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The Economic & Environmental Impacts of Roof Coatings

November 11, 2021 8:16 pm

Are you considering a replacement roof, or is your current commercial roof warranty approaching expiration? You’re in the perfect position to consider an elastomeric roof coating, a roof coating that can be both economic and environmentally friendly. 

You might think the phrase “eco-friendly” automatically means “more expensive,” but that’s not always the case. In the latest Gaco webinar, Ed Klonowski, Gaco Product Manager, and Jason Loftus, GacoFlex Director, break down the economic and environmental impacts of commercial roof coatings and explain how when the two come together, you have a perfect recipe for long-term cost-savings and performance.  



Economic Impact of Coatings

If a roof is structurally sound and does not need to be replaced due to damage or changes to building codes, a maintenance roof coating makes a lot of economic “cents.” 

After a roof is repaired and cleaned, a coating can be applied directly over the existing roof. A coating can be applied to many roof types, but not all. On average, it costs significantly less to apply a coating than to perform a complete roof tear-off because there’s less material and labor needed. And if nothing needs to be torn off, you’ll spend next to nothing on landfill fees, too. 

Take it from Gaco customers. This 19-building Florida condominium complex extended the life of its existing roof “at a fraction of the cost that it would be to replace the roof,” and they “installed a white coating to capitalize on reflectively to save on energy costs.” 

A roof replacement can be disruptive to business operations, too, especially if the business has to close while work is being done. A roof restoration with a high-quality coating, on the other hand, doesn’t have to throw a wrench in daily business operations. Gaco offers low-VOC options to help your business run normally during installation.  

Operational efficiencies and labor cost savings came together when the MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility needed a roofing facelift. 

“​​Risks and costs are both factors when dealing with a secure facility. All state projects use prevailing wage scales, and the quick application of Gaco’s silicone roof sealant and coating helped keep the labor hours much lower than conventional roofing methods,” reported the client. 

Most importantly, coatings are a great way to enhance an already performing system and can add 5+ years to the lifespan of an existing roofing system. With a maintenance coating, you can perform small repairs to the current roof and install a coating on top instead of engaging in a big project (and expense) to completely tear off and replace a roof. 


Environmental Impact of Coating

Contrary to popular belief, environmentally-friendly roofing solutions can also be budget-friendly. 

Many roof coatings are “cool,” meaning they reflect solar energy instead of absorbing it. As cited by the U.S. Department of Energy, the end result of a cool roof is: 

  • Reduced energy bills by decreasing air conditioning needs
  • Improved indoor comfort for spaces that are not conditioned
  • Decreased roof temperature, which may extend roof service life

“Solar-reflective roofs can reduce cooling energy demand by 10-40%,” adds the International Institute of Building Enclosure Consultants (IIBEC). With “about 40% of energy costs for the average commercial building [being] spent on heating, cooling and ventilation,” the energy savings and resulting cost savings can really add up with a cool roof!

Despite these benefits, a majority of roofs still aren’t reflective. More and more building codes are pushing for reflective roofs, and coatings are a cost-effective solution to make this transition. 

Every building that transitions to a cool roof helps mitigate the negative impact of the urban heat island effect. The urban heat island effect is when the ambient temperature of an area artificially increases due to a lack of green space. Higher temperatures contribute to global warming, but also have a tangible impact on people’s everyday lives. 

“The effects of heat have negative outcomes for people’s health and well-being, social equity, energy use and peak demand, resilience of health, transportation and electrical infrastructure, crime, education outcomes, and productivity,” reports the IIBEC. 

Thankfully, “there are solutions that minimize heat gain which building experts can adopt today to reduce temperatures in buildings, in cities, and on the planet,” adds the IIBEC. One of these is roof materials that reflect a greater portion of solar radiation — in other words — cool roofing solutions like roof coatings.  


Gaco Sustainable Roofing Solutions 

At Gaco, we’re always looking for a more eco-friendly way of doing things. Our product advancements help us make this vision a reality, including our Low GWP Gaco RoofFoam. It’s self-adhering, has a high R-value, and when used in conjunction with a Gaco protective top coat, is one of the only sustainable systems in the market. 

Talk to your local GacoFlex Area Manager to learn more about roof coatings and to get help selecting the most economic, environmentally-friendly one for your building. 

If you liked this webinar be sure to check out our other webinar: How to Pick the Right Coating for Your Roof