We’re all familiar with the way that dark-colored objects absorb heat, from cars to clothing to asphalt. Yet we persist in roofing our buildings with dark-colored materials that trap heat and increase the cost of cooling interiors. A white roof can help to make your commercial or industrial building more comfortable, reduce your energy expenses, and even play a small role in reducing the rate of climate change. Obviously, any single roof will have minimal impact on a global phenomenon. But as part of concerted collective action, the effects could be dramatic.
Urban areas, with substantial concentrations of buildings, roads, and parking lots, often have significantly higher average temperatures than the spaces that surround them. These regions have been named “heat islands.” The Heat Island Group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (which is a Department of Energy Office of Science lab managed by the University of California), works on figuring out ways to reduce heat islands by cooling buildings, cities, and the planet by making roofs, pavement, and cars cooler in the sun.
According to this group, the adoption of reflective substances for roofing and pavements would counterbalance 18 years of the emissions generated by cars currently in use, which number 600 million.
Changing just one 1,000-square-foot roof to white can reduce air conditioner use by approximately 20%. That much cooling would otherwise generate roughly half a ton of carbon dioxide annually. If the working life of a roof is 20 years, the total reduction can be as high as 10 tons. In addition, the average temperature and smog level in the local area will fall.
The trade-off is reduction of the roof’s ability to absorb heat and reduce energy costs when temperatures fall. However, Heat Island Group researchers have found that the increase in heating bills during winters is never more than 30% of the savings on cooling. They concluded that a white roof would save money for the owner of any building that needs cooling in summer and heating in winter.
The industry term for a variety of reflective roofing materials and strategies is “cool roofing.” The best time to install a cool roof is when an existing roof needs replacement. If your current roof isn’t near the end of its useful life, a roof coating can provide similar effects. The resulting energy savings and the longer life of your roof will more than make up for the cost, between $0.50 and $1.00 per square foot.
The Heat Island Group has developed a Solar Reflectance Index (SRI) to allow comparisons of cool roofing materials. The SRI hasn’t been widely adopted yet, but you can learn more about products you are considering through the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s Cool Roofing Materials Database, which is available on their website. In addition, the Cool Roof Rating Council offers a product directory that includes scores.
The most immediate advantages of an elastomeric roof coating are those that will appear on your monthly energy bills – or, rather, won’t appear, in the form of lower costs. As more people become aware of these benefits, adoption of this technology is sure to spread. Our climate problems are too large to be solved by any single intervention, but it’s encouraging to be reminded that sometimes what’s best for a small private business can also be good for the community that surrounds and supports it.
There’s no question that a decision to purchase a cool roofing system is a financially responsible one. Here’s a list of the obvious sources of savings.
– The working life of your existing roof will be substantially extended.
– Your energy costs will be fall significantly, particularly in summer.
– The full cost of the coating can be written off as depreciation on your taxes in the year of purchase, compared to multiple years for a replacement roof.
In addition, a roof coating functions as a form of insurance, giving you the peace of mind that comes from knowing your employees, equipment, and inventory are protected from the water damage that can result from a leak.
Those considerations would be enough to convince many potential purchasers — but wait! There’s more! Some utilities offer rebates and other incentives to encourage investment in roof coatings. A business can pocket a percentage of its expenditure – usually about 20% — while the utility can reduce the amount of power it has to provide during periods of peak demand.
If your state or local government or utility provider offers incentives of this kind, you’ll find it pays to act quickly. As roof coatings become more popular, some programs exhaust their funding quickly.
Tax credits for energy efficiency are offered by both the federal and Georgia state governments. Their principal goal is encouraging the use of renewable energy sources on residential properties, but owners of commercial buildings can also benefit.
These provisions periodically expire and have to be reauthorized, so if these incentives are an important factor in your decision to purchase a roof coating, you’ll want to see which conditions are currently in force. The Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency jointly run a program called ENERGY STAR that evaluates products for energy efficiency, and its website (energystar.gov) is a great source of information.
Another way to offset the costs of a roof coating is local government support. A growing number of cities are mandating cool roofing standards for commercial buildings with low-slope roofs. One of their goals is certainly to reduce strain on utilities, but they’re also concerned about the phenomenon of “heat islands” in urban areas, in which roads, parking lots, and roofs covered with asphalt absorb so much heat that the average temperature rises across the entire community.
