What is Roof Coating?

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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 05 April 2020
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A roof coating is an additional layer of protection placed on a finished roof. Functioning as a means of enhancing the roof’s ability to remain undamaged from rain, hail, wind and sunlight, the coating is usually in the form of a thin membrane that seals the materials used to create the roof, effectively establishing a barrier between the elements and the actual roof. When applied correctly, a roof coating can add years to the life of just about any type of roof.

One of the more practical aspects of applying a roof coating has to do with waterproofing the roof, including any sections where flashing is used as part of the roof design. The application of this additional layer helps to bind roof flashing to the asphalt, shingles, or metal panels that are used for the roof. Not only does the coating help make the roof less susceptible to leaks, it also means less opportunity for continued exposure to rain and humidity to hasten the deterioration of the materials used to build the roof.


Along with the waterproofing qualities, roof coating may be utilized as a way to enhance the ability of the roof to deal with exposure to sunlight. The coating slows down damage to the roof by absorbing most of the damaging effects of the sun’s UV rays. Since applying a new coating is significantly less expensive and time consuming than installing a new roof, many homeowners choose to make use of this type of protection. The use of roof coating can sometimes as much as double the life of the roof.

Most roof coating products have the ability to expand and retract along with roof materials as weather conditions change. This helps to keep the coating intact and completely adhered to the roof itself and prevent a rupture in the protective membrane.

The application process for roof coating can involve painting on the solution with a paintbrush, a spray gun or a roller. Many manufacturers of coating products recommend the use of a spray gun in order to achieve a more uniform coating. In terms of thickness, the number of layers or coats added to the roof will depend on the type of roofing involved and the usual weather conditions in the area.

Preparing a roof to receive coating is not a difficult task, but it does involve several steps. First, the roof should be checked for any flaws or defects such as loose shingles or a worn or damaged section. All flaws should be repaired before proceeding to the next step. Pressure washing the roof is an important task, as the washing will remove any residue that would inhibit the ability of the roof coating to adhere properly to the roof materials. Make sure that the roof is completely dry before proceeding.

Applying a coat of primer will also enhance the ability of the roof coating to adhere properly. Just as paint primer can help to strengthen the bond between an interior wall and the first coat of paint, roof primer will accomplish the same end for the roof and the coating. While there may be some question as to whether priming a particular type of roof is necessary, it is a good idea to prime if there is any question.

Finally, the roof coating should be applied in successive layers until the desired thickness is achieved. Allow one layer to dry before applying the next coat. Since the drying time will vary due to climate and the ingredients contained in the roof coating product, be sure to read the instructions that are included with the coating before beginning the first application.


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Post 3

@Feryll - I think most roofing companies use a layer of plastic/paper like material that is supposed to protect your roof against leaks. This sheet plus the roofing material you choose should be protection enough even without the additional roof coating.

I think there does become a point when you are paying for more than you actually need to protect your house against the elements. I can't say for certain that this coating is not needed since I am just learning about it, but I would definitely be skeptical.

Post 2

@Feryll - If you're going to take the time and pay the money to have a new top put on your house then you might as well have it done the best way possible. As the article points out, roof coating has several benefits. The leaking problems you have now probably could have been avoided with a good roof coating applied properly by a professional roofer.

A new roof and a layer of coating sounds like the best way to go to me, but you should ask your roofer whether coating alone would be enough to solve your issues. The article does say this would be considerably less expensive and quicker to get done.

Post 1

We're having a new roof put on our house. The shingles we have on the roof right now don't look overly worn, and we were hoping to wait a couple years before replacing them. However, we have several leaks, and the water is dripping thorough the ceiling when we get rain, especially when we get hard showers.

We have had a roofer come out three times to repair the trouble areas, but the roof is still leaking. What I am wondering is whether a roof coating is really necessary. Of course we want the best roof we can get, but money is an issue at the moment, so we don't want to spend extra on anything that isn't absolutely necessary.

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