What is Liquid Roofing? (How It Works, and Is It For You)

If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve heard of liquid roofing—or you might have even decided to go with it yourself. But what exactly is it? And is it right for your roof?

We’re here to answer those questions and more!

What is liquid roofing?

Liquid roofing refers to a type of roofing system where a liquid coating is applied to the roof surface. The liquid material is typically made of a blend of synthetic resins, such as acrylic or polyurethane, and is designed to form a seamless, waterproof membrane when it is cured.

In recent years, liquid roofing systems have become more popular because they are a cost-effective and long-lasting way to fix flat or low-sloped roofs.

Since the liquid material is easy to apply to almost any surface, these systems are especially useful for roofs with complicated shapes or hard-to-reach spots.

Depending on the product and the needs of the job, liquid roofing can be put on in a number of ways, such as by spraying, rolling, or brushing.

Depending on the level of insulation and energy efficiency you want, the coating can be put on top of an insulation layer or directly on the roof surface.

It’s a versatile and durable option for a wide range of roofing applications and is often preferred over traditional roofing materials due to its ease of application, seamless design, and long-lasting performance.

The benefits of using liquid roofing

  • Longer lifespan: Liquid roofing has a longer lifespan than traditional roofing materials, which means fewer replacements and less maintenance costs.
  • Increased waterproofing and insulation: Liquid roofing provides increased waterproofing and insulation properties, which helps prevent leaks and energy loss.
  • Faster installation process: Liquid roofing can be installed more quickly than traditional roofing materials, which saves time and money.
  • Versatility in application: Liquid roofing can be applied on a variety of materials, including metal, concrete, and asphalt roofs, making it a versatile roofing solution.
  • Reduced noise disturbances: Liquid roofing can be applied with less noise than other roofing systems, which reduces noise disturbances during installation.
  • Reduced investment costs: Liquid roofing has reduced installation costs compared to other roofing systems, which can result in a significant cost savings.
  • Reduced carbon footprint: Liquid roofing requires fewer chemicals than other roofing systems, which reduces its carbon footprint.
  • Improved aesthetics: Liquid roofing improves the aesthetics of a roof by providing a clean and uniform coating.
  • Improved safety: Liquid roofing provides a slip-resistant surface, which improves safety for workers and maintenance personnel.
  • Increased durability: Liquid roofing provides increased durability and resistance to hail damage, which means fewer repairs and maintenance costs.
  • Improved resistance to ponding water: Liquid roofing provides improved resistance to ponding water and moisture penetration, which helps prevent leaks.
  • Easier application process: Liquid roofing has an easier application process than other roofing systems, which means fewer labor costs.
  • DIY application: Liquid roofing can be applied by do-it-yourselfers, which can save money on installation costs.
  • Improved energy efficiency: Liquid roofing provides improved energy efficiency due to its insulation properties, which means less energy is required to heat or cool a building.
  • Improved resistance to heat and UV damage: Liquid roofing provides improved resistance to heat and UV damage, which means it lasts longer and requires less maintenance.
  • Ability to be applied on metal, concrete, and asphalt roofs: Liquid roofing’s versatility in application on different materials is due to its ability to adhere to and seal various substrates, including metal, concrete, and asphalt roofs.

The drawbacks of liquid roofing

  • Cost: Liquid roofing can be more expensive than traditional roofing materials such as asphalt shingles or metal roofing.
  • Installation: While liquid roofing can be applied more quickly than some other roofing systems, it may still require a professional installation process. DIY installation is possible in some cases, but it can be challenging and risky.
  • Weather limitations: Liquid roofing requires certain weather conditions for optimal installation, and it can be more challenging to install in areas with high humidity or extreme temperature fluctuations.
  • Maintenance: While liquid roofing is generally low-maintenance, regular inspections and maintenance are still necessary to ensure that it continues to perform effectively.
  • Limited color options: Liquid roofing is available in a limited range of colors, which may not be suitable for all aesthetic preferences.
  • Slipperiness: Some types of liquid roofing, such as silicone, can be slippery when wet, which can be a safety concern for those accessing the roof.
  • VOC emissions: Some liquid roofing products can emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) during the installation process, which can have negative environmental impacts. However, there are low-VOC options available.

