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Pros and Cons: Seal Coats versus Flat Roof Replacements

Shortages in EPDM, TPO and PVC roofing system material make this the year to have your roof inspected and analyzed for a seal coat. A seal coat is a perfect alternative to a full roof replacement as it still achieves the same results as a new roof, for a fraction of the cost and a full manufacturers warranty.

What is a Seal Coat? 

Roof coating is a monolithic, fully adhered, fluid applied roofing membrane. Many roof coatings are elastomeric, which means they have elastic properties that allow them to stretch and return to their original shape without damage. Roof coatings are used for roof types that collect water and debris, such as flat roofs. They are also used on other angled roof types as they age to protect from long term damage. Roof sealants make your roof more fire-resistant and help prevent the growth of mold and algae.

As an added benefit, reflective or white coatings can minimize solar gain and can reduce heating costs in the summer. Coatings extend the roof service life by reflecting harmful ultraviolet radiation away from the roof membrane. When a roof has been coated during installation, recoating is performed when the existing coating deteriorates and no longer protects the underlying membrane.

Conflict with Roofing Material

Seal coats will achieve the same objective as a replacement, if your roof is not yet at a point of failure. The average delivery wait time in the current market for EPDM, TPO, PVC and similar roofing materials is 5 to 6 months. All building trades are experiencing shortages in materials due to the shutdowns the pandemic caused. With fewer workers, the manufacturers cannot keep up with the demand. Furthermore, the raw materials that go into manufacturing roofing products are being held up at the ports.

Multiple suppliers have stated in the last month of price increases between 8 percent to 12 percent on multiple materials including shingles, TPO, PVC and others. In July of 2022, the price of these materials is expected to increase yet again at a rate of up to 18 percent. The Producer Price Index illustrates the severe price increases of 2021 of all raw materials. Asphalt products and accessories increased in price by 33 percent from 2018 and among the purchaser prices of industrial products, the prices of fuel and power increased by 30.0 percent, the prices of chemical raw materials increased by 17.9 percent, the prices of non-ferrous metal materials and wires increased by 17.4 percent, and the prices of ferrous metal materials increased by 9.8 percent. To avoid paying out-of-pocket to cover material price spikes, roofing professionals must plan for further price volatility in 2022. Choosing a seal coat and adding a roofing maintenance program will extend a roofing systems performance from 5 to 25 years.

Benefits of Getting a Seal Coat vs a Roof Replacement

Seal Coating

Pros: Reduces cooling costs – Fast and easy installation – Suitable for complex roof designs – Mold prevention – Increased fire resistance – Waterproofing – UV Protection – Easier to clean

Cons: Doesn’t address structural issues – Requires more prep work – Strict eligibility – Increased safety concerns with wet weather – Tends to be more slippery

Roof Replacement

Pros: Adds years to the lifespan of your facility – Adds strength to your building – Benefits from new depreciation rules under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act – Increase protection from storms

Cons: More disruptive – More expensive – 5 to 6 month wait time for material – Increased project duration

2022 is the year for seal coats! With price increases, shortages in the labor market and material delays there is no room to take chances or wait for, “the perfect timing,” to get a new roof. The weather is warming up and people are scrambling to get their assets up to par to make the most of a booming market. Stay ahead of the game and remain competitive by investing in a seal coat for your commercial property. Call on a professional at Kapella Roofing to receive a free inspection today.

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