When merely patching up your rubber roof with sealant or tape is not enough, it may become necessary to apply a new coating to your rubber roof. Rubber roof coatings come in two varieties, a liquid rubber that you apply like a coat of paint, and rubber sheeting that is bonded to your original rubber roof installation with a special adhesive. In this article, we will look at the advantages and disadvantages of each type of rubber roof coating.
Liquid Rubber Roof Coatings
Liquid coatings for your rubber roof come in a range of colors, most commonly black, white and grey, in order to match the original color of the roof. They are applied with a brush or roller, just like paint, and you can apply up to six coats, depending on how thick the replacement rubber needs to be. This makes it a more versatile solution than sheeting. No primer or top coat is needed; the liquid rubber is applied straight to the surface. Manufacturers claim that liquid rubber roof coatings can extend the life of a rubber roof by up to 20 years if applied correctly.
When applying liquid rubber roof coatings, you must be sure to take care that the surface is even. If you have ever seen a rushed paint job, you will know how ugly uneven paint can be. Now imagine that applied to the surface of a flat roof. If your supposedly flat roof resembles a topographic map of the Himalayas, it would not only look bad (which doesn’t really matter that much, since few people will see your roof), but could also cause surface water to gather in the ridges after a rainstorm, a process known as ponding.
This makes it more difficult for the water to evaporate once the rain clouds part, and can shorten the lifespan of the coating. However, you have to bear in mind that rubber roof coatings are extremely durable, and so will not bubble and crack like other roofing materials, so this shortened lifespan is only relative. But naturally, most people will want to prolong the life of their roof as much as they can anyway, and taking that little extra care provides a way to do this.
The Use of Sheeting for Coating Rubber Roofs
Rubber roof coatings also come in sheet form. Some manufacturers will provide them custom made for the shape of your roof, in sheets of up to 10,000 square feet. If you are looking for a less expensive solution, you can buy them off the shelf. Sheets should be applied in a grid-like fashion, with the edges slightly overlapping. Make sure that the joins are airtight, otherwise water could seep in between them.
The advantage of this type of rubber roof coating is that it is easier to apply than liquid coating, though it does require a primer and the use of special adhesive to make sure that it bonds to the original surface correctly. One must be careful to lay it absolutely flush with the original surface, otherwise air bubbles could appear underneath the rubber sheet.