How to apply liquid roofing on your roof

  1. Clean the roof surface using a brush to remove any dust, debris, or greenery and wipe down the surface.
  2. Fill in any holes, cracks, edges, and details using the Roof Seal cracks and edging sealer. Apply the sealant into the crack and smooth it over to leave a level surface.
  3. Apply the liquid roof primer if working with a bitumen-based surface or roofing felt, and wait for 24 hours for it to dry.
  4. Apply the liquid roof reinforcing mat on areas where preparation work has been carried out on blisters, splits, seams, joints, and punctures. The mat is applied wet together with a liquid membrane, and a one millimeter coat of liquid membrane is applied before the reinforcing mat is pressed lightly into it.
  5. Apply liquid membrane that is available in a five gallon using a brush, roller, spatula, trowel, squeegee, or industrial spray equipment. Apply the liquid membrane to a thickness of approximately one to two millimeters.
  6. Wait for 72 hours for the liquid membrane to fully cure and avoid walking on the roof for at least 24 hours after application.

What are the components of a liquid roofing system?

Most of the time, a liquid roofing system includes a liquid membrane, a primer, a reinforcing mat, and a topcoat.

The liquid membrane is the main waterproofing layer and can be made of various materials, including polyurethane, polyester, bitumen, acrylics, silicones, and rubber.

The primer helps to improve adhesion to the substrate, while the reinforcing mat is used in areas where there may be movement or other stresses on the roof, such as around seams or joints.

The topcoat provides additional protection and can help to improve the aesthetics of the roof. Other parts may include sealants for the edges and trim, as well as different tools for installation and upkeep.

Types of liquid roofing systems

Acrylic liquid roofing systems

Acrylic coatings are typically water-based and offer good weather resistance, UV resistance, and durability. They are also easy to apply and can be used on a variety of substrates.

Butyl (butyl rubber) liquid roofing systems

Butyl coatings are made of synthetic rubber and are resistant to UV and ozone. They are also good at keeping water out. They are often used on roofs with low slopes or flat surfaces.

Silicone liquid roofing systems

Silicone coatings are known for being very resistant to UV light and being able to handle high temperatures. They are also resistant to ponding water and have good weathering properties.

PMMA (polymethyl methacrylate) liquid roofing systems

PMMA coatings are known for how quickly they harden, how well they stand up to the weather, and how well they can handle foot traffic. They are often used on roofs with complex shapes and difficult details.

Polyurethane (urethane) liquid roofing systems

Polyurethane coatings are very good at keeping water out and are also resistant to chemicals, wear, and weather. They can also be used on a variety of substrates and have good adhesion properties.

Spray polyurethane foam liquid roofing systems

Spray polyurethane foam is a form of insulation that is often used in combination with liquid roofing systems to provide insulation and waterproofing properties. The foam is sprayed onto the roof surface and then coated with a liquid membrane. The result is a system that is good at insulating and can be used on many different surfaces.

How long does liquid roofing last?

Liquid roofing is known to last for 15 to 25 years or more. Some high-quality liquid roofing systems, such as those made with polyurethane or silicone, can even last up to 30 years with proper maintenance.

Regular inspections and maintenance can help liquid roofing last longer and keep protecting a building’s roof as well as it did when it was first installed.

Liquid Roofing SystemApproximate Lifespan
Acrylic5-10 years
Butyl (butyl rubber)20-30 years
Silicone15-20 years
PMMA (polymethyl methacrylate)20-25 years
Polyurethane (urethane)20-25 years
Spray polyurethane foam25-30 years
This table provides the approximate lifespans of different liquid roofing systems

Even the most durable liquid roofing systems will wear down over time because of the weather, UV light, and other things.

How often should you reapply roofing liquid?

