10 Common Myths about Commercial Roof Coatings

It’s true that a lot of myths are out there about commercial roof restoration. Because many people have never owned or managed a large commercial building or been involved in the roofing industry, they have little experience with coating systems and other repair techniques. Unfortunately, this means misinformation spreads with little correction. Have you heard that restorative coatings don’t work or are all the same? Has someone told you that having your commercial roof restored will be a major hassle that requires extensive downtime for your business?

Here at Unlimited Commercial Roofing, we’ve heard it all from prospective clients who are wondering what to do about their leaking or deteriorating commercial roof. Restorative coatings like the industry-leading Conklin system we exclusively work with are often the answer they’re looking for, but they just don’t have all the facts. Today we’re debunking ten big myths about roof coatings so you too can better understand why restoration with coating systems is such a reliable choice for fixing your commercial roof’s problems.

MYTH #1: Restoration is patchwork

Often, even experienced building managers believe that the only way to truly fix a leaking roof is to replace it entirely. To these individuals, the term “restoration” with regard to roofing refers to patching problem areas and incorporating other temporary solutions to stave off inevitable replacement. This is an extreme and expensive idea, and it simply isn’t true.

Restoration involves completely coating your building’s flat or low-sloped metal, EPDM, PVC, or other type material roof following a comprehensive preparation process. Some patching of the underlying material may take place before the coating is applied, but the coating itself fully covers the surface of your building’s roof to prevent leaks and other problems. And, a professional restoration will often totally eliminate the need for replacement in the future, too, as some popular coating options, like polyurethane spray foam (SPF systems) can be almost endlessly refreshed and renewed as needed.

MYTH #2: Coatings don’t work

There are those who look down on patchwork, and then there are those who swear by it because they don’t believe that restorative coatings work at all. It’s true that coating systems have only recently been gaining in popularity, which means some people who tend not to trust technological advancements might be skeptical, but Conklin roof coatings have a 40+ year history of quality and performance in all types of climates throughout the US and elsewhere. If you’re hearing this myth that coatings don’t work, it’s likely that the naysayers had bad experiences with less trustworthy, off-brand types, or their coatings were not correctly applied (more on that later).

MYTH #3: Coatings won’t last

This myth is often busted when we tell potential customers about the incredibly comprehensive, non-prorated warranties we offer on all of our coatings, no matter what restoration type you choose. For example, our metal roof restoration process carries an 18-year warranty! Proper installation with significant time spent preparing your roof’s current surface to receive the coating makes a major difference, too. You can expect our restorations to remain leak-free for decades based on the care we take in appropriately priming, caulking, waterproofing seams, and more before we apply our coatings.

MYTH #4: All coatings are the same

Don’t be fooled – not all coatings are created equal! Conklin was a pioneer in the acrylic roof coatings market beginning in the 1970s. Because their coatings have been proven to work so well in commercial roof restorations, many competitors have sprung up in more recent time, and those products and systems have varying degrees of quality. It’s true that you can even purchase coating products yourself and attempt to restore your building’s roof on your own. Unfortunately, those products that are offered directly to consumers are often inadequate in their formulation. And they certainly don’t carry strong warranties.

Quality aside, different types of commercial roofs will call for different restoration solutions that feature unique chemical formulations based on what your existing roof is made from. Have a PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride), TPO (Thermoplastic Polyolefin), EPDM/Thermoset, other type of single-ply rubber, or a modified bitumen roof on your building? You may want to choose a membrane coating. But there are other options to consider, as well. In fact, we took a closer look at the different options in a previous post here on the blog, and we think you should, too. The bottom line is that you have options in the system used to restore your building’s roof.

MYTH #5: Anyone can install a coating

As we just discussed, there are a variety of roof coating products that are sold directly to consumers, which leads some DIY-enthusiasts to believe that anyone can restore their commercial building’s roof. Unfortunately, this work is not as simple as it may seem. Why? First, professional roofing restoration contractors like us here at Unlimited Commercial Roofing install coatings every day. We have invested in specialized tools and equipment that help us get the best results on every single project. We also have a close relationship with the manufacturer of these coating products and deeply understand how to safely work with the chemicals involved.

