R&A University

Updates, news, and information to educate and empower owners.

Why Spray Foam Is the Ideal Choice for Recovering Roofs

31 Jul 2017 | Under Roofing, SPF Insulation | Posted by | 0 Comments
DSC02177

The two foremost responsibilities of any building manager are to ensure the safety of the individuals inside their building and to ensure the longevity as well as the performance of the building. If you are a building manager and want to look like a superhero to the powers that be, there is no better way than by making your building more energy-efficient, reducing the likelihood of storm damage, and saving the company money in the long run.

You may be asking yourself, “I am just an average Joe. How can I be a superhero?” Get ready to don your red cape and spandex, my friend. Okay, well, maybe spandex is a little too far. We are going to tell you how recovering your roof with spray foam will unlock major benefits for your building and your organization as a whole. When you bring up these points at the next staff meeting you will truly look like the superhero you know you are.

What Is SPF Foam?

Before we get too far down the road on our journey to understand why spray foam is a great option for recovering roofs, let’s take a moment to explain exactly what spray foam is. Spray polyurethane foam (SPF) is the result of a rapid chemical reaction between two liquid chemicals. The chemicals rapidly react when exposed to one another. This quick reaction causes the foam to bubble or create cells.

The process for creating and dispensing the foam is relatively straightforward. A drum of each chemical is attached to a sprayer. When the nozzle on the sprayer is activated, the two chemicals are released and mix together creating the foam.

When to Recover Your Roof?

Any building manager worth his salt will tell you that he has two primary jobs: keep his occupants safe and keep an eye on the well-being of the building. If your roof is, shall we say, past its prime, it is time to take action. A roof in disrepair could lead to water damage, mold, or a multitude of other issues. But, how do you know when recovering your roof is the best course of action? Recovering your roof is the ideal solution when you find yourself in any of the following situations:

  • The roof is structurally sound but, the outer covering needs to be replaced.
  • Less than 20% of the underlying insulation has fallen victim to water damage.
  • Standing water, also known as ponding, is completely gone from the roof within 48 hours of an instance of rain. If it takes longer than 48 hours for standing water to disappear, we recommend you take more severe action, such as repairing or replacing your roof.

If your roof appears to be in worse condition than what is outlined in the above bullet points, biting the bullet (pun completely intended) and going for a replacement is probably your best option. This blog and video provide further clarification on whether you should replace or recover your roof.

Energy-Efficiency Benefits of Spray Foam

A foam roof is much more energy-efficient than a roof with a conventional membrane. SPF foam is far more energy-efficient because the foam covering is on the outermost part of the building envelope. The building envelope, in plain English, is a combination of all the building components that come together to form a barrier between the outdoors and the inside of the building.

On a building with a flat roof, the roof makes up the largest portion of the building’s surface area. SPF roofing does a fantastic job of insulating the roof and decreasing the amount of energy necessary to maintain a comfortable temperature on the inside of the building.

Let’s take a moment to investigate how foam roofing leads to an increase in energy efficiency. Most flat-roofed buildings have an outer layer that is either gravel or asphalt. If you’ve ever walked barefoot on a sidewalk in the summer, you know these types of materials get hot, really hot. On a summer day, a gravel roof can reach a blistering 180° F. That is nearly 50° hotter than the hottest temperature to ever be recorded (134°F in Death Valley). As the old-timers say, “that’s hotter than a three-dollar pistol.”

The hot air is transferred by conduction through the roof, into the insulation and then into the working area of the building. When the warmer air seeps into the building, your air conditioning system draws more energy to handle the increased workload. Polyurethane foam has a unique combination of physical properties that prevent from absorbing as much heat as conventional materials. Polyurethane foam also helps reflect the sun’s rays away from the roof. This prevents the roof from absorbing as much heat as typical roofing materials.  

Spray coatings have no need for metal fasteners of any kind. This is a big advantage when it comes to creating lower temperatures on the roof. Just like gravel, metal conducts heat at an above-average rate. The absence of metal fasteners means there will be minimal amounts of metal on the roof to absorb and ultimately transfer heat into the building. SPF foam also reduces heating costs by not allowing the warm air to escape out of the building through the roof. Savings in both the summer and the winter, that’s what we call a win-win.

