Overcoming Concerns about Roof Restorations

  • February 3, 2023
  • Joel
  • Minute Read

    If you've come here from the previous post, Save Money with a Roof Restoration, then you know that there are some concerns about them.

    In this article, I'd like to clear up 3 of the most common misconceptions about roof restorations.

    First of all, I mean absolutely no disrespect to reputable used car salesmen. But using one for this analogy is very easy to do. It's low-hanging fruit and I'm gonna go there. Sorry.

    But when you hear the phrase "used car salesmen," what comes to your mind? Is it of a trustworthy individual that has your best interests at heart? Probably not. But in reality, how many used car salesmen have you personally met or done business with?

    Most of us have probably never met such a person, and yet we have such a low opinion of them, which hardly seems fair. But that leads me to concern number one.

    Myth 1: Roof Restorations Fail to Meet Quality and Durability Standards

    Ask yourself, 'why do I have such a viewpoint of a used car salesmen,' especially if I've never dealt with one?

    For those of us that have been around awhile, we know that no one - not even those stereotypical types - are all the same. The fact is, we all get painted with the same broad brush at one time or another, even those good, honest-hearted used car salesmen. It's the path of least resistance.

    The bad get tarred with the good. I bring this up only to draw a parallel with roof restorations.

    Most people's experience with the "miracle in a bucket" approach to roof restoration is not a good one. But why? Did you hire someone to install The Home Depot roof coating only to see it fail in two years or less? Did you possibly get up on your roof yourself and apply a commodity product available at any hardware store only to see it peel up like paint after the first hot rays of summer?

    If you've experienced anything like this, then you need to recognize that comparing those products with a highly-engineered restorative roof coating is not comparing apples to apples.

    A quality restorative roof coating is not a "miracle in a bucket" approach to roof restoration. It is not a commodity product. It is a product that can give you long-term, no-dollar-limit labor and material warranties. You can't get that from The Home Depots' or Lowes' stash of commodity products.

    A quality roof restoration is a system, a process, not a "perfume on a pig" short cut.

    In addition to the product itself, what is also important is the contractor used to install the roof restoration system. Any product - no matter how good it is - is only as good as the roofing contractor you use to install it.

    Furthermore, a proper adhesion test is required to verify compatibility with the existing roof deck. Failing to do this simple, but important procedure can mean the difference between product success or failure. In fact, most restorative roof coating manufacturers require an adhesion test as part of their warranty requirements. You don't get that with The Home Depot "special."

    According to Jim Leonard, former president of the Reflective Roof Coatings Institute and founder of ERSystems, Inc. and Prairie Technologies in Rockford, Minnesota, said that "a well-formulated coating, properly selected for a specific roof surface, and properly applied should perform for 15 years or more." (Italics and underline ours.)

    Selecting RTN Roofing Systems to evaluate your needs will ensure that you are getting a well-formulated coating that is specifically designed for your specific roofing conditions. 

    But before moving on it is also important to remind you that coating technologies have changed significantly over the last decade or two. A lot of the original coating products did fail, which is one reason why not much emphasis has been put on coatings over the course of the last 5-10 years. That, coupled with the unfair comparison between a quality restorative roof coating and a 5-gallon bucket of roof paint from The Home Depot, has unfortunately led many to consider roof coatings a bad choice. But nothing could be further from the truth.

    So if you were one that had a bad experience with coatings in the past or have not had such a good outcome from a low-quality commodity product, then take heart. The roof restoration products that we use are high-quality, non-commodity products. They provide long-term, comprehensive warranties, and are installed by our quality core of professional installers.

    That leads us into concern number 2.

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    Concern 2: Roof Coatings Accumulate Dirt

    Did you notice that this is a "Concern" not a "Myth"? That's because right out of the box, I must admit that some roof coatings do tend to accumulate dirt, especially silicone, and dirt accumulation will indeed cut down a roof's solar reflectance qualities.

    Keep in mind, however, that this accumulation of dirt does not necessarily affect the quality of the product itself or its ability to provide you with leak-free performance.

    But you cannot escape the fact that all roofing systems - coatings or otherwise - accumulate dirt. The dirt is in the air, it is in the rain. It cannot be avoided.

    A typical solar reflectance rate of 0.85 to 0.90 will drop to about 0.70 to 0.75 during the first several months of a roof restoration system being installed. After that it levels off to around 0.60 to 0.70. That's a reduction of around 25 to 30 percent. (Please check my math!) A significant number to be sure, but not the end of the world. It can also be mitigated by annual cleanings.

    So, if your primary focus with a new roof is solar reflectivity, then a roof coating may not be the best choice. Unless, of course, you figure in annual cleanings to keep the roof clean.

    If that is just too much to concern yourself with, then I would recommend the Duro-Last single-ply roofing system. It is the best single-ply roofing system on the market today and has an EPA Energy Star reflectivity rating of 87% even after three years of weathering - tops in the industry.

    On the other hand, if cost is more important, and if quality and reflectivity are only part of the decision equation, then a quality roof restoration may still be your best option.

    But with all that being said, technology is continuing to advance. New coating products that repel or at least that do not accumulate as much dirt as previous products are being developed.

    For one example, ERSystems' ReflectiClean coating has been shown to retain a more than 0.75 solar reflectance for three to seven years. According to the aforementioned Jim Leonard, such a solar reflectance can translate 'into energy savings of more than 25 to 45 percent' over that of the typical coatings.

    Without a doubt, the technology continues to advance and this issue is becoming less and less important. It cannot go away completely, but it is becoming less and less of an issue. We are almost there as it is.

    But is a roof restoration in northern climate really a viable option?

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    Myth 3: Roof Restorations are Not Practical in Northern Climates

    Some feel that using a white, highly-reflective restoration roof coating in a northern climate is less important that having a heat-absorbing black roof.

    The assumption is made that 'a hot roof in the winter is more important than a cold roof in the summer.' This issue was actually discussed in our previous newsletter Is a Black Roof Better than a White Roof?.

    But we'll cover some of the main points here as they relate to roof restoration. However, I would encourage you to read that previous newsletter article too as it has some additional information not contained in this article.

    There are three main points that indicate that a white, highly-reflective roof is still better in northern climates than a dark, heat-absorbing roof. So, without further ado, let me itemize them:

    1. 1
      The winters in the northern hemisphere have much shorter days.
    2. 2
      The winters in the northern hemisphere have little to no direct sunlight.
    3. 3
      The winters in the northern hemisphere have several days in which roofs are covered in snow.

    So how does all of this affect this issue? Well, when summers have much longer days with a significant amount of direct sunlight, having a highly-reflective roof has a much better cost-saving ratio than a black roof in the winter. A black roof in the winter just does not have enough time or enough of a favorable solar angle to absorb any potentially beneficial solar heat.

    When you add to this the fact that snow covers the roof for many, many days during the winter, any assumed benefit realized by having a black roof becomes a non-issue.

    Much of what you pay in your utility and/or energy bills is a calculation made by the utility company that is based upon the highest peak demand experienced during the year.

    Almost always, the highest peak demand is experienced during the summer when HVAC units are working overtime to alleviate the heat being transferred into the building.

    Keeping your roof cool in the summer is more important than helping to keep your roof warm in the winter, especially considering all the limitations placed on a black roof in northern climates as described above.

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    So, with those three main concerns alleviated, what are you thinking? Let RTN Roofing Systems help you to make the best decision regarding the care of your roof. Unique roof, unique needs.

    Give RTN Roofing a call at 970-593-1100. We'll give you the information you need to make an informed decision.

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