Liquid Roof Coatings vs. Liquid Membrane Coatings

Knickerbocker Roofing & Paving Co., Inc. is a premier provider of industrial, commercial, and institutional roofing solutions. Equipped with over 130 years of industry experience, highly skilled employees, and a wide range of roofing materials, we have the knowledge, skills, and resources needed to accommodate all of our customer’s roofing needs. One of our core service offerings is liquid membrane roofing.

The terms “liquid roof coating” and “liquid membrane roofing” are sometimes used interchangeably. However, while there a few similarities between the two, they are distinct roofing products. The following blog post provides an overview of liquid roof coatings and liquid membrane roofing and discusses the key differences between them.

Liquid Roof Coatings vs. Liquid Membrane CoatingsOverview of Liquid Roof Coatings

Liquid roof coatings are elastomeric materials designed to be sprayed on to roofing surfaces to form a protective layer against environmental conditions (e.g., dirt, debris, or water). The materials have a consistency thicker than paint, which allows them to produce a thick film that effectively seals gaps and cracks in and between flashings, gutters, tiles, and other roofing elements. When applied correctly, they offer a number of benefits, including:

  • Lowered energy costs. Many roofing coatings offer emissive or reflective properties, which reduce the roof temperature and the strain on the building’s heating and cooling systems. As a result, they help lower energy utilization and, consequently, energy costs.
  • Extended roof life. Roofing coatings help extend roof life by forming a barrier between the roof and the environment. This barrier protects the roof surface from damage and degradation caused by rain, snow, heat, UV radiation, and other environmental conditions and foot traffic from repair and maintenance work.
  • Reduced construction debris. By extending roof life, roofing coatings reduce the need for maintenance and repair work. As a result, less construction debris is created throughout the working life of the roof.

Overview of Liquid Membrane Roofing

Liquid membrane roofing is a roofing system that consists of liquid coatings applied over reinforcement material and the roofing base material. This multi-layer system forms a seamless barrier that fills in all cracks, gaps, and voids to protect the roof from damage and degradation caused by water intrusion, impact damage, stress cracking, and ultraviolet radiation. Compared to other roofing systems, it offers the following benefits:

  • Broader versatility. Liquid membrane roofing systems are suitable for a variety of roofs as the liquid coating adheres to and cures on most roofing materials. They can also provide waterproofing and weatherproofing to exposed roofs with many protruding or penetrating elements and/or damaged and uneven surfaces.
  • Greater durability. Liquid membrane roofing systems form a tough and flexible protective barrier that is extremely resistant to damage and degradation from normal and extreme environmental conditions.
  • Easier and safer installation. Unlike some roofing systems that require heat to spread the roofing material (e.g., bitumen roofing systems), liquid membrane roofing systems are applied and cured cold. As a result, they are much easier and safer to install.
  • Better cost-effectiveness. By protecting roofs from damage, liquid membrane roofing systems help extend roof life and reduce maintenance, repair, and replacement costs.

Liquid Roof Coatings vs. Liquid Roofing Membranes

Both liquid roof coatings and liquid roofing membranes consist of polymer-rich materials that form waterproofing and weatherproof barriers atop the roof surface. Beyond these similarities, the two roofing products differ with regard to several key aspects.

  • Liquid roofing membranes serve as a long-term protective barrier for roofs, while liquid roof coatings are generally used as a short-term secondary protective layer that somewhat extends the life of the membrane system and/or roofing surface.
  • Liquid roof coatings can fill smaller gaps and cracks but aren’t as effective as liquid membrane systems for more damaged roofs or those subject to more extreme conditions.
  • Liquid membrane solutions generally cost more than liquid roof coatings but return that investment in longevity and durability. However, they may not be suitable for all roofs, depending on the age of the roofing material and the budgetary limits of the project.

Contact the Roofing Experts at Knickerbocker Roofing Today

The roofing experts at Knickerbocker Roofing & Paving can meet all of your roofing installation, repair, and maintenance needs. Whether you need help with a liquid membrane roof or another type of roof, we can provide you with an appropriate roofing solution. To learn more about liquid membrane roofing systems or discuss your roofing requirements with one of our experts, contact us or request a quote today.

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