Four Common Commercial Flat Roof Coating Materials We Work With
While single-ply membrane roofing like PVC and TPO or EPDM and modified bitumen "rubber roofing" are some of the most popular roofing systems for new commercial roof installations today, they're not the only options available. If you have an aging roof on an existing commercial building, none of these materials may be quite the right—or most cost-effective—fit compared to flat roof coating products, aka fluid-applied roofing.
Whether designated as "elastomeric" in nature or not, roof coatings can be made from a range of materials. All are capable of stopping roof leaks, adding energy savings, and revitalizing your current roof without the need for a disruptive total tear-off and reinstallation project. And some coatings are even appropriate for new roofing installations.
Acrylic Roof Coatings
Acrylic materials were some of the first used in roof coatings. This is why some commercial roofers still refer only to acrylic coatings as elastomeric roof coatings, barring all other product types. Acrylic coatings are incredibly durable. However, scientific advances have made alternative materials in the market somewhat more popular. Acrylic roof coatings usually require a primer, fabric reinforcement, and two coats of the material.
Silicone Roof Coatings
Silicone as a material has long been used as a sealant in many industries to fill gaps between other materials. This polymer is made to stretch without breaking—called elongation—to the tune of about 200-250%. Silicone roof coatings are highly reflective and can offer building owners and managers significant energy savings. Silicone roof coatings can also often be applied in a single coat for maximum convenience.
Polyurethane Roof Coatings
Also known as spray polyurethane foam (SPF) roofing, this type of material might be used either as a coating or original roofing type, depending on its application. Polyurethane is extremely durable and can offer some added insulation value to your roof. It's not as reflective as some other flat roof coating options out of the box, but it may stand up to ponding water a bit better than silicone and acrylic materials.
Butyl Roof Coatings
Butyl polymers are solvent-based synthetic rubber materials with excellent elongation and tensile strength properties. Butyl is non-acrylic, which throws its definition as an elastomer into question for some roofing industry professionals who only call acrylics elastomeric. The benefits of butyl coatings include excellent reflectivity against UV light (aka the sun's rays) and exceptional performance as a vapor barrier.