What is roof coating?

To help better explain what a coating system is I will put it in a easier to understand context: Roof coatings are a fluid applied system designed for waterproofing and improving a building envelopes efficiency. They are sometimes over 60% solids by volume and also sometimes reinforced with fabric. When reinforced the coating system becomes much like a sandwich, for instance think of the first coat as the bottom bun, and then the re enforced fabric (usually either cotton or polyester) as the patty or meat, and then the top coats as the top bun, to make up an assembly very similar to a sandwich.

The coating market is growing and will continue to do so more and more as building owners and property managers become more familiar with the application, the associated benefits. And that they can save their roof without having to tear it off and completely re roof it which can be far more costly. Have a reputable experienced coating applicator will assure your system works as intended. Coatings just like roofs are only as good as their applicators; however the technology of coating system varies, just as their application protocol, and types of warranties available. Some coating systems, such as IPC – Acrylink G are available with up to a 20 year total system warranty if qualifications and warranty protocol are met. Some systems are available with 7 to 10 year system warranties, which seems to be the most predominate warranty specification.


There are 17 different types of roofs or wall systems that can be coated, meaning you can pretty much coat anything. Most coatings have been developed and tested for roofing applications, some of the systems have also been tested for vertical applications that show improved energy efficiency and improved fire ratings also.

Metal roof systems, particularly R Panel and U panel systems are great candidates for coating. Why? These types of systems are all mechanically attached, and typically with screws with neoprene washers attaching the panels to the purling or building framing. Often over a period of time the neoprene washers can dry rot, crack, and become deficient which can cause every deficiency to become a leak. Coating this type of roof system not only covers all the fasteners it essentially puts a solid blanket over the building envelope that cost less than a replacement metal roof system, and assures building owners that they will not have to worry about all the areas that have shown to be typical sources of leaks on these types of roofs, plus it improves the energy efficiency of the building envelope, sometimes drastically if the original metal roof is of a darker color which absorbs more heat.

Black, grey, or even gravel ballasted roofs are great candidates for coating applications. Applying an Energy Star Rated coated system over these types of roofs has proven to show immediate savings in energy consumption.

In the City of Houston as well as most other municipalities you are only allowed two roofs on your commercial building. Coating applications here in Houston are by code not considered an actual roof but more of a restorative and building maintenance procedure. Recently The City of Houston has enhanced drainage requirements for retrofit re-roofs on buildings with parapet walls on all sides. In doing so drainage requirements must be met and approved by plan review prior to issuance of a code compliant re roofing project permit. Most older buildings that have parapet walls on all four sides typically have only primary roof drains, and thru wall scuppers that comprise their drainage system. Now that it is a requirement to have one overflow roof drain for every primary roof drain as well nominal sized thru wall scupper outlets measuring 9″ in length by 4″ in height, along with every primary scupper an overflow must also be installed at an elevation of two inches higher than the primary scupper. Sometimes certain drains and scuppers can be eliminated as others are added so long as drainage requirements are met and pre-approved. In instances such as this a coating application would not require enhancing the drainage requirements on the roof. This can provide a substantial savings while making the building envelope more energy efficient and still meeting required building code protocol and also potentially provide tax incentives for improving the buildings efficiency.

In sum coating applications can save building owners a lot of money verse re-roofing. The IPC (Isothermal Protective Coating Field Representative Marcus Brown said to me and a client once, “It’s real simple, coat the roof, get a 10 to 20 year warranty against leaks, and kick the bucket down the road and quit worrying about your roofâ€. I concur.

Coatings applications are like everything else, you get what you pay for. With a huge variety of products on the market with the material cost of some nearly half that of others choosing the product that works best for your needs requires an experienced roofing professional to explain the differences in the different systems from warranty terms to technological differences between systems.

With over 10 years of coating experience at Anchor Roofing we are pleased to have never had a coating claim, and every roof that was coated prior to Hurricane Ike made it through the storm without one failure.

There are coating manufacturer’s that will literally sign up anyone to be a warranty applicator with their primary goal of selling as much product as possible, these companies are often frowned upon by top architects and roof consultants. If it is a major project you are looking at I strongly recommend hiring a consultant or architect to assist with the specifications as they are typically unbiased, aside from systems they have seen fail, and as consultants ethically they cannot also be installers but with their credentials and knowledge it will help assure that your project goes as smoothly as possible.

We also welcome the opportunity to provide further information about roof coatings and how practical their application is for any building to help decide if it is an option we can recommend in good faith. Some roofs unfortunately just aren’t good candidates for coatings, particularly any roof with substantial moisture trapped underneath the present roof system. Some buildings are a great fit, and now between local incentives available and federal tax incentives along with decreased energy consumption more and more coatings are being applied than ever before in the US market.

Anchor Roofing has the credentials of certified warranty applicator for most of the top industry recognized coating systems which enables us to provide long term total system warranties, and we have the manpower to handle any job of any size, be it large or small. Call your local Houston roofing contractor and schedule a free estimate and find out in what shape is your roof!


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