Understanding Roof Coating Types and Their Benefits

Roofs are fundamental to the smooth functioning of daily life. Their importance often goes unnoticed until problems arise. Exposed to relentless sun, varying weather, and environmental changes, roofs endure a lot.


Roof Coating

Just as you adapt to seasons by wearing a jacket, updating your car’s tires, or clearing your sidewalk, roofs also need adaptation. Yet, they often lack the necessary protection to effectively combat these challenges. Unlike people who can adjust their routines, roofs require specific interventions to maintain their efficiency.

Roof coatings are a vital component of building maintenance. In Winnipeg, a good coating makes the difference so much since the weather conditions are very cold. In this article, different roof coatings with their specific pros and cons have been discussed. Homeowners and professionals looking for economical roofing Winnipeg alternatives frequently opt for these coatings as an affordable method of extending the life cycles.

From the multiple options, some coatings are renowned for their easy application to roof leak sealing. This factor is especially important for areas with frequent rain or snow, such as Winnipeg.

It is essential to carry out regular Winnipeg roof inspections in order not to lose the integrity of the roof. A good covering will make a small repair and major reconstruction difference.
The decision to select some kind of roof coating also impacts factors such as energy efficiency and visual appeal.

This introduction serves as a preface to an analysis of the benefits and drawbacks of various roof coatings available in Winnipeg. It will help property owners understand these considerations to make sensible decisions on their roofing requirements.

What are Roof Coatings?

Roof coatings serve as a protective layer. These coatings increase the lifespan of both new and existing roof structures. They are used for a variety of structures including built-up roofs (BUR), metal, modified bitumen, single-ply membranes, and spray polyurethane foam.

Roof coatings are more substantial than regular paint and have a greater concentration of solids. They are formulated with the basic purpose of shielding roofs from harmful environmental elements like UV rays, excessive moisture, mold, and strong winds.

Roof coatings are distinguished by their superb elasticity, whereby first-class resins are used during the production process. This makes them maintain their elasticity over time. When cured, these coatings create a tough elastomeric film that contributes to waterproofing while also helping to conceal small cracks and seams on the roof.

Unlike paint that is applied thinly, roof coatings are used in huge portions and observed on larger areas often several gallons per 100 square foot. Today, the market presents a wide variety of roof coatings designed to serve various roofing needs.

Acrylic, asphalt, polyurethane, and silicone coatings are among the most widely used types of roof coatings.

Acrylic Roof Coatings

Acrylic roof coatings are an amazing option for commercial flat roofs and various conventional flat roof substrates like modified bitumen, single-ply, EPDM, built-up roofs, and spray polyurethane foam​​​​.

The coatings are commonly known as elastomeric coating and they come in various forms, including aesthetically beautiful white acrylic type of roof coatings that play an integral part in sloped, metal roofing Winnipeg and Commercial Roofing Systems.


Reasonable Price

Acrylic coatings are more affordable compared to other types of roof coatings. They also offer long-lasting performance, reduced energy consumption, and lower maintenance costs​​​​​​.

The price of an acrylic roof coating, including materials and labor, typically lies between $3.50 and $8.75 per square foot. Among elastomeric roof coatings, acrylic is the most commonly chosen option.

UV Resistance and Reflective Properties

Acrylic coatings are highly reflective and UV resistant. This feature is very helpful in reducing drastically cooling costs during the summer months. The best part is they maintain their reflective properties over time, contributing to sustained lower energy costs and cooler internal building temperatures​​​​​​.

Easy Application

Acrylic roof coatings are water-based, making them easy to apply and work with. The installation procedure is quick and smooth, even on rough surfaces and does not need any special equipment. This leads to a quicker installation, causing less hassle. It could also mean you save on the cost of labor.


They stick really well, especially to metal roofs. In addition, they’re super stretchy, which helps avoid cracks and weather damage.

Dirt Resistance

Acrylic coatings are resistant to dirt, keeping their visual integrity for a long time.

Environmentally Friendly

As they are waterborne, their VOC content is lower than that of other coatings.

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Less Effective in Ponding Water

Acrylic coatings perform poorly in situations where water ponds on the roof. They are not recommended for flat roofs prone to water accumulation as this can lead to poor adhesion, blistering, and increased breakdown of the coating​​​​​​​​.

Temperature Sensitivity

It’s best to apply acrylic in specific temperature conditions. They cannot cure properly below 50°F, and their water-based nature makes them susceptible to freezing in colder temperatures. Excessive heat or humidity can also affect the curing process​​​.

Loss of Thickness Over Time

Acrylic coatings may lose mil thickness as they age, particularly in harsh weather conditions. They are less effective with reduced thickness, leading to a shorter lifespan​​​​​​.

Limited Color Options

Typically, acrylic roof coatings are available in fewer colors. Most colors are especially in darker shades, which may not be suitable for certain aesthetic preferences​​​​.

These characteristics make acrylic roof coatings a practical option for many, but it’s crucial for building owners to assess their specific roofing needs and environmental conditions before choosing this type of coating.

