Thursday, June 9, 2011

Roof coatings improve energy efficiency as well as restore, protect & beautify low-slope roofs

Reflective roof coatings are the fastest-growing product segment in the fluid-applied roofing market. Cool roof coatings lower energy consumption as well as meet more stringent cool roof performance requirements in the building codes. They also do a lot more: they restore, protect and beautify most waterproofing systems and prolong the life of almost any low-slope roof (including metal).

As legislators, architects and property owners embrace the idea that building design has a large impact on energy consumption and sustainability, they are also recognizing that white coatings offer big benefits with few draw-backs. Energy efficiency initiatives are promoting the use of cool roofs, and some building codes are now requiring the use of reflective roofs.

Lowering energy use is not the only benefit that accrues from the use of cool roof coatings. White coatings can extend the life expectancy of many different types of commercial roofing systems simply by avoiding the high roof temperatures associated with exposure to the sun. The technical term for this exposure is “insulation,” and it is measured in terms of the rate of solar radiation received per unit area. Heavily insulated roof systems block this radiation from penetrating the building as heat; however, in summer months, convective heat transfer to the surrounding air and radiant heat transfer are inefficient. Consequently, the heat has nowhere to go and roofing membrane temperatures can soar.

Coatings aren't just for warm weather climates: the New York City Department of Buildings launched the volunteer-based NYC Cool Roofs Program in the spring of 2010 with the goal of installing reflective coating on one million square feet of roofing by October and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030. The website states that “a cool roof absorbs 80 percent less heat than traditional dark colored roofs and can lower roof temperatures by up to 60 degrees and indoor temperatures by 10 to 20 degrees on hot days.”

Enhanced roof longevity, especially in northern states, can be another major benefit that results in at least as much savings. Without white coatings, roof temperatures can soar in the summer months, especially for buildings in northern climates. This is primarily because these roof systems typically have a lot of insulation to retain the heat during the winter months. Coatings can also prevent premature roof deterioration by providing a “sacrificial” layer to take the punishment that the elements and the environment dole out.

Coatings can also waterproof and extend the lives of older roofs. Roof coatings can protect the integrity of a metal roof by reducing thermal-shock roof damage. A cool roof coating moderates the excessive thermal expansion and contraction that otherwise could lead to fastener and seal failures.

Roofing contractors who are considering adding roof coatings to their service offerings should know that the elastomeric coatings market accounted for $620 million in 2004 and has grown into the double digits over the last seven years. This is definitely an opportunity to increase revenues and profits.

For more information on this topic, please read the article titled "The Many Benefits of Roof Coatings Save More Than Energy" by Michael Russo (January 5, 2011).

Find a contractor

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  1. Really you post very effective information .I appreciate your tips about roof caring.Thanks for sharing this valuable post.
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  2. Thanks for the FANTASTIC post! This information is really good and thanks a ton for sharing it :)
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