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Spray Foam

commercial roofing pros and cons male worker picking up piece of roof

Pros and Cons of Commercial Roofing Systems

By Informational, Spray Foam
commercial roofing pros and cons male worker picking up piece of roof

A Comparison of Commercial Roofing Systems—Process, Longevity, Pros and Cons 

 

Lots of options. Lots of variables to sort through. Lots of advantages and disadvantages. Lots of decisions to be made.  

 

When it comes to figuring out what type of roofing system is best for your commercial property, you’ve got plenty of things to work out. Attaining your best results involves having a detailed understanding of your people and business, knowing your physical location and type of facility, and analyzing the roofing systems available to you, including upfront costs and long-term warranties. When it comes to actually doing the job, use of top-quality materials and installation by qualified professionals is a must, as is performing both routine maintenance and taking care of immediate emergency repairs over the long haul.  

 

To help with all that, check chart for an overview of six common commercial roofing choices, along with a brief description of the processes, estimated longevity, and a listing of pros and cons associated with each one.  

Pros and Cons of Commercial Roofing Systems 

 

TYPE OF ROOF  PROCESS  PROS  CONS  LIFESPAN 
Built-up Systems  
 

BUR ‒ Built-up roofing 

Commonly called tar-and-gravel, roofs are built of multiple, alternating layers of bitumen (asphalt) and reinforcing fabrics, topped with a protective layer of gravel or stone. In use 100+ years, BUR offers well-proved effectiveness.  
  • Strong protection from UV rays increases energy efficiency of property  
  • Number of layers is adjustable to each situation, more layers = better protection  
  • Low maintenance is required over roof lifespan  
  • Good fire resistance built in 
  • Excellent for very large commercial properties, BUR is more affordable than newer, synthetic systems  
  • Installation is hot, messy, slow, labor-intensive, with hazardous materials, fumes, disruption of business activity 
  • Heavy materials add weight to building  
  • System can be susceptible to wind/water damage  
  • Leaks, tears are difficult to find, repair  
  • System is better suited to warmer than cold climates 
 

15-30 yrs. 

 

 

TYPE OF ROOF  PROCESS  PROS  CONS  LIFESPAN 
Built-up Systems (continued)  
 

Mod bit – Modified bitumen roofing  

Similar to BUR, mod bit has fewer layers, more adhesive options. Plys (layers) are sealed down to the roof deck or coverboard with no seams. Three different surfaces are available, mineral, foil, or laminate, with ceramic coating.  
  • System is strong, waterproof, airtight, tear-resistant  
  • Minimal maintenance is needed 
  • Mod bit is more affordable than newer, synthetic systems  
  • On-site installation is labor-intensive 
  • Dark color of materials absorbs heat, decreases energy efficiency 
  • Vulnerable to UV damage 
  • Supplemental coating is needed to improve energy efficiency 
 

10-20 yrs. 

 

 

 

TYPE OF ROOF  PROCESS  PROS  CONS  LIFESPAN 
Single-ply Membrane Systems 
 

EPDM ‒ Ethylene propylene diene monomer 

AKA rubber roofing, EPDM is a thermoset process using a membrane manufactured offsite with all ingredients incorporated into rolls of material. Chemically cross-linked polymers become rigid once applied. One layer of membrane is applied to the roofing substrate. Seams are sealed between membranes with mechanical fasteners.  
  • Rolls of membrane come in varying thicknesses to match material specifications to each property, situation  
  • Installation is easy since membranes are ready to place when delivered  
  • The system is not easily damaged by UV rays, is lightweight, durable, fire- and weather-resistant 
  • The membrane is resistant to leaks, punctures 
  • Seams between membranes can fail, allowing moisture leakage into building 
  • Finished membrane is black, looks like unfurled inner tube, and is not particularly aesthetically attractive 
  • While available, lighter colors are considerably more expensive  
 

15-25 yrs. 

 

 

 

TYPE OF ROOF  PROCESS  PROS  CONS  LIFESPAN 
Single-ply Membrane Systems (continued)  
 

TPO – Thermoplastic roofing  

Also a rubber-like membrane system, thermoplastic roofing is made of synthetic substances that soften when heated, harden when cooled, and can be reshaped over time. Seams are heat-welded, melted together for a dependable bond.  
  • Reflective white membrane repels sunlight, reflects heat, UV damage 
  • System resists corrosion, breakdown  
  • Seams are heat-welded/melted together for dependable bond  
  • Surface is resistant to mold, hail, fire, impact, air pollution, providing long-term durability  
  • Laminating of top layer, narrow width of rolls produce weak points that can shrink, crack, deteriorate, leak  
  • Fire-resistance is low, requiring integration of proper retardants  
  • Uneven quality of materials, variations in thickness lead to consistency problems  
 

7-20 yrs. 

 

 

PVC ‒ Polyvinyl chloride  

This is another type of thermoplastic system. Two layers of PVC material are reinforced with polyester plasticizers placed between plys to provide UV stability, flexibility, and prevent curling. Heat-welding keeps seams securely adhered together.  
  • Roofing is durable, flexible, energy efficient  
  • System is resistant to moisture, fire, pollution, wind 
  • PVC is well suited to fluctuating climates, varying natural settings  
  • Materials are recyclable, eco-friendly  
  • Upfront cost is higher than some other systems 
  • Membrane tends to shrink over time, pulling apart at seams, corners, causing leaks 
  • Older roofs may shatter, puncture, be difficult to repair 
 

15-30 yrs. 

