Two Foam Roof Concerns And How To Fix Them

26 June 2017
 Categories: , Articles

If you have a flat roof on your commercial property, then the installation of a foam roof is a good choice to ensure good moisture and weather protection. The roof can last you up to about 35 years. You should understand that this is only likely if the roof is maintained properly, and two of the things that you should look out for are the thinning of the protective coating and the penetration of the foam material. Keep reading to learn why these things are an issue and also how they can be dealt with. 

Thinning Protective Coating

Spray foam is added to the roof with spray tools, much in the same way that polyurethane insulation is added to a home. However, unlike the residential product, the foam is covered with a special coating. This coating protects the foam material from weather, sun, and mechanical damage. Roof coatings are made from a variety of different materials that include silicone, polyurethane, and acrylic resin. Most of these coatings are fluid ones that are painted or sprayed on the surface of the spray foam. The coatings are much thicker than paint, but they do wear away over time.

When the surface coating wears away from the roof, this is called delamination. Once delamination occurs, the foam material becomes exposed to the elements. The exposure to the sun is the most troublesome and can cause the roofing material to dry out. Cracks then develop in the material and water can penetrate the roof. 

You can typically tell if the roof coating has started to thin due to its basic appearance. As it thins, you will notice that the previously shiny and smooth surface will appear dull and textured. If you look closely at the coating, you may also see scratches or buff marks. 

The only way to repair the thinned foam roof coating is to reapply it. This can be handled by a professional or you can apply the coating yourself. If you decide to pursue DIY reapplication, it is wise to use the same coating as the one that was previously applied to the roof. Ask your roofing contractor which one was used so that you can find the right one. Just keep in mind that it's likely worth the money to hire a professional to take care of this for you.

Foam Penetration

Foam roof penetration or the appearance of holes or divots on the surface must be investigated and repaired as well. Holes can be caused by tools dropped on the surface of the roof, hail damage, or mechanical damage. You should understand that you are unlikely to create a hole in the surface of your roof simply by walking on it. This is a misconception about foam roofing materials. While the spray foam is the same type that is used to secure insulation in homes, a closed cell version is sprayed on roofs. When it comes to home insulation, an open cell variety is often utilized and can be crushed due to the air bubbles inside it.

Even though the foam is not brittle, holes should be repaired fairly easily. If they are not, then this can cause leaks. Also, the openings can widen and your roof will be much more damaged. 

You can make hole and penetration repairs in a few different ways. You can use either a polyurethane sealant, like the one placed around plumbing vents and HVAC system components that are installed through the roof structure, or you can use a flexible urethane foam material or a closed cell spray foam compound. All the different materials you can use to make a repair can be placed in the hole or penetration and left to cure. 

Visit a site like to learn more about maintaining foam roof coatings.