The roof on any building is subject to the pressures of its surrounding environment every day. When the sun is shining, then the surface provides protection against the UVA and UVB that comes from the sun, providing a safer place to be. When the weather turns frightful, the roof must be able to withstand rain, snow, sleet, hail, and high winds. One of the ways that it can get the job done, especially on a flat surface, is through the use of a silicone roof coating.
Silicone roof coatings have several decades of development experience to ensure that it can provide the strongest level of protection possible when correctly installed. It is a non-chalking, eco-friendly product that allows a building to become more resistant to the elements. This coating option is usually the most expensive material on the market to use, but it is also an investment that can save you plenty of money in the long run.
If you have a commercial building which could benefit from a new application of silicone roof coating, then these are the pros and cons that you will want to review.
List of the Pros of a Silicone Roof Coating
1. This surface provides almost no erosion.
When you compare the benefits of a silicone roof coating to the other applications which are available today, then this option provides one of the highest levels of durability in the market. It weathers with almost zero erosion over its lifetime, which means you don’t need to worry about a premature maintenance expense. Once the product is correctly applied, you will have a roofing surface that can stand up to almost anything that nature can throw at it.
2. The silicone cures naturally in the outdoor environment.
A silicone roof coating can cure without any special arrangements being made since exposure to moisture helps to create the finished product. Some contractors even prefer to install this roofing option during the hot summer days with high humidity because the product cure is better then. In some situations, the use of silicone can eliminate the need to have a primer available for the work when an update or installation project is nearing completion.
3. It protects the structure against puddling water problems.
A flat roof will eventually find a spot where water likes to settle and puddle. This standing water can become problematic with other surfaces because the erosive effect can eventually find a way to enter the building. When you use a silicone roof coating, then you add a tremendous level of resilience to the final outcome. It will hold the water in place until it drains like it should or evaporates back into the environment. That means fewer manhours are needed to maintain the surface since you don’t need to get up there to remove any standing water right away.
4. The preparation and installation expenses can be minimal with this option.
If you decide to use a silicone restoration membrane for your roof, then you can experience a substantial level of cost savings with this project. As long as the existing substrate is stable and dry, then there is no requirements to remove the existing roof unless there is another silicone product already in place that is incompatible with the membrane. That means your roofing contractor can make preventative repairs to your current system, so installing the new coating will give you a surface that can act as a waterproof system over the existing surface of your building.
5. It will extend the life of your roof.
If the roof on your building is in relatively good condition, then you can extend its life by protecting it from the elements using a silicone roof coating. This commercial product applies as a liquid, which means it can fill in the vulnerable areas of your surface without the need for an extensive amount of labor. All of the cracks, seams, and other problem areas receive a layer of protection that helps to keep water away.
Your contractor must provide a complete membrane to create this benefit, so the quality of the work matters. Choose providers who have an extensive amount of experience with silicone roof coatings to ensure that your investment will receive a maximum level of value.
6. A silicone roof coating can reduce your energy expenses.
You might hear some contractors refer to a silicone roof coating as a “cool roof” because of is reflective capabilities. Because the product installs with white coloration, it can reflect a majority of the sun’s rays before your building experiences the thermal impact of this energy. That means the building can reduce its energy costs by up to 35% during the warmer months of the year since there is less air conditioning that must be used to create a comfortable atmosphere.
You can even use this advantage to potentially qualify as an Energy Star business or building. There may even be some LEED certification credits available to you, depending on the contractor and the final product you use to create your new roof. Even if you do not qualify for these options, the fact that your HVAC units can operate more efficiently means there are fewer heat islands that you’ll need to manage over time.
7. It does not take very long to install a silicone roof coating.
One of the biggest problems, from a commercial standpoint, is that roofing work can interfere with the operations of your facility. You need to have this job finished quickly so that you can return to your daily functions without interruption. The installation of a silicone roof coating can cut down the time needed to install or repair your roof by up to 30%. Not only does this advantage provide you with more convenience, but it can also reduce your labor expenses and the other cost considerations you would need to make.
Unless you have an extensive building to manage, most projects can be finished in just a day. You can spray the silicone onto its fabric, combine it with fibers to roll it on, and finish the work in 24 hours or less with a brush or roller. Since it has an absence of hydrocarbon solvents, a thicker coating can apply without blistering to ensure that a maximum level of adhesion remains possible.
