Commercial Roof Replacement: There is a Better Way.

Commercial Roof Replacement: There is a Better Way.

Commercial Roof Replacement from ACS.

If you’re a facility owner faced with the daunting, and often unexpected, prospect of replacing or repairing a compromised commercial roof, it can be discouraging to discover that a roof replacement is your only option. Not only is a roof replacement costly; it is also wasteful, risky, and disruptive to your tenants. To better understand your roof repair and replacement options, it is important to know the cause behind your roof leaks, as there might be a better way.

“There are really three things that kill roof systems: there’s water, UV rays, and expansion and contraction from heating and cooling,” said Adam Capps, co-owner and VP at ACS Commercial Roofing in Nashville, TN. “If you were to remove those three things from the atmosphere, then a roof would never die.”

Many commercial property owners and facility managers who are faced with a leaky roof opt for a complete roof replacement. What many property managers don’t know, however, is that a complete tear-off and roof replacement can actually weaken the condition of your existing roof system, creating even more issues down the road.

“One of the things that people don’t realize about re-roofing is when you start tearing that membrane off, you’re actually creating a worse condition than you had before,” Capps said.

Silicone Roof Coating vs. Traditional Membrane

In many cases, the lifespan of a commercial roof can be extended – and even backed with leak-free warranties that last up to 25 years — with a silicone roof coating instead.

“By introducing an inorganic compound, such as silicone, to [a roof] system, you’re actually able to extend the life of the roof, creating a better situation from the moment we step foot on your roof,” Capps said.

A silicone roof coating, such as GE High Solids Silicone, requires no tear-offs, glues, grinding, cutting, drilling or harsh chemicals that are harmful to the environment. Plus, property owners can enjoy the same leak-free warranty as they would get with a complete roof replacement.

Here’s a comparison of a silicone roof coating compared to traditional membrane:

Silicone Roof CoatingTraditional Membrane
No drilling, screws or glueRequires drilling, screws and glue
No insulation required and cools the roof 35%Lots of insulation required
Can be put down over two layers of existing roofTwo layers of existing roof must be torn off to apply
Average cost of $3 per square footAverage cost of $5 per square foot
Renewable leak-free warrantyNon-renewable warranty
Average of 7 construction daysAverage of 21 construction days

The pains that you experience from re-roofing are not actually necessary if you go with GE High Solids Silicone,” Capps said.

Silicone vs. Acrylic Roof Coating

Despite its clear advantages for commercial roof systems, silicone roof coating remains a little-known product in the roofing market.

“People have not trusted coatings for years, and they shouldn’t have, rightfully so,” said Capps. “What most people are putting down today is an acrylic coating, it’s not a silicone coating.”

According to Capps, silicone has far greater advantages compared to acrylic coatings. Not only does silicone outperform acrylic in its lifespan, but it also holds up better to ponding water, requires less material, is more reflective than acrylic, and holds up better in humid climates.

“[A silicone] system doesn’t require any fabric; this is a one-part system,” he said. “There’s no primers, there’s no fabric, and it maintains its elongation capability unlike acrylic paint.”

Here is a comparison of acrylic vs. silicone roof coatings:

Silicone Roof CoatingTraditional Membrane
Silicone resin-basedWater-based
No primer requiredRequires primer
Can be applied in a single layerRequires more layers to achieve a thicker coating
More reflective than acrylicLess reflective than silicone
Longer lifespan compared to acrylicShorter lifespan compared to silicone

If you’re faced with a leaky commercial roof and have been told that a complete roof replacement is the only option, consider getting a second opinion to see if silicone roof coating is an option for you.

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