A Brief History of Roof Coating & Why It’s Important for Your Commercial Roof 

an zinc roof on a high building

You might remember the periodic table of elements from high school chemistry class. For most people, this might not be at the forefront of our thoughts throughout the day—unless you happen to be working in the field—although on any given day, or any given minute, or any second for that matter, we are interacting and facing elements from that table. That is, not to mention the elements that make up your human body! 

Silicon is one such element in this great planet of ours and is one of the main materials used for roof coating in the commercial roofing industry. Another type of coating is a type of thermoplastic that is derived from petroleum and glass called acrylic. It is thanks to these two materials that high-quality and long-lasting roof coatings have made it possible to add life to your roof without much hassle. Let’s dig a little deeper. 

Silicon — An Element With Personality 

But, first, let’s go back and talk about one element in particular called silicon. It is the seventh most abundant element in the universe and the second most abundant in the earth’s crust. This is a semi-metal element with the atomic number 14 was discovered by a Swedish chemist in 1824. He heated chips of potassium in a silica container and washed away the residual product. 

People found that silicon could be mixed with other elements to create a very useful material. This is called silicone. By contrast, silicone is a synthetic polymer that is composed of the element silicon, oxygen, and other elements like hydrogen and carbon. 

As its name may suggest, silicon is the key ingredient in silicone, which is used in modern-day lubricants, polishing agents, electrical insulators, roof coatings, and even medical uses. Silicone has a high heat resistance and it works well in several industrial applications. 

The use of silicone in roof coatings 

The use of silicone for roofs was not particularly widespread until it was discovered that many spray foam applications were suffering from UV damage and deteriorating much more quickly than expected or desired. Roof contractors began experimenting with different materials to add as protection and soon they discovered that silicone had quite the resistance to the heat of the sun and the elements. After all, silicone has been used as a sealant for a long time, even in high-pressure applications like aquariums and tanks, silicone could withstand the water pressure. 

After about 50 years of experimentation and research, manufacturers have nailed the needed formula to produce a very resistant and long-lasting silicone-based roof coating.  

Silicone roof coatings are easy to apply and cure faster than almost any other material. These materials also tend to weather better than other materials and can be applied under any temperature without the need for a primer. Commonly cited benefits of this kind of coating include:

  • Unmatched performance (resists ponding water) 
  • A single coat application
  • Applied without the need for a primer
  • Environmentally-friendly 

Acrylic — A Versatile Compound With Lots of Resistance 

Acrylic polymers are often known simply as acrylics. These are a class of synthetic plastics—in this case, synthetic glass—that have many uses in our everyday products. These are man-made plastic materials that contain derivatives of acrylic acid. The most common is often referred to by the brand name plexiglass, which is polymethyl methacrylate and is naturally transparent and very resistant to UV rays.

Acrylic is also often known as plexiglass and has developed quite the reputation for being quite versatile in multiple applications from aquariums, window panes, and bulletproof glass. This material even helped us win the war! During World War II, this very resistant material was used for periscopes in submarines and windshields, canopies, and gun turrets on airplanes. The plastic has a variety of properties that allow it to serve a lot of purposes and become popular in manufacturing, industrial circles, and DIY enthusiasts.  Acrylic compounds have many uses like optical parts, jewelry, adhesives, coating compounds, and textile fibers. Some of its properties include:

  • High impact resistance
  • High optical clarity 
  • Lightweight
  • Excellent chemical resistance
  • Innate UV resistance

When it comes to commercial roofs, this versatile compound can be beneficial in a variety of ways. Some of the proven benefits of this material in your roof include:

  • Cost-effectiveness: Acrylic roof coatings can be durable and not be extremely costly to your budget. 
  • Major UV protection: This is where the acrylic roof coatings prove their worth. Acrylic roof coatings are high performers in the area of UV resistance. This saves commercial property owners on energy costs and extends service life. 
  • Easy installation: Just like silicone roof coating, acrylic coats are also relatively easy to install and do not require a major disruption to your business operations. 

Choose Roof Toppers for Your Industrial Roof Coating Needs

As we say around here, the best way to think about your roof is not at all. As a business owner, you want your roof to perform well and for a long time. There are a lot of considerations as a commercial property owner and business owner and you don’t want your roof to be a headache on top of that. Take care of your roof with an easy-to-install coating and keep your roof younger longer. Connect with Roof Toppers today and find out what we can do to improve and safeguard your commercial roof.

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