What Color Roof Coating Should I Use?

Those who own houses that have built-up coated style roofs (Tucson, Oro Valley, Green Valley, Vail, Catalina Foothills, Sahuarita, Marana) may have options on what color roof coating to use on their roofs.  There are three different colors: white, tan, and silver.  Some areas around Tucson allow for any color roof coating while others such as Catalina Foothills usually only want tan coatings applied.  Here are some pros and cons of the different colors of roof coating that should help when asking what color you should use on your roof.

White Elastomeric Cool Coating

White coating is also called “cool coating” because of the high reflective value of the coating.  In fact, the actual term “cool roof” can be applied to any roof that reflects more than 65% of the solar radiation. Reflective value is very important in the Arizona heat because it shows the value that something will reflect the solar energy put off by the sun instead of absorbing the heat. The technical value is called “Solar Reflectance Index” or SRI.  If a coating has a higher reflective value (SRI), the less heat will make it into your home from the roof.  White coating generally has the highest reflective value of all the coatings but not all the coatings reflect the same. Tucson Rubberized 7000 coating, which we feel is currently the best coating on the market, has an 87% reflective value. This means it reflects 87% of the solar energy.

With high reflective values, white is always the best coating to use to in the Arizona sun. These coatings will keep your home cooler during the high summer temperatures in southern Arizona.  We always recommend white cool coating for home owners if they can use that color.

Tan Elastomeric Cool Coating

In the Tucson Area, roof contractors are asked to apply “Desert Tan” cool coating because some HOAs require this color.  Areas where houses are built on hills that leave the homes looking down on the roofs of other homes usually have HOA requirements to apply Desert Tan coating.  This is because home owners don’t want to have the white reflective coatings flashing back at them while they are enjoying their own desert views.  New home builds often put Desert Tan coatings on the roofs because of the way it looks.  Tan coatings are not as reflective as white coatings.  They do look better because they fit into the tan desert hues we have in the Tucson area.

Silver Oil-Based Roof Coating

Many years ago it was thought that the aluminum coatings would have a significant reflective value.  Unfortunately, they don’t reflect as much as one might think. These roof coatings are made from oil-based black materials with an added aluminum pigment. According to Henry’s, their basic aluminum roof coating has only a 53% reflective rating when applied.  This means that white coatings have nearly 30% more reflectivity!  Contractors often use aluminum roof coatings because they are oil based and can be applied directly to oil-based roof underlayment. Aluminum coatings are not as thick as white or tan coatings, but they do well as first applications on new roofs.

Desert Sky Roofing can apply any of the three roof coating colors, but we usually lean toward white because of its high reflectivity of solar energy. Tan is a close second and obviously must be applied in some areas around Tucson.  Aluminum coatings should be avoided because they provide very little protection for reflecting heat.  Remember, any roof coating that reflects more than 65% of the solar energy can be called a “cool roof” product. Aluminum coating is not a “cool roof” coating.  If you would like Desert Sky Roofing roof inspection pros to come out and inspect your roof, give us a call and we can inspect your roof and talk over which coating best fits your roof.