Pros: 

  • Cost-Effective – generally less expensive, yet just as durable.
  • UV Protection – highly reflective and UV resistant, which helps to decrease energy costs.
  • Easy to Install – easy to work with and install, thus helping to decrease labor costs. 

Cons:

  • Pooling Water – prone to puddling water, which is why acrylic is most commonly used on sloped roofs. 
  • Cold Temperature – more susceptible to freezing in colder temperatures.
  • Loss of Mil Thickness – tends to lose mil thickness over time due to constant weathering and exposure to the elements.

Urethane/Polyurethane Roof Coatings

Urethane roof coatings, also known as polyurethane roof coatings, are among the strongest and most durable elastomeric coatings available. Urethane/Polyurethane is most commonly used for sprayed-in-place polyurethane foam insulation. However, it is also used with other commercial roofing substrates including single-ply, modified bitumen, smooth/gravel BUR, EPDM, and concrete roof decks.

Pros:

  • Durability & Flexibility – incredibly durable and flexible monolithic membrane layer resulting in it being more impact-resistant and ideal for high-traffic roof areas.
  • Adhesion Qualities – fully adheres to most conventional commercial roofing substrates.
  • UV Stability – highly reflective and UV stable, which can help to reduce energy costs.

Cons: 

  • Produces a Strong Odor – emits a strong, xylene-based odor. 
  • Challenging to Spray – challenging to spray and difficult on hydraulic spray equipment. 
  • Shorter Shelf Life – constantly needs to be cured – even in the pail.

Silicone Roof Coatings

Silicone roof coatings are arguably the most popular chemistry type in the roof restoration industry. They are a great solution for restoring and protecting a wide variety of commercial roofing substrates including metal, single-ply, modified bitumen, EPDM, TPO, concrete roof decks, built-up roofs, and spray polyurethane foam. Below are the main silicone roof coating pros and cons.

Pros:

  • UV Protection – can reflect up to 80-90% of the sun’s harmful UV rays helping to lower energy costs. 
  • Flexibility & Weatherability – capable of withstanding wind-driven sand, oxidation, and extreme temperatures. 
  • High Solids Content – less material is needed during application to achieve the desired dry mil thickness, making it more cost effective.
  • Environmentally Safe – solvent-free and contains extremely low volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Most also exceed all state-regulated material safety standards.

Cons: 

  • Attracts Dirt – easily attracts dirt and other airborne dust particles causing the system to slowly lose its reflective properties.
  • Challenging to Spray – can be difficult on hydraulic spray equipment. 
  • Slippery When Wet – silicone coatings make surfaces very slippery when water is present.

We hope that the above has helped answer the common roof coating debate of acrylic vs silicone roof coating, as well as given you a better understanding of urethane/polyurethane, an alternative coating type. If you have any additional questions or are interested in getting a roof coating estimate for your commercial building in San Diego County, don’t hesitate to reach out to RT Roofing Specialist. We look forward to working with you!