Silicone Roof Coatings

Silicone roof coatings are a great option for commercial buildings with flat roofs. Silicone is made up of highly flexible polymer materials. Silicon coatings are versatile and applicable to various substrates like EPDM, PVC, metal, and more. Predominantly. You will be impressed by their ability to seal cracks and form a tight, water-resistant barrier​​​​​​.


Exceptional Water Resistance

Especially effective in ponding water scenarios, silicone roof coatings are moisture-cure substances. These real heroes don’t let water compromise their integrity. If you are facing the issue of ice-dams or water pooling on your roof, choose silicone-based coatings​​​​.

UV Protection

These coatings are ‘cool roofs’ because they reflect as much as 90 percent of the harmful UV light. They help to cut cooling costs, thus saving a lot on energy bills when it is warmer outside.

Flexibility and Durability

Silicone roof coatings can withstand harsh and weather conditions, they remain flexible over time. This flexibility allows them to tolerate thermal strains and environmental hardships without fracturing or decomposition.

Low Maintenance

The coatings are mold-, mildew- and erosion-resistant, preventing the need for regular maintenance. They are also simple to use, which would help minimize the time and efforts spent on their installation.

Environmentally Safe

The most eco-friendly high-solids silicone coatings have significantly low VOC content. These materials are secure in various states and meet material safety standards.



While other coating systems may be less costly at the start, silicone coatings are more expensive. However, in the long run they may turn out to be cost-effective because of their durability and energy preservation qualities.

Adherence Issues

A major disadvantage is that other materials do not stick properly to silicone. This tends to be problematic when re-coating or making renovations.

Safety Concerns

Silicone coatings can be very slippery when wet, posing safety risks, especially in areas with frequent foot traffic. This necessitates additional measures, such as walk paths, for safe roof access​​​​.

Attracts Dirt

Over time, silicone roof coatings can accumulate dirt and dust, diminishing their reflective properties. This requires regular cleaning to maintain their energy efficiency​​​​.

Silicone roof coatings offer robust protection and energy efficiency for commercial roofs. They are a great choice, particularly in environments with high moisture levels and fluctuating temperatures. However, considerations around safety, roof leak repair Winnipeg maintenance, and cost are essential when choosing this coating for your roofing needs.

Polyurethane Roof Coatings

Polyurethane roof coatings are best known for their robustness. If you want the industry’s strongest and most durable elastomeric coatings, look no more!

Polyurethane coats are typically used on commercial roofs with materials like sprayed-in-place polyurethane foam, modified bitumen, single-ply, EPDM, and concrete roof decks.

Polyurethane coatings come in two primary types: aliphatic and aromatic. Each type is suitable for specific roofing needs and environments​​​​​​.


Impact Resistance

Polyurethane coatings are tough against wear and tear. They are great for busy roofs, like on commercial buildings.

UV Stability

Aliphatic polyurethane coatings are UV stable and maintain their color and cleanliness longer than other types. This characteristic helps in keeping the roof cool. It also has a positive impact on building cooling costs during warmer months​​​​​​.

Flexibility and Durability

These coatings create hard, elastic barriers that successfully resist the adverse effects of daily thermal motion and ponding water.

Adhesion Qualities

Comprised of superior adhesion, PU coatings are highly compatible with traditional roofing materials. Polyurethane provides the necessary sound basis for an effective and durable protective layer.


Higher Cost

Polyurethane coatings cost more than stuff like acrylic. So, if you’re watching your budget, that’s something to think about.

It’ll run you about $2.70 to $5.70 per square foot. It’s a real long-haul player, lasting 30 to 50 years. Good insulation and works with most roofing materials. You’ll usually find it mixed with acrylic-urethane, sometimes with extra stretchy bits added.

Strong Odor During Application

A significant drawback is the strong, xylene-based odor emitted during application. Poly’s smell can be unpleasant and may require specific precautions, especially in buildings with fresh air intake systems​​​​.

Application Challenges

These coatings can be challenging to spray due to their solvent-based nature. Proper cleaning and maintenance of spray equipment are crucial to avoid installation issues​​​​.

Shorter Shelf Life

Here’s the deal with single-component polyurethane coatings: they keep curing, even just sitting on the shelf. That can be a bit tricky for storing and using them.

Sure, Polyurethane coatings are tough, great against UV, and can take a hit, making them a top pick for commercial roofs. But, you’ve gotta balance that with their cost, the smell, how tricky they are to apply, and how long they last before deciding if they’re right for your roof.

Other Roof Coating Options

Elastomeric, butyl, and asphalt-based coatings offer diverse solutions for roof protection. These coatings are less common but provide specific benefits for different roofing needs.

Elastomeric Roof Coatings

Elastomeric coatings are versatile and can be applied to various commercial roofing systems including metal roofs, single-ply systems, and built-up roofs. They form a seamless membrane, accommodating thermal expansion and contraction. Another amazing feature is their elastic properties.

