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Your Complete Guide to Silicone Roof Coatings

 

You’ve got questions about Silicone Roof Coatings, such as:

 

  • What is a silicone roof coating?
  • How much does a silicone roof coating installation cost?
  • How long will silicone roof coatings last?
  • What kind of warranty can I get after a silicone roof coating installation?
  • What benefits do silicone roof coatings provide?
  • What problems do silicone roof coatings have?
  • What kind of commercial roofs are eligible for a silicone roof coating?
  • What repairs happen with a silicone roof coatings?
  • How are silicone roof coatings installed on a commercial roof?
  • Silicone roof coating vs completely tearing off your roof
  • Silicone roof coatings vs acrylic roof coatings
  • Case studies/Examples of silicone roof coated roofs

 

We have all the answers for you!

 

In this guide, we answer all of the most common questions building owners have about silicone roof coatings.

The goal is simple.

To give you all the answers you need to make the best decision about your roof.

Let’s begin!

 

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Your Complete Guide to Silicone Roof Coatings Cover

 

Please choose a chapter below to begin.

[clicking on any chapter will take you directly to that section]

 

Chapter 1: What Is a Silicone Roof Coating?

Chapter 2: How Much Does a Silicone Roof Coating Installation Cost?

Chapter 3: How Long Will Silicone Roof Coatings Last?

Chapter 4: What Kind of Warranty Can I Get After a Silicone Roof Coating Installation?

Chapter 5: 5 Benefits Silicone Roof Coatings Provide?

Chapter 6: What Problems Do Silicone Roof Coatings Have?

Chapter 7: What Kind of Commercial Roofs Are Eligible for a Silicone Roof Coating?

Chapter 8: What Repairs Happen With a Silicone Roof Coatings?

Chapter 9: How Are Silicone Roof Coatings Installed on a Commercial Roof?

Chapter 10: Silicone Roof Coating vs Completely Tearing off Your Roof

Chapter 11: Silicone Roof Coatings vs Acrylic Roof Coatings

Chapter 12: Case Studies/Examples of Silicone Roof Coated Roofs

 

Chapter 1: What Is a Silicone Roof Coating?

A Silicone Restoration Membrane is a versatile and self-flashing silicone membrane material perfect for commercial roof renewal. After the existing roof is clean and repaired, the silicone coating is sprayed or rolled on, sealing any imperfections, and adding a waterproof layer on your commercial roof.

Problems that Silicone Restoration Membranes have

Whether your roof is flat or pitched, an SRM can handle any type roof, including those with skylights, vents, HVAC units, and drainage systems.

The number one benefit of installing a silicone roof coating is that it’s more cost-effective than a complete roof tear off, it’s saves on your energy bill by adding reflectivity, and it’s seamless, which does not allow water an opportunity to enter your building.

 

Chapter 2: How Much Does a Silicone Roof Coating Installation Cost?

For an average 20,000 sq. foot commercial roof, it will usually cost between $2.00 and $3.50 per square foot in materials and labor to install a typical Silicone Restoration Membrane System.

To get the best silicone roof coating system for the right price, you will need to consider these key factors:

 

Infrared Survey

 

Before a silicone roof coating is applied, the contractor will perform an infrared survey to examine the condition of the insulation under the roof. An Infrared Moisture Survey is a terrific way to visually see the quality of the insulation across a wide area.

When the temperature drops in the evening, your contractor will take photos of your roof with an infrared camera. These photos will tell visually where the insulation is wet under the membrane. By using these photos, your contractor knows where they need to replace the underlying insulation.

 

Roof Repairs

 

 

If your commercial roof needs minor repairs, those can factor into the cost of your Silicone Restoration Membrane.

Since your roof is being restored with a silicone coating, most of the roof surface is in good condition. The repairs are usually less than 25% of the roof, keeping the rest of the roof untouched. Repairs before a silicone restoration coating costs between $0.70 – $1.40 per sq. foot in materials and labor.

