When you have a commercial roof, there are ways to coat that flat roof to protect it. As long as that roof isn’t too old and cracking up badly, you can coat it. There are a couple of different coatings you can choose from.
Silicone is sprayed on but dries like a plastic sheet. It’s very durable, tough, and resists UV rays. It resists almost every kind of weather, including extreme heat, snow, and ice. Additionally, silicone has excellent adhesion, creating smooth, flat areas and seamless angles where the roof bends.
Your commercial building retains heat and cooled air better when the roof is coated in silicone. It will last up to ten years or more, depending on the thickness of the silicone coating applied.
Asphalt and Tar (a.k.a., Bitumen)
Asphalt and tar are considered excellent roof coating materials. The asphalt and tar coatings seal the roof while making it slip-proof. Because this coating is like a blacktop on your driveway or parking lot, you can understand how it makes the roof slip-proof. There’s traction for shoes once this is applied. Future repairs to various systems on the roof are safer to make because of the blacktop coating.
When you choose this coating, snow and ice melt quickly because the blackness of the tar and asphalt draws heat from the sun. It warms up and retains that heat until it’s overcast and there’s more snow than the hot roof can melt. The blacktop covering also makes it easier to remove heavy loads of snow and ice with a few shovels and people to shovel.
Polyurethane is impact-resistant, which is good if your building has seen a lot of hail or is low enough that it gets hit with tree debris. It isn’t UV resistant like silicone, but there’s an extra top coat you can use over polyurethane to protect it. Polyurethane does have the drawback of getting dirty quickly and losing reflective properties over time. It’s not recommended for things like rooftop helipads where the roof needs to reflect well.
Liquid to Solid Rubber
This spray-on coating comes shooting out and is sprayed in a layer all over the roof as evenly as possible. As the liquid dries, it puffs up a little and then smooths out to a rubbery layer. Walking on it can be compared to walking on a hard yoga mat. There’s some bounce back under your feet, but not so much that it feels like a gym mat. It is also a very safe surface for rooftop workers to walk on.
Think acrylic paint, and you wouldn’t be far off from what this coating is like. It’s even rollered on all over the roof. If you choose an acrylic coating for your commercial roof, you can make it bright white, reflective yellow, or solid black.
Acrylic coatings resist hail and extreme heat. The acrylic-coated roof will be twenty degrees less than the outdoor ambient temperature. This is ideal if you’re trying to reduce your cooling bills and live where it is especially hot most of the year.
Fibered Roof Coatings
These include foam that expands to cover the roof and cloth that is adhered in layers to the roof. The latter requires the tedious application of layers of roof fabric with special glue and then coated over with a sealing top coat to keep it from shredding or being picked at by animals. It works if you need a roof coating that maintains some tension and holds onto every corner of the roof to prevent future collapses.
Fibered roof coatings are supposed to be short-term. The intent is to apply another roof coating material over the fibered coating to strengthen it. Acrylic or polyurethane is the sealing coat of choice with this system.
It’s not uncommon to clad a roof in aluminum. Metal roofs have been part of industrial buildings for over a century, so a metal-clad roof on a commercial building makes sense. Aluminum doesn’t do well deflecting larger hail stones, but it is highly reflective and doesn’t rust. Recent advances in the production of aluminum cladding as a roof coating allow you to customize the color of the aluminum if you don’t want its usual silvery color.