What is an elastomeric coating?

by | Feb 15, 2021 | Roof Repair | 0 comments

An elastomeric coating is a thick above-grade coating for roofs and exterior walls. It ensures a tight waterproof seal by being able to stretch to twice its length. In that way, it’s ideal for areas that undergo frosts and melts, as it resists cracking. 

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, an elastomeric roof coating resists soiling, lasts longer, and reduces the amount of energy you use in your home.

Benefits of Elastomeric Coating

Roofers often recommend elastomeric coating to their clients, knowing that the high-quality paint-like substance is a valuable addition to a healthy roof. There are numerous benefits to using this coating, including:

  • Reflects the sun, keeping the surface cooler
  • Easy to maintain and repair
  • Protects your roof from UV rays, pollutants, and salty air
  • Extends your roof’s lifespan by 20+ years
  • Energy-saving properties as a result of needing less indoor cooling

Another benefit to elastomeric roof coating is that you can choose the color depending on the climate where you live. For example, people living in sunny California will want a white color to reflect the sun. Those in northern climates can opt for a grey coating, which will help absorb heat and reduce their heating bill.

Types of Elastomeric Coating

There are three types of elastomeric coatings, and each has its unique qualities. Let’s take a look at the features of each one.

Acrylic

Acrylic elastomeric coatings are only for slanted roofs since standing water will cause the acrylic to transform from a solid to a liquid state. The nearly 50% water composition in acrylic means that the coating evaporates over time. 

Acrylic is the cheapest type of coating, but you’ll need to apply much more of it than the other two types of products due to evaporation.

Silicone

Silicone elastomeric roof coatings are the most popular because they’re still quite affordable and more durable than acrylic. Since it’s composed of only about 4% liquid, you don’t have to worry about evaporation effects as much as acrylic. 

If you have a flat roof, a silicone coating is an excellent option since it won’t wear away from standing water. 

Urethane

The cream of the crop elastomeric coating is urethane since it’s extra flexible to hold up against the expansion and contraction of changing climates. Urethane also doesn’t disintegrate under pooling water, and it’s more impact-resistant than acrylic and silicone.

Of course, all these benefits come at a price—urethane is much more expensive than it’s other two options.

In some cases, you may also be interested in purchasing a hybrid acrylic coating. In this case, you’d receive the benefits of one of the other higher quality coatings without as high of a price tag. You also might be able to receive a longer warranty than that of standard acrylic since the coating should last longer.

How Much Does Elastomeric Roof Coating Cost?

The cost of your elastomeric coating will depend on the brand you choose and where you buy it. We’ve put together a table to give you an approximate price range.

Elastomeric Roof CoatingCost
Acrylic$14 – $21
Silicone$27 – $35
Urethane$40 – $65

When Do You Need an Elastomeric Coating?

Often, people don’t automatically think of installing an elastomeric coating on their home or company building. However, you should ideally install this coating before an issue happens. 

You might be wondering: what kind of issues can an elastomeric roof coating prevent? They include:

  • Leaks
  • Loosened rubber seams
  • Physical signs of wear and tear

However, if you’ve had your roof for a while—even if the warranty ended—it doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to install a whole new roof. Often, roofs remain in good shape well after their warranty ends. 

As long as your roof isn’t showing signs of significant wear, it’s a great time to install an elastomeric coating. In that case, your roof will likely need a simple clean. By installing the coating during or shortly after your roof’s warranty, you can treat it before moisture starts working its way under the seams. 

Elastomeric Coatings are so popular that Markets and Markets indicate that this industry will reach over 13.5 billion dollars in 2021.

How Does an Elastomeric Contractor Assess a Roof?

As you’re thinking about getting an elastomeric coating for your roof, you’re likely interested in the steps your contractor will take to evaluate your roof’s condition. They’ll consider the following items:

  1. Is your building already leaking?
  2. When was the last time you had a new roof?
  3. What type of roof system do you have?
  4. How many levels is your roof?
  5. Approximately how many square feet is your roof?

Along with knowing these details, your contractor will also perform a physical inspection of your roof. They may use two different methods to assess your roof’s condition, including walking around it to see if any areas sink from their weight. They also may use infrared technology to determine your roof’s saturation.

Knowing the saturation of your roof is critical for the functioning of your elastomeric coating. If your roof is saturated, your contractor won’t install the coating since it will trap in the moisture, and the coating won’t adhere properly.

That said, if your contractor discovers that portions of your roof are saturated, they can replace those specific sections before placing the elastomeric coating over your roof.

Things to Know Before Applying an Elastomeric Coating

Experts recommend hiring a contractor to install your elastomeric roof coating. Nevertheless, it’s still a good idea to have an understanding of the items to look out for when working with this coating. They include:

  • You need to seal cracks, dents, and holes before beginning because elastomeric coatings offer little penetration. A thorough roof cleaning is also necessary, so you don’t lay the coating over dust, dirt, and other debris.
  • Two coats may be necessary for maximum protection, so be ready to pay extra to do the job right.
  • Most elastomeric companies offer a warranty. Make sure to understand the terms of the warranty before you purchase.
  • You should never use elastomeric coatings on anything that needs to breathe. So, if you’re thinking about applying it to some wood, it’s best to tuck away that can of coating instead.
  • Always test a patch of your roof before applying the full coating. If you notice a rough texture, you’ll likely need another coat.
  • You need to ensure the dry film thickness (DFT) is equal in your roof’s valleys and peaks. Every can of elastomeric coating has the manufacturer’s DFT recommendation.

When you watch your contractor apply the coating, don’t be surprised when they pull out a brush, roller, or spray. They’ll apply elastomeric coatings like one would with paint. Depending on the variety you use, elastomeric coatings have a thickness of 10 – 20 mils compared to standard paint’s 2 – 3 mils.

Ready to Install an Elastomeric Roof Coating?

Elastomeric coatings are ideal for improving energy efficiency, extending your roof’s lifespan, and protecting it from harsh external conditions. If you’ve been on the fence about whether to install this coating, it’s best to take the leap—the longer you wait, the higher the chance that your roof will deteriorate to the point of needing costly roof repairs.

Robert Johnson

Robert Johnson

Robert has over 40 years of experience in roofing industry and proud to share his experience and knowledge with local residents. He can be found blogging on Top Roofing Contractors site or actively building his roofing business in GTA.

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