Commercial roof coatings are revolutionizing the roofing market by changing the way that roofs can be rejuvenated and repaired. By having a silicone coating professionally applied, building owners can save thousands of dollars by avoiding total replacement, while adding an extended life to the roof backed by manufacturer warranties. Though roof coatings add substantial benefits for consumers, many customers haven’t experienced great results with them.
Let’s take a look at the three most significant factors that result in coating failures and cause long-term headaches for consumers.
Inexperienced Crews/Companies Are The Number One Reason For Improper Coating Installation
As the old saying goes, “you’re only as strong as your weakest link.”, So too it applies to the roofing industry. Commercial coatings that are used by untrained crews often experience issues. Improper application may negate the warranty, not keep water out, and require a complete rework. Here are the most common mistakes committed by inexperienced crews.
Improper Roof Cleaning and Preparation
Almost everyone has painted something before. We all know how to dip a brush or roller in a bucket and spread it across a wall. So, when most people see a bucket of roof coating they think of paint. Unfortunately, people think they can splash some coating on the roof, and the job is complete. This isn’t the case. Silicone coatings require vigorous surface preparation before they can be applied. This cleaning process includes power washing and intense scrubbing to ensure all types of debris have been removed. If the cleaning process is not conducted in a thorough enough manner, remaining debris will become stuck in between the roof and coating, which keeps the coating from properly adhering to the roof.
In addition to cleaning, there are other vital steps the making sure a roof is fully prepped for a coating installation. It is vital to address all flashing locations, seams, and penetrations of a roof with special flashing grade coating. If these details are skipped, the roof will fail prematurely almost all of the time. Also, some applicators are unaware that EPDM seams gradually fall apart, thus, they do not use fabric over these areas, which allows the coating to break and fail. These types of details are crucial to a successful coating that will honor warranties and leave customers happy for years to come. Lastly, even steps like mixing the product thoroughly will be skipped, which causes the coating to fail prematurely.
A common characteristic of an inexperienced crew is the speed at which it works. It is ideal for everyone that projects are completed quickly and on schedule, but a speedy completion should never compromise the quality of the work. Coatings must be applied to the manufacturer’s specifications, or they will fail. There is no “gray area”. Sometimes, crews work too fast and do not complete the job correctly.
Coatings are Applied When They Shouldn’t Be.
Silicone is great when it comes to keeping water out of a building, but it is not so great when water is already between it and the building. Typically the most regularly ignored cause for delay is a wet roof. Coatings cannot be applied even if there is a light dew on the roof because they will not stick. Unfortunately, this red flag doesn’t stop some contractors because they do not want to be delayed. The failure will not show for a few years until the coating begins to de-laminate from the roof. By then, the contractor will be long gone.
Another major factor is if the insulation under a roof is wet. Moisture will come back up through the roof and “blister” the coating eventually leaving openings throughout the roof if it is in the insulation before a coating is applied. If not adequately addressed this has the potential to cause significant problems to the coating system above it. Trained roofing professionals will use infrared scanning to ensure there is no moisture trapped beneath the surface of the roof to confirm the roof is qualified to receive a coating.
Another example of cutting corners is by failing to create a “monolithic coating system.” This method consists of creating a seamless membrane on the roof’s surface and adequately coating underneath structures on the roof. Many times a contractor will coat up to a temporary A/C curb or pipe support without actually lifting them up and coating underneath them. These areas will eventually fail and cause the building owner headaches down the road.
All of these oversights are the result of an improperly trained crew and should never occur during a project.
Low-Quality Manufacturers & Products Result in Low-Quality Results
Recently, the silicone coating industry has been flooded with new manufacturers trying to capitalize on the growing demand for the product. This influx of manufacturers has resulted in a lower quality of products that is leaving consumers with an inferior product.
Not all coating products deliver the same level of quality. Often acrylic coatings are compared to silicone coatings and used in their stead because they are a cheaper alternative. Comparing the two products is like comparing a horse & buggy to a modern vehicle. They are both built for the same purpose, but their performance standards are entirely different. Silicone coatings outperform acrylics in every critical aspect; the most significant differentiation being that Acrylics do not maintain a solid state if they remain in contact with water, among other things. This trait means that any ponding water will eventually dissolve the coating.
With countless coating providers claiming to be the “best in the business” it can be difficult to determine who the real leaders are. After comparing spec sheets, it doesn’t take long to identify the heroes from zeros. Parsons Roofing uses Gaco Western coating products for several reasons. Gaco Western is the only manufacturer that REQUIRES a pre-roof inspection for a warrantied job. They send out a qualified representative to inspect and confirm that the roof is suitable for a coating. They will then cover the warranty by paying for any materials or labor needed to repair defective application. Other companies rely on the roofer to determine if it is suitable or not. This process causes severe issues down the road when it comes to warranties as manufacturers can indicate that the roofer should never have coated that roof and then void the warranty. Also, Gaco Western Silicone compares favorably to any silicone coating on the market. Just ask us for a spec comparison!
Parsons Roofing Employs Industry Experts, Methods, and Products
Our team is committed to providing our customers with exceptional results that they can rely on for years to come. By instilling industry-wide best practices in what we do, our professionals deliver results that you can count on. Contact us today for a free consultation and estimate.