The Essential Guide To Spray Foam Roofing: Pros And Cons Explained
Are you a commercial property owner looking for an affordable and reliable way to maintain or improve your building? You’ve come to the right place. Like residential real estate, commercial buildings also require regular upkeep to preserve their longevity. But sadly, not a lot of building owners follow this critical protocol.
Did you know that one of the most common commercial roof problems is the lack of maintenance? Failure to look after your building’s roof can lead to even more significant problems in the future. Perhaps you are on this page because your roof is already in dire need of repairs. But don’t worry, we’re here to help you out.
When it comes to commercial roof repairs, three words may pop up in your Google search: spray foam roofing. But what exactly is it, how is it done, and is it the right option for your building? Read on below to find out more.
What Is Spray Foam Roofing?
Spray foam roofing, or more technically termed spray polyurethane foam roofing, is a method that aims to make repairs on an existing roof. The foam material is first sprayed in liquid form onto the top of the roof and then expands into a solid layer.
Now, there are two types of spray polyurethane foam available: open-cell and closed-cell foam. There aren’t a lot of differences between the two, except for where it is applied. Simply put, closed-cell foam is used for commercial roofing, while an open-cell foam type is primarily used for interiors, insulation, or soundproofing purposes in particular.
Should You Spray Foam Your Roof?
So now that you’ve got the basics of spray foam roofing covered, you might be wondering: is this the right option for my building? Well, if you ask us, it’s an option to keep an eye on. Spray foam roofing has plenty of advantages worth considering as a roof repair solution for your commercial real estate. Below are some reasons why we think so:
1. Easy Installation
Compared to other roofing solutions, spray foam roofing projects do not require extra time and effort to get the job done. Firstly, spray foam roofing involves little to no tear-off. This means that contractors do not have to tear down your current roof to begin the project altogether. As we mentioned earlier, the foam material is sprayed directly onto the existing roof, and you’ve accomplished the most challenging part of the process.
Also, spray foam fills penetrations such as vents and pipes more seamlessly than other roofing materials. Unlike working with other solid materials like rubber, for example, your contractor need not stress too much about accurately cutting the materials for them to fit like a glove.
2. Minimal Upkeep
If you live in an area where natural disasters are more likely to cause unforeseen roof accidents, spray foam roofing solutions may save you a ton of money and effort. Not only is it easy to install, but it’s also straightforward to make repairs on a spray foam roof. Contractors simply have to cut out the defective area and re-apply a new layer of spray foam.
Spray foam roofing isn’t just easy to install. The fact that it is also self-flashing makes it a versatile material for almost any kind of roof problem. Self-flashing means that the material can be molded into irregular shapes and surfaces seamlessly. Because of this, spray foam can be applied around all penetrations like drains, skylights, pipes, vents, and more. It also prevents water from getting into your roof’s flashing details, such as fasteners and seams.
Will Spray Foam Stop Roof Leak?
A lot of people wonder whether or not spray foam can stop a roof leak. And with all that’s said above, our answer is a definite yes. But of course, this would also depend on how the material was applied to the affected area. It’s essential to keep said damaged area dry before application. Also, the current state of your roofing system should at least have a strong enough foundation to avoid the roof from collapsing. Talk to an expert before making a decision.
4. High R-Value
In a nutshell, R-value refers to an insulating material’s capacity to resist heat flow. So if your roof uses a material that has a high R-value, there will be less heat and more cool air passing through the roof. And as a building owner, this could mean a significant decrease in energy costs.
And what other material tops spray polyurethane foam when it comes to R-value? With an R-value of approximately 6.5 per inch, no other material comes above spray foam at the time of this writing. Its closest competitor, Polyiso, is still significantly behind at 5.5 per inch.
Depending on what type of material you use, roof repairs or replacements usually come with a lot of waste. Tearing down an existing roof could mean adding another pile of garbage at a landfill, especially if your roof uses materials that are not renewable.
If you’re concerned about the amount of waste involved in your roofing project, then choosing spray foam is a reliable option. Not only is it composed of environmentally friendly material, but little to no waste is also produced when using spray foam as well. As mentioned earlier, this is because the repair or installation process involves simply spraying over an existing roof.
How Much Does It Cost To Spray Foam A Roof?
On average, spray foam roofing may cost from about $5 to $8 per square foot. Of course, the prices will vary depending on various factors, such as the size of your roof or other specific needs your roofing projects may have. Keep in mind that these figures do not include labor costs as well. Working with a reputable contractor will undeniably add more digits to your bill.
How Long Does Spray Foam Roofing Last?
Spray foam roofing lasts up to 20 to 30 years. This may not sound like a very long time to many, especially if you’re thinking about more traditional roofs that may even last for 100 years. But remember, it’s effortless to renew a spray foam roof – all you have to do is to add another layer.
Cons Of Spray Foam Roofing
We all know that there is no perfect roofing system for all buildings. There is no guaranteed one size fits all solution. Although we think that spray foam roofing is a great option, it does have its setbacks. We’ll let you decide whether or not they are deal-breakers. Here are some common reasons why other building owners choose not to spray foam their roofs:
Total Upfront Costs
Spray foam roofing is one of the more high-end roofing options out there. So it comes as no surprise that many would shy away from choosing this system over the more pocket-friendly options. Not only are material costs relatively high, but application equipment may also be costly.
Although spray foam roofing can help cut down costs, its upfront costs for installation may be pretty steep for a lot of building owners in the long run.
Spray foam roofs do not require a lot of maintenance. But that does not mean that building owners can ignore the condition of their roofs for a long time. It’s crucial to inspect a spray foam roof every two years to avoid more significant problems in the future.
Contractor Quality and Skills
Spray foam roofing technology is relatively new and unknown to many, even though it has been around for quite some time. Even though the material was used for various products since the 40s, it wasn’t until the 70s that it was used in roofing projects or as insulation purposes in building construction.
With all that being said, this ultimately means that spray foam roofing expertise isn’t as common as you think. Spray foam roofing requires knowledge and experience in application techniques as well as familiarity with the material and tools involved.
If you’re looking for a contractor to work with, one way to check their qualification is if they have certifications for it. The Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance (SPFA) is one such organization that offers a certification program. Contractors are required to pass an exam at the end of the program before being awarded a certificate.
Limited Application Window
We all know that the installation process of SPF roofing is quite simple. However, one downside to it is its strict standards when it comes to weather. Spray foam roofing must be installed during specific weather conditions. The roof must not be wet, and it would be best if there was minimal wind as well to avoid over-spraying. Temperature is also an important factor as spray foam requires at least 50 degrees for it to be applied correctly.
Weakness to UV Exposure
If there is one weakness that spray foam roofings have, it would be the ultraviolet rays of the sun. If your spray foam roof is directly exposed to the sun, you will begin to see your roof degrade every year. But don’t worry, there are ways on how you can avoid this.
To protect your roof, your contractor will suggest installing an elastomeric membrane. Examples of this include acrylics, silicones, and urethanes. Applying these membranes will provide more protection for your roof against the sun’s UV rays while also prolonging the lifespan of your roof.
In Summary: Is Spray Foam Roofing For You?
Spray foam roofing is a quick and easy fix for your commercial building. If you’re looking for a no-fuss solution that will satisfy all your roofing needs, then an SPF roof may be the best option for you. However, it is possibly one of the most expensive options out there to date. But on the flip side, it does save you some more money by helping you cut down energy costs. And if your roof will ever need a makeover, the process for repairs is also fuss-free.