 

 

 

TYPE OF ROOF  PROCESS  PROS  CONS  LIFESPAN 
Spray Foam Systems  
 

SPF ‒ Spray polyurethane foam  

A specialized system, SPF blends two chemical elements together under heat and pressure, forming a plastic that transforms from liquid to solid within seconds, expanding 30 times in volume as it dries. Once hardened, a fully adhered roof surface results. The foam must be covered with an elastomeric coating of silicone, acrylic, urethane, or butyl rubber and finished with a layer of crushed stone granules to prevent damage from UV radiation and other elements. Each roof is custom-created on-site and endlessly renewable with careful maintenance and regular elastomeric recoatings. 
  • Highest R-value of any roofing for energy efficiency that saves on both heating and cooling costs  
  • Expansion properties of foam make it self-forming around protrusions (no vulnerable flashings, fasteners, tape), formable to channel water and prevent ponding 
  • Gaps, nooks, crannies, overlaps are sealed to make roof water- and airtight 
  • System is lightweight, with good tensile strength 
  • Depth of foam can be increased for greater energy savings, weather-resistance 
  • Installation creates few business disruptions, can be installed over most existing systems 
  • Installation must take place in temperatures above 50 degrees, with low humidity, calm wind, in order for foam to form correctly  
  • Technicians must be properly trained, use highly specialized equipment for desired chemical reaction to occur  
  • Initial cost is higher than some other systems 
  • Elastomeric coating must be reapplied every 10 to 15 years to maintain integrity of system 
  • Semi-annual inspections, immediate repairs are recommended to correct issues from debris, foot traffic, weather, UV radiation  
 

25-40+ yrs. 

 

Male builder doing thermal insulation on roof of wooden frame house. Man worker spraying polyurethane foam on rooftop pros and cons of commercial roofing

It should be noted that costs vary widely and are subject to volatility. At this writing (December 2022) per-square-foot pricing ranges from $2.00 at the low end to $10.50 or more at the top. Always work with a knowledgeable, qualified professional to get the roofing system that works best for you.  

spray foam cost vs. benefit: guy on roof using SPF

Spray Foam Cost vs. Benefit

By Informational, Spray Foam
spray foam cost vs. benefit: guy on roof using SPF

ROI for SPF Is Impressive, Especially Long-Term  

 

As in 30 years—even indefinitely according to some commercial roofing experts. Although attaining such over-the-decades longevity does require care upfront at installation and consistent ongoing maintenance every year, the numbers confirm potential SPF value. Let’s take a look, with an important caveat. Costs within the roofing sector are extremely volatile and, like pretty much everything else as of this writing (November 2022), subject to inflation. Any numbers cited here should be regarded strictly as examples. Actual estimates for any project, including yours, must be provided by a roofing professional with deep knowledge of the industry, expertise in applicable requirements in your area, and specific understanding of your property and job. Here is spray foam cost vs. benefit explained. 

 

SPF Basics Explained  

 

To set the stage, let’s look quickly at what SPF is all about. SPF is spray polyurethane foam, which is a type of sprayed-on roofing material. The spray foam is a mix of two chemical substances, a polyol resin and an isocyanate. The two elements are stored at the job site in separate tanks and pumped through high-pressure hoses with heat applied. Materials are mixed in a spray gun and sprayed in a thin coat on the surface of the roof. The thin coat of SPF expands in volume as it dries, increasing about 30 times within a matter of seconds. Cured to 1” thickness, SPF yields an approximate R-value of 6.5. R-value measures the capacity of an insulating material to resist heat flow in or out of the building, so the higher the R-value, the greater the insulating power. Many states and municipalities have a minimum R-value requirement for commercial properties, meaning to achieve an R-value of 30, which is the Department of Energy recommendation, you’ll need 4.6 inches of SPF on your roof.  

Once installed, the foam must be covered with an elastomeric coating to protect from UV radiation. Bare SPF is extremely UV-susceptible and begins to deteriorate within days, making the elastomeric coating, usually acrylic, silicone, or urethanes, essential to SPF longevity. Granules are added during elastomeric application to further reflect UV rays and also create traction on the roof.  

Ongoing maintenance is a fact of successful SPF roofing. While the two-part SPF layer itself is durable for decades, the elastomeric coating does wear thin over time, with replacement necessary every 10 to 15 years. Semi-annual inspections monitor the coating’s condition, as well as finding any other compromises caused by weather, wildlife, or activity on the roof. Fixes should be made immediately while problems are minor and easy to repair. 

