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Everyone always asks me “What Roofing Material is Best?” or “Which Roofing Material Lasts the Longest?” Well, there is no simple answer as to which is “best”. But for commercial flat roofing projects, the life expectancy of most roofing materials is similar. Most top-tier Denver commercial roofing companies are going to you give you a similar roof warranty. This is regardless of whether you choose one of the single-ply roof membranes or a flat roof coating.

In the past five years, fluid-applied roofing systems, or roof coatings as they are often called, have seen a huge surge in popularity. Today’s systems are far superior to those of just a few years ago.  Commercial flat roofing contractors in Colorado and building owners alike prefer this method. There are many reasons for this, including cost savings, speed of install, and avoiding code upgrades or emerging “green” or “cool” roof requirements.

 What is a fluid-applied roof?

Fluid-applied roofs are a silicon-based roof coating system that is spray applied onto the existing low slope roof surface.

As the liquid is sprayed, it spreads out and forms a coating that is very similar to a single-ply membrane such as TPO or EPDM. One benefit of fluid-applied is that it doesn’t leave behind seams, joints, and penetration holes. The coating can be applied in multiple layers from 20 mils up to 80 mils thick and beyond. Liquid roof coatings can provide waterproof protection to even hard to reach areas such as pipes, drains, walls, HVAC equipment, and anything else on the roof that makes it difficult to waterproof.

 

Fluid-applied commercial flat roof

Fluid-applied flat roof at Platte Valley Middle School

Faster

Because a roof coating is applied directly on top of an existing commercial roofing system, there is no need to remove the old roof system. It can be applied over materials such as EPDM, TPO, Metal, or Modified Bitumen. That means you can eliminate the noise, time, and expense of removing and disposing of the existing roof materials.

 

Simpler

By keeping the existing commercial flat roof, you avoid the requirement to bring the roof up to current building codes. Over the past 20 years, Colorado commercial roofing building and fire codes have become much more strict. When tearing off an existing roof, Denver commercial roofing contractors have to deal with numerous flat roof components. The new codes may require the roof replacement contractor to add additional layers of insulation, raise curbs, install a new taper system, install new fiberboards, etc.

 

Because a commercial roof coating is spray-applied, the liquid roof coating system removes extensive labor and time required by other applications. With TPO and EPDM, you need to cut and size sheets of membrane roofing material to fit around penetrations, walls, and other objects you find on top of the roof. Also, there are liquid roof coatings called “quickset coatings” that give roof installers additional time to work.  This is especially helpful during weather conditions that typically cause you to wait for drier weather. These quickset base and top coats provide resistance to early wash-off associated with heavy dew or light rain during installation.

 

Its Not Easy Being Green

Another benefit to roof coatings is that they allow the building owner to avoid some “green” roofing requirements like the Denver Green Building Ordinance passed in 2017.  Green roof regulations require commercial building owners in Denver to replace their existing roofs with green areas such as rooftop gardens or similar areas. This not only delays the construction of the roof, but it will add additional costs as well. “Cool” roof requirements stipulate that the materials used on the surface layer must have certain solar reflectivity requirements. Most silicon-based roof coatings, such as GACO meet these requirements.

 

Less Disruptive to Business Operations

Often a new flat roof is installed using seam welding, drilling, nailing, or other intrusive machines. These machines can cause a lot of noise, making it difficult to keep your retail shop or business office free of distraction. A fluid-applied roof does not cause noise disturbances during installation to your business and they contain no harmful or strong odors.

A liquid roof coating system offers excellent waterproofing to commercial roofs due to its seamless and uniform membrane. The membrane expands and contracts with equal tension across the rooftop during different temperature variations. This is especially important in Denver and throughout Colorado where we can experience a 60-degree temperature shift in 24 hours. Most roofs have seams and/or nails that take the brunt of the tension caused by the expansion and contraction. Over time, it is common to find roof leaks and failures at these seams and holes.

 

Increased Durability

Roof coating systems are excellent for extending roof life, lowering commercial roof maintenance costs, and being environmentally friendly. These systems allow you to restore your existing commercial roof and avoid a costly and timely roof tear-off. Installing a liquid-applied roof coating system every 10 to 15 years provides several benefits:

Fluid-applied commercial flat roofing

Fluid-applied coating on a low slope roof

  • Renews the roof
  • Increases property value
  • Increase the reflectivity of the roof
  • Lowers energy consumption
  • Adds additional weather protection
  • Adds additional waterproofing
  • Decreases additional waste to already congested landfill sites

You can even get the same materials warranty on a liquid applied roof coating as you get with a standard single-ply membrane.

 

 

Summary

A liquid applied commercial roof coating is significantly cheaper than a new single-ply membrane or metal roof. It lasts just as long and protects just as well, if not better. This is why roof coatings such as silicon-based Gaco, are quickly becoming the go-to alternative to traditional commercial roof replacement in Denver. They go on quicker, with no seams that can cause leaks, and with less disruption to business operations. Liquid applied coatings can save you a significant amount of money and headaches.  They even come with warranties similar to traditional single-ply membrane systems.

 

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