spray foam roofing installation

Pros and Cons to Working at a Spray Foam Roofing Company

Greg PalyaSpray Polyurethane Foam Roofing

So, you might be thinking of starting a career in the commercial roofing industry.

Maybe you’ve come across “Spray Polyurethane Foam” and you wonder if it’s a good opportunity or not.

Today, we’re going to give you the pros and cons of working in the spray foam roofing industry.

Let’s get started!

The pros of working in the spray foam roofing industry

Pro #1 – Huge market

The first pro is that spray foam is mostly reroofing, as opposed to new construction. Reroofing is a $16 billion market versus only a $4 billion market for new construction. When your company is part of a large market, there’s plenty of “pie” to go around.

Pro #2 – No one knows about spray foam

The next pro is that you’ll be learning a brand-new roofing system that none of your friends have ever heard about. It’s a good conversation starter! When you tell them you’re in spray foam or silicone restoration, it’s something interesting you’ll get to share with the people closest to you.

With few people knowing spray foam, your value in roofing increases. Anyone can roll out rubber and insert fasteners, but almost no one knows the science of applying good spray polyurethane foam.

Pro #3 – Minimal roof tear-off

The next pro is that spray foam requires minimal tear-off compared to other roofing systems. No one likes to tear off a roof.

It’s hard work.

But with spray foam being applied over an existing roof, usually only the wet/damaged areas are torn off.

Pro #4 – Spray Polyurethane Foam is a great product

The next pro is that there are a lot of advantages to spray foam versus other roofing systems, which is great because you’re installing the best roof for the customer.

One advantage is that spray foam is seamless.

Seams on a roof break down the quickest and are the most common cause of a leak. And when you’re installing a roofing system that has no seams, it makes you feel good that you’re installing a good product.

You’re also installing a roof system that has the highest R-value per inch of thickness. When you’re installing the roof that’s going to save the customer money by reducing their energy costs, it makes you feel good.

Spray foam roofs are also renewable. Once the warranty is over, the customer doesn’t have to rip off the entire roof and install a new roofing system. The customer can simply “recoat” the foam roof and get a new warranty. Other roofing systems require the owner to completely remove and replace their roof, so you’re saving the customer money over the long haul.

Pro #5 – The market is getting bigger

The next pro is that the market for spray foam is growing because of the higher restrictions on wind uplift potential and energy consumption.

Cities and governments are trying to reduce damage when excessive winds come through. They don’t want huge insurance expenses because multiple roofs were completely ripped off.

So, they want commercial buildings to install a roof that’s great against the wind. With spray foam being fluid applied and fully adhered with no seams, it has the best wind uplift potential of any roofing system out there.

And in some counties, such as Miami Dade and Broward in southern Florida, restrictions on wind uplift potential are very, very strict. This means if you’re working for a spray foam roofing company, you have an advantage because they are going to want to install your system over other ones.

And then there are high restrictions on energy consumption. The minimum R-value that a commercial roof requires is only increasing. And when you work for a company that has the best R-value, it’s to your advantage.

Pro #6 – Fun and unique training

The next pro about spray foam roofing is that the training is pretty fun. Some companies have their own testing facilities where you have the opportunity to spray foam.

You get to learn about chemicals, temperatures, and pressures.

There’s a lot of hardcore engineering that goes into spray foam.

How do the chemicals combine to form foam? Why does it rise once it hits the surface? What is the curing process like? You’re going to learn a lot of cool stuff that you won’t learn installing other roofing systems.

Pro #7 – Traveling and working outside

One of the pros that most people don’t consider is that you won’t work in the same boring factory, warehouse, or anywhere inside.

You’re always working outside!

And always in warm weather because you need at least 50 degrees to install foam.

You’ll also never get bored because you’ll work on different roofs in different cities all the time. Each roof slope, existing substrate, leaking areas, penetrations, and problem areas will be different at each location.

It keeps it interesting.

It’s a pro compared to other professions where you’re going to be stuck at the same desk or factory every single day.

Now that we’ve gone over the pros, what about the cons?

Con #1 – Days off are mostly rain days

The first con is that most of your days off are going to be last minute when it’s projected to rain. This makes it hard to schedule appointments or plan activities in advance.

Certainly, once you get your foot in the door and you get paid time off, you can schedule that stuff, but being new in the industry, your days off will most likely be unpredictable.

Con #2 – Potential limited working season

The next thing is the potential for a limited working season. Spray foam needs to be 50 degrees and rising to install. If you live in Florida, you can probably install foam year-round.

If you’re applying at a spray foam company in Ohio. You might only be able to work 7-8 months out of the season. This is a con compared to other industries where regardless of the weather, you can work year-round.

Con #3 – Working weekends

A definite con is that you’ll most likely work a lot of weekends. With rain days and any day that’s under 50 degrees, there are only so many “good” spray foam days.

If that happens on a Saturday and a Sunday, most spray foam companies are working.

Con #4 – Safety hazard

The next con is that being on a roof, in general, is a safety hazard.

Spray foam roofing companies combat this by making safety the most important part of the daily working environment. Safety is a daily, weekly, and annual aspect. Jobs are always reviewed to ensure best safety practices are being followed. Every job is different and therefore safety practices need to be adjusted accordingly.

[HR made the above statement. You can clearly see that safety is taken very, very seriously]

Con #5 – Warm Temperature

When working close to the sun and only when it’s 50+ degrees, you can expect to work in very warm temperatures.

While avoiding the cold is a positive, a spray foam worker needs to be very serious about wearing light clothing, sunscreen, and proper hydration.

Other Tips

It’s good to choose a spray foam contractor that’s been around a while. They will have a good name in the industry to continue getting work, and also have the most opportunities for advancement.

It’s also good to choose a contractor that offers continuous training. It might take a few seasons to where you’re qualified to spray the product, but if there’s no training available, it’s unlikely to happen.

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About the 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 teach others about spray foam roofing and silicone roof coatings, you can find him on the basketball court or golf course.