For a “Cool” Roof—Using the Correct Coating

Written by DAVID TERRELL on . Posted in Commercial Roofing, Roofing Information Blog

Terrells Roofing OKCWe learn at an early age that black absorbs the heat from the sun, while white reflects it.  It usually just takes one afternoon wearing a dark shirt while playing outdoors to teach us about heat absorption.

Your commercial roof is the same.  In fact, we have a name for it:  the “Heat Island Effect.”  That term refers to the heat that is absorbed from the sun’s ultraviolet radiation and transferred to the building interior.  During much of the year this increases the demand for power as air conditioning systems labor to maintain a comfortable working environment. 

A reflective coating is an important part of your commercial roof.  Not only can it save building energy costs, but can prolong the life of a roofing system with proper maintenance and periodic recoating.  This can eliminate, or dramatically postpone, expensive roof tear off and replacement.

Liquid applied white roof coatings come in several varieties and grades.  It stands to reason that some are more effective that others, some hold up better over time, and some have additives that are designed to add significant life to the roof.  How does someone know which product to use for what application?

There are several certified testing organizations that we can rely on for accurate information.  One is the American Society for Testing and Materials.  Their document, D6083, includes a comprehensive set of criteria that, if followed, will provide the information necessary to use the correct product in a specific application. 

A roof coating must do more than reflect damaging ultraviolet rays from the sun.  It must also provide resistance to the effects of heavy or light rainfall, and the standing and melting of snow on the roof surface. 

The coatings ability to accomplish these purposes depends in large part on the application of the properly balanced ration of acrylic solids to fillers in the coating, the thickness at time of application, and the use of proper roof preparation techniques and good workmanship.

Workmanship is critically important.  If pipes, soffits, drains and other roof details are not properly reinforced with fabric or a high strength mastic grade material prior to the final application of the coating, there is risk of failure in these areas. 

At Terrell’s, our commercial roofing division stays in close touch with the testing agencies that are reviewing materials that we might use.  Our commitment is to continue to use the best products for the specific type of job, and provide the quality of workmanship that has made our firm a market area leader in commercial roofing.