Is a Roof Coating the Best Option for Your Commercial Building?

John Maxwell | May 13, 2021

Close up of a roof coating on a commercial roof.

If you’re asking yourself, “Should I consider a roof coating for my commercial building?,” the answer is a bit more complicated than a simple yes or no. You’ll need all the information to make an informed decision about what is best for your roof and what will be your best long-term investment. But, don’t worry. We can help. When it comes to commercial roof coatings, Maxwell Roofing has seen the good, the bad, and everything in between. Let’s take a look at a few key points.

Roof Coatings Are a Lower-Cost Option: But You Need to Know All the Facts

When collecting quotes for a roof coating, you might notice that some companies are cheaper than others. You may even notice that some companies are offering to do your project for more than ten or twenty thousand dollars less than their competitors. We know—it’s hard to look at those low numbers and not take advantage; however, consider that the cost is lower for a reason. 

If you choose to go with a roof coating, you do not want to take the lowest offer without asking several questions about the process. Here is what you should know before you accept a quote.

The Prep Work is Extensive

The quality of a roof coating depends heavily on the prep work done before the coating is ever applied to the roof. As the material is most commonly an EPDM rubber coating, which is in liquid form—picture the consistency of thick paint—it requires the surface to be clean and the conditions to be just right. If the surface is not clean enough, without any dust, oil, or debris, the coating will not last. 

Preparing a roof for a coating material takes much more than a basic pressure wash. To ensure that the surface is clean, there must be physical abrasion to remove any substances. There is also a great deal of preparation and care needed when it comes to the roof’s joints, intersections, and roof penetrations. These must be cleaned by hand and reinforced so that cracks and defects don’t occur. 

When Not Done Properly, It Will Cost You

Labor is the most expensive ingredient in construction. The reason that many roofing companies will offer roof coatings at such a surprisingly low price could be because they aren’t factoring in the labor it will take to do the job well. Unfortunately, cutting corners in a roof coating job can lead to disaster for customers, even just a few years down the road. 

Roof coating materials rely on adhesion to protect the roof. Even the smallest debris can prevent it from bonding to the roof, causing the coating to blister, peel, and flake. As you can imagine, a coated roof that hasn’t been prepped properly will not last long and will leave you no choice but to replace your roof sooner. This is to say: without the proper prep work, roof coatings can cost you more in the long run than a roof replacement.

Not All Roofs are Ideal for Coatings

For low-slope roofs, we often see ponding water that collects dust and debris, requiring a significant amount of preparation before a coating project. However, even with a great deal of cleaning, you are still left with tiny puddles—bird baths, if you will. These small areas of standing water will keep the coating from bonding with the material under it and cause problems down the line. It is also important to note that some metal roofs already have a coating, which could prevent the new coating from bonding to the metal. 

Is a Roof Coating the Best Option for Your Commercial Building? 

Under the right circumstances, a roof coating may be a good option for your commercial building. However, we cannot stress enough that the job must be done well by a company that you can trust; otherwise, you could end up replacing your roof just a few short years later. Maxwell Roofing can talk through your options with you, helping you decide what option will give you the best protection for the longest time, depending on your budget. 

If you’re ready to get started, contact Maxwell Roofing & Sheet Metal, Inc. today! Our team is experienced and ready to help.

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