Multiple Factors Affect SPF Cost  

 

Arriving at an estimate for your SPF system involves looking at a number of considerations that directly impact cost when comparing spray foam cost vs. benefit. Among them: 

  • Size of the roof. Knowing how many square feet need to be covered is fundamental. Economies of scale do kick in somewhere around the 20,000 square-foot range: Because overhead costs apply to every project, the bigger the roof, the lower the cost per square foot.  
  • Roof height and access. A roof that’s low and easy to get to costs less than one that’s steeply sloped, high off the ground, or can’t be walked on. Some roofs require the use of cranes, lifts, hoists, or rappelling equipment, all of which are extra costs.  
  • Condition of existing roof. SPF can be sprayed over one layer of most existing materials, although there are exceptions. In such cases, a coverboard must be installed to the roof deck before SPF is applied. Prep work includes inspection of the roof and repair of damage, removal of debris and loose material like ballast or gravel, replacement of wet insulation, and cleaning of dirty surfaces.  
  • Number of penetrations. The liquid nature of SPF makes installation around openings for vents, pipes, HVAC equipment, skylights, and other protrusions much easier than with other systems—the foam shapes itself around penetrations as it dries. Still, penetrations are a time factor, and time equals cost.  
  • Desired foam thickness. The more SPF you need to get to the desired R-value, the greater the cost. Certain types of buildings with greater than normal heating and cooling requirements (think IT companies or chemical plants) need elevated R-values, which factors into roofing costs. Secure Identification Display Area (SIDA) authorization is another possible extra; when a job involves a secure location, background checks and fingerprinting must be completed before workers are allowed on site.  
  • Elastomeric coating and length of warranty. The amount of UV-protective coating is another variable, and it’s directly related to project warranty. For a 10-year warranty, 20 mils of coating are installed, 25 mils are typical for a 15-year warranty, 30 mils for 20 years. The thicker your coating, the greater the expense.   

Many other factors can be involved in a specific situation; your professional roofing partner will help you sort those out and determine how they relate to cost. He or she can also help you evaluate alternatives to SPF roofing. A number of other systems are available, each with advantages and drawbacks that may be relevant to your situation, including cost.  

Spray Foam Roofing Technician spraying foam insulation using Plural Component Gun for polyurethane foam

Build a Chart to Look at Spray Foam Cost vs. Benefit 

 

Probably the best way to figure out spray foam cost vs. benefit is to put together a matrix listing items associated with costing and where your job ranks relative to each. Then be as specific as possible as you fill in the blanks and work with your contractor to equate each element to actual dollars and cents.  

 

 

 

Cost factor 

 

Low impact on
price  

 

 

Average impact on price  

 

 

High impact on
price  

 

 

Size of roof (sq. ft.) 

     
 

Roof height 

     
 

Roof access  

     
 

Roof repairs needed  

     
 

Cleaning, debris removal needed   

     
 

Coverboard needed 

     
 

Roof penetrations  

     
 

Desired foam thickness 

     
 

Desired coating thickness  

     
 

Warranty length, type  

     
 

Cost estimate  

     

 

As of November 2022, roofing experts indicate the price for a spray foam roof averages between $8.00 and $12.00 per square foot. If you already have SPF in place, you can also use the chart to estimate recoating costs since most of the same factors apply. Recoating presently runs in the $1.50 to $3.00 per square foot range. But given the many influences at play, costs associated with all aspects of SPF could easily go higher. That may be a good reason to carefully analyze your needs and move ahead as soon as you can.  

 

Bottom Line: SPF May Pay for Itself in 5 Years 

 

Calculating true return-on-investment for any commercial system is a long-term proposition. And while the initial expense for SPF can be somewhat higher than other choices, when it comes to lifetime cost, it pays off.  

With a rating of 6.5 per inch of thickness, SPF has the highest R-value of any roof system, keeping more heat and cooling inside your building rather than letting those commodities leak through the roof. That lightens the load on your HVAC units, bringing down your overall energy costs. In some cases, SPF savings are equal to the expense of installation in only five years—your spray foam roof has paid for itself! 

And that’s just the beginning of the cost benefits. With proper maintenance and recoating of your basic foam layers every 10 or so years, your roof is renewable, both in terms of performance and an extension of your warranty. While claims that SPF can last forever are probably exaggerated, with proper recoating (never skip that!) your roof should easily last 30 to even 50 years. Contrast that with the lifespans of other common commercial systems, which after 15 to 20 years must be replaced completely, which is always a sizeable expense.  

Add the seamless, waterproof, self-flashing, environmentally friendly, easy maintenance characteristics of the system—ROI for SPF is truly significant long-term!   

Spray foam roofing maintenance guy holding foam gun applicator

Extending the Life of a Spray Foam Roof

By Informational, Spray Foam
Spray foam roofing maintenance guy holding foam gun applicator

Spray Foam Roofing is Infinitely Renewable—Think 50 Years! Here’s How  

When it comes to extending the life of your spray foam roofing, one word says it all—maintenance.  

Spray foam roofing systems bring many exceptional properties to commercial buildings—durability, dependability, energy efficiency, thermal resistance, and waterproofing among them. With smart management, spray foam roofs can last indefinitely; a 30-year life span is common and some remain in service for as long as 50 years. But achieving that kind of longevity requires work on your part, because set-it-and-forget-it performance is the one thing you cannot expect a foam roof to do.   

The formula for keeping your spray polyurethane foam (SPF) roof in peak operating condition can be summarized in three easy-to-remember words—inspect, recoat, repair. Let’s look at each of these so you know what to do and why doing it is so important.  

Inspections Let Your Know What’s Happening Overhead 

Regularly planned and scheduled inspections are at the center of your spray foam roofing maintenance program. Establishing an ongoing relationship with a qualified contractor is a good idea; that way you’re working with someone who has intimate knowledge of your roofing system. Such familiarity allows them quickly spot changes when something is amiss. 

