Roof coatings: A good choice for Atlanta homes?

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Roof coatings are becoming a popular choice for existing roofs, particularly in urban areas. Coating...

Roof coatings are becoming a popular choice for existing roofs, particularly in urban areas. Coating a roof with reflective, fully sealed coatings can fix leaks and reduce energy costs.

What is a coated roof?

In the urban Atlanta area, the primary use for coated cool roofs is for business and industrial flat roofing. However, urban homesteads, particularly those with flat roofing, can benefit from cool roofing.

The more popular usage for coatings in the Atlanta area is for solving leak issues. Particularly with harsh summers and humid, rainy weather, leaks can create a major home expense. Choosing a roof coating rather than roof repair or replacement can be a cost-effective choice.

Coated roofing is a seamlessly sealed liquid-applied sprayed roofing cover that can be installed by a do-it-yourselfer or through a licensed roofing contractor.

Why choose coated roofing?

  • The coatings are seamless and fix many leak issues.
  • Coated roofs are easy to install for the do-it-yourselfer. With a roof in a good state of repair, a coating can be added in one weekend.
  • Coatings can keep the roof safe from weather damage and cool the roof by creating a reflective surface. The cooling impact, particularly in harsh Atlanta summers, can lead to big savings in air conditioning costs as well as wear and tear on your roof.
  • A coated roof can add 25 years to the life of a roof.
  • By adding life to your roof, coatings are environmentally friendly in that they reduce roof waste.

Concerns about coated roofs

Installing a coating yourself on a roof that's larger may be too difficult for a do-it-yourselfer can handle. With a larger roof or one with leak issues, you'll want to consult a roofing contractor.

You may have to rent or purchase a variety of tools to install your own roof coating. Some of the required materials include the following: high pressure airless sprayers, pressure washers, roof repair equipment and scaffolding.

In cooler areas, the coatings are actually a disadvantage. Some studies show that cool roofs will actually increase your heating load in the winter. In Atlanta, where winters are rarely severe, any potential increase in heating costs is likely mitigated by the savings during summer cooling months.

Cool roof benefits

The reflective nature of cool roofs is a key benefit. The roofs reflect infrared and ultraviolet wavelengths.

  • Cool roofs reduce cooling energy load by reflecting heat.
  • Greenhouse gas emissions can potentially be reduced while global temperatures may also be cooled.
  • Cool roofs are quite beneficial in counteracting urban heat island effect in metro areas.
  • The roof's life can be extended.
  • Winter heating costs can also be mitigated slightly; however, the summer savings is greater.

Disadvantages of cool roofs

Without proper maintenance, the benefits of cool roof systems are mitigated. Without a clean white surface to create reflection, cool roofs contribute to the urban heat island effect much like a standard uncoated asphalt roof. About 90 percent of roofs in the United States are dark in color. Part of the reason behind the dark color is to minimize maintenance and cleaning needs. The white surface requires more regular cleaning to remain effective.

To determine whether a cool roof system may benefit you enough to offset the costs of installation, see the Department of Energy's Cool Roof Calculator.

Roof coating as an alternative to a new roof

If your roof is in a state of disrepair requiring replacement, you may consider consulting a professional about roof coating in lieu of replacement. It is not recommended to undergo this process as a do-it-yourselfer.

Having a professional recoat a roof that's damaged or aged can be an effective alternative to new roofing.

The coating is lightweight and can even be applied several times before adding too much weight to a roof deck.

If the coating is formulated in white, it can extend the life of the roof and improve reflectivity. However, you'll also need to remain aware of the increased cleaning requirements to maintain the reflectivity.

While similar to paint in appearance, coatings are actually fully adhered membranes formed onto the substrate of the roof. The coatings are also about 10 times thicker than paint.

The coatings are also elastic in nature, in order to flex with the roof during swelling and contractions from temperature variations.

Deciding whether to coat your roof yourself for environmental or cost savings concerns is an important decision. For more information about cool coated roofs, contact a local Atlanta roofing professional. Particularly if your roof has any existing wear and tear, you'll want to consult a roofer to determine the best possible solution for your roofing needs.

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