Why Commercial Roof Coating Makes Good Business Sense
There are a lot of options when it comes to commercial roof coatings. In this article we'll look at some reasons you might want to consider them.
Other options include TPO Roof Coating Installation which is covered at that linked article.
The commercial roofing industry for the most part has a very slim window of options. You're either going to tear it off, more often than not if a roof is in complete failure after probably years of repair. You're going to either try to re-cover it, as another option or now if it's a candidate, you have coating as an option. Not just as a protectant, but as an actual roof system.
Today we're talking about a roof restoration system specifically involved in silicone coatings; high solid silicone coatings that when used to restore a roof can provide a 10 year warranty on the system.
The real candidates that we're seeing for re-coating are on roofs that were installed twenty, twenty-five, thirty years ago when there was a revolution in the roofing industry where you saw a lot more single ply roofs, and a lot of closed cell styles of insulation. These are the roofs now that are at the end of their service lives, and are now becoming candidates to be coated.
In this particular roof system the existing conditions were a single ply or a white sheet over the top of a closed cell insulation, with extremely good positive drainage, well drained, saddles. What we would consider after core samples, an ideal candidate for re-coating.
The roofing consultants like myself are the last guys in line. If there's a problem or a failure, we're going to be the guys that are actually going to be put out in front of it we're going to make sure that it's correct.
To determine the condition of a roof, we do core samples and when necessary a thermal scan. We're very concerned about any type of moisture in the system or condensation in the system, so what those core samples are going to tell us is whether there is moisture in it, is a saturation level to the point that we don't feel that it's going to be coat-able? Because that saturation or moisture will ultimately find its way through that membrane and affect the coating. So it being dry is paramount to the success of a coating application.
In this particular case there were multiple drains and we took ten core samples on this particular project. All in the drain areas, which would be the lowest areas and more susceptible to being wet, found them all to be dry. Based on that evaluation, the positive drainage, the condition of the membrane, and our ability and know-how for cleaning it, we felt that we would be successful coating it.
So once we've determined that this is a good candidate for restoration, this is what we do to really clean this roof; we use a series of high-pressure washes along with some biodegradable detergents. We also use some service cleaners, in some cases we'll use industrial floor scrubbers along with a detergent to soften the dirt and then pressure wash the roof clean.
This is all about adhesion. Our whole system is about adhesion. Within the whole coating industry, it is all about ultimate adhesion. If it's clean, the technology and the coatings and the primers will work. If it's not, there's too many, what we call in our industry, "bond breakers". Any oils, anything that could be left behind after a cleaning that could cause the product to de-bond or not adhere correctly.
The next step would be the installation of the primers. We happen to be very big fans of primers. Once we've super cleaned the roof, we'll come back and we apply a two-part water-based epoxy primer to the entire surface. We'll apply that, depending on the raw substrate, between 300 to 450 square feet per gallon. What we're trying to do is create a surface profile to enhance adhesion to our finish coat material - that finished silicone material.
There's two ways to put a primer on. We use a two-part primer, which we feel is a very effective and a very aggressive type of primer. This particular primer can be put on either by rolling it, or it can be sprayed. Both spraying and rolling our effective methods. We don't coat until we're positive about the condition of the primer.
Final Roof Coating
The next step would be the detail coating, which would be a detail at all penetrations (three coats), and fabric when needed or required by the manufacturer in order to make their warranty requirements. After the primer and the detail coats have been done we do a complete inspection of the existing system as it sits at that point, prior to doing the application of the coatings. The actual final coat, in this particular installation, is a silicone based product that, once it's applied at a specific rate, will cure out into a monolithic sheet and provide long lasting service.
Manufacturers have requirements as far as the amount of material that's applied in any specific roof system. We watch and we match that particular recommendation very closely, because it will determine the performances of the actual product. If that millage isn't correct that manufacturer isn't going to want to provide that warranty. So we're very, very conscious, and very, very careful when we put it down.
The Value Of Re-coating
A roof candidate that's coat-able, in relation to tearing it off, the savings is easily within the 50% range or more. Not only are we talking about the actual cost savings, but environmentally we don't have to fill landfills with with old roof systems. If we can salvage these roofs and restore them into a into a functioning condition and keep them in that condition, everyone benefits. The beauty of using coatings when you are a candidate is that not only can you coat it, you can continue to coat it. Almost all the coating manufacturers will provide a minimum of a 10 year warranty with the understanding that, if the roof is maintained and cleaned, that it becomes a renewable warranty. That's something that's unique. It's something that, over the long haul, it's going to be a major, major cost savings