Plan on getting your roof inspected twice annually; ideal timing is in late fall to prepare for the upcoming winter and in mid-spring to identify any damage that may have occurred. You also want to bring in your partner after any severe weather event (heavy rain storm, large hail, high wind, tornado, blizzard) to make sure everything is okay. Speaking of blizzards, think through your removal plan in advance so you’re ready to clear off snow weight and melt quickly; just be sure to keep tools with sharp edges away from your roof.   

As part of your regular inspections, remove dirt, debris, leaves, moss, tree branches, weeds, wildlife, and any other foreign objects that may have landed atop your building. If trees overhang the structure, get them trimmed back to prevent limbs from scrapping the foam or breaking and falling down. Make sure water is draining properly by checking gutters, scuppers, and downspouts and making sure they’re clear.  

Your inspection plan should also include checking around penetrations for HVAC, chimneys, pipes, vents, curbs, skylights, supports, and other equipment installed on the roof. Although foam conforms around such irregularities upon installation, your want to make sure the seals are sound and all cracks and crevasses remain closed.   

Keeping records with dates of all inspections, findings, and outcomes is important to tracking the condition of your roof. Photos are a good idea. Conditions change as your roof ages, with deterioration inevitable over time. Regular inspections let you know when and what to do.  

spray polyurethane foam for roof - technician spraying foam insulation using plural component gun for polyurethane foam, inside

Recoating Rebuilds Protection from UV Rays   

One of the most important steps in every inspection is measuring the condition of the elastomeric coating covering the foam. Since UV light is the biggest single enemy of spray foam roofing systems, the foam must be protected from the sun. That’s exactly what the elastomeric coating is all about. The coating allows the roof to provide the energy efficiency, insulation, and waterproofing that make SPF such an ideal commercial choice. Without it, the foam takes on water and damage to your building results.  

A roof is protected from the sun’s harmful UV rays when the elastomeric coating is at least 15 dry mills thick. But the sun’s UV intensity is relentless, and over time, the coating thins. Once that layer reaches 10 mils, the time to recoat has come. Generally, that’s about a decade after the original SPF installation; your roofing partner can gauge condition and provide sound advice.  

Recoating should only be done by a qualified contractor. The first step in the process is making a thorough inspection of the roof to make sure there are no leaks or areas of wet foam. Any such issues must be addressed before recoating takes place. Of great importance is using the same coating material (usually silicone, acrylic, urethane, or butyl rubber) as initially applied. Depending on climate, location, and other ambient conditions, two layers may be needed to deliver optimum protection. Your original coating may have been reflective to increase R-rating and UV shielding; if so, your recoating should be the same.  

The real beauty of SPF systems is that once a new coating has been applied, the roof’s warranty can be extended. A typical warranty is 20 years, which means recoating yields many more years of worry-free protection. That’s major return on investment, which is what SPF roofing is all about.   

 

Repairs Are Easy When Handled Quickly 

With many powerful forces constantly impacting your roof, holes, blisters, cracks, punctures, and other intrusions are bound to occur. That’s an important purpose of your regular inspections—finding such things promptly while they’re still easy to fix. Trust your contractor to do it properly; don’t try to make repairs yourself.   

After cleaning the affected area, your partner removes the defective coating and foam with a knife or similar tool. Then, using a compatible caulking material, they fill the resulting holes. To complete the repair, an area of acrylic or silicone top coating is applied. That’s all there is to it and the best reason for moving fast: Damage doesn’t fix itself; it grows.  

 

Take Care of Your Roof and It Will Take Care of You  

Some experts say that SPF roofs last basically forever. While that may be something of an exaggeration, it is true that, with routine care and proper maintenance, there are no real threats that cause foam to deteriorate and no known limits to how many times you can recoat a roof. As long as you’re diligent about protecting your foam from the sun, the life span of your foam roof is indefinite. Extending the life of your SPF system is as simple as paying attention and taking action at appropriate times.  

Spray Foam Roofing Technician spraying foam insulation using Plural Component Gun for polyurethane foam

Spray Foam Roofing Basics

By Informational, Spray Foam
Spray Foam Roofing Technician spraying foam insulation using Plural Component Gun for polyurethane foam

What To Consider When Using a Spray Foam Roof  

As one of the most versatile plastic materials, polyurethanes are everywhere. Thanks to the chemistry involved, polyurethanes can be molded and adapted to solve all sorts of challenges, like how to put a roof on your commercial building that’s durable, flexible, lightweight, renewable, waterproof, and easy to install and maintain.  Here are some spray foam roofing basics that’ll help you make the right solution. 

The solution you’re looking for is spray foam roofing, because when it comes to energy efficiency and long-term performance, spray foam roofing is tough to beat.  

 

Spray Foam Roofing Explained  

Spray polyurethane foam (SPF) is a plural-component chemical product created by blending two materials, isocyanate and polyol resin. These two elements react when mixed together under heat and pressure, significantly expanding the liquid volume after being sprayed in place. When used for roofing purposes, once the substance hardens, a solid, fully adhered roofing membrane results. This type of roofing is particularly well-suited for commercial structures because it efficiently covers large surfaces and does not add significant weight.  

Your spray foam roof is made up of several layers.  

