Metal Roof Restoration

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Outside of my role as the company’s ‘green guy’, I’m also a commercial property owner.  My building here in Maine has a ribbed metal roof that is about 25 years old.  It’s been a good building with great tenants but there were really starting to be some problems with one particular 100-square section of the roof.  It hadn’t been well maintained, and some of the exposed fasteners, especially in areas where repairs had been done before, were starting to cause problems.  In fact, as we peeled up some of the repairs, we found they actually trapped moisture and caused rust to form.  One of our tenants makes fine furniture, and they were complaining about leaks, and there had been even been some inventory losses. 

And with the summer heat, I was running the fans and the air handlers all the time to keep everybody comfortable.  It was clear something needed to be done.  I looked at a few options, including going over the roof with a Z-profile and new metal; filling the flutes and recovering with a single ply membrane; and an engineered roof coating. Topcoat really seemed like the best choice.

One of the things that I really liked was that the Topcoat team was familiar with all of the unusual details of the roof and how to approach them.  The building was added onto in stages, and it created some areas that seemed to leak no matter what we did.  There’s a full line of Topcoat products which are applicable to pretty much every detail on the roof.   Plus the liquid fabric product eliminates the time-consuming application of fabric at horizontal seams, and tubes of sealant are handy for particular problem areas.

Looking at it from the property owner’s point of view, the Topcoat coating is a great choice – I had it professionally done by Elco Painting and it’s going to last.  From a sustainability point of view, a high solids elastomeric like Topcoat really works too.  It’s a cool, reflective roof that’s already saving me energy costs, and it will keep my tenants more comfortable too (I have to say this effect is really remarkable.  In direct sun, if you put your hand on the coated area, it’s cool – not just ‘not hot’, but cool.  On the galvanized metal, it’s too hot to leave your hand on comfortably).  So the new roof is not only going to keep my tenants dry, but it’s also keeping them cooler.  And we didn’t waste anything to do it.  We were able to add to the service life of the existing roof using very little new material and disposing of very little old material, so I like it from a sustainability point of view.

I’m pleased the tenants will be a little cooler and more comfortable.  And as the property owner, I’m saving energy, making the asset last longer, restoring and preserving the roof, and keeping the people that pay the bills happy.  This was my first experience with roof restoration, has anyone else tried this?

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  1. upvc windows

    Metal roof restoration is typically far more cost-effective than roof replacement. A good restoration on a relatively sound roof can delay the need for complete replacement for several years, and, in some cases, ongoing maintenance can avert the need for replacement entirely. This is cost-avoidance at its best. Typically, metal roof restoration involves the application of a liquid coating that dries fairly quickly into an elastomeric, insulatory, highly reflective film.

  2. Martin Grohman

    Thanks Trevor. You are right, and one shouldn't forget that there is some serious prep involved as well – we had 80 man hours actually in removing old repairs [such as peel and stick repair tapes applied by yours truly 🙂 , and lots of EPDM patches that had been put on over the years – which all had rust under them]. But the coating is only as good as what it's adhering to, so if whatever's underneath it peels off, it will peel off too.

  3. Trevor Leeds

    Great post Marty! Always great to see the roof project from all angles, including the property owners. Though we are not huge fans of roof coatings for most applications, it is a great solution for a roof, which has a verifiable, solid structure/deck below.

    Problem we've found, just like most other applications in the roofing industry, is the "Chuck in the Truck" roofers who think they can apply roof coating to any project, even if the structure has been compromised. They convince the owners that this coating will cure all the problems and last and in many cases it doesn't… Because the structure itself is failing or rotting under the roof.

    Roof coatings, installed right over a proper, non0compromised surface are a very good solution which can save the property owner lots of money… and it extends the lifecycle of the initial system!

    We'll eke you posted on our next coating job!

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