The Power of Roof Coatings: Enhancing Energy Efficiency, Sustainability, and Property Value for Commercial Buildings

For any commercial building, the roof is a lot more than just a covering to keep the elements out, explains Roper Roofing & Solar. It is an essential element in protecting assets and maintaining operations. Even the most minor damage can lead to massive losses. This is why safeguarding commercial roofs with roof coating is highly important. 

Commercial buildings are home to valuable assets, equipment, and inventory, making it essential to shield them from potential harm, such as water leaks and structural damage. Additionally, a properly maintained roof contributes to the overall safety of the building, ensuring the well-being of its occupants by preventing accidents. Furthermore, routine maintenance plays a crucial role in early issue detection and resolution, preventing costly repairs and minimizing the risk of business interruptions.

What is Roof Coating

Roof coatings are a lesser-known aspect of roofing structures, often leaving people unaware of their protective benefits. These coatings are applied as an extra layer on the roof's surface, enhancing its longevity, performance, and resilience. Acting as a shield, they protect against a range of environmental factors, including UV rays, temperature changes, moisture, and chemicals. By fortifying the roof, these coatings play a vital role in safeguarding its integrity and durability.

Roof coatings are liquid-applied membranes that can be sprayed, rolled, or brushed onto the surface of a roof. These coatings are typically made from materials like acrylic, silicone, polyurethane, or asphalt emulsion. Once applied, the coatings undergo a curing process, creating a seamless, protective layer covering the entire roof surface. This layer acts as a barrier, shielding the roof from external elements and contributing to its durability and longevity.

Why is Roof Coating so Important? 

Roof coating plays a pivotal role in protecting commercial roofs from various environmental factors. By providing a robust layer of defense, these coatings act as barriers against detrimental elements such as UV rays, extreme temperatures, moisture, and more. Their primary purpose is to extend the lifespan of commercial roofs, enhance their durability, and minimize the risk of leaks and structural damage. Moreover, roof coatings contribute to improved energy efficiency, cost savings, and an aesthetically pleasing appearance, making them an indispensable component of a comprehensive roof maintenance strategy.

Common Types of Roof Coatings

Several types of roof coatings are available, each offering distinct qualities and benefits tailored to specific needs:

  • Acrylic Roof Coatings: Acrylic coatings are popular due to their affordability, ease of application, and versatility. These water-based coatings have low VOC content, making them environmentally friendly. They provide excellent UV resistance and come in various colors. Acrylic coatings are suitable for a range of roof substrates, including metal, single-ply membranes, and modified bitumen. Their versatility allows for widespread usage in both commercial and residential applications, regardless of whether the roof is new or existing.
  • Silicone Roof Coatings: Silicone coatings are renowned for their exceptional durability and UV resistance. They effectively withstand temperature fluctuations and provide reliable waterproofing. Silicone coatings cure ambient humidity and are commonly used on flat roofs. They exhibit remarkable weather ability and flexibility over time, making them ideal for roofs exposed to high UV levels or extreme temperature variations. Silicone coatings are compatible with various substrates, such as metal, single-ply membranes, and built-up roofs.
  • Polyurethane Roof Coatings: Polyurethane coatings offer superior durability and chemical resistance, making them ideal for roofs in harsh environments. They provide excellent waterproofing properties and can be applied to diverse substrates, including metal, concrete, and spray foam. Polyurethane coatings are available in aromatic and aliphatic formulations. While aromatic polyurethane coatings are cost-effective, they may experience color fading over time. On the other hand, aliphatic formulations offer better color retention and UV resistance. Polyurethane coatings are commonly utilized in commercial and industrial settings.
  • Asphalt Emulsion Roof Coatings: Asphalt emulsion coatings are cost-effective and water-based. Composed of asphalt, water, and emulsifiers, they provide reliable waterproofing properties. These coatings are typically applied to asphalt-based roofs, including built-up roofs and modified bitumen systems. Asphalt emulsion coatings are easy to apply and offer moderate UV resistance. They find frequent use in commercial and residential applications on roofs with low to moderate foot traffic.