  • An existing roof or decking forms the base. This underlying layer or substrate supports the foam system; it can be made up of any number of materials, including whatever built-up roofing, modified bitumen, EPDM, PVC, TPO, metal, or concrete is already in place. (Some may require installation of a cover board prior to application of foam.) The base must be thoroughly cleaned to remove dirt, dust, debris, and other contaminants to ensure maximum adhesion.   
  • Next, spray polyurethane foam is applied to the substrate; a specialized spray foam rig is required. The two chemicals that make up SPF are housed onsite in separate containers and pumped through high-pressure hoses to a mixing gun at a temperature between 115-130° F. After the SPF liquid is applied to the roof, it expands and solidifies into a dense foam membrane, typically 1 to 1.5 inches thick, as it cures. Thickness of the foam is determined by the polyol component, with a density of 2.7-3.0 lbs. needed; this makes the foam rigid enough to walk on without being damaged, which is important for commercial purposes.  
  • To protect from damage by UV radiation and other elements, the foam must be covered with an elastomeric coating of silicone, acrylic, urethane, or butyl rubber. Two layers may be needed depending on climate, location, warranty, and other requirements; the top layer is often reflective to increase energy efficiency and shield against UV rays.  
  • Finally, #11-grade roofing granules are broadcast into the elastomeric top coat. These bits of crushed stone add strength, durability, UV protection, and resistance to wildlife to the foam membrane that covers up the roof.  

Understanding that installation of SPF roofing system is not a job for amateurs is essential. Significant knowledge of SPF chemistry and expert use of sophisticated application equipment is required. Technicians must be property trained on all aspects of SPF technology, a proficiency that can take years to acquire. To make sure you’re working with a certified SPF contractor, ask to see job references, industry certifications, case studies, product samples, and, if possible, arrange an in-person roof walk of a recently completed project. Any qualified contractor is proud to show off the company’s work. 

Spray Foam Roofing Polyurea Spraying, warming foam coating of roof, focus on wall

The Pros of SPF   

For facility managers and property owners alike, the benefits of SPF are impressive.  

That starts with thermal resistance: Spray foam has the highest R-value of any conventional roofing material. Since R-value measures a material’s capacity to resist heat flow, SPF’s R-value of 6.6 per inch of thickness means less heat is penetrating your building and more cool is kept inside. These insulation properties translate into lower energy bills, which is especially important given the relentless escalation of costs. The longevity of SPF roofing—a properly installed and maintained system will last a minimum of 20 years and often 30 or more—delivers significant savings over the long haul.  

Compared with other commercial systems, SPF can be installed quickly and with less disruption to building occupants. Among the reasons: No tear-off of existing roofing saves time and mess. There’s less odor than with other types of installations, especially built-up tar and gravel. The self-contained nature of SPF means fewer materials need to be hauled to the rooftop, and the risk of objects blowing or falling from the roof is reduced. Being able to spray around penetrations for HVAC, pipes, curbs, and skylights is a real advantage. Within 30 seconds of contact, foam conforms around such irregularities and grows to close cracks and seal crevasses. Contrast that with other systems and the hours consumed by manually fitting flashings, installing fasteners, and taping gaps.  

And since SPF roofs are seamless, waterproofing is enhanced. Foam is sprayed in one continuous layer, without nooks, crannies, and overlaps for water to seep through. The closed-cell nature of the foam (ask your contractor to explain the chemistry) resists standing water and absorption as well. Should damage occur, generally it can be repaired with roofing-grade mastic or sealant.  

 

Understanding SPF Downsides  

 Of course, nothing is perfect, including SPF. 

For best results and maximum longevity, care and attention to the membrane are required. Twice-yearly inspections by a qualified roofing contractor trained to spot issues from debris, weather, wildlife, foot traffic, ultraviolet radiation, and other impacts are recommended. Every decade or so the elastomeric coating must be reapplied to protect the foam below.   

Potential health hazards from fumes during installation and curing are of concern, and these can linger if a building if not properly ventilated. For workers doing installation or maintenance, wearing protective equipment is a must. Overspray during application is another concern; structures, property, vehicles, and people near your building must be moved or protected from droplets that stray from the roof onto objects below.  

Understanding the limited application window is essential. SPF will not stick when moisture, frost, or ice are present, and the foam fails to form correctly if temperatures are too low. The system must be installed on days above 50° F, in relatively low humidity and calm wind. Depending on geographic location and season of the year, SPF application may have to wait for favorable conditions, so careful planning and a degree of flexibility are required.  

 

The SPF Bottom Line  

Although SPF has a reputation for being somewhat more expensive than other roofing systems, working with a qualified professional is the only way to get an accurate reading on actual price. Your contractor partner can help you analyze the many factors involved in your decision—the size of your building(s), age, purpose, location, climate, people, equipment, surroundings, and how best to protect the structure and what’s happening inside. Given the ease of installation, durability and insulating qualities of materials, and long-term energy efficiency, spray foam may be your ideal commercial roofing choice.  

Environmentally Friendly Roofing Options - Energy Shield

Environmentally Friendly Roofing Options

By Informational, Spray Foam

Environmentally Friendly Roofing

Your commercial roof is exposed to harsh conditions like excess sunlight, heat, cold, rain, wind, and sometimes snow, sleet, and hail. If you’re lucky, your conventional roof will last you a good 20 years. When it comes to roofing, there are so many environmentally friendly options to choose from. If you’d like your roof to outlast traditional conventional roofing, consider an eco-friendly roof. In this blog, we’re going to outline the best options for your commercial building. Keep reading!

