Painting a roof seems like a weird concept but it is actually what happens when roof coating contractors lay down elastomeric coatings on flat or low slope roofs. There are two general ways roof painting occurs – spraying and rolling. Both have advantages and disadvantages and this article provides a general overview of both ways to apply roof coating.
Rolling Rubberized Roof Coating
Elastomeric rubberized roof coatings are usually thick in consistency. They are usually water based acrylic products that are much thicker than acrylic paints. The easiest and best way to apply these coatings is by using a thick roller on a long pole. We recommend using 1 1/4″ naps on the roller (or as close as possible) so that a significant amount of coating is applied every dip into the bucket. By using thicker roller naps, the coating is usually applied at the proper thickness. Most coatings should be applied at a rate of 100-150 sqft per gallon. At first this is hard to determine how much is being put on but after coating a few roofs most roofers look for certain swirls in the coating as the roller releases the material.
Advantages Of Rolling On Roof Paint
For residential type roofs, we at Desert Sky Roofing feel that painting the roof with a roller is the best practice. First, this ensures that a roller touches every inch of the roof (assuming the roofer does it correctly). By rolling over every inch of the roof this allows a clear inspection of everything on the roof. If a patch needs to be applied it will be visibly noticed and hopefully addressed. Second, roller naps of 1″ or higher strands holds a significant amount of material. This ensures the right amount of coating is laid down per square foot. Of course, a roofer spread it too thin with the roller but this would need be intentional or through ignorance. Finally, by rolling the coating on the manufacturer’s recommendations of cross rolling can be accomplished. Cross rolling ensured that the coating is applied in two directions so that every portion of the roof can be covered equally.
Disadvantages Of Roof Painting With Rollers
The disadvantages of painting a roof with a roller are minimal. Rollers tend to do a great job if properly used. However, for roofing contractors who are busy rolling on the roof coating can be time consuming. Rolling takes much more time than spraying on the coating. Secondly, to roll the roof paint on the roof one would need to bring the 70lb buckets to the roof top. This is a challenge for every roofer much less the average do-it-yourself home owner. Finally, some areas are hard to get with a roller. For example, some A/C units are positioned very close to the roof decking which minimizes the ability to apply roof coating with a roller. The way around this is to use different size rollers and bring paint brushes.
Spraying On Roof Paint
As noted above, elastomeric cool coatings are usually thick so it takes a large nozzle and sometimes a special paint sprayer to apply the roof paint. Most roof coating companies sell special spray grade materials that are a bit thinner and have reduced debris in the paint. Not all roofing companies do roof painting with sprayers, but some do. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of spraying on roof paint.
Advantages Of Spraying Roof Coating
The greatest advantage of spraying a roof coating on a roof is that is can cut the time it takes to coat the roof in half or a quarter. Spraying the roof usually goes much faster because a steady stream of roof coating is being applied through the special spray pumps. If a company is busy, saving time saves money. A second advantage of spraying roof coating is that hoses can be stretched out over the entire roof and the containers of roof coating can remain on the ground. This helps prevent accidents that can happen when buckets of roof coating are brought to the roof top. Finally, spray rigs can spray cool coating into hard to reach places such as under the A/C with the proper nozzles and wands. While these hard to get places can be attended to using rollers, spray rigs can do it faster and often times more uniformly.
Disadvantages Of Roof Painting With Sprayers
There are some significant disadvantages that do lead many roof companies away from spraying. First, a proper spray rig can be very costly. The correct spray rigs needs larger pumps and bigger hoses. They tend to be tens of thousands of dollars in cost. Also, they usually need a trailer to haul. Secondly, spraying doesn’t always guarantee the coatings are applied at the recommended 100-150 square foot per gallon. In fact, many shady roof companies dial the amount of coating down to just enough to make the roof look great but not enough for the coating to truly protect your roof for more than 1-2 years. If going with a company that uses sprayers get a guaranteed amount of roof coating that will be applied or you might find they will skimp on materials. Lastly, roof painting with a sprayer can be messy. The coating is being almost vaporized and spit out the end of a nozzle. If it is windy or if the wand is pointed the wrong direction the coating can get on things that it shouldn’t like solar panels, skylights, A/C units, etc.
Roof Painting The Right Way
We at Desert Sky Roofing like to roll on roof coatings. As the owner, I want my crews to touch every inch of the roof with a roller which ensures they see every little defect. If we sprayed a roof, I feel we could have a tendency to go so fast that some of the areas that need patching could be missed. Also, I want to make sure that the right amount of coating is applied to ensure the longevity of the roof coating and that our clients are ensured we are applying the reflective coatings the way the manufacturer intends them to be applied.
If you want Desert Sky Roofing to come and do a FREE roof inspection for you give us a call. When we inspect your roof we will provide photo proof of the issues we find and explain how best to repair those issues. Give us a call today!