To encourage businesses to make the transition sooner, the city of Chicago established a program that funded approximately 55 grants of about $6,000 each. Researchers who study the problem hope that other cities will do likewise as American urbanization continues to accelerate. More people moving to cities means more construction and more roofs that can either absorb the sun’s heat or reflect it. With that trend in mind, some cities and states are now offering incentives to builders to encourage sustainable construction, including the application of roof coatings to new buildings.
While the cost of a roof coating may seem daunting initially, these tips can help to make the process more affordable for businesses of all sizes. You might experience some intangible payoffs as well. For example, a new roof coating can serve as a visual representation of your business’s commitment to environmentally sound practices.
It’s clear that government regulation of energy-efficient construction is only going to increase. It may be wise for your company to get ahead of the curve. The professionals at Energy Seal are ready to answer your questions and help you make the best decision for your circumstances.
Securely sealing a metal roof can be a daunting task. The most obvious, and most serious, problem is the lack of stability. The dimensions of a metal roof are constantly changing. One hundred feet of roof can expand and contract as much as two inches in any single direction. The perpetual stress that this process places on seams and fasteners is the cause of 90% of all metal roof leaks.
What can you do? There are really only two options: replace the roof at significant cost (and wait for the inevitable problems to recur) or apply an elastomeric roof coating to the existing roof.
Elastomeric coatings vary in quality and price. Higher-quality options that stretch further as the roof changes shape will be more expensive, but they remain a bargain compared to complete replacement.
In addition, elastomeric coatings offer dramatic energy savings. The surface temperature of a coated roof may be as much as 40 degrees cooler than the same roof uncoated. Thus it will cost much less to cool your building in hot weather. (This insulating quality ties back to leak prevention as well: Since your roof will be absorbing less heat, it won’t be expanding and contacting as much.)
The coating procedure itself is not complex, but a certain amount of preparation must be done ahead of time. You can certainly take on the task yourself, but the summary of the process that follows this paragraph is likely to make a qualified and experienced roof coating contractor seem very appealing.
First, the roof should be cleaned as thoroughly as possible with a high-power pressure washer. Then it should be carefully checked for rust. An inhibitor should be applied to any area that appears to be corroded.
The next step is applying elastomeric roof cement to fill space around any openings in the roof that allow any kind of access to the interior: air ducts, fans, pipes of any kind, and so on. Flashings should also be reinforced, or replaced.
After the cement has dried, any missing fasteners should be replaced, and all fasteners should be individually sealed with a product like Rivet Guard. Every seam should be sealed with tape, a thick elastomeric cement, or a combination of both.
As you’re scheduling the coating process, keep an eye on your local weather reports. The roof surface should be completely dry, since elastomeric coatings will not adhere to wet surfaces. You should be as certain as possible that no rain is predicted, and that the temperature will remain above 55°F.
Roof coating sprayers are available from home improvement retailers and other paint suppliers. The instructions for the coating product you choose will specify the appropriate sprayer head. Depending on the product, you may need to apply a primer coat, and two applications of two coats of the topcoat will be needed to wrap up the job.
When your new elastomeric coating has dried, you can feel confident that your roof is protected against the kind of leaks that can compromise the structural integrity of your building and threaten your equipment, inventory, and daily operations.
It might be tempting to ignore a minor leak in your business’s roof, or even more than one. Many of us spend our workdays “putting out fires,” dealing with routine problems of varying degrees of seriousness. Once you’ve dealt with the immediate issue by moving anything that’s directly under the leak and arranging to collect the water, it’s only natural to think about other matters that may seem more pressing. But even minor leaks in low-traffic areas can get much worse very quickly.
The best way to avoid this dilemma is regular inspection and maintenance by professional roofers. That level of planning ahead is even more likely to fall by the wayside as daily short-term problems accumulate. However, postponing maintenance and repairs can lead to major losses — some less obvious than others, as this list illustrates.
The most obvious possibility is harm to physical property. Beyond outer roofing materials, substrate, and insulation, water can damage carpets, ceiling tiles, furniture, and equipment. Those items are at least replaceable – business documents may not be, whether they’re paper or digital. (Few of us devote enough attention and time to creating backup copies, much less storing them in a separate space.) Inventory may be ruined.
You or your tenants may find your regular business activities disrupted for hours if not days as roofing materials and equipment are replaced. Preventative maintenance may also be inconvenient, but at least you have a degree of control over when it’s done.