 

How Does Environmentally Friendly Roofing Benefit Your Commercial Building?

Environmentally friendly roofs come with several benefits for commercial building owners. The most appealing being the amount of money they can save. In addition, having an eco-friendly roof can help reduce your carbon footprint!  

A win-win for the environment and your wallet. 

Let’s talk about some roofing options to choose from.

 

1. Metal Roofing

One popular eco-friendly roofing material is metal, which can be made using recycled or new metal. Similar to other roofing materials, metal sheets have reflective properties which keep the sun’s rays away from the home. Metal roofs also have a longer life expectancy, making them a worthwhile investment. 

Remember, even though metal roofing is one of the most popular roofing options, it isn’t necessarily cheap! 

 

2. Silicone Roof Coating

Your roof protects you, so you should protect it with a spray foam or silicone roof coating. Prevent the issues that can cost thousands of dollars, intolerable working conditions, and an uncomfortable building. Roofing systems such as built-up roofing, elastomeric, weathered single-ply membranes, and mineral cap sheets, have many problems. From chalking, cracking, sagging, leaking, and splitting, the list goes on. 

A significant benefit of silicone roof coating is the ability to re-roof buildings without having to tear off the old roof.

 

3. Roof Restoration Solution

In addition to popular roofing options, our Roof Restoration Solution is another great eco-friendly roofing choice in which we recoat your current roof with spray foam insulation. With this method, we fill in gaps, seams, and sags with our spray foam insulation, depending on your individual building needs. By recoating and rebuilding, we’re eliminating both the cost associated with labor and the disposal fees. And of course, your carbon footprint is greatly reduced!  All of our spray foam solutions are environmentally friendly and do not contain ozone depletion potential (ODP) chemicals. There is zero Global Warming Potential (GWP), and these roof restoration solutions save on greenhouse gas emissions by not contributing to it at all.

 

Join the Battle to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

At Energy Shield, we care a whole lot about the environment and make every effort in our roofing systems to reduce our carbon footprint. With an Energy Shield roof restoration, you can join us in helping to reduce the environmental impact on our world, one roof at a time. 

industrial insulation spray foam insulation types

A Guide to Spray Foam & Foamed-in-Place Insulation Types

By Informational, Spray Foam

A Guide to Spray Foam & Foamed-in-Place Insulation Types

What is spray foam insulation?

Spray foam insulation comes in many types. From cementitious, a magnesium oxide cement-based foamed-in-place insulation material with a texture most have to referred to as shaving cream-like, to spray polyurethane foam (SPF), which is what we here at Energy Shield are experts in, to tripolymer, a water-soluble foam that is injected into cavities.

Spray foams are dense, pollution-free insulators with an airtight, lightweight, and seamless application. Some types, like SPF, may also be waterproof. Spray foam is fluid-applied, typically with either a small handheld sprayer or a pressurized sprayer depending on the size of the project. It then expands and hardens on contact with the surface, and cures to form an airtight chemical bond. Everything sprayed or fluid-applied is a better insulator naturally.

Aside from strengthening your building, spray foam is low maintenance, stops other problems from arising, and reduces construction waste. Spray foam will not sink, sag, or settle, and does not wear down the structure. It is also safe for application over fireproofing materials. Over the last 35 years, it has undergone many tests to conform to the standards for non-combustibility, and it keeps passing.

With a spray foam insulation solution, the cold and heat from inside and outside will not expand and contract your roofing substrate and will keep the air-conditioned or heated air you pay for inside of your building. This also means that any wood in its surrounding vicinity will not rot, split, or warp. Oftentimes, certain spray foams are used in conjunction with a roof coating, such as our silicone roof coating solution, to form the primary protective roof covering.

Spray foam is incredibly strong with an R-Value greater than any other insulation type on the market. The R-Value is the measurement of insulation strength, or how much heat the insulation will let flow through it. Depending on the thickness of your wall structure and the foam density, our closed-cell SPF’s R-Values here at Energy Shield are between R-6 and R-6.5 per inch. In comparison, fiberglass batts and blankets have an R-Value of 3.0 to 4.0 per inch. In general, closed-cell spray foam is the superior insulation material for keeping the weather, water, air, and even the bugs and mold out.

Uses

The list of commercial and industrial spray foam applications is long. It is quite versatile and has many different applications, from commercial and industrial buildings (interior and exterior walls) to refrigerated trucks and vans to water storage tanks and duct work. Spray foam can be applied to any commercial or industrial construction material, such as concrete block, concrete, brick, steel, wood, laminates, and even exterior sheathing boards.

It can be used for virtually any insulation need, including digesters, freezers and coolers, conveyor tubes, separation insulation between heated and unheated areas of your building, and even coatings for below-grade pipes, vaults, and manholes.

Spray foam is an excellent option for acoustical insulation projects as well with its impeccable sound-insulating properties. Not only that, but it is mold, pest, and pollutant-resistant, making it a smart insulation choice for your project whether it involves your home, commercial or industrial building, or refrigerated truck or van.

spray foam insulation types

Energy & Cost-Saving Benefits

As cold or hot air enters a building, an equal amount is forced out, leading to air loss. Your HVAC system must work twice as hard to keep the temperature stable. Air loss is exactly how your hard-earned money is wasted. Spray foam insulation stops air loss and prevents leaks, production shutdowns, and equipment damage by creating a seamless barrier as well as filling any existing cracks, gaps, holes, and seams. In return, you get enormous cost savings just from keeping the air inside your building — right where it belongs.

