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Roof coatings can help to protect the roof of a building and extend its lifetime by providing UV protection, limiting contraction and expansion and prevent ponding water.
Before opting for a roof coating for any building, it’s important to know more about the types available, as well as their pros and cons. Below, we will explore the pros and cons of silicone roof coatings to help you understand whether they could be a good fit for your project.
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Silicone roof coatings can be used in both new construction projects and restoration projects on a wide range of substrates. The roof coating is a layer of silicone that can be sprayed or rolled onto the roof and repairs leaks, cracks and blisters on commercial roofs.
This provides protection from:
Due to the higher solid content of silicone coatings, they provide a thicker cured coating, gallon for gallon than lower solid acrylic or urethane coatings. GE Enduris coatings have excellent sag resistance which means they can be used in one coat on sloped areas of a roof without sagging.
When looking to install a silicone roof coating for a commercial roofing project, it’s important to know more about the benefits of the coating system you choose. Silicone has a number of benefits which are listed below.
One benefit of applying a silicone roof coating is its resistance to ponding water. This means it can withstand the effects of ponding water without breaking down or degrading because it will not absorb any water, enabling it to hold water for prolonged periods of time with limited negative effects.
Standing water on a roof is often a sign that there are significant issues with the roof that should be corrected before applying the silicone roof coating. Good roofing practice is recommended to ensure positive drainage off the roof. If these problems are not corrected, the roof could fail regardless of whether a silicone coating is applied or not.
Why is this important?
Silicone roof coatings are a solution for low slope roofs where it is more likely that water will settle into “bird baths”. Water can have an impact on most other roofing materials and has been known to make its way into the building, causing costly damage. However, a silicone roof coating will typically hold the water until it drains away or evaporates. This means that costs in terms of ongoing maintenance are usually reduced as the standing water does not need to be removed as regularly.
This resistance to ponding water makes a silicone based coating systems an excellent choice, rather than acrylic roof coatings which may not provide the same endurance against these conditions.
White silicone roof coating can reflect up to 90% of the sun’s harmful UV rays, and also have high thermal emittance, both of which help to lower the internal temperature of the building. Property owners can save up to 25% on cooling costs in the summer typically reducing the workload of HVAC systems and prolong the life of the roof.
Unlike other roof coating materials, silicone offers protection against degradation or cracking when exposed to direct sunlight for prolonged periods of time. Very few other roof coating materials can provide these benefits to the same extent as a silicone coating. However, one factor to bear in mind is silicone reflectivity can reduce over time as the coating attracts dirt which can reduce these benefits.
As we have mentioned above, white silicone roof coatings can help lower energy expenses when it comes to cooling systems in a building.
In fact, silicone roof coatings are often referred to as a ‘cool roof’ due to their cooling effect on a building. They can help provide up to 35% in energy savings by significantly reducing the need for air conditioning.
The white color of the coating reflects the majority of the sun’s rays before the thermal impact of the energy is felt in the building.
Silicone roof coatings are a flexible solution that is capable of withstanding a number of weather conditions including wind-driven rain, oxidation, and extreme temperatures, making them an excellent choice for use in a wide range of locations. In addition, silicone has shown to endure thermal movement (expansion and contraction) that occurs in larger roof structures due to its flexibility. Silcone roof coatings frequently display their ability to maintain strength and quality.
A silicone roofing coating can endure with almost no erosion throughout its lifetime so there is typically less frequency of maintenance required which may help lower maintenance costs. If the coating is applied correctly, the roof will be able to withstand most weather conditions, whether they’re extreme or not.
Silicone roof coatings in general are considered to be regulation compliant but materials with a high solids content tend to be better when it comes to the environment. Modern high-solid silicone coatings are typically formulated to be solvent-free and contain extremely low Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) which are linked to poor air quality. This coating type will meet and exceed state-regulated material safety standards and can be installed in all 50 states of the US.
When looking to reduce the carbon footprint of a building, silicone roof coatings deliver benefits by allowing restoration of a roof rather than a complete replacement. Roof restoration significantly delays and reduces the contribution of expended roofing materials to landfill sites.
If the existing roof surface is still in relatively good condition, its lifespan can be extended by installing a silicone roofing system and protecting it from the weather. The liquid coating has shown to fill in seams or cracks in the roof, preventing water from getting into the building. However, silicone coatings are fairly thick and may not be able to fully flow into seams or cracks. These defects will need to be filled with Liquid Flashing or sealant before the silicone coating is applied for the best results. Once the silicone based coating has cured, it will typically protect the roof from the elements.
To ensure that the building receives this benefit, the coating must provide a complete membrane. If the coating is not applied properly by a roofing contractor, it will not provide the required protection.
When work is being carried out on a commercial building, the interruption of having roofing work done can affect the daily functioning of the building and business within it. A key benefit of a silicone roof coating is that project durations can be cut by up to 30%. This can reduce project timelines and ensure that an effective solution is applied.
Unless the work is being carried out on a large building, a silicone roof coating project can typically be finished within one day. The coating can be cured quickly as exposure to moisture helps to create the finished project.
Manufacturer’s warranties will cover the silicone coatings for 10, 15 or 20 years to provide peace of mind that the coating will protect the roof for that period. Many manufacturers offer both Product and/or Material and Labor warranties. Contact the manufacturer for specific protection and owner responsibilities.
While silicone roof coatings provide a huge number of benefits, there are also a few cons to consider before choosing this solution.
Because silicone coatings do not wear off, any dirt, pollen, etc that land on the roof will remain there. While this is not a problem over the short-term, over time, an accumulation of dirt and dust can cause the coating to eventually lose its reflective properties. This makes the roof more susceptible to the sun’s rays and will mean that the cost savings associated with cooling the building are affected.
One of the biggest disadvantages of a silicone roof coating is that, when the roof gets wet, it may be more slippery than a regular roof system. As a result, if maintenance personnel require regular access to the roof for cleaning or roofing issues, they will need to be made aware of the increased risk.
In addition, foot traffic can cause the material to tear so if regular access is required, another coating option may be a better choice.
Some silicone coatings have an unpleasant smell while curing. This normally isn’t a problem but should be considered when scheduling and planning installation. Certain buildings, such as a hospital or school may not allow that odor to enter the whole building or even affect tenants who are outside.
However, our GE Enduris coating is an alkoxy based chemistry in contrast to other silicones which are oxime based. This means that the coating is noticeable for its very low odor and it is even recommended for use on hospitals.
Other roofing products generally do not to adhere to silicone so future roof work is limited to a silicone recoat, overlay with mechanical attachment, or replacement. This is mitigated by the reality that many roofs coated with silicone have been recoated at later dates to extend the life even further. A GE Enduris silicone coating can be recoated in the future with the same product to continue extending the life of the roof in the future.
we supply our own GE Enduris Silicone Roof Coatings which can be used on restoration projects on a range of substrates.
Enduris 3500 Coating - this coating typically requires one coat and provides up to 20 years of protection. It has shown dependable performance in demanding environment, as well as the ability to bond to substrates such as single-ply, modified bitumen, built up roofing system (BUR), metal, parapet walls and existing acrylic and silicone coatings.
When looking for a practical roof coating for any project, understanding both the pros and cons can help you to understand which coating type is the better choice. Silicone roof coatings provide an effective and long lasting restoration solution in a commercial setting. The coating you choose will depend on the needs of the project and the type of roof that is already in place.
For more information about our products, please contact our expert team today.
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