Professionals coating a flat roof.

ROOF COATING SYSTEMS: SILICONE VS. ELASTOMERIC

Replacing a commercial roof can be an expensive endeavor. Tearing off all the existing material and installing a new system will likely require lots of work in 10-15 years.

There are options for recovery that help your roof stay maintained and affordable. However, there are other options to consider that help your roof remain safe and well-maintained.

This article will look at silicone vs. elastomeric roof coatings and how each differs.

Elastomeric Roof Coating Basics

Elastomeric roof coatings are commercial roof coatings with a stretchy membrane that protects the roof by filling in cracks and seams to create a seamless cover over the whole roof.

These coatings require minimal roof tear-offs, meaning you don’t need to replace your entire roofing system. These coatings act as a maintenance option that will help improve the lifespan of your roof and its performance.

Elastomeric roof coating.

Types of Elastomeric Roof Coatings

There are four kinds of elastomeric coatings:

  • Butyl
  • Acrylic
  • Polyurethane
  • Silicone

Each coating has its advantages and disadvantages. Namely in cost and roofing requirements, but they each share some similarities.

Installation Process

Each of these roof coatings is applied the same way. They go on as a liquid and can be sprayed or rolled on for an easy application process.

The nature of the liquid coating makes elastomeric coatings a superior choice for making sure the roof is well-sealed. Elastomeric coatings are sprayed onto the base of vents and can create a waterproof seamless coating transition.

Durability

All elastomeric roof coatings have varying levels of durability. Each has its merits and is more useful in different climates.

Adding a roof coating will increase the longevity and performance of any commercial roof.

Pros and Cons of Elastomeric Roof Coatings

Butyl

Butyl is a liquid rubber that is very durable due to its flexibility. This flexibility allows butyl to withstand daily expansion and contraction.

This rubber roof coating also acts as a vapor-retardant barrier, allowing vapors to pass through it. Butyl is also great against ponding water.

Although it is a highly durable option, butyl has a more challenging application process. Due to its low solid content, it can be costly. You need more material to create the coverage you need.

Butyl roofing application with a roller.

Polyurethane

Like butyl, polyurethane has excellent ratings for withstanding daily expansion and contraction. However, where it stands out is its adhesion quality. You can utilize polyurethane atop many roofing systems.

The biggest downside to polyurethane coating is its odor. During installation, polyurethane stinks. We recommend you close any intake system until the coating has cured. Most contractors advise rolled polyurethane as it can be difficult to spray.

Acrylic

Acrylic roof coatings are the oldest and cheapest elastomeric option. It’s easy to install and has satisfactory UV protection, but acrylic coatings tend to weather off quickly over time.

Ideally, acrylic coatings should only be used on sloped roofs as acrylic performs poorly against ponding water.

Silicone Roof Coatings

Silicone is an elastomeric roof coating. Contractors commonly utilize it for its simplicity, cost, and superior protection against ponding water.

Cost

Although not technically the cheapest coating, silicone has a great cost-to-performance ratio.

Silicone exists somewhere between butyl and acrylic, but the added durability is a significant benefit when considering silicone vs. acrylic coatings.

Reflectivity

Silicone boasts a high resistance to UV rays. Blocking up to 88% of UV rays will decrease energy costs and keep your facility cooler.

This coating will depreciate over time due to dirt, but silicone roofs keep their reflectivity for longer when appropriately maintained.

Many Applications

You can use silicone roofs on a variety of roof types. Silicone can seal in your existing roof system whether you have metal, single-ply, built-up, or a handful of others.

Ease of Installation

Compared to some coatings, especially butyl, silicone coating has a much higher solids content. Therefore, it’s easier and quicker to install and still creates a strong membrane.

Roofer applying spray silicone roof coating.

Cons of Silicone vs. Elastomeric Roof Coatings

While other roof coatings have many pros and cons, silicone elastomeric roof coatings only have a handful of downsides.

  • They attract dirt.

Dirt depreciates the UV protective coating of the roof over time. But, when cleaned properly and regularly, these coatings can last longer than projected.

  • They’re slippery when wet.

Silicone roof coatings are known to be slippery surfaces, especially when wet. Silicone may not be for you if you’re expecting high foot traffic.

Call a Professional

It’s essential to get professional help when considering your options. Each of these elastomeric roof coatings is better in some climates than others, and some unknown options may be available.

Elastomeric roof coatings are helpful additions that can extend the life of your roof. Contact us today if you’re interested in these options for your commercial roofing needs.

Schedule an appointment or inspection with Legacy Roofing today!

If you would like Legacy Roofing to inspect your roof and offer a free estimate, please call us, or fill out the contract form below. Legacy will send a trained estimator to inspect and offer an experts opinion on the size and scope of your job.

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Servicing All of Northern Arizona

Legacy Roofing

Legacy Roofing LLC - Prescott