The contractors will remove any saturated insulation, replace the area with new, like insulation (polyiso is repaired with polyiso and so on). The areas being repaired are patched up and ready for the entire roof to be cleaned.

 

 

Power Washing

 

After the inspection and contract are both completed, your contractor will start the silicone roof coating application by power washing the surface of the roof. It’s important to thoroughly clean the roof surface from debris and dirt so that the silicone will adhere properly.

There are two ways a contractor can power wash a commercial roof:

Traditional Spinning Head/ Power Washer Wand – $0.20 – $0.35 per sq. foot

This is the most popular way to power wash a commercial roof and usually the process a contractor will take. The contractor will use a power wash wand or a machine with a spinning brush to clean the surface of the roof.

Then the contractor will need to dry to the surface of the roof with a powerful air dryer, or they will have to let the roof dry naturally overnight or over the course of a few days. This process can lengthen the duration of the project.

Reclamation Washing – $0.30 – $0.50 per sq. foot

The less popular, but eco-friendlier power washing option is a reclamation washing process. This process uses a heated high-pressure water with a spinning brush to clean the roof surface. As the water is cleaning the roof surface, the attached vacuum sucks up the water, processes it through a filtration system and then disposes of it properly in the facility’s sewer system. This process uses less water, collects used water and takes a shorter amount of time for the roof surface to dry.

 

Membrane Seam Repair

 

 

After any repairs are made to your roofing system, the contractor will reinforce all of the existing seams across your roof. This seam reinforcement simply adds a layer of mesh and coating or self-adhesive tape to further prevent leaks with the more vulnerable areas of the roof.

There are two common types of seam reinforcement.

Polyester Mesh with Coating – $2.20 – $2.50 per sq. foot

Installing a polyester reinforced mesh into a liquid top coating and then an additional silicone coating after the topcoat has cured.

Self-Adhesive Tape – $4.00 – $4.50 per sq. foot

To reinforce the seams, flashings, and penetrations with a self-adhering, reinforcing tape that would then receive a liquid topcoat. This process costs more, but it can save money on time a labor because it is a quicker process for the contractor.

 

 

Silicone Coating

 

The final application is the actual silicone coating. The Silicone Roof Coating is sprayed on or roller applied over the entire surface of the roof adding a seamless, waterproof layer to your commercial flat roof to protect the existing roof, repairs, and seams from water.

The number of layers and thickness of layers depends on the brand of material/manufacturer your contractor is using. Some manufacturers allow one coat of silicone, while others require two. Different manufacturers will offer contractor certifications, so ask your contractor what brands they use and if they are certified/licensed by their preferred manufacturers.

Cost Table:

Industry Average 10 Year Warranty Application
1 Coat $1.40 – $1.87 per sq. foot
2 Coats $1.78 – $2.10 per sq. foot
Industry Average 15 Year Warranty Application
1 Coat $2.10 – $2.45 per sq. foot
2 Coats $2.45 – $2.50 per sq. foot

 

So, there you have it. For an average 20,000 sq. foot commercial roof, it will usually cost between $2.00 and $3.50 per square foot in materials and labor to install a typical Silicone Restoration Membrane System.

 

Chapter 3: How Long Will Silicone Roof Coatings Last?

Silicone roof coatings can last between 10 and 20 years. 

This all depends on the millage of coating that’s applied to your roof.

A 10-year warranty requires 20 mils of coating.

A 20-year warranty requires 30 mils of coating.

 

Can silicone roof coatings last longer than their warranty?

Yes, and most of them do. It isn’t extraordinary to see a 10-year warrantied roof still be in great condition after the warranty has expired.

In fact, Brian Chavalia (30+ years of commercial roofing experience at West Roofing Systems), has seen this personally. He has inspected a roof 15 years after a restoration and saw that the topcoat still had all the granules embedded.

If the granules are still embedded, all that coating is still underneath, otherwise the granules would be gone.

An important fact to note is silicone roof coatings will last longer with proper annual maintenance and inspection of the roof, especially after weather impacting events, such as bad thunderstorms and hail storms.