List of the Cons of a Silicone Roof Coating
1. The roof will lose its reflectiveness over time.
The nature of a silicone roof coating is that it will hold the dirt that it picks up each day. Then the surface uses rain to act as a cleaner for it. That means the material will eventually lose is reflectivity over time, causing more of the thermal heat of the sun to enter the building. As this option ages, the cost of your heating and cooling bills will continue to rise because there is an entropic curve to its support.
Although this surface can last much longer than most other roofing options, you will need to take its typically lifespan into account to determine if this coating is the best option for your building.
2. You must remove the entire surface when it is time to replace it.
It is challenging to have other roofing products adhere to silicone, which means you must either remove a previous silicone roof coating entirely or use a product which is compatible with the existing surface. If you find yourself choosing the first option, then there will be a significantly higher installation expense to budget for when it comes time to upgrade your roof. Should the second option become available, then you might need to pay more for the product since it is a specialty item.
3. Tearing is a mechanical weakness for silicone roofing materials.
Silicone roof coatings do not have the same resistance to tearing as other options for your building do as part of its protection profile. It is a mechanical weakness of this product, which means it should not be installed without the use of fabric to reinforce it. Even when you combine the items in a way that promotes a higher level of durability, there can still be issues with impact events that might require a higher level of maintenance when compared to other roof coating options like urethane.
4. An improper installation could damage your existing roof.
You will always want to work with contractors who are licensed, bonded, and insured when you need to have a silicone roof coating installed. If the work is not completed properly, then the commercial roof surface could cause more damage to your building than protection. You will need to have a financial “out” that can help you to recover from this disadvantage should it occur, and a bonded contractor gives you the best option. Always seek out the most reputable agencies in your area that specialize in this product to receive the best possible result.
5. There is an increase in safety concerns when using this surface.
If you do have people who are on your roof consistently, then you must focus on increasing their safety awareness to reduce the risk of an injury after the installation of a silicone roof coating. When the surface gets a little wet, then it tends to be more slippery than your typical roofing systems. If you have individuals attending to skylights, roofing issues, or other units that require access from the top, then there needs to be more awareness of this disadvantage.
Any foot traffic that you have on the roof can also increase the risk of having the material start to tear, especially if there was no fabric installed with the surface or membrane. If you have maintenance personnel up there regularly, then a different surface option is probably the better choice.
6. You cannot use this system if the roof is not flat.
A silicone roof coating works best when you are trying to manage the challenges of a flat surface. Although you can apply this product to the various shapes that may be present on the roof, it does not work well if there is a pitch present. If you think about the typical residential roof, then this product will not work in that situation. It may be convenient and easy to use, but there are some specific circumstances where it should not be used at all.
7. Other roofing types come with a stronger warranty.
Most roofing options today come with a 25-year warranty so that you can make the most out of your investment. If you decide to go with a metal roof, then that guarantee might stretch out to 50 years or more. When you choose to work with a silicone roof coating instead, then the product may provide you with a 10-year warranty (or sometimes longer), but some providers might only give you 5 years of protection. Even if you are eligible for tax deductions, you might find that the initial expense of this surface outweighs the various benefits that it could provide for your structure.
Verdict on the Pros and Cons of a Silicone Roof Coating
There are many different choices when it comes to the coatings that you can use for your roof. All of them have unique strengths and weaknesses worth considering, so it is up to you and the needs of your structure to determine what is necessary. A silicone roof coating provides you with some needed versatility, but it also comes at a higher price than most of your other choices.
Perhaps the best reason to consider a silicone roof coating is the fact that you don’t always need to replace the existing roof to benefit from this product. Choosing an encapsulation system saves time, reduces landfill waste, and can waterproof a roof with this economical choice.
That’s why a careful evaluation of the pros and cons of a silicone roof coating are essential to a successful installation experience. It can be used without a primer in some situations, but it might also be unable to provide the reflectivity benefits you require.
Brandon Miller has a B.A. from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a seasoned writer who has written over one hundred articles, which have been read by over 500,000 people. If you have any comments or concerns about this blog post, then please contact the Green Garage team here.