Businesses that don’t deal in physical products can also lose significant amounts of cash flow. If your company sells access to spaces, as hotels and self-storage and parking facilities do, the risks you face are just as serious as those of retailers. And if high moisture levels cause mold and mildew to spread, customers and employees may experience health problems. At the very least, the resulting odors will spread far beyond the area of the leak itself.
The cautionary tale of Peanut Corporation of America is extreme and therefore unusual but warrants attention. In 2008 and 2009, the company’s processing plant in the southwestern Georgia town of Blakely caused one of the largest outbreaks of food-borne illness in American history, which sickened more than 700 people and killed nine.
Employees reported that water entering the facility through multiple roof leaks was carrying in bird droppings, a common source of salmonella bacteria. That water could have landed on processing equipment or peanuts themselves. (It’s also possible that the large holes in the roof permitted more direct contamination: In 2008, an inspector reported a live bird walking and flying inside the facility.) The company was forced into bankruptcy and its owner was sentenced to 28 years in prison for multiple safety violations.
Replacing a leaky commercial roof can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Energy Seal Coatings advanced coating systems are a cost-effective alternative that will extend the working life of your roof even if its older, and there are tax advantages as well. Our cool silicone and acrylic roof coating professionals will repair any damage before the coating is applied, and the process will not disrupt your business. Spring rains are right around the corner. Request your roof coating system installation estimate now.
Even if you’re hearing the phrase “cool roof construction materials” for the first time, its meaning is clear: It’s possible to construct a roof that will stay cooler than some alternatives and can therefore help to keep temperatures inside the building it tops lower.
The conclusion that logically follows is the possibility of energy savings, since air conditioners won’t have to work as hard in hot weather to keep the interior temperature of that building down. What many people may not realize, though, is just how significant that contrast – and those savings — can be.
If you’ve ever gotten into a car that’s been parked in direct sunlight for a while, you know that objects can get a lot hotter than the ambient air temperature. For highly absorptive materials like asphalt, the difference between the surface temperature and the surrounding air can be startlingly high — as much as 100°F. (The technical term for these substances is “low-albedo.”)
For less absorptive (high-albedo) substances, that gap may be as low as 20°F. Early research found energy savings ranging from 7% to 15%, but more recent studies in California and Florida have found air conditioning loads – and therefore power bills — dropping by as much as 50%. That wide range is probably at least partly the result of differences in location. Regardless, it’s proven that a cool roof coating can reflect up to 90% of the heat from the sun, acting as an added layer of insulation for your roof.
You may have heard of the “heat island” effect. Densely populated urban areas are significantly warmer than the average temperature across a given region. For example, the average temperature across Metro Atlanta is as much as 10°F higher as the average in surrounding areas.
This phenomenon is largely due to the heat absorbed and retained by paved roads and parking lots, but dark roofs also play a role. The temperature difference also makes smog worse and increases rainfall (which might not be a problem if the rain was landing on soil, but instead intensifies runoff). To combat these problems, power companies in some areas now offer cash rebates to customers who install cool roofs.
To sum up, cool roofing materials can save you money in the short term, in the form of rebates on your utility bill, and the long term, as your HVAC system works less hard over the summer. To learn more about your cool roofing options, including liquid roof coatings and installation, contact Energy Seal Coatings.
Whether you’re about to have a new roof installed or looking to repair or reinforce your current one, you should consider the benefits of a cool roof coating. For flat and low-pitch roofs, white elastomeric solar reflective roof coatings provide the most benefits.
What Is an Elastomeric Coating?
This type of coating is applied as a spray that dries into a seamless membrane. No additional sealant is required. Although it resembles paint in some ways, it contains significantly more solids, so each coat forms a thick layer.
Weatherproofing. Elastomeric coatings stand up to all kinds of weather. Long-term exposure to sun and rain cause very little wear. Like all roof coating systems, it is reliably waterproof and prevents wind from widening any cracks in the roof where water and debris might be able to enter.
Easy maintenance. Only periodic cleaning is required. There’s no additional risk of slipping and falling to people who walk on it, and foot traffic can’t chip or otherwise damage it. On the rare occasion that damage does occur, repairs are just reapplications of additional coats.
Energy efficiency. This is one of the dramatic advantages of elastomeric coatings. Conventional asphalt roofing typically consists of a gray composite on top of a black substrate. Unsurprisingly, about 75% of the solar energy that hits this combination is absorbed as heat.
