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Roof coatings are practical measures for preventing heat loss, protecting the roof from severe weather conditions, and extending the life of your roof. However, not one roof coating is suitable for all kinds of roofing materials. Hire a professional roofing contractor who will perform the roof coating to help you achieve the desired outcome.

Our complete guide of roof coatings includes the following:

  1. What are roof coatings?
  2. Why are roof coatings important?
  3. Roof coating materials
  4. Choosing the right roof coating

What are Roof Coatings?

Roof coatings are designed to protect and extend the service life of roofs. While roof coatings are used for new construction, they are more commonly used to protect existing roof coverings, such as BUR, modified bitumen, metal, single ply membranes, and spray polyurethane foam. Roof coatings are thicker than paint, and they’re made to help protect roofs from the damaging effects of weather and the environment. This includes UV light, excessive water, and excessive wind. They contain a high level of top-quality resin, which means they are able to provide protection for many years.

There are many types of roof coatings that can benefit any type of roof (see section below for more information). Roof coatings are applied to low slope roofs on residential, commercial, and industrial buildings. This helps to extend the life of a roof by preventing damage, which in turn causes the building’s owner to save money. Some roof coatings even help waterproof the roof when applied correctly. Roof coatings are also the most effective (and least costly) option to make buildings more energy efficient.

There are many other benefits to applying a protective roof coating to your roof. They reflect visible light, infrared, and UV radiation, which leads to lower roof temperatures. In turn, this helps to reduce cooling costs. Roof coatings also reduce the Urban Heat Island Effect, which is a regional elevation in air temperature. This is usually gauged by the difference between urban and rural air temperatures (click here for more information). Finally, roof coatings help prevent tear-off and waste. Instead of completely tearing off an existing roof to repair it, roof coatings can be a solution to extend the life of a roof. For more information about roof coatings in general, click here.

Why are Roof Coatings Important?

There are two main aspects that we notice when observing a roof: one is its shape and size; the other is its material, which we refer to as its coating. The most common types of domestic roofing are asphalt shingles, ceramic tile, slate shingles, wood and cedar shingles or shake, and metal roofing. 

Roofs are affected by an array of factors, such as sunlight and inclement weather. Some roofing materials, such as asphalt, will be easier to treat because they’re more durable. Metal roofs in particular are also known for their durability.

But roof coatings are different from the underlying material used to build a roof. Coatings are what help maintain your roof in the face of external factors. There are many benefits to roof coatings. These include:

  • Improved protection: Roof coatings can help protect your roof from severe weather, especially hail. Hailstones can cause extreme damage to your roof, but roof coatings add an additional layer of protection. 
  • Cost savings: A new roof can cost you thousands of dollars. Roof coatings typically only require about 30% to 40% of the price of a full tear-off. 
  • Energy savings: These coatings can help reduce the amount of energy needed to cool your home. Most roof coatings have reflective properties, which means that the coating will reflect the ultraviolet (UV) rays that hit your roof and cause it to heat up instead of absorbing the heat.

Roof Coating Materials

Silicone Roof Coatings

A defining feature of silicone roof coatings is that they are moisture-cured. In some applications, the use of silicone can also eliminate the need for a primer. Since silicone formulas advance curing, silicone roof coatings will weather better than others with nearly no erosion issues. Silicone roof coatings work best for commercial buildings in wet locations. However, silicone formulas hold onto dirt and dust, but rain and water can easily clean the roof system right up. Unfortunately, this can cause the roof to lose its reflectivity faster. It is also hard to adhere to silicone, so when a roof needs re-coating, you must re-coat with a compatible silicone.

Cool Roof Coatings

These are an excellent option to keep the roof cool and energy efficient. The pigments applied in cool roof coatings are thick like paints, which make them resilient to the sun’s rays and heat. They help reduce electricity bills considerably by preventing prolonged air conditioning use. They are also resistant to the adverse effects of chemicals and safeguard the roof against water damage.

Acrylic Roof Coatings

Acrylic roof coatings are produced from an elastomeric membrane which offers a type of seamless defense to the roof. They are extremely popular because they are inexpensive, durable and, lightweight and provide these benefits to the roofing:

  • They are resistant to dirt and weather changes
  • They prevent leaks and seal the seam
  • They maintain the roof’s original shape for a long time
  • They protect the roof from the UV rays damage
  • They keep the property cool in summers

Single-Ply Membranes

Single-ply membrane coatings are useful for low-sloped roofs because the membranes used in this procedure are pre-manufactured to help roll off the roof smoothly, creating a uniform layer. Many products like chemical adhesives, mechanical fasteners, or ballast are excellent for keeping the single-ply adhered to the roof.


Elastomeric roof coatings can withstand a range of weather conditions because of their resilient formula. Elastomeric coatings are generally less expensive than other coating types. Though the reflectivity is great this formula is not UV stable for as long as silicone is. For this reason, elastomeric are usually used for positively pitched roof systems or as a base coat. Combining elastomeric with another coating will make it extremely durable. It will also stay cleaner and more resistant to water and humidity. However, elastomeric roof coatings can have a stronger odor compared to other formulas.

Reflective Roof Coatings

A reflective roof coating is applied to roofs to help reflect more sunlight from the surface, thus reducing the amount of heat absorbed by the structure. Also known as cool roofing, these roof coatings are available in a number of colors, surfaces, and thicknesses and can make a huge difference when it comes to saving money on energy costs and usage. On top of that, they also aid in creating more comfortable indoor environments, and play a role in prolonging the life of roofs and roofing materials.

So how does a reflective roof coating work? Cool roof coatings work to keep your home cool in two distinct ways. The first is by solar reflectance, or the coating’s ability to reflect sunlight away as soon as it hits your structure. Instead of absorbing the sunlight and heat like a traditional roof, a cool roof reflects the light and heat away from your home, keeping your home cooler in the process. The other way that cool roofing helps to keep your home cooler is through thermal emittance. These roof coatings are now made with special materials that increase your roof’s thermal emittance level, or your roof’s ability to radiate absorbed heat back into the atmosphere instead of down into your home. It’s this potent combination of high solar reflectance and thermal emittance that make these roof coatings so effective at keeping your home cool and your energy costs and usage down.

Do reflective roof coatings actually save you money? Yes! It’s important to realize that the amount of benefits you get from your reflective coating will vary depending on the shape of your home, the coating you choose, how energy efficient your home already is, your local climate, and whether you use air conditioning or not. However, if you live in a hot climate that experiences warm temperatures and sunny days for a substantial portion of the year, you can expect energy savings of up to 70%. If not, your energy savings from applying a reflective roof coating could range anywhere from 20% to 70% when it?s all said and done.

For more information on reflective roof coatings, click here.

Choosing the Right Roof Coating

It is vital to know the ingredients of the roof coating product you select because it can adversely affect your roof. Take stock of your existing roof material and your exact goals which might include roof restoration or repair, energy conservation, or reflecting UV rays. This will help you select the most suitable coating for your roof. The most significant thing is to get the coating that meets your specific roof style and type.

At ShenCorp, we service areas such as Winchester, VA, Charlottesville, VA, Waynesboro, VA, Richmond, VA, and other parts of the mid-Atlantic region. We have become the leading choice for industrial and commercial roofing services like commercial protective roof coatings for customers throughout Virginia. Give us a call today for all your commercial roofing needs!