Spray foam is proven to save up to 40% to 60% in annual energy costs. A 50,000 square foot industrial or office building will have energy costs around $67,000 per year. Once you have spray foam insulation installed, you can expect a savings of around $26,800 a year.

Even though spray foam insulation typically costs more than traditional insulation, the cost is mitigated by its benefits. Due to its high R-Values, it can virtually eliminate some of the other costs associated with constructing or maintaining a home or commercial building.

Spray Foam Insulation Densities

Spray foam insulation is available in low, medium, and high density types. At 0.5 pounds per cubic foot, low-density spray foam is an open-cell foam whereas medium and high-density spray foams at 2-3 pounds per cubic foot are both closed-cell foams. In general, the higher the density, the greater the R-Value; and the higher the R-Value, the greater the insulating power.

industrial insulation spray foam insulation types

Open-Cell vs. Closed-Cell Spray Foam Insulation Types

Open-cell spray foam cures into a soft and sponge-like state because its cells are, as the name implies, open and filled with air. Closed-cell spray foam cures into a hard and rigid state because its cells are closed and filled with gas. Typically, closed-cell spray foam costs a bit more than open-cell foam. Closed-cell spray foam has a higher R-Value per inch due to its level of density. At 3” of application, open-cell spray foam becomes an effective air barrier. At only 1” of application, closed-cell spray foam becomes an excellent air barrier and is extremely useful for sealing air leaks as well as adding structural strength.

Open-Cell

  • Low density: 0.5 lb. per cubic foot
  • Up to R-4 per inch
  • Soft & spongy – cells filled with air
  • Water permeable (should be used in conjunction with a vapor retardant)
  • Effective air barrier at 3” of application
  • Attics, ceilings, roofs, soundproofing, walls

Closed-Cell

  • Medium to high density: 2-3 lb. per cubic foot
  • Up to R-7 per inch
  • Hard & rigid – cells filled with gas
  • Moisture-resistant, Class II vapor retarder, FEMA Class 5 flood-resistant
  • Excellent air barrier at 1” of application
  • Basements, ceilings, crawlspaces, roofs, slabs, sound-dampening, walls

In Closing

The type of spray foam that you need will ultimately depend on your project and budget. The installation of spray foam requires permits as well as personal protective equipment, so it is extremely important to contact a professional to take on the job.

Commercial Roofing Detroit – 3 Reasons you need spray foam

By Informational, Spray Foam

You’re sitting at your desk, life is great.

Something drops right into your hot mug of coffee.

The ceiling tiles fall onto your desk and behind you.

Your commercial roof protects your building and the interior from the exterior elements and weather conditions. It’s one of the most critical parts of your building – keep it safe.

So what happens, why do flat roofs leak?

commercial flat roofing commercial roofing

Diag. 1 – The sun hits your dark-colored roof, and causes the roof the heat up. In the summer months, the cool air inside is reacting with the hot air entering through the seams and cracks, this causes moisture to build up. That moisture can eat through your roofing sub straight, and your ceiling.

Your commercial roof is exposed to very harsh elemental conditions. Heat, cold, water, snow, the sun, hail, and a myriad of other weather conditions. The number one reason roofs fail is the roofing material, followed by age. Other factors like weather conditions, and roof color, also have a large impact on the condition and longevity of your flat roof.

Some commercial roofing is placed on in sheets, and then mechanically fastened (staples, nails). Those mechanically fastened sheets now are attached to the roof with a hole. Wood and metal will contract and expand depending on the weather conditions. Over time the holes punched into your roofing sub-straight (base/surface) will widen (because they expand and contract with the weather).

This also happens at the seams. These small holes and seams that are getting bigger year after year are made worse by penetrating water and escaping air, it’s a compounding issue.

Water can destroy anything. It will make metal rust and corrode, and cause wood to warp, and decompose. If that water gets into your sub straight, it will slowly, but surely, eat away at your roofing surface, until it doesn’t. Which means, the water is on the floor now, not the roof.

Air is a significant expander and contributes to the expansion and contraction of your sub straight at those seams. It’s also the number 1 reason why your energy bills are so high – Have a read here on energy consumption and roof types.

Commercial roofing types that have seams and are mechanically fastened include some EPDM, PVC Membrane, TPO, Modified Bitumen, and Built-Up Roofing.

Commercial roofing types that have no seams are spray-on and include Spray Foam and Silicone. These are seamless, and airtight and offer the best protection.

How spray foam is the best option for new and restorative commercial roofing.

commercial flat roofing spray foam commercial roofing

The spray foam coats the entire roof, seamlessly, and can cover your current roof. And your conditioned air inside stays conditioned.

1. It’s Seamless & Nail-Free.

Yes, it’s seamless meaning there are seams to open and get wider. This prevents the entry of water under the material. As we mentioned before, most common commercial flat roofing types have seams, and a hole is punched into the roof to attach it. Being that spray foam is seamless, spray-applied, and will never need to be nailed down – it means there is 0 chance of elemental exposure to your roofing sub straight. The spray application also means that the flashing (think baseboard for your roof) is applied with the roofing surface. It’s one continual coating.