These various types of roof coatings present a range of advantages, allowing for tailored protection and performance based on specific roofing requirements and environmental conditions.

How Long Do Roof Coatings Last? 

The lifespan of roof coatings can vary based on several factors, including the coating type, substrate condition, exposure to weather conditions, and maintenance practices. On average, well-maintained roof coatings can last 10 to 25 years. However, it's essential to note that regular inspections, cleaning, and necessary touch-ups or recoating may be crucial to ensure the ongoing effectiveness of the coating.

Roof coatings are critical in safeguarding and enhancing the performance of roofs. They offer many benefits, including an extended lifespan, improved durability, energy efficiency, cost savings, environmental sustainability, enhanced aesthetics, and increased property value. Understanding the various types of coatings available and their appropriate applications can assist in making informed decisions when considering roof coating options for your building. Consulting with roofing professionals is recommended to determine the most suitable coating type and to ensure proper installation and maintenance for optimal results and longevity.

Extending the Roof Lifespan

It is widely acknowledged that the weather in Colorado can be particularly harsh on roofs. With large temperature fluctuations, fierce storms, and intense sunlight at higher elevations, roofing surfaces endure significant stress. This is where roof coatings play a crucial role as the primary line of defense.

Commercial roof coatings provide a robust and resilient layer that acts as a protective barrier for the underlying roof structure. These coatings are specifically designed to withstand challenging weather conditions, temperature fluctuations, and other environmental pressures. Coatings prevent water penetration, leaks, and moisture-related damage by forming a seamless and waterproof membrane over the roof surface. Additionally, they create a shield against the detrimental effects of UV rays, which can lead to premature aging, deterioration, and discoloration of the roof material. The protective nature of roof coatings helps prolong commercial roofs' lifespan by reducing the impact of external factors.

Adverse weather elements, such as heavy rain, snow, hail, and wind, can gradually damage roofs. Prolonged exposure to moisture can result in the degradation of roofing materials, including the growth of mold and mildew, wood rot, and metal corrosion. Temperature fluctuations can cause roof materials to expand and contract, leading to cracks and structural damage. UV rays from the sun can accelerate the aging process of roofs, causing material breakdown, color fading, and loss of elasticity in specific roofing systems. These effects weaken the roof's integrity, diminish its performance, and shorten its lifespan.

Numerous studies and industry research have demonstrated commercial roof coatings' effectiveness in extending roofs' lifespan. For example, a study published in the Journal of Performance of Constructed Facilities found that applying roof coatings significantly improved low-slope roofs' durability and service life. The study concluded that coatings provided a protective barrier against moisture infiltration and UV radiation, thereby reducing the rate of roof deterioration.

Furthermore, the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) recognizes roof coatings as an effective method for extending the lifespan of commercial roofs. According to the NRCA, roof coatings can add years to the service life of roofs by protecting against weathering, reducing thermal shock, and providing UV resistance.

Enhanced Durability

Many commercial roofs are working surfaces that see regular traffic. Roof coatings are crucial in enhancing durability by strengthening their structural integrity. Applying a roof coating creates a seamless and protective layer that adds extra reinforcement to the roof surface. This additional layer helps to distribute the load and stresses more evenly, reducing the risk of structural damage. By reinforcing weak points and areas prone to stress, such as seams, joints, and flashings, roof coatings can effectively fortify the roof's structural integrity and increase its ability to withstand external forces.

One of the critical benefits of coatings is their ability to resist cracks, leaks, and various forms of damage. Roof coatings are specifically formulated to provide a flexible and resilient barrier that can expand and contract with the roof during temperature changes. This flexibility helps prevent the formation of cracks, allowing water infiltration and compromising the roof's integrity. Additionally, roof coatings create a seamless and watertight membrane that protects against moisture, preventing leaks and associated water damage. The protective nature of roof coatings also guards against damage caused by UV rays, chemicals, pollutants, and other environmental factors that can degrade the roof over time.

