It wasn't long ago that many in the roofing industry treated roof coatings as some sort of magic elixir. They were marketed as products that could extend the lives of aging roof systems—often without the science available to back up the claims. Some coatings worked as promised; others didn't. The roof coatings industry had a mixed reputation.
My, how things have changed.
Roof coating technology now not only includes extending the life expectancies of existing roof systems but also includes issues pertaining to energy efficiency—reflectivity and emissivity, for starters—and a building's thermal movement. Coatings are used with spray polyurethane foam roof systems. They are used around penetrations, at walls and even on skylights. Some coatings contribute to rust prevention; others contribute to the adhesion of roof membranes to roof decks.
But here's where it gets fun: In 10 years, we'll be talking about roof coatings that are imbedded with photovoltaic cells, helping to produce electricity for new and existing buildings. Nanotechnology research currently under way will lead to solar collection devices that will get smaller and less expensive every year; in 10 years, roofing issues will include how to protect roof coatings in addition to how roof coatings protect underlying membranes.