 

What maintenance is done to extend how long silicone roof coatings last?

Most roofing maintenance programs begin with a visual inspection and reporting. They are looking for early signs of significant damage. Damage can be caused by numerous events such as wind, rain, debris, or any foot traffic having access to the roof.

Maintenance also includes special attention to areas that impact water travel, such as gutters, drains and scuppers. A roofing contractor wants to make sure that when it rains, that water is moving the way it’s designed to off the roof.

NOTE: A maintenance contract is a great way to keep your facility in good shape while holding your contractor accountable for the performance of their work.

 

Has a silicone roof coating ever NOT lasted it’s intended lifetime?

No. And if it ever didn’t last as long as it was intended too, it would’ve been applicator error. Some forms of applicator error would be:

1) COATING TOO THINLY

For a 10-year warranty, 20 mils of coating needs to be applied. If less than 20 mils of coating is applied, then the product may not last the entire 10 years.
 

2) COATING TOO THICK

If the coating is applied too thick (more than 20 mils for a 10-year warranty), then it’s simply shame on the roofing contractor and great for the customer. This roof will perform great for more than 10 years.
 

3) MIXING IMPROPERLY

The coatings that are used now are single component, meaning you just pop the drum open, give it a swirl and begin putting the product down. However, older coatings may have multiple components that need to be mixed to perform properly. If not, then the product is not going to perform how it was designed to perform.
 

4) APPLYING BEFORE A RAINSTORM

This one depends on the type of elastomeric coating the roofing contractor is applying. If it’s silicone, then it doesn’t matter. Silicone will still perform as it should if it’s rains slightly after installation. However, if the roofing contractor is applying acrylic or urethane coating, rainfall slightly after installation will damage that coating. Rain can even wash your coating off the roof!
 

5) POOR SUBSTRATE PREPARATION

Preparation is King!

Just like painting the walls of your home, if your walls are full of dirt or dust, the paint isn’t going to adhere or perform how it should. A roofing contractor needs to clean and dry your existing substrate before application. If this isn’t done, the coating will not adhere properly and will not perform how it was meant to.

A rule of thumb is clean, dry and sound.

The roof should be so clean that if you drop your sandwich, you should still want to eat it.

No joke!

A very clean roof is that important for proper adhesion and performance.

 

Does High Solids Silicone last longer than solvent-based silicone?

Newer to the industry than traditional solvent-based silicone is what’s called High Solids Silicone.

Without getting too technical into what the differences are between them, roofing contractors are noticing the high solids showing fewer signs of deterioration that the solvent-based silicone does.

Some tendencies include an increased rate of wear and chalking.

Roofing contractors are using high solids more and more every day. At West Roofing Systems, we are at an approximate rate of 90% high solids/10% solvent-based.

 

Why is solvent-based silicone still used?

On a roofing re-coat (say you did a silicone coating over your roof 10 years ago), a roofing contractor will most likely use a solvent-based coating. The reason is that solvent-based silicone grabs onto existing silicone better than high-solids silicone.

While high-solids silicone adheres to spray foam and rubber tremendously, it doesn’t grab onto existing silicone as great as solvent-based does.

First time coating application = high-solids silicone, Re-coat over a high-solids silicone will most likely be high-solids.

Re-coats over a solvent-based silicone roof = solvent-based coating.

NOTE: before installing coating over an entire roof, an adhesion test will be performed to make sure that type of coating adheres properly.

 

Chapter 4: What Kind of Warranty Can I Get After a Silicone Roof Coating Installation?

 After the Silicone Roof Coating is applied and completed, it will be inspected by a 3rd party to ensure that the silicone was properly applied to the manufacturer’s specifications. When the roof coating passes the inspection, the warranty will be issued to the facility owner/manager.

The cost of the warranty is determined by the length of the warranty and the manufacturer.