Increased Energy Efficiency

Roof coatings play a significant role in improving the energy efficiency of commercial buildings. The roof's ability to reflect sunlight and reduce heat absorption is enhanced by applying reflective or cool roof coatings. This leads to a more excellent roof surface and reduced heat transferred into the building. Consequently, the building's cooling system requires less effort to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature, decreasing overall energy consumption.

Roof coatings effectively minimize heat transfer from the roof into the building. Traditional dark-colored roofs tend to absorb a substantial amount of solar heat, leading to increased interior temperatures. However, applying reflective roof coatings allows for the reflection of solar heat back into the atmosphere, resulting in a cooler roof surface. This, in turn, reduces the amount of heat conducted into the building, thereby alleviating the workload on the cooling systems. By reducing the demand for cooling, roof coatings can lead to significant energy savings and lower cooling costs for commercial buildings.

Numerous studies and case studies have demonstrated the energy-saving potential of roof coatings. For example, the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory conducted research that showed cool roof coatings could reduce peak cooling demand by up to 15%. Another Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory study found that cool roofs can reduce air conditioning energy consumption by up to 20%. These findings highlight the tangible benefits of roof coatings in improving energy efficiency and reducing energy consumption in commercial buildings.

Cost Savings

Another important reason to consider a roof coating is the multi-faceted cost savings it provides over its lifespan. By applying a protective layer over the existing roof, coatings can extend its lifespan and reduce the need for costly repairs or premature roof replacement. The upfront cost of applying a roof coating is generally lower than a full roof replacement, resulting in immediate savings. Additionally, it can improve energy efficiency, reducing cooling costs over the long term.

Another primary cost-saving benefit of roof coatings is the avoidance of significant repairs and premature roof replacement. Roof coatings act as a barrier, protecting the underlying roof membrane from damage caused by UV rays, weather elements, and foot traffic. By preventing leaks, cracks, and deterioration, coatings help maintain the roof's structural integrity. This reduces the likelihood of costly repairs and extends the roof's lifespan, ultimately postponing the need for a complete roof replacement, which can be a substantial expense.

Environmental Impact

Roof coatings offer several eco-friendly benefits that contribute to a reduced environmental impact. Many roof coatings are formulated with low or zero volatile organic compounds (VOCs), reducing air pollution and improving indoor air quality. Additionally, roof coatings can be applied over existing roofs, eliminating the need for roof tear-offs and reducing waste. The reflective properties of certain roof coatings also help mitigate the urban heat island effect by reducing heat absorption and lowering energy consumption.

By extending the lifespan of roofs and reducing the need for roof replacements, roof coatings significantly reduce the volume of roofing materials sent to landfills. This helps decrease landfill waste and the associated environmental impact. Moreover, the energy-saving properties of roof coatings reduce the reliance on cooling systems, leading to lower energy consumption and a reduced carbon footprint.

Many sustainability initiatives have been achieved through the application of roof coatings. For instance, numerous commercial buildings have adopted cool roof coatings to enhance energy efficiency and reduce their environmental footprint. Cities and municipalities have also implemented programs promoting the use of reflective roof coatings to combat the urban heat island effect and improve overall energy efficiency. These initiatives highlight the positive environmental impact of roof coatings in creating more sustainable and environmentally conscious built environments.

Roof coatings offer an eco-friendly solution by reducing VOC emissions, minimizing landfill waste, and lowering energy consumption. By extending roof lifespan and improving energy efficiency, roof coatings contribute to sustainability initiatives to reduce carbon footprints and mitigate the urban heat island effect. The use of environmentally friendly roof coatings aligns with the growing focus on creating greener buildings and reducing the environmental impact of commercial properties.