By contrast, much of that energy bounces right off of white reflective roof coatings. When they’re first applied, that amount is roughly 80%. These ratios are almost exact opposites: Elastomerics repel four times as much as they absorb, while traditional materials absorb three times more than they reflect.
As you might guess, the result is a substantial reduction in power costs. In addition, these coatings can help to get your property rated by ENERGY STAR® or the LEED Green Building Rating System®.
Durability. This is another area where elastomerics stand out. The installation of asphalt roofing is itself energy-intensive, as is the process of replacing it. Since these roofs last an average of 8 to 10 years, this cycle burns through a lot of supplies. The initial elastomeric coating can be applied directly to an existing roof, creating no waste.
Once in place, the useful life of a white solar reflective roof coating can be extended much further. Aging layers don’t need to be removed — instead, additional coats are added to reinforce those already in place. The result is a significant reduction in the amount of construction materials destined for landfills.
The Best Choice
The up-front costs are higher than those associated with other coverings, but so is the value. The energy savings alone justify the expenditure in the long term, not to mention the extension of the useful life of your roof by 10 years or more. By combining toughness with energy savings, elastomeric solar reflective roof coatings offer a truly sustainable – and economically smart — roofing solution.
If your roof is nearing the end of its useful life, how can you know when the time you have bought with intermittently patching has run out? The most obvious clues are leaks that continue after repeated visits from your roofer. Once a roof becomes brittle and starts to split, patching is no longer enough. Your choices at that point are more expensive, but the alternative is wasting your limited budget avoiding the inevitable.
Waiting can also drive up the cost of repairs. If leaks are allowed to continue, the interior of the structure may be damaged, multiplying the ultimate expenses that initially seemed high. Another factor to consider is the relatively low level of disruption that roof work causes for the people who work in the building, as compared to interior restoration.
Do the math
The best first step is hiring a consulting engineer or architect to survey your roof, list your options, and provide rough estimates of the costs of each of them. You may well learn that repairs, recovering, or the liquid application of a coating will be sufficient for the time being. But if the need for action seems imminent, think about your budget and the length of time you would want a replacement roof to last.
To use a simple example, consider your choice to be between two options: 10 years for a basic roof with standard-grade materials and 20 years for a more elaborate and durable option using higher-quality materials. Take the middle of the approximate price range to replace the roof and divide it by the number of years you would like the new roof to last. If the result is less than the cost of the repairs or not much more, it’s time to replace the roof.
Consider a coating
You may find that a coating, preceded by an appropriate cleaner and primer, can extend the useful life of your existing roof. If you install a new roof, a coating can definitely increase its longevity.
– Silicone roof coatings are designed for flat roofs where water may pool. They form a flexible membrane that stays waterproof in a wide range of weather conditions.
– Acrylic roof coatings are suitable for pitched roofs. They are “elastomeric,” which means they incorporate more solids than paint and therefore form thicker layers when applied to a surface.
– Both types are formulated to reflect the sun’s rays rather than absorb them, lowering the temperature inside the building and reducing energy costs. One “cool roof” acrylic variant was created to maximize this effect.
Whether you’re repairing, recoating, or replacing your roof, you should create and implement a detailed maintenance plan, with the assistance of a qualified architect or engineer if need be. A professional can not only carry out regular inspections and moisture surveys, but also provide specific guidance regarding repairs, reapplications of protective coatings, and ultimately, replacement.
All roofs will eventually need to be replaced. Information and preparation will help make that decision less stressful when the time for it arrives.
You’ve noticed evidence of a roof leak – either water visibly dripping or other signs of water intrusion. What now? Replacing a roof due to leaks, no matter the severity, isn’t always an option for businesses, particularly in today’s uncertain times. Thankfully, there are more budget-friendly solutions for repairing leaks with Advanced Coating Systems. Just make sure you do your research.
Determine the Source of the Leak
Seems easy enough, right? Actually, sometimes leaks that appear to be coming from the roof are actually originating from windows, HVAC units, plumbing, or other less obvious sources. The first step is to rule out causes other than the roof membrane itself. Either you or a contractor will then need to scour the roof’s surface for the source of the leak. The telltale clues to look for include blisters, cracks, or other punctures along the flashing or roof joints. Also inspect any degradation of the roof around downspouts. Don’t stop after locating a single source. Older roofs often present multiple points of seepage due to years of wear and tear.
Investigate the Extent of the Leak
Once you’re certain about the cause of the water intrusion, you’ll have a better sense of the seriousness of the issue. Here are a few questions that will help you assess the level of damage.