  • 10 Year Manufacturer’s Warranty – $0.07 – $0.10 per sq. foot
  • 15 Year Manufacturer’s Warranty – $0.11 – $0.15 per sq. foot

 

Chapter 5: 5 Benefits Silicone Roof Coatings Provide?

Cost Savings

One of the top benefits of a Silicone Restoration Membrane is the cost savings. As long as the existing roof substrate is dry and stable, no roof removal is required. In this case, we make preventative repairs to the current system and install a brand-new silicone coating that acts like waterproof roof system over the existing substrate.

The usual cost savings is 3-4x cheaper than a complete roof replacement.

 

Considered Maintenance 

The Silicone Restoration Membrane provides a new waterproofing membrane over the existing roof membrane, which is considered a maintenance application in lieu of roof replacement. This means that the coating application can be done many times without adding additional roof systems, that would eventually require removal per building codes.

Per building codes, you can only have 2 roofing systems installed. Adding silicone coatings to restore your roof is not considered a roofing system.

 

Extended Life Roof

If your roof is in relatively good condition, you can extend the life of your commercial roof by protecting it from the elements. Since the silicone is applied as a liquid, it fills in any seams, cracks or other vulnerable areas of your roof.

 

Reduced Energy Expenses

Silicone roof coatings are often referred to as “cool roofs” due to their ability to keep facilities cool. The bright white color reflects UV rays, saving buildings up to 35% in energy costs from not needing as much air conditioning to keep the facilities cool. Utilizing a bright white coating application reduces energy costs as part of the energy star cool roof solution.

 

Short Project Duration

One of the biggest issues with having work done on your facility is the interruptions to the daily functions of your building. A silicone coating projects can cut the down project duration up to 30%. This is not only more convenient, but it can also save money on labor and other considerations you would have to make (alternative parks, etc.)

 

Chapter 6: What Problems Do Silicone Roof Coatings Have?

Here are 4 problems that silicone roof coatings have:

1. Slippery

When SRM’s get wet, they can be very slippery. For areas of high foot traffic, such as near HVAC units, a roofing contractor will add sand into the wet coating during application.

The sand provides a more stable walking area, and it also provides some strength to handle the abuse when HVAC panels and tools get placed down.
 

2. Eligibility

For an existing roof system to be eligible for an SRM installation, the roof needs to be in better condition than most roofs at the end of their serviceable life. Some signs of a roof in good condition include:

  • The seams of the existing membrane are relatively intact
  • The field of the roof has been properly maintained over its life
  • Less than 25% of the underlined substrate and insulation is wet (It is still cost-effective to do spot replacement of small saturated areas rather than a complete replacement.)

 
Typically, 20-30% of roofs will be ineligible due to neglect of the roof or the lack of a previous maintenance program.
 

3. Dingy

When an SRM is first installed, it’s a white/gray, shiny product of pure elegance.

Like your new car after a few years, the shine doesn’t last.

Some of the outside elements, such as leaves, dirt and algae tend to stick to an SRM.

Having outside elements on your SRM won’t affect the performance of the roofing solution, but it’s just a foreseen problem in having something so gleamy white.
 

4. Built-up roofs

Built-up roofs tend to have uneven gravel or stones on the outer most layer of the roof. When spraying down silicone, it’s hard to get a smooth surface over this rocky area.

Some roofing contractors will lay down SRM’s over built-up, some won’t.

 

Chapter 7: What Kind of Commercial Roofs Are Eligible for a Silicone Roof Coating?

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Single-Ply Roofing Systems (TPO and EPDM)

Single-ply roofing systems are perfect candidates to be restored.

Why?

Restoring your single-ply roof is a simple process:

Step 1 – Perform an infrared survey to check for saturated areas

Step 2 – Removing and replacing those saturated areas

Step 3 – Clean the roof with a power washer

Step 4 – Reinforce all seams with polyester reinforced mesh or self-adhering, reinforcing tape

Step 5 – Spray or roll silicone (depending on the wind and overspray potential) and you’re done.

Some roofs have large amounts of foot traffic, so sand can be embedded into the silicone to not only strengthen the walkway, but also mark the walkway clearly.

