By Karen L. Edwards, RCS Editor.
Roof coatings are becoming a more popular option for building owners.
Have you noticed that an increasing number of building owners are choosing roof coatings and restoration systems as a solution for their facilities? To learn more about the growing trend, I recently spoke with Chadwick Collins, technical director for the Roof Coatings Manufacturer’s Association (RCMA), about coatings and why we’ve seen such growth. Chadwick has been in commercial roofing in various technical roles for many years and before joining RCMA, he served the industry as part of a consulting engineering firm.
RCS: Why are coatings growing in popularity?
Chadwick: I think there are a lot of variables as to why a contractor, building owner or designer would select coatings for their roof. The market is aligning with the things that make roof coatings a very viable option. There are a lot of choices within the roof coatings market. Our members have done a great job of developing some unique propositions with their products. Those things are appealing to building owners that are looking for solutions for their roof
RCS: What do you see as the benefit for a contractor to be able to offer coatings as a solution?
Chadwick: I think coatings offer a bevy of benefits to the contractor. They have a pretty low threshold to enter the market. With other products there might be a lot of upfront investment in specialized equipment or training. With roof coatings, there perhaps might be a lower threshold of investment.
With a roof coating, a lot of times, you aren’t dealing with the aspects of other things you would do with a typical roofing project. You’re not dealing with nearly the scale of getting the job started as far as logistics of material waste or bulk waste if you are doing a tear off. You’re working with a roof that is in place a lot of times with roof coatings. It changes the nature of the job as far as logistics and cost on the front end.
RCS: Are there newer technologies that are making coatings attractive?
Chadwick: It’s interesting because a lot of times the technologies that are new to the market have actually been looked at for a long time. When you look at reflectivity, the standards in place and the requirements of jurisdictions, require products to have multiple year values. So, while some of the technologies are new to the market, they actually have some age on them as far as in their development and in understanding how they work. Roofing is very unique, not just on the coatings side but for all roofing products. Codes and specification requirements are looking for certain characteristics that have been tested by time. We don’t get the luxury of testing the kinks out in the marketplace, we must do that before they are available to the market.
RCS: With all the coating options available, how should a contractor choose a solution?
Chadwick: There are a multitude of things that drive the decision toward any roofing solution, coatings included. All of our members within RCMA do a great job of providing the information to building owners and contractors to help them make the decision. Because no two roofs are alike, it’s hard to say that anything would be a consistent driver in choosing a solution. From my perspective, I can talk about the general benefits of why they are a good solution but when it comes to choosing a solution for a particular roof it’s in the best interest of all involved – the building owner, the contractor installing it, the facility person responsible for monitoring it as it continues into its lifecycle – to be involved in the communication with the potential manufacturer of the product being considered.
RCS: What else should we know?
Chadwick: Coatings have experienced a nice little boost, but the roofing industry as a whole is in a period of transition. The last decade, from a code perspective, there’s been a lot of movement in the code in regard to the performance of a roofing system and what’s expected. The industry has really responded to these changes in code and regulations. There’s been a lot of progress and great development of products over the last decade and I think it’s going to continue.
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