Elastomeric coatings are further divided into different types, including bituminous, fibered, polymeric, polymer-modified, and cool roof coatings.


Elastomeric coatings are capable of accommodating thermal expansion and contraction. You only need to reapply every 10-15 years to extend the roof life of your beautiful home. In addition, various types are available to suit different roofing materials.


Some types of elastomeric coatings may not handle foot traffic or chemical resistance well. Note, types like acrylic aren’t ideal for ponding water situations so it’s better to avoid them in areas of heavy rainfalls.

Butyl Roof Coatings

Butyl roof coatings, also known as butyl rubber roofing, are suitable for flat and metal commercial roofs. They are made from isobutylene and offer excellent flexibility and durability. Butyl coatings are used on various substrates, including metal, modified bitumen, built-up roof (BUR), single-ply, spray polyurethane foam, and concrete​​.


These coatings offer strong elongation and tensile strength. Butyl can also stand ponding water and offers UV protection, reducing cooling costs. Vapor-retardant barrier of butyl is ideal for certain applications on roofs.


So, they’ve got low solids, meaning you need more of it to get the thickness you want. Spraying it can be a hassle too. And the colors? They don’t always stay put, so you might need an extra top-coat.

Asphalt Emulsion Coatings

Asphalt emulsion coatings, a mixture of bitumen, clay, and water, are known for their waterproofing capabilities. They don’t require heating for installation and have excellent waterproofing properties when applied correctly. These coatings are compatible with various roofing systems, including TPO, PVC, EPDM, and BUR​​.

Pros & Cons

The good stuff first: When you put it on right, it’s like the ultimate waterproof shield. Plus, it gets along with lots of different roof types and it’s eco-friendly – no nasty VOCs. But here’s the catch: It’s not exactly energy-saving because it’s dark, and it might not play nice with every kind of roof out there.”

While these coatings are less commonly used compared to acrylic or silicone options, they provide unique benefits tailored to specific roofing needs and environments. It’s important to consider factors like climate, roof traffic, and waterproofing requirements when selecting a roof coating.

For buildings in Winnipeg, factors such as affordability, suitability, effectiveness in roof leak repair, and maintenance requirements during Winnipeg roof inspections should also be taken into account.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Roof Coatings

When selecting the right roof coating, several key factors come into play. These include climate, roof type, budget, and long-term maintenance needs. Each factor significantly influences the effectiveness and suitability of a roof coating for a particular roof situation.

Climate Impact

The climate of an area is a critical determinant. In regions with high UV exposure, UV-resistant coatings are essential. For areas prone to heavy rainfall or extreme temperatures, waterproofing and thermal insulation become priorities​​​​.

Roof Type Compatibility

Different roof materials require specific coatings. Asphalt shingles, metal roofing, and flat roofs each have unique needs. For instance, metal roofing Winnipeg benefit from corrosion-resistant and thermal reflective coatings, while flat roofs need excellent waterproofing and elastomeric properties​​.

Budget Considerations

Budget is a crucial factor in the decision-making process. While some coatings may be costlier upfront, they could offer long-term savings in energy efficiency and durability. Weighing the initial cost against potential long-term benefits is essential​​.

Long-term Maintenance

Considering the expected lifespan and maintenance requirements of a coating is vital. Some coatings demand more frequent maintenance and recoating, impacting long-term costs and labor​​​​.

Professional Consultation and Application

Consulting with roofing professionals is crucial for a tailored approach. Experts can assess the roof’s condition and recommend coatings based on specific needs and preferences. Proper application by professionals ensures optimal performance and longevity of the coating​​​​.

Additional Considerations

Other factors include environmental sustainability, with options for low VOC content and recyclability. The choice of coating also depends on the building’s use, location, and aesthetic considerations. Advanced technological features like self-cleaning properties and UV-reflective technology can further influence the choice.

Final Words

The importance of choosing the right roof coating cannot be overstated. It is an essential decision in maintaining and enhancing the performance and longevity of a roof. Roof coatings serve as a protective barrier against environmental factors. They also contribute significantly to energy conservation and extending the roof’s lifespan.

Balancing cost, durability, and environmental impact is an important factor when selecting roof coatings. While some coatings might be more expensive initially, they could offer greater long-term savings through reduced maintenance and energy costs​​​​.

Moreover, sustainability is a growing concern. The above-mentioned roof coatings now offer renewable options that can be reapplied to lengthen the life of the roof. These coatings not only provide excellent waterproofing capabilities but also contribute to a building’s overall sustainability efforts​​.

Ease of installation is another factor to consider. Roof coatings generally offer a quicker, less disruptive, and more affordable alternative to complete roof replacement. You can apply them with minimal noise and low VOC emissions, causing little to no disruption to daily operations.

Finally, the choice of roof coating should be taken by professional consultation. Roofing experts like Kenava Roofing can provide invaluable advice on the most suitable coating. They help you make informed decisions considering factors like the building’s location, the specific roof substrate, and the Winnipeg’s harsh climate.

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