2. It’s air-tight.

Yes, it’s air-tight. Meaning that the air that contributes to larger holes, cracks, and seams is eliminated. Air can’t escape (except where engineered), and air can’t penetrate. This stops air from contributing to high energy bills, and widening gaps, and holes in your roof.

3. It’s an insulator.

Spray foam is a dense, pollution-free, polyurethane insulator. It has an R-Factor (measurement of insulation strength) that is greater than any other insulator. So you know what that means? Exactly, the heat and cold from inside and outside will not expand and contract your roofing sub straight. When it hardens, it also adds strength to your commercial flat roof and is nearly weightless.

4. It can be applied over your failing roof.

This is the best part. Spray-Foam can be fluid applied over your existing commercial roof, regardless of the material. It will immediately stop penetrating water and those pesky weather conditions, and insulate and protect your building for a lifetime.

Spray foam commercial flat roofing solutions offer the best protection and for the longest time. There is a caveat – finding the right contractor to install it. It needs to be applied evenly, and consistently across the entire roof – always find a professional to install your spray foam.

 

commercial roofing repair

Commercial Flat Roofing – 4 Reasons Spray Foam is King

By Informational, Spray Foam

You’re sitting at your desk, life is great.

Something drops right into your hot mug of coffee.

The ceiling tiles fall onto your desk and behind you.

 

Your roof protects your building and the interior from the exterior elements and weather conditions. It’s one of the most critical parts of your building – keep it safe.

So what happens, why do commercial flat roofing solutions fail and leak?

 

commercial flat roofing

Diag. 1 – The sun hits your dark-colored roof, and causes the roof the heat up. In the summer months, the cool air inside is reacting with the hot air entering through the seams and cracks, this causes moisture to build up. That moisture can eat through your roofing sub straight, and your ceiling.

Your Roof is exposed to very harsh elemental conditions. Heat, cold, water, snow, the sun, hail, and a myriad of other weather conditions. The number one reason roofs fail is the roofing material, followed by age. Other factors like weather conditions, and roof color, also have a large impact on the condition and longevity of your flat roof.

 

Some roofing is placed on in sheets, and then mechanically fastened (staples, nails). Those mechanically fastened sheets now are attached to the roof with a hole. Wood and metal will contract and expand depending on the weather conditions. Over time the holes punched into your roofing sub-straight (base/surface) will widen (because they expand and contract with the weather).

This also happens at the seams. These small holes and seams that are getting bigger year after year are made worse by penetrating water and escaping air, it’s a compounding issue.

 

Water can destroy anything. It will make metal rust and corrode, and cause wood to warp, and decompose. If that water gets into your sub straight, it will slowly, but surely, eat away at your roofing surface, until it doesn’t. Which means, the water is on the floor now, not the roof.

 

Air is a significant expander and contributes to the expansion and contraction of your sub straight at those seams. It’s also the number 1 reason why your energy bills are so high – Have a read here on energy consumption and roof types.

 

Roof types that have seams and are mechanically fastened include some EPDM, PVC Membrane, TPO, Modified Bitumen, and Built-Up Roofing.

 

Roof types that have no seams are spray-on and include Spray Foam and Silicone. These are seamless, and airtight and offer the best protection.

 

How spray foam is the best option for a new and restorative commercial flat roof.

commercial flat roofing spray foam

The spray foam coats the entire roof, seamlessly, and can cover your current roof. And your conditioned air inside stays conditioned.

1. It’s Seamless & Nail-Free.

Yes, it’s seamless meaning there are seams to open and get wider. This prevents the entry of water under the material. As we mentioned before, most common commercial flat roofing types have seams, and a hole is punched into the roof to attach it. Being that spray foam is seamless, spray-applied, and will never need to be nailed down – it means there is 0 chance of elemental exposure to your roofing sub straight. The spray application also means that the flashing (think baseboard for your roof) is applied with the roofing surface. It’s one continual coating.

 

2. It’s air-tight.

Yes, it’s air-tight. Meaning that the air that contributes to larger holes, cracks, and seams is eliminated. Air can’t escape (except where engineered), and air can’t penetrate. This stops air from contributing to high energy bills, and widening gaps, and holes in your roof.

 

3. It’s an insulator.

Spray foam is a dense, pollution-free, polyurethane insulator. It has an R-Factor (measurement of insulation strength) that is greater than any other insulator. So you know what that means? Exactly, the heat and cold from inside and outside will not expand and contract your roofing sub straight. When it hardens, it also adds strength to your commercial flat roof and is nearly weightless.

 

4. It can be applied over your failing roof.

This is the best part. Spray-Foam can be fluid applied over your existing roof, regardless of the material. It will immediately stop penetrating water and those pesky weather conditions, and insulate and protect your building for a lifetime.

Spray foam is one of the best commercial flat roofing solutions available because it’s seamless, fluid applied, an insulator, it’s airtight and it can be applied over your current failing roof. Comparison Open vs. Closed Cell Foam

Spray foam commercial flat roofing solutions offer the best protection and for the longest time. There is a caveat – finding the right contractor to install it. It needs to be applied evenly, and consistently across the entire roof – always find a professional to install your spray foam.

Check out our quick infographic on how you save energy and extend the life-time of your commercial flat roof.