If you have rolled roofing, is there evidence of curling or buckling?
Do you have stains on the ceiling or mold near the leak?
Does the water intrusion seem further from the identified leak source than you might have expected?
If you answered yes to any of the above, chances are the leak has been there a while. Regardless of the extent of the leak, you’ll want to act fast, as these problems can get out of hand quickly.
What Are Your Options?
If you have no budget constraints, roof replacement may be an option. But many people think that’s their onlyoption other than a short-term patch fix, and that’s simply not the case. There are plenty of new roof coating technologies that can effectively give your roof a new life. Just bear in mind that not all coatings are equal, so do your due diligence and ask your supplier questions.
Is This a DIY or Professional Job?
First and foremost, check to see if your roof is still under any kind of warranty. If you’re out of luck in that department, you’ve got a decision to make. In most cases, unless you have experience in the roofing industry and/or the issue is extremely minor, it’s best to contract the job out. You’ll want to do your research when determining the best choice for the job. Read reviews and case studies, and look for other resources that will help you make the best decision possible. Consider all the benefits of liquid applications, including their protections against future leaks.
You want a professional job that is going to greatly extend the longevity of your roof, not just a Band-Aid. Energy Seal Coatings has a team of trusted, skilled experts ready to take on any cool roof job you need. If you could use a first, second, or third opinion, we’re here to help. Contact us today.
Applying a roof coating properly is both an art and a science. Our roof coating experts may make it look easy, but it takes plenty of preparation and expertise in order to ensure that your roof is properly coated and protected. Below, we’ve rounded up the most common mistakes to avoid when applying liquid roof coatings. These pieces of advice will help ensure that your coating effectively weatherproofs, protects, and extends the life of your roof.
1. Failing to properly clean the roof to be coated.
In order to ensure the roof coating performs its best for years to come, the first step is to properly prepare the roof. The roof should be thoroughly pressure washed at a minimum of 1500 PSI in order to remove any dirt, grime, or residue. We recommend washing with Acu-Wash, using a roto spray tip while pressure washing, and then thoroughly rinsing the roof before beginning. Without proper preparation, the roof coating may stick to the dirt or debris on the roof rather than the roof itself.
2. Applying the roof coating when there is rain in the forecast.
While weather can be unpredictable, it’s best to choose a week that shows no chance of rain in the forecast in order to make your roof coating project as successful as possible. We recommend two layers of the roof coating, and each of these needs to dry thoroughly. If the product gets rained on, it may wash off, negating your efforts.
We also encourage applying the coating early in the day since applying too close to nightfall may make the coating susceptible to moisture from heavy dew overnight. And take into account your location; the roof coating will take longer to dry in environments with low temperatures and high humidity versus environments with high temperatures and low humidity.
3. Exposing the roof coating to freezing temperatures before it cures.
When you check the forecast for rain, also pay attention to temperature. It’s best to apply roof coating applications when the weather is expected to be relatively temperate. This is because if the roof coating freezes before it cures, it may crack. In this case, your roof may resemble a large spider web with cracks throughout the coating. Choose a weather forecast that will work in your favor and encourage the coating to effectively cure.
4. Using improper millage (thickness).
This part is a bit more technical, but we have experts who can help. The roof coating must be applied at a specific millage. It’s best to use a steady gait when applying to ensure that the coating is applied evenly. We also recommend stopping frequently and using a wet film gauge to measure the wet film thickness. When applying Acu-Shield, for example, the wet film thickness should be a minimum of 20 wet mils for each coat, and each coat should cure for 24 to 48 hours. By not applying at the correct millage, you risk negating the warranty on the coating product.
5. Not properly sealing the seams, flashings, and fasteners.
This step is another in the roof coating process that is not to be missed. After cleaning the roof, it’s important to ensure that every seam, flashing, and fastener is completely sealed. We recommend doing this using both Acu-Caulk and Acu-Fabric. These products create a bandage-like seal that is virtually impenetrable. Acu-Tape is also helpful when sealing seams and flashings in particular. This video shows how to seal seams and flashings in detail. Sealing these places properly should prevent future leaks in your roof.
At Energy Seal, our experts not only know about our products, they know how to utilize them firsthand. With unparalleled experience, they will manage your entire roof coating process, from product selection to installation. They know these — and other — tricks of the trade to ensure the efficacy of our high-quality roof coating products. If you have questions or are interested in protecting your roof, contact us today.