Choosing the right roof coating is an important decision that can impact the durability and energy efficiency of your building.
Two popular options are fibered aluminum roof coatings and elastomeric roof coatings, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages.
Fibered aluminum roof coatings are known for effectively reflecting ultraviolet radiation.
On the other hand, elastomeric roof coatings offer flexibility and the ability to expand and contract with changing temperatures.
In this article, we will explore the pros, cons, and differences between these roof coatings to help you determine which is best for your specific needs.
What is a Fibered Aluminum Roof Coating?
A fibered aluminum roof coating is a metallic, reflective substance that's applied to the surface of flat asphalt and rolled roofs.
It can help protect roofs from damage, keep them cooler, and prolong their lifespan by reflecting about 80% of the sun's UV rays.
Fibered aluminum coatings are particularly useful for metal roofs, as they can seal hairline cracks and pinholes and prevent rust.
In addition to these benefits, these coatings offer water resistance, further protecting your roof from the elements.
What Is An Elastomeric Roof Coating?
Elastomeric roof coatings are popular for protecting and sealing various roof types.
Their key feature is their elasticity, allowing them to expand or contract in changing temperatures.
It makes them very durable and able to move with your roof rather than remaining rigid and prone to cracking.
These coatings are also resistant to dirt and mildew. As a result, they can provide a long-lasting solution for your roofing needs.
Although they're not as good as fibered aluminum, electrometric coatings are also highly reflective, especially in the case of acrylic coatings.
In addition to acrylic, some of the common options include silicone and polyurethane coatings.
Each has its own advantages and is suited for different roofing materials or conditions.
Related article: What is the Best Roof Coating for a Metal Roof?
Pros and Cons Fibered Aluminum vs. Elastomeric Roof Coatings
Here are a few pros and cons of fibered aluminum and elastomeric roof coatings:
Pro of Aluminum Roof Coating
As explained, fibered aluminum roof coatings are excellent at reflecting sunrays, which provides better protection against damaging UV rays.
Cons of Aluminum Roof Coating
Lack of Flexibility
Aluminum roof coatings do not expand and contract with changing temperatures.
Their inflexible nature can lead to the development of bubbles, cracks, and gaps in the roof.
Aluminum coating generally comes with less impressive warranties.
Warranties may vary depending on the manufacturer, but overall, they tend to be less comprehensive than those available for other roofing materials.
Pros of Elastomeric Roof Coating
Elastomeric roof coatings are water-based, making them easier to work with and more environmentally friendly.
With their water-based nature, you get better resistance to ponding water, making them more suitable for flat or low-slope roofs.
Unlike aluminum roof coatings, elastomeric roof coatings can expand and contract with temperature changes.
Their flexibility helps to reduce issues such as cracks, gaps, and bubbles that may develop over time.
Cons of Elastomeric Roof Coating
Longer Drying Time
Elastomeric roof coatings have longer drying times compared to other materials, which can be somewhat inconvenient.
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Key Differences of Fibered Aluminum vs. Elastomeric Roof Coatings
Fibered aluminum roof coatings are made of small aluminum flakes suspended in a viscous mixture.
They create a reflective shield on your roof that helps protect it from the sun and other elements.
On the other hand, elastomeric roof coatings are thick, elastic membranes that bind to your roof, providing waterproof and durable protection.
In general, fibered aluminum coatings tend to be less expensive than elastomeric coatings.
Fibered aluminum coatings range from $250 to $2,000 to install professionally.
On the other hand, elastomeric coatings can cost between $1,000 to $3,000, depending on the quality and thickness of the coating.
However, the overall cost will depend on factors such as the size and condition of your roof and the specific products you choose.
Lifespan & Durability
Elastomeric coatings are known for being more durable than fibered aluminum coatings.
They have excellent adhesion and can expand and contract with changing temperatures, reducing the likelihood of cracks and gaps.
Elastomeric coatings last for 10 to 20 years or longer, depending on how well the coating is maintained.
Fibered aluminum coatings, on the other hand, are more susceptible to bubbles and cracks due to their inflexible nature.
They typically require recoating every 3 to 4 years.
Resistance to Weather
Elastomeric coatings withstand various weather conditions, such as wind and rain, making them ideal for areas with frequent weather fluctuations.
With their waterproofing capabilities, elastomeric coatings help prevent moisture from penetrating your roof.
Fibered aluminum coatings, while offering some protection, may not provide the same level of weather resistance.
Energy efficiency is a significant advantage of fibered aluminum coatings.
They have a high reflective index, which helps to deflect heat away from your roof.
It reduces energy consumption and can result in lower cooling costs during hot summer months.
Elastomeric coatings also provide some energy efficiency benefits.
However, they may not be as effective in reflecting heat compared to fibered aluminum coatings.
Elastomeric coatings typically offer better warranty options than fibered aluminum coatings due to their superior flexibility and durability.
For instance, some elastomeric coatings have a warranty of up to 20 years, while fibered aluminum coatings may have a 5-10 years warranty.
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The Verdict: Which is Better - Fibered Aluminum or Elastomeric Roof Coating?
When it comes to deciding between fibered aluminum and elastomeric roof coatings, it's essential to consider your specific needs and their benefits.
Both types have their advantages and can be effective in extending the life of your roof and maintaining its performance.
However, if you're looking for the best option, here's what we recommend:
- If you want a coating with excellent reflective properties that can help save on energy costs, opt for fibered aluminum roof coating.
- If you need a coating that can handle temperature fluctuations and harsh weather, choose elastomeric roof coatings.
We hope this information helps you decide which roof coating is right for your needs.
Please feel free to share your insights in the comments below!