Roof Coverings Provide Improved Aesthetics

The appearance of a building plays an important role in business reputation, credibility, and employee morale. Roof coatings offer a versatile solution for enhancing the aesthetics of commercial buildings. By applying a fresh coat of coating, the roof's appearance can be transformed, improving the overall visual appeal of the structure. Roof coatings can help restore the original color and vibrancy of the roof, concealing signs of aging, discoloration, and weathering. Coatings also provide a uniform and smooth surface that gives the roof a sleek and polished look. This aesthetic enhancement can significantly contribute to the overall curb appeal of the building, creating a positive impression on visitors, tenants, and customers.

Coatings come in a wide range of colors and finishes, offering flexibility and customization options to suit the specific aesthetic preferences of commercial buildings. Whether it's a bold and vibrant color to make a statement or a subtle hue that complements the building's design, coating options are available to meet diverse aesthetic requirements. Additionally, roof coatings can be applied with various finishes, such as matte, satin, or gloss, allowing further customization. The availability of different colors and finishes ensures that building owners can select a roof coating that enhances the roof's durability and performance and aligns with the desired aesthetic vision for the overall building design.

With their ability to rejuvenate the roof's appearance, conceal signs of aging, and provide a range of colors and finishes, coatings can enhance the overall visual appeal of the structure. The aesthetic transformation achieved through roof coatings contributes to a more attractive and inviting building exterior, leaving a positive impression on viewers and enhancing the property's overall value.

Enhancing Property Value with Roof Coatings

Another highly popular reason to consider roof coating is that it can potentially increase the value of commercial properties. By improving the roof's durability, aesthetics, and energy efficiency, coatings enhance the overall appeal and functionality of the building. A well-maintained roof with a fresh and protected coating is attractive to potential buyers or tenants. The added protection and extended lifespan provided by roof coatings can also be seen as a valuable investment, reducing the need for major repairs or roof replacements in the future. This increased value contributes to the property's overall worth, making it more appealing and competitive in the real estate market.

Positive impact on property appraisal and resale potential: The application of roof coatings can positively impact property appraisal and resale potential. Appraisers consider the roof's condition, longevity, and energy efficiency when assessing a commercial property's value. A roof with a protective coating that enhances durability reduces maintenance requirements. It improves energy efficiency and will likely receive a higher appraisal value. Additionally, regarding resale, a well-maintained roof with a quality coating can attract potential buyers and justify a higher selling price. The improved aesthetics, extended roof lifespan, and energy-saving benefits associated with roof coatings contribute to the commercial property's overall desirability and market value.

Roof coatings can increase the value of commercial properties by improving the roof's durability, aesthetics, and energy efficiency. The added protection and extended lifespan of coatings make the property more attractive to potential buyers or tenants. The positive impact on property appraisal and potential resale results from roof coatings' enhanced functionality and aesthetic appeal. By investing in a roof coating, commercial property owners can potentially increase the overall value of their investment and enjoy a competitive edge in the real estate market.

While a roof coating offers a range of advantages, it is crucial to highlight the importance of professional installation and regular maintenance. Professional installation ensures proper application and maximizes the benefits of the coating. Regular maintenance, including inspections and necessary touch-ups, helps ensure the longevity and effectiveness of the coating over time. By partnering with experienced roofing professionals and implementing a maintenance plan, building owners can optimize the performance and benefits of their roof coatings.

Roper Roofing Affordable Roof Coatings 

Having 20 years of proven expertise, Roper Roofing & Solar is known in Golden, CO, and its surrounding areas for its quality of craft and service. Trusted by insurance companies, they offer top-tier 25-year warranties on their roofs through companies like GAF and Duro-last. The company offers both commercial and residential roofing at highly competitive rates. 

Share this post

Roper Roofing & Solar

Think you may have hail damage, a leak, or simply want a professional to come check your roof and make sure everything is in tip top shape?

FREE E-BOOK - 2023 Commercial Roofing Insurance: Avoiding The Pitfalls & Understanding The Process

Download Your Free E-Book