It is recommended to reapply a new coat of liquid roofing every 10–15 years or when signs of wear and tear start to appear. These signs include cracks, blisters, discoloration, or if the surface becomes brittle or chalky.

In some cases, a full reapplication may be necessary instead of just applying a new coat. This usually happens when the current roof is badly damaged, the substrate underneath is damaged, or the current coating has reached the end of its useful life.

What types of roof substrates can be used with liquid roofing?

Liquid roofing can be used on various roof substrates, including but not limited to:

  • Metal roofs: liquid roofing can be applied to metal roofs to protect against rust and corrosion while providing a waterproof barrier.
  • Concrete roofs: liquid roofing can be used to provide a waterproof membrane on concrete roofs and prevent water penetration.
  • Asphalt roofs: liquid roofing can be used on asphalt roofs to seal cracks and prevent water leaks.
  • Built-up roofs: liquid roofing can be applied to built-up roofs to provide additional waterproofing and extend the life of the roof.
  • Single-ply roofs: liquid roofing can be used on single-ply roofs to provide additional waterproofing and protection against the elements.
  • Fiberglass roofs: liquid roofing can be applied to fiberglass roofs to provide additional protection against water leaks and UV rays.

How durable is liquid roofing?

Liquid roofing is a very strong roofing system that is made to withstand a wide range of weather conditions, including high winds, heavy rain, and very cold temperatures.

The durability of liquid roofing depends on many things, like the type of material used, how it is put on, and how well it is taken care of.

Polyurethane and silicone liquid roofing systems are known for their high durability and resistance to weathering, UV rays, and chemicals.

Acrylic liquid roofing systems are also durable, but they may need more upkeep over time to keep working well. Also, the right way to apply liquid roofing is very important if you want it to last a long time.

Is liquid roofing suitable for DIY installations?

Yes, liquid roofing can be suitable for DIY installations. Some liquid roofing systems are made to be easy to use and can be put on by homeowners who don’t have much or any experience.

However, it is important to note that not all liquid roofing systems are DIY-friendly, and proper preparation and application techniques are necessary to ensure a successful installation.

Before trying to install liquid roofing on their own, homeowners should talk to a professional or carefully read the instructions from the manufacturer.

How much does liquid roofing cost?

On average, liquid roofing can cost anywhere from $0.15 to $2.50 per square foot.

Acrylic coatings are the cheapest option, while rubber and polyurea coatings are more expensive, costing between $2 and $2.50 per square foot.

While acrylic coatings are cheaper, they may not be as durable as other options and may require more frequent re-coating.

On the other hand, silicone coatings may cost more upfront but can last longer than acrylic coatings because they are less prone to chalking, breaking down, and becoming brittle over time.

How to maintain your roof coating

To maintain your roof coating, follow these steps:

  1. Inspect your roof coating regularly: It’s important to inspect your roof coating at least once a year to check for any signs of damage, wear, or tear. This can help you catch any problems early on and prevent them from becoming more serious.
  2. Clean your roof coating: Regular cleaning can help prevent dirt, debris, and other contaminants from building up on your roof coating. Use a mild detergent and a soft-bristled brush to gently clean the surface, and rinse thoroughly with water.
  3. Repair any damage promptly: If you notice any damage or wear on your roof coating, it’s important to repair it as soon as possible. This can prevent further damage from occurring and prolong the life of your roof coating.
  4. Avoid walking on the roof coating: Walking on your roof coating can cause damage and wear, so it’s best to avoid it if possible. If you need to access your roof, use a ladder and be careful not to step on the coating.
  5. Keep the surrounding area clear: Trim any trees or vegetation that might be touching or overhanging your roof, as this can cause damage and wear on your coating over time.
  6. Hire a professional for maintenance: If you’re not comfortable inspecting or maintaining your roof coating yourself, consider hiring a professional roofing contractor to do it for you. They can provide a thorough inspection and ensure that your roof coating is in good condition.

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Author: Logan

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