roofer adding granules to a spray foam roof

How Fast Can a Spray Foam Commercial Roof Be Completed?

 
In today’s world, speed is everything.

How fast can I get my car repaired? How fast can I get my haircut?

Most people want to get stuff done, check it off their list, and move onto the next task.

Fixing a commercial roof is no different.

As a building owner, you have a million things to do. Wouldn’t it be nice to get someone on your roof, do an inspection, give you a proposal, and then perform the work as soon as possible?

At West Roofing Systems, we want to give you the best performing roofing system possible. But we also know time is important, so we want to fix your roofing problems as fast as possible so you can move onto the next task.

In today’s article, we’re talking about the speed of a spray foam installation. We’ll answer questions such as:

  • How fast can a spray foam roof be installed vs other roofing systems?
  • How fast can a spray foam roof be installed in perfect conditions?
  • How long will I have to wait before a roofing contractor comes out?
  • What characteristics of a roof slow down the installation process?

 
Let’s get started!

How fast can a spray foam roof be installed vs other roofing systems?

On a 20,000 sq. ft. roof, a spray foam roof will take about 6 days to install.

For the same roof, a single-ply or metal roof will take about 12 or more days to install.

Why?

A spray foam roof is spray-applied.

Here is a video showing how a spray foam roof is installed from start to finish:

That means that spray foam can go around penetrations easier than the other two systems. Also, when spray foam is sprayed, it doesn’t need attention at the seams or perimeters like the other two systems need.

NOTE: Single-ply roofers will argue that they can install large sheets, such as ones that are 10×100 feet in size. This is true, but once you add in the time to heat or fasten the seams together, get watertight around penetrations, and become watertight around the perimeter of the roof, a spray foam roof gets applied much faster.

How fast can spray foam be installed in perfect conditions?

If the roof is prepared and it’s a perfect weather day, a spray foam roofing contractor can spray 8,000-10,000 sq. ft. of foam per day.

For the roof to be prepared for spray foam installation, all the saturated areas must be removed and replaced with similar material. This process is started with an infrared inspection.

The next step is to make sure the roof is clean and dry. This is done with power washing. Once safety protocols are in order (HVAC units are turned off and covered, fall protection areas are identified, etc.) then a spray foam contractor can pull up the hose and begin spraying.

Perfect weather for a spray foam installation include:

  • The temperature is at least 50 degrees. Spray foam will not react, adhere, or perform as it was designed to if it’s installed in sub-50-degree temperature.
  •  

  • There’s a dry forecast for consecutive days. No roofing system can be installed when it rains, spray foam is no different. When it rains every other day, it can extend a roofing project because each day begins with making sure the roof is dry from yesterday’s rain.
  •  

  • There’s little to no wind. Spray foam is very light, so the wind can take the foam and carry it to other areas such as cars, windows, balconies, etc. If there are high winds, a windscreen or spray booth will be used, which can slow down production.

 

roofers spray foam onto a roof inside of a booth. This is due to high wind situations.

 

How long will I have to wait before a roofing contractor comes out?

If you fill out a request for quote form or call a roofing contractor, chances are they will be able to come onto your roof in the next few days.

They will inspect the roof, see where the problem areas are, take photos, pull core samples, and much more.

With this information, they can give you a scope of work, price, and an estimation of when the actual work can be done.

If you request a quote during the Spring, when it’s not full throttle roofing season, you will be at the front of the list to get your roof done. This can be as soon as a few days.

Now if you request a quote in the mid-Summer, it could take a few months to get the work done.

Throughout the year, roofing contractors start building a backlog that gets longer and longer until the end of Summer.

NOTE: Some good advice would be to call a roofing contractor early in the year. There’s the advantage of choosing which days/week you’d prefer to have your roof done, but also you take advantage of supply and demand. Later in the Summer, when there’s a long backlog, roofing contractors raise the price because they can afford to with so many building owners requesting roofs at the last minute before Fall/Winter.

What characteristics of a roof slow down the installation process?

Some roofs are easier to install than others. Here’s a list of variables that increase or decrease the time it’ll take to install your roof:

  • The amount of tear-off required
  • The number of penetrations
  • How difficult it is to get on your roof

 

The amount of tear-off required

 
Before a roofing project can begin, an infrared inspection is needed to determine how much water is saturated in your insulation.

If there’s more than 25% saturation, it’s best to tear the entire roof off and start over.

If there’s less than 25% saturation, it’s cost-effective to remove those areas, install similar materials to the ones you’re removing, and then treat the entire roof with a new roofing system.

It’s no surprise that the more tear off that’s required, the more time it will take to complete your roofing project.
 

The number of penetrations

 
A penetration is anything that comes up through the roof. The most common penetrations are:

  • HVAC units
  • Pipes
  • Drains
  • Exhausts
  • Skylights

 
If you’re installing a new single-ply roofing system, these greatly slow the installation time of your project. Each penetration will need to have a boot installed around it or be custom cut in some way to create a watertight environment.

Think of a single-ply roof that comes in a 10×10 square. These are easily installed until there’s a pipe in the middle that will need special attention to make the area watertight.

This is one advantage of a spray foam roofing system.

Since spray foam is spray applied, it’s easy to spray around penetrations and encapsulate the area, making it watertight.

Take a look at this video to see how easy spray foam can encapsulate a penetration:

NOTE: For a single-ply system, it’ll take around 30 minutes to roof around a penetration. For spray foam, it will take about two minutes.
 

How difficult it is to get on your roof

 
How accessible your roof is will play a large part in how fast the roofing project can be completed.

If your building is in a downtown area, where it’s difficult to park large trucks near your facility, this will slow down production.

Having a building with multiple roofs that are different heights (think of a school or hospital), this will cause a roofing project to take longer than a standard flat roof.

Is a ladder the only way to get on your roof? If so, bringing up materials can be more difficult than a roof where there are stairs.

This isn’t a huge issue, but something that gets considered into the overall price of a roofing project.

Time is money and roofing installations are no different

On average, a spray foam roof is installed 50% faster than any other roofing system out there.

  • 10 days vs 20 days
  • 5 days vs 10 days

 
These are valuable days in which there are no roofers on site, no one shutting down your HVAC units, no one taking up your parking spaces, etc.

The faster you can check a task off your list, the better.

West Roofing Systems has been around since 1979, and one of the best points we can give a building owner is that a spray foam roof can be installed quickly, with fewer guys, and that your money is going into the science of the roofing system, not on an extensive labor force.

Now you know about the installation times of popular roofing systems, and the variables that can increase or decrease how long it will take to get your roofing project complete.

Since we know spray foam can be installed fast, how about other common questions, such as:

 
And if you want to learn EVERYTHING there is about spray foam roofing, here’s our Ultimate Guide:

the ultimate guide to spray foam roofing

 

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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