 

Metal Roofing Systems

Metal roofing systems need to be treated before silicone coating can restore the roof. The reason is so the silicone adheres properly.

Here are the steps for restoring a metal roof:

Step 1: Power wash the entire roof (use primer if there’s rust)

Rust will continue to oxidize your metal roof if not treated.

Step 2: Reinforce all your seams (horizontal and vertical) in one of two ways:

  • With polyester reinforced mesh into a liquid top coating
  • With self-adhering, reinforcing tape

 
It’s important to pay special attention to seams because these areas are most prone to leaks. When you have two metal panels coming together, if they aren’t adhered perfectly, it can create an opportunity for water to enter the building.

Step 3: Address fastener heads

Overtime, fastener heads can wear out and degrade, or they can be installed slanted or with too much or too little pressure. Either way, with fasteners creating a hole in the metal, if they’re worn out or installed incorrectly, it’s an easy opening for water.

A roofing contractor will use mastic tape over the fastener or use a self-leveling material that goes over them (which is similar to caulking that oozes over the top of the fastener).

Step 4: Apply silicone coating

Spray or roll silicone coating over your metal roof and it’ll be restored.
 

Modified Bitumen Roofing Systems

Modified Bitumen roofing systems come in two types, smooth-surfaced and granulated. Both types are eligible to be restored with silicone coating.

However, there are some differences.

For one, the cleaning process is slower on a granulated surface than a smooth surface. This is due to the granules ability to hold dirt better.

Another major difference in these systems is that a bleed blocker is normally used to prevent the black membrane “bleeding” into the new, white coating.
 

Built-up Roofing Systems

Here’s where it gets interesting.

Built-up Roofs (BUR for short), they also come in two types, smooth and not smooth.

BUR’s have alternating layers of tar, felt, tar, felt, etc. and the only difference between the two is the top layer.

On a smooth BUR, tar is the final layer. On an unsmooth BUR, embedded rock or loose gravel is inserted into the final layer of tar, creating a “rocky” surface.

On a smooth BUR, silicone can be applied to restore the roof after cleaning.

With the embedded rocks, even if you remove and clean the roof, there’s so much embedment into the tar that it would be ½ the cost to just spray foam the roof.

If you did go the silicone restoration route, you would need double the coating to either fill all the embedment’s, or to level the roof surface over the stones. Either way, restoring an un-smooth BUR is not a cost-effective option. A more cost-effective option would be a spray foam roof.

 

Chapter 8: What Repairs Happen With a Silicone Roof Coatings?

What repairs can a building owner expect during years 1-10?

A silicone roof coating system is warranted by the manufacturer or roofing contractor. The duration of the warranty is determined by the thickness of the coating that’s applied.

If 25 mils of coating are applied, the roof will be warranted for 10 years.

If 35 mils of coating are applied, the roof will be warranted for 20 years.

During years 1-5, the roof may get a little bit dirty. This is due to rain, dirt, wind, etc. getting on your roof. You may also experience clogged drains and scuppers which need to be cleaned. You may also see small splits, cracks and tears, which will be repaired by cleaning the area, drying, and applying additional coating.

On years 7-8, you’re going to start looking around and seeing if any existing substrate is showing through.

You’re also looking for physical damage and hail damage. It just a matter of that coating wearing and seeing the rubber coming through. You’ll know when the coating is about gone when you start to get a black look coming through the coating.

NOTE: this is very rare. A coating that’s applied to last 10 years, without any third-party interference, 99% of the time will last more than 10 years.
 

How often does a roofing contractor come out for maintenance? Why?

You want a roofing contractor to come out at least once per year. This is to recognize damage on the coating system that could’ve been caused by another contractor (Hi HVAC guy!).

This is a big issue that we’ve seen through the years.

The HVAC guy comes up to repair the AC, removes the panel and just stabs them into the roof creating a hole. Or they will drop screws and tools, step on them, and create holes.

