I am sure you have heard of spray foam roofing before, but what are the pros and cons of using spray foam roofing?
This article covers exactly that in a lot of detail and some things you should avoid before and after installation so that you can make an informed decision on whether or not this type of roof would suit your specific needs.
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- What is spray foam roofing and what are the benefits?
- What are the pros and cons of spray foam roofing?
- What should you avoid before and after installation for a healthy roof?
A brief explanation of this roofing type and the benefits of using it.
This roofing material is called polyurethane foam often referred to as SPF roofing (Spray Polyurethane Foam). It starts as a liquid that cools and forms into a foam once it has been sprayed onto a surface, covering your roof and protecting it from the elements. It is waterproof and can take a serious amount of strain from all-weather types. This is the primary reason it is so popular in the industrial and commercial building sector.
However, it is not all good, there are some problems with it but thankfully most, if not all, can be addressed. It boasts a staggering 50-year life span if properly maintained and is very environmentally friendly.
I have written a long-form article on this roofing type and I will link to it here that covers what it is in more detail, what you can expect to pay to install it and what are the many benefits afforded to you should you choose to use SPF roofing.
What are the pros and cons of SPF roofing?
This roofing type is a great option for commercial and factory roofs and comes with a lot of positive features, however, there are some negatives. So let us go through both of these and list them below.
ProsPro: Easy to maintain and repair.
Easily one of the best reasons to choose this roofing material. The maintenance is easy and very cost-effective as you will only need to inspect the material once or twice a year and after any extreme weather events.
The material itself is very resilient and can withstand most of the extreme weather conditions. If there is damage to the material, it is very easy to repair as no material needs to be scraped or removed, a new coating can be sprayed over the effective area for a new watertight seal.Pro: Long life span.
Boasting an up to 50-year life span is nothing to scoff at. A properly maintained roof can push its life span for a very very long time with very few repairs.
If you are happy to put the time in this material will not let you down, even if there are damages, repairing is so simple and easy that it can push its lifespan past 40 years with ease.Pro: Energy Efficient.
Since it offers great insulation as a thermal layer, the material will keep your building cool during warmer weather and warmer during cold weather, all lowering the cost of energy for central cooling and heating inside.
There is a silicone top layer on the material acting as a UV light protection for the foam underneath, reducing heat absorption, and ultimately keeping the building cooler.Pro: Environmentally friendly.
Boasting ultra-low global warming potential, it is low in volatile organic compounds and has zero ozone-depleting potential, making it is very environmentally friendly.
A massive bonus to your pocket as well as to the environment, none of the previous roofing material needs to be removed before being applied to the roof surface, reducing waste and cost.
NOTE: The roof will need to be cleaned beforehand before the foam adheres to the roof.Pro: Easy to install.
With the right contractor, time to install is very fast, and sometimes only an afternoon is needed depending on the size of the roof you are trying to cover.
Time is also saved as older roofing material does not need to be removed beforehand, as SPF roofing can be applied directly over the old material. However, the roof will need to be cleaned so that the foam can stick effectively, so keep this in mind.Pro: Seamless waterproofing.
When it comes to leaks in a roof, these usually start with a vulnerability in a seam or join where water can make its way in. This is not a problem with this roofing material.
Since it is applied as a liquid that swells into a hard foam, this will fill all these gaps and vulnerabilities, ensuring a watertight seal so there is no way water can make its way into your building.Pro: Durability.
Due to the nature of the foam, it can expand and contract with your roof depending on temperature. So during particularly cold or hot seasons, there is little to no risk of the material cracking or breaking due to the stress that this expanding and contracting causes. This is a very serious risk for a lot of other roofing materials.
Another great benefit is that the foam is applied discreetly to the roof, making it able to withstand very high winds, there is no risk to the material blowing off or peeling.
ConsCon: Finding a good contractor is a necessity.
If you want to use this as your roofing material for your home or office, I would highly recommend you do your research or contact your local roofing professional that specialises in spray foam roofing.
Due to the nature of how the material is applied, you need to make sure you have someone that knows what they are doing. You also want to check with them what is their insurance coverage for any damages that may be caused during installation, mistakes happen and you need to be covered.
Con: Risk of over-spray
This was lightly covered by the previous con. Over-spray should be a huge concern for anyone that is considering this roofing material, and that is why you must get a roofing professional to do the work for you.
Although over-spray is a massive risk, especially in particularly windy areas, a contractor should have some sort of shield to keep near the installer to block any material that is caught by the wind.
Any contractor worth their salt should also have some sort of warranty or guarantee to offer you that will protect against any damages should over-spray occur. Find out how much they cover in damages before accepting the work.Con: Maintenance and repairs often require a professional.
Unless you have a spray foam roofing kit, you will need a contractor to do any repairs to the roof. Although the repair may be very easy to do, just applying more of the material over the affected area, you will need a kit to do so.
Contractors will often offer packages that cover maintenance and repairs for a once-off fee or a monthly fee, which I would highly recommend you consider as this will save you a lot of time and headache.
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What to avoid before and after installation to ensure a healthy roof.
Before you go ahead and order your brand new roof, let’s go over a few things that you should avoid to cover you in the long run and ensure you keep a healthy roof.
First things first, as covered twice above, a great professional contractor is extremely important! Avoid at all costs, a bad or cheap contractor, the risk is not worth it. Not applying the material properly to not having the right protection against over-spray and a warranty encase this happens. The last thing I am sure you want is to pay thousands to fix your car because your unprofessional contractor got foam on your cars.
That brings us to bad maintenance. If you want your roof to last as long as 40 to 50 years, you need to keep it all maintained. Luckily, most contractors worth their salt can offer you a great maintenance package that can either be paid monthly or at a once-off cost, this will cover you for between 6 and 12 months of any maintenance work that would be needed on the material.
Something else that can come along with a bad contractor, is bad drainage. If the material is not applied in a way that allows for water to immediately get off the roof and down drains, this water pooling can be a threat to the integrity of the foam. Thankfully it is easy to see if this is a problem for your roof should you keep a good eye on it and keep up with maintenance.
Pests are also of serious concern, you want to ensure you keep an eye out every few months to make sure you don’t have any pests making homes in your roof. Birds can peck at the material, creating punctures and this would put your roof at risk of leaking. Lucking this isn’t usually too much of a problem, however, I would recommend that you keep an eye out for it.
So as you can see, spray foam roofing is not left without its problems, but then again, all roofing materials have them. However, looking at the number of pros you can see for choosing this roofing material, I would highly recommend you at least consider it and see if it will work for your building. The reliability and life span are virtually unmatched to any other roof you can get today.
Hi there! My name is Jonathan and I absolutely love writing DIY roofing guides. If you have any questions, I invite you to leave them below in the comment section and I will get back to you as soon as possible. If you enjoy my work, please follow me on social media or share this post on yours. All this information has been double checked for accuracy, but please let me know if I have missed anything!