For years, managers of commercial and industrial buildings opted for roof coatings because they extended the working lives of roofs, both those currently in service and the newly constructed. Over time, a second major advantage became clearer: the dramatic energy savings that a reflective coating could provide. The other two significant advantages offered by roof coating systems are improving safety and reducing adverse environmental effects.
- Roof coatings reduce the need for maintenance and lengthen the time that a roof can remain in service in many ways. Coatings minimize damage from heavy rains, hail, snow, and ice. By sealing cracks, coatings can prevent moisture from entering a building, as well as prevent small openings from developing into larger ones. Employees, equipment, inventory, and the structure itself are thus far less likely to experience water damage from a leak.
- The reflective properties of roof coatings virtually eliminate the long-term effects of exposure to the sun’s heat and light, including wear and tear from temperature-driven expansion and contraction.
Summer energy bills will fall dramatically as roof coatings reflect a large
percentage of the solar heat that strikes a building. In addition, air conditioners will last longer because they won’t have to work as hard to maintain consistently cool interior temperatures. Owners can save money on new construction by purchasing smaller HVAC units. Finally, tax credits that subsidize cool roof systems are available in some areas.
- Roof coatings improve safety by holding materials in place that might otherwise become detached from the main structure of the roof and become hazards. A coated roof will require less maintenance; while regular inspections will obviously still be necessary, in general employees will spend less time on the roof. And a coating can help maintain or improve a building’s fire rating.
- The most obvious environmental benefit of coatings is the reduced level of emissions required to generate the electricity needed to cool the building. In densely populated areas, large numbers of dark-colored roofs and parking lots can produce what experts call a “heat island,” in which the average temperature is much higher than it is in surrounding areas. If a neighborhood or municipality offers incentives to encourage installation of roof coatings, all residents will need less energy to cool their living spaces, even those who don’t live in buildings with coatings. Lastly, longer-lasting roofs mean fewer old roofs in landfills, reduced need to manufacture new roofing materials, and less fuel required to transport both.
If you’re a cost-conscious building owner or manager who’s been thinking about a roof coating, consider that the money you’ll save on cooling alone means the system will pay for itself. You’ll also spend less on maintenance and repairs. Improved safety and less impact on the environment also provide economic benefits that are less direct and less obvious. For most buildings under most circumstances, a cool roofing system just makes sense.