Either way, this is unacceptable, and a building owner shouldn’t be liable for another’s mistake.

The trick is to catch these instances as early as you can to prevent damage and to alert the offending party.

Another reason you want a roofing contractor on your roof at least once a year to identify common draining issues, such as a clogged drain.
 

HERE ARE SOME OTHER COMMONLY ASKED QUESTIONS ABOUT SILICONE ROOF COATINGS SYSTEMS AND MAINTENANCE:

How long does maintenance take on a roof restored with silicone coating?

If there’s a 10×10 area that has some black coming through, the guys would come with a bucket and roll the coating on. It would take about 2 hours to complete.

For a 30,000 sq. ft. area, a roofing contractor would power wash the roof clean, dry the area, and use 55-gallon drums and a sprayer to apply the coating. This would take about 2 days to complete.

NOTE: if you have a warranty, the labor and product would be covered for coating that’s thinning out.
 

How much does maintenance on a roof coated with silicone?

A good rule of thumb is 3c per sq. ft. The only thing that affects the cost is the amount of levels a building has. The more levels, the more time that’s required to move machinery and labor around.

For example, school roofs are usually one level and flat, there aren’t many ups and downs. That would cost about 3c per sq. ft.

Another example is a hospital, which has multiple levels. That would cost about 5-6 cents per sq. ft.
 

How does a building owner know what maintenance has been performed?

Building owners usually sign up for annual or biannual maintenance. This is usually done in the Spring and Fall.

After a roofing contractor inspects the roof for damages or thin coating, clears the drains and gutters, and makes sure there’s no chances of future leaking, a roofing contractor will provide the business owner with a maintenance report.

The maintenance report will include before and after photos of repairs done, including an explanation of their work.
 

What happens if a building owner doesn’t get a maintenance package?

If a building owner doesn’t get a maintenance package, it does NOT affect their warranty.

But just like your carpet, windows and everything else at your business that gets cleaned and washed, the roof usually gets forgotten about.

One bad storm can cause branches and leaves to clog your drains, leaving standing water on your roof. The HVAC guy could’ve dropped a tool and punctured a small hole in your roof.

Now you have possible leaking opportunities that will only get worse if the problem isn’t fixed.

While any building owner can avoid getting a maintenance package, it’s not recommended because the roof is usually ignored and it ends up costing the building owner financial headaches down the road.
 

Can a building owner do the repairs themselves?

Yes.

Someone without expert roofing knowledge can clean gutters, drains and remove debris, although there is a significant safety factor that should be considered when using in-house personnel.

But as far as noticing small slits and cuts…or recognizing when the coating is wearing thin or rubber is coming through, that would be a job more suited for a professional roofing contractor.

NOTE: just to reiterate, coating that’s wearing thin or it appears the rubber is coming through the coating…is a very rare occurrence. But if it does happen, the labor and materials will be covered by your warranty.
 

What happens after year 10? (inspection, coating, warranty?)

During year 10, a roofing contractor will send you a letter saying that your roof is soon to come out of warranty. They will come out and do a free inspection, look at the roof and then provide a price on doing a recoat.

A recoat includes:

– cleaning the roof

– making repairs

– making sure the roof is dry

– add more coating on

– providing you another 10, 15 or 20-year warranty

 

Chapter 9: How Are Silicone Roof Coatings Installed on a Commercial Roof?

The process of installing a silicone restoration membrane is relatively straightforward:

1. Inspection and Repairs

First, an infrared inspection should be performed to see if there are any saturated areas of insulation under the membrane. After those saturated areas have been removed and replaced, the entire roof surface is power washed clean to remove any contaminants.

After the roof membrane is washed, an adhesion test should be performed to determine whether a primer is required for the silicone membrane to adhere to the roof membrane surface. Most roof membranes will require some type of primer but it is best to verify with an adhesion test.

 

2.  Seam Reinforcement

After the primer has been installed, the seams of the membrane are then reinforced.  There are two common types of seam reinforcement.

