What is the Difference? Roof Coatings Versus Roof Coating Systems

Western Colloid URR Episode 1
December 21, 2022 at 6:00 a.m.

By Cass Jacoby. 

There are some big differences between a roof coating and a roof coating system that you need to know as a building owner in order to make smart roofing decisions.  

The Understanding Roof Restoration Podcast is a crash course into everything you need to know about restoring roofs. As the popularity of roof restoration continues to grow, more and more questions arise from building owners, architects, consultants and even contractors. Luckily, we know just the experts to ask — Western Colloid! Greg Hlavaty, Hal Leland and the team at Western Colloid have been manufacturing and installing these systems for more than 50 years, and they have seen it all. With a wide variety of roofing systems on existing buildings and many available restoration options, they have an answer for just about any roof restoration questions you may have.  

Each week we will tackle a different topic and answer questions submitted by you, our listeners. In Season One, Episode One of the Understanding Roof Restoration podcast, we learn the difference between a roof coating and a roof coating system. 

While it might seem like a roof coating and a roof coating system are the same thing with only one extra word in the latter, they are actually quite different. 

“The coatings have always been around as a repair of a roof, go up, repair a roof, Band-Aid it, and then, put a coating on it to stabilize it for a while. But, the founder of our company took that to a new level, which was actually, restore it to as good as new condition, with adding strength back, adding elongation back,” explains Greg. “That's the difference — when you put a repair and a coating on, you've extended the life by reflective means and by shedding a little bit of the water and the weather, but you haven't really  added back strength, tensile strength, the elongation, the resistance to foot traffic, and all the wear and tear that a roof really comes under. A good restoration system will do that.” 

Often within the industry and among building owners, we lump coatings into this one category and that flattens this difference. However, separate from just a roof coating, a major difference with a roof coating system is that it tests higher with FM approved fire ratings. 

“One of the great things about asphalt emulsion is that it doesn't burn. So, that's given the basis for a lot of our testing. We do a lot of testing at ICC-ES. We test at UL, we test at Miami-Dade... We've probably spent just over a million dollars there in testing. It's a big deal and it's what has helped us really grow our systems and our assemblies,” says Hal. “I've got, I think 18 of our systems, 4470 approved at FM Global, which is a really big deal.” 

Testing backs up that a roof coating system is more than a coating, it is membrane system — roof coating systems are a long lasting and lightweight roof repair solution. “They're still a maintenance and repair, but they have the testing, to give the confidence that a sophisticated building owner or architect or consultant need to put in their file when they're working on a project,” says Greg. “It gives contractors and building owners a lot of confidence...We're changing that perception by saying ‘Let's keep it in place and modernize it and weatherize it.’” 

Listen to the podcast for more insight on the benefits of a roof coating system over a roof coating and to learn more about roof restoration from the professionals. 

Have a question? AskARoofer.   

Find your local roofing contractor in the RoofersCoffeeShop® Contractor Directory. 

About Cass  

Cass works as a reporter/writer for RoofersCoffeeShop, AskARoofer and MetalCoffeeShop. When she isn’t writing about roofs, she is putting her Master degree to work writing about movies and dancing with her plants.

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