While we don’t doubt that your regular maintenance team or handyman can apply a coating product to your roof, it’s almost certainly true that they don’t do this kind of work regularly and aren’t sufficiently knowledgeable about everything that’s involved in restoration work. Significant preparation needs to be undertaken to assure that any coating product adheres properly and is 100% waterproof. Our highly trained technicians have the experience and know-how to guarantee your roof will be leak-free for years to come.

MYTH #6: Restoring the roof = disruption to business

Totally tearing the roof off of your commercial building to replace it can cause major business disruptions for long periods of time, but roof restoration is a business-friendly process that’s completed in just days. Seriously. If you’re considering a roof replacement, know that you may have to shut down your building for an extended period of time, which means setting employees up in alternate locations while work is underway, or relocating inventory in affected warehouse buildings to prevent damage caused by dirty overhead work. Restoration, on the other hand, may only present minor annoyances like noise on the roof or trucks and trailers in the parking lot during business hours for a few days. Depending upon your business, you may not even notice a restoration team is working, and we’re gone in no time.

MYTH #7: Wrinkles in membrane roofs are okay

Does your current TPO or EPDM roof have wrinkles? It’s possible no one has inspected your building’s roof for a while, and you honestly don’t know the answer to this question. But, if you have a membrane roof, you’ll want to be on the lookout for ridges and wrinkling forming in the material over time. This is actually a problem with inadequate or failing adhesives, and wrinkles in membrane roofs are definitely not okay. They can cause water to pond on your roof after rainfall, and we all know that water left standing where it shouldn’t be is a recipe for disaster. If you spot wrinkles in your membrane roof, you will definitely want to consider restoration shortly. They may not be causing leaks yet, but it is only a matter of time.

MYTH #8: Roof coatings aren’t suitable for ponding water

On the subject of water “ponding” on your commercial building’s roof, which means water collects and doesn’t drain away or evaporate quickly after rain, some believe that restorative coatings cannot solve this issue. This just isn’t true. Low spots that have formed on your building’s roof over time are addressed and corrected in the prep phase before coatings are applied, which amends the ponding water issue. Spray foam polyurethane systems especially are designed to improve your roof’s structure while providing leak-free protection. And our single-ply membrane restoration system (which actually goes beyond coatings) incorporates a method of overlapping the membrane to alleviate standing water. Ponding water on your roof can and should be corrected, and a restoration system can assure that the problem doesn’t come back later.

MYTH #9: Roof restoration can’t occur over the winter

It’s true that many coatings can only be applied in favorable weather conditions, which means you’ll sometimes have to wait for the season to change before your roof restoration project can take place. We certainly think these restoration options are worth the wait, but we also understand you may need to choose a more convenient alternative. Fortunately, our single-ply membrane system is not a coating and can be installed in any season. This system involves applying a robotically seam-welded membrane to strong, smooth board stock applied over your current roof’s surface. Snow makes this process difficult, of course, but cold winter temperatures are not a problem for single-ply membrane restoration!

MYTH #10: Roof coatings are expensive

With solid warranties and different restoration types that offer leak-free protection at various price points, commercial roof coatings are more budget-friendly than most building owners and managers think. No matter whether your roof covers 10,000 square feet of space or your building is twice that size, restoration options are affordable for your business. And you probably didn’t know that they will also save you real money on your energy bills, too.

All of our roof coatings and systems here at Unlimited Commercial roofing are reflective – you’ll notice that they appear bright white in the “After” photos in our gallery. Because these finished surfaces don’t absorb the sun’s heat like traditional dark-colored roofs, your roof stays cooler throughout the hot summer months. SPF systems have the additional benefit of being insulative, which means they assist in keeping heat inside your building in the winter, as well.

In the end, there are many different commercial roofing restoration options out there, and not all are equal in quality. Here at Unlimited Commercial Roofing, we offer only systems that have proven themselves as durable and waterproof over the course of decades, nearly eliminating the need for roof replacements. Get in touch with us today to schedule a free on-site roof inspection and talk about options for your commercial building’s aging roof.