  1. Installing a polyester reinforced mesh into a liquid top coating and then an additional silicone coating after the topcoat has cured.
  2. To reinforce the seams, flashings, and penetrations with a self-adhering, reinforcing tape that would then receive a liquid topcoat.

 

3.  Silicone Application

Once all of the miscellaneous repairs have been performed to the existing roof system, the silicone membrane is simply sprayed on or roller applied over the entire surface of the roof. Different manufacturers require different coating thicknesses. In some cases, only a single layer is required, which saves additional dollars in reduced labor costs.

4.  Warranty

After the silicone coating membrane has been completed, a final inspection will be performed by a third-party or the manufacturer’s representative to verify that all the necessary repairs were performed properly and that the silicone is applied accurately. When the repairs and silicone membrane coating are approved, the final warranty is issued.

 

Chapter 10: Silicone Roof Coating vs Completely Tearing off Your Roof

Here are the differences between restoring your roof with silicone coating vs completely tearing off your roof:

What are the costs of an SRM vs a complete tear off?

As stated before, an SRM (Silicone Restoration Membrane) costs anywhere between $2 and $4 per square foot. Some factors that influence cost are:

  • Size – the larger the project, the better the economies of scale
  • Projections – the number of projections can slightly increase costs
  • Levels – the different number of levels your roof has can slightly increase the costs
  • Repairs – how much of the roof is saturated? The saturated sections will need torn off and replaced with similar material
  • Seam Health – how much strength is left in the seams? The better condition your seams are in, the less work that will need to be done.

 
On a complete tear off, the cost is going to be anywhere from $6 to $8 per square foot. The cost factors in:

  • Tear off – the time is takes to completely tear off the existing roof
  • Dumpster/Landfill – it costs money to haul away and dump the existing roof in a landfill
  • Replace – the costs with your new material, labor and installation
  • R25 – building departments are calling for at least an R value of 25 on new roofs. This can increase the cost of the project due to the work required (more material, more labor) to get you to an R25.

 
In previous years, an R20 would be compliant with building codes.

Now that we know SRM’s have an advantage with costs, let’s look at warranties.

What are the warranty differences between an SRM vs a complete tear off?

This one is simple to answer.

An SRM is usually granted a 10- or 15-year warranty. On a new roof (say a spray foam roof), you can get as high as a 20-year warranty.

Can any roof get an SRM? Let’s look at eligibility issues.
 

What are the eligibility issues of an SRM?

For an existing roof system to be eligible for an SRM installation, the roof needs to be in better condition than most roofs at the end of their serviceable life. Some signs of a roof in good condition include:

  • The seams of the existing membrane are relatively intact
  • The field of the roof has been properly maintained over its life
  • Less than 25% of the underlined substrate and insulation is wet (It is still cost-effective to do spot replacement of small saturated areas rather than a complete replacement.)

 
Unfortunately, around 20-30% of roofs that we see aren’t eligible for an SRM. It’s usually because building owners never go on the roof or they weren’t enrolled in a maintenance program.

It seems like SRM’s have a clear advantage.

But why would a building owner, who’s eligible for an SRM, still go with a complete tear off?
 

Reasons building owners choose a complete tear off over an SRM?

The first reason is more R value.

Perhaps the building has high energy costs and would love to install a new roofing solution that’s designed to be more energy efficient.

The second reason is a changing environment inside the building.

Perhaps they need a more controlled environment, or maybe they’re storing a product and that product needs a certain climate.

The third reason is customer preference.

Maybe they weren’t satisfied with the rubber roof they paid for and want to go a different route.
 

The greatest advantage of a Silicone Restoration Membrane vs a complete tear off

The greatest advantage of an SRM is that’s it’s considered a repair. It’s not considered an additional roof system on top of the pre-existing one.

Building codes say a building can have a maximum of two roofs.

So, if you already have two roofs, and you aren’t eligible for an SRM, you’ll need to perform a complete tear off before adding a new roof.

