Rubber roofs are among the most popular systems for commercial roofing applications, and for good reason. These roofs are durable, can help save on energy costs, and are typically on the lower end in terms of cost. As with any roof, regular maintenance is necessary, and applying a coating to a rubber roof every so often can be a smart move to maximize its lifespan. At Absolute Commercial Roofing, we’ve repaired, restored, and coated our fair share of roofs over the years, and it’s not uncommon that we’re called in to fix a poorly executed rubber roof coating. But how can this process go wrong? Let’s go over some of the most common pitfalls when it comes to rubber roof coatings.
One of the most common problems in installing a rubber roof coating is applying the material too thin. This leaves the coating—and thus the roof underneath—vulnerable to the elements, and especially to water. Often this comes as a result of too much material evaporating as the coating dries. On the other hand, while less common, applying to thick a coating is also a major problem. Applying a rubber roof coating too thickly will lead to blisters, bubbles, and wrinkles, as the thickness of the application will cause the material on the surface to set before the material beneath has dried. In both cases, a wet mil gauge can be used to help determine the proper thickness for a rubber roof coating.
Poor surface preparation
Not preparing the surface of the roof before applying a coating is another common pitfall. While some coating materials are more tolerant than others to factors such as water, dirt, and debris, as a rule it’s best to remove as much if these as possible. Regarding water, recent rainfall can leave residual water on the roof that is to be coated, so it’s best to wait at least a day or more for the roof to fully dry. Dirt, rocks, and other debris should be thoroughly removed. To ensure debris has been removed, a duct tape test can be helpful. Attach and removing a piece of duct tape from the roof and check for dirt and rocks clinging to the adhesive surface, then proceed accordingly depending on how much debris is visible.
Once the roof surface is prepared, the coating material must be prepared. Here lies another common pitfall: improperly mixing the rubber roof coating. Thorough mixing is required to achieve the ideal consistency of the coating, as otherwise heavier ingredients within the material will sink to the bottom rather than being properly incorporated. It’s important not to mix too vigorously, as well, as this can admit air into the material, causing issues with the surface of your commercial roof. To avoid this pitfall, stir thoroughly for at least 30 seconds without creating bubbles.
Not watching out for weather
Proper weather conditions are crucial to applying a rubber roof coating and enabling it to set properly. As indicated by the above notes on surface preparation, rain will prevent the coating from adhering and drying properly. So, not only should the coating be applied on a dry substrate in clear weather, but you should also be sure there is no rain forecast immediately after the coating will be applied. Additionally, cold weather can delay the setting and drying process, especially temperatures below freezing. To avoid issues with the weather, check forecasts frequently and make sure the weather conditions fall within the guidelines specified by the manufacturer of your chosen rubber roof coating material.
Absolute Commercial Roofing: Rubber Roof Coating Experts
While most pitfalls can be avoided by keeping these tips in mind, there’s no substitute for a commercial roofing team with plenty of experience applying rubber roof coatings. Absolute Roofing has helped countless business owners extend the life of their commercial roofs with professional roof coating services. Our years of experience have taught us exactly when and how to properly apply these coatings to maximize their value to you and your business. If you’re looking to shore up your roof without major repairs or a complete roof replacement, contact us today!