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The Truth About Aluminum Roof Coatings: What You Need to Know

silver roof coating worn off

 

When it comes to roofing, homeowners and building owners are always on the lookout for effective and affordable solutions to protect their properties. One such solution that you may have come across is aluminum roof coatings. While these products may seem like a viable option at first glance, it's important to do your homework and consider all the facts before making a decision. As you can see in the picture above, aluminum roof coatings wear off rather quickly within 2 - 5 years. You are then left with a roof surface that cannot be reroofed as nothing will adhere to what is left of the aluminum roof coating that is now peeling up.

Cons of Using Aluminum Roof Coatings

  • Inability to Adhere: One of the main issues with aluminum coatings is their inability to bond with water-based coatings, which can be problematic if you decide to apply a longer-lasting acrylic product in the future. While a solvent-based primer can improve adhesion, it may not be a reliable solution in all cases.
  • Beware of Rain: Aluminum coatings are not effective in protecting against water, except for hairline cracks. This means that if your roof has any significant leaks, an aluminum coating will not provide adequate protection.
  • Unable to Fluctuate: Another major issue with aluminum roof coatings is that they do not expand and contract with changing temperatures. This can cause the coating to develop bubbles, cracks, and gaps, leading to potential water damage and other issues.
  • Lackluster Warranties: While warranty options may vary depending on the manufacturer, aluminum coating products typically offer a limited warranty of only one to seven years. This means that if any issues arise with your roof, you may be responsible for costly repairs or replacements.
  • Subpar Reflectivity: Despite claims of lowering roof temperatures and reflecting ultraviolet rays, aluminum coatings are not as efficient in solar reflectance and thermal emissivity as acrylic coatings. According to the Cool Roof Rating Council, an organization that evaluates solar reflectance and thermal emittance, aluminum roof coatings are 20% less efficient in these areas compared to acrylic coatings. Additionally, aluminum coatings can lose up to 50% of their efficiency within just three years, resulting in higher energy costs over time.
  • Difficult to Clean: Cleaning is an essential part of roof maintenance, but it can be tricky with an aluminum coating. During the cleaning process, aluminum flakes can slough off, exposing the substrate below and releasing aluminum particles into the environment. This can be hazardous to the health of those in the surrounding area.
  • High VOC Content: Aluminum coatings are solvent-based, which means they can emit noxious odors during application. This can be a concern for building occupants and may require special precautions during installation.
  • Frequent Recoating Needed: Finally, aluminum roof coatings typically have a lifespan of only three to four years, meaning you'll need to re-coat often to maintain protection. This can be a time-consuming and costly process, especially for larger commercial roofs.

Better Alternatives to Aluminum Coatings

While aluminum roof coatings may seem like a good option due to their low initial cost, there are better alternatives available that can provide superior protection and longevity for your roof. Some of these alternatives include:

  • Acrylic Coatings: Acrylic coatings are water-based and can bond to a wider range of surfaces, making them more versatile than aluminum coatings. They also have better reflectivity and emissivity, making them more efficient at reducing roof temperatures and energy costs. Acrylic coatings can last up to 10 years or more with proper maintenance.
  • Silicone Coatings: Silicone coatings are another water-based option that offer superior resistance to UV radiation and weathering. They can last up to 20 years or more and are particularly well-suited for flat or low-slope roofs.
  • Polyurethane Coatings: Polyurethane coatings are solvent-based but have lower VOC emissions than aluminum coatings. They are also more durable and resistant to wear and tear, making them a good choice for high-traffic roofs.

Before making a decision on which type of roof coating to use, it's important to consult with a roofing professional who can evaluate your specific needs and recommend the best solution for your property.

Conclusion

While aluminum roof coatings may seem like an attractive option for protecting your roof, there are several drawbacks to consider before making a decision. These coatings may not be the best choice for those looking for a long-term, effective solution. Instead, it may be better to explore alternative options such as acrylic, silicone, or polyurethane coatings. By working with a roofing professional and conducting thorough research, you can ensure that you make an informed decision and choose the best product for your property.

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Trust GoTech Roofing in Washington DC and Northern Virginia

Founded by Julian Stevens over a decade ago, GoTech Roofing has established itself as the number 1 provider of flat roofing services in Northern Virginia. We provide roof repair and roof replacement services with a real focus on customer satisfaction. We are a Washington DC and Virginia Class A Contractor and fully insured with Workman's Compensation and Liability Insurance. GoTech Roofing provides each and every client with an incomparable flat roofing experience through our outstanding customer service and exceptional quality. We understand that each flat roof is unique and will treat it as such. Having worked 10 years providing multi-million dollar contracting services for the Federal Government, Julian took a look at the antiquated roofing construction process and knew there was a better way. He built GoTech Roofing utilizing Dynamics Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software fully integrated with Microsoft Project Professional software to create a Proprietary Customer Service-Oriented Roofing Process that starts with your first communication with us all the way to when we shake hands when the job is done. With our GoTech Proprietary Customer Service-Oriented Roofing Process you can skip the headaches, schedule delays, lack of contractor communication, cost increases, and nonsense – we handle every flat roofing project detail from start to finish in a written scheduled process you will receive on day one.