 

Chapter 11: Silicone Roof Coatings vs Acrylic Roof Coatings

Let’s compare the two most popular commercial roof coatings, silicone and acrylic.

 

What are the pros of each?

 
Silicone

  • highly-reflective
  • resistant to UV rays
  • doesn’t get hard or brittle
  • no erosion or wash-off

 
Acrylic

  • highly-reflective
  • resistant to UV rays
  • cost-effective ($14-21/gallon vs $27-35/gallon for Silicone)
  • holds up to a variety of climates

 

What are the cons of each?

 
Silicone

  • tear easily
  • prone to holding dirt
  • over time you may lose reflective properties

 
Acrylic

  • should be applied at 50 degrees F or higher
  • lose thickness over time
  • dew will wash it away

 

What are the costs of each?

 
Silicone

  • lower cost per mil
  • can be applied in one coat

 
Acrylic

  • higher cost per mil
  • needs applied in multiple coats

 

In Conclusion

At West Roofing Systems, we lean on using silicone because it’s the best balance of performance and price, and it can be applied in any climate.

 

Chapter 12: Case Studies/Examples of Silicone Roof Coated Roofs

Project Name: Bay Circle Building

Location: Peachtree Corners, Georgia

Project Size: 70,000 sq. ft.

Summary: MK Asset Management purchased the building in 2016 and knew the roof needed work. The roof already had 2 roofing systems, but was aged. Instead of removing a roofing layer, installing a silicone roofing coating system was the most cost-effective option.

Scope of work:

  • roof cleaned with high pressure air
  • all blisters cut out and re-secured
  • approximately 50 JL-10 roof vents installed
  • all seams reinforced with Henry High Solids Silicone Coating
  • All penetrations sealed with Henry Silicone Roof Mastic
  • Roof primed with Henry products acrylic primer at the rate of 125 sq. ft. per gallon
  • Basecoat of Henry High Solid Silicone Coating applied at 1.5 gallons per sq.
  • Topcoat of Henry High Solids Silicone Coating applied at 1 gallon per sq.
  • Henry Company 15 year material warranty
  • West Roofing Systems 15 year labor warranty

 
Before and after photos:

MK assets 2-min

MK assets 3-min

MK assets before 1-min

4-min

 

Project Name: Gorilla Glue

Location: Sharonville, OH

Project Size: 1,075,408 sq. ft.

Summary: Gorilla Glue had a 25 year old roof with significant leaks. After an infrared survey showed only 2.5% of the roof was saturated, a complete tear off was avoided and a silicone restoration membrane was installed. Avoiding tear off saved Gorilla Glue approximately $2.5 million dollars!

Scope of work:

  • infrared roof survey performed
  • 60,000 sq. ft. of saturated insulation removed and replaced, new membrane installed over top
  • roof surface cleaned and power washed w/rinseable cleaner
  • field seams treated with polyester fabric tape
  • factory seams treated with butyl backed fleece tape
  • penetrations and curb details reinforced with flashing grade sealant
  • 25 mils of Progressive Materials Pro-Eco Sil High Solids 3200 Silicone

 
Before and after photos:

Gorilla Glue before a silicone roof coating system installed

seams treated at Gorilla Glue

Finished Gorilla Glue Silicone Roof Coating Project

Are You Ready to Talk About Your Roof?

The goal of this page is to give you the complete guide on everything about silicone roof coatings.

We just wanted to help you by giving you all the information available in one area, in hopes that you can use this to make the best possible decision for your building.

At West Roofing Systems, we’ve been installing silicone restoration coating systems for over 40 years and have helped thousands of buildings stay leak-free while avoiding a costly tear off.

Thank you reading our extensive article! If you’re interested in hearing from us, please click the button below and we’ll be happy to answer any and all of your questions within 48 hours.

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Author: Greg Palya

Greg Palya is the Digital Content Manager of West Roofing Systems, Inc. He has a B.S. in Marketing from the University of Akron and an MBA in Marketing from Walsh University. When he’s not trying to increase website traffic, you can find him on the basketball court or golf course.

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