SPF Foam Is Self Flashing

Many commercial buildings, such as factories and production plants, have a lot of machinery, conduit and HVAC equipment on the roof. This means there are many openings in the roof for items like conduit and air handlers. Traditional roofs would have an increased risk of water leaking into the building due to the many openings or seams. However, spray foam is self-flashing meaning it will seal itself around openings or obstacles. The very nature of spraying an airtight substance onto the roof means the areas around seams will be completely sealed and resistant to water leakage.

Say Goodbye To Drainage and Storm Issues

We all know what they say, if you don’t like the weather in St. Louis,wait a minute,it will change. Whoever they are, they’re absolutely correct. Our weather seems to be more unpredictable than a Cardinals winning streak. A few things are for certain, the Cardinals will be there in September and no matter what the temperature, summer in St. Louis means rain.

All anecdotes and Cardinals talk aside; St. Louis gets a lot of rain. According to the National Weather Service, 2016 was St. Louis’ “wettest” year on record. In yesteryear, we received a Iwhopping 62.24 inches of rain. That equates to over five feet of rain in a single year. 2016 also set a record for the most number of days with more than one inch of precipitation. There were 23 days with over an inch of precipitation. So, grab your umbrella and your galoshes. Storm damage and drainage problems are just an unfortunate side effect of our wonderful, wacky St. Louis weather.

All of this rain means at some point in time, your roof could sustain water damage. Water damage on your roof is like a box of chocolates:“You never know what you’re gonna get.” You could wind up with a small leak that gets caught quickly and doesn’t materialize into anything too problematic. On the other hand, you could have a large leak that leads to insulation and ceiling damage. Even worse, you could wind up with mold issues, which could spread throughout the building.

A SPF roof makes worrying about water and storm damage a thing of the past. Because spray foam roofs are made of a single rugged coating, they stand up much better to the elements than their traditional counterparts. You often hear of roofs losing shingles after a bout of severe weather. SPF roofing is nearly impervious to storm damage. The National Roofing Federation conducted a study concerning the durability and longevity of SPF roofs in Texas. Here is what the study found:

  • The average age of the roof was 12.3 years old.
  • Less than .05% of the roofs surveyed reported any leaks.
  • None of the roofs in the survey had failed.

Spray foam roofs have unique properties that allow them to nearly eliminate water drainage issues. The roofs are seamless. This eliminates crevices or crannies where water could pool. A skilled technician can craft a foam roof with precisely the right slopes and angles in specific areas to ensure water runs off of the roof exactly as it should.

Still Not Convinced?

If you’re still not convinced spray foam is the way to go to recover a worn roof, these next examples will make you a spray foam convert.

Hurricane Katrina was without a doubt one of the worst storms in American history. There are lessons to be learned from the tragedy and devastation. After Katrina, The National Institute of Standards and Technology surveyed buildings in Pascagoula, Mississippi. The NIST findings show SPF roofs withstood the fury and violence of the storms incredibly well. All SPF roofs remained completely intact. Even more astonishing only one roof was reported to be damaged, and that damage was minor.

We all remember the tragic pictures of the Superdome roof after it failed. The Superdome had an SPF roof. The roof was resilient enough to stand up to the punishment of Hurricane Katrina. The failure of the roof was caused when one of the large air conditioning handlers broke free of its anchors and was sent crashing into the roof, tearing through the foam membrane and substrate. The large gash was the catalyst for the roof having to be replaced and the internal damage to the building. What kind of roofing did they choose the second time around? You guessed it, a foam roof. These stories exemplify the resilience and ruggedness of polyurethane roofing better than any statistics we could put before you.

We’ve Got You Covered at R&A Contracting

We are your St. Louis spray foam roofing experts. We take pride in giving business owners across St. Louis the best roofing options for their commercial buildings. If you are unsure which options will best suit your needs, give us a call. We offer complimentary on-site inspections. Our expert roofers will help you determine the best solutions for your building and business.

We make it easy. Click here to reserve a spot on our schedule for a complimentary inspection.

We look forward to meeting you and seeing how we can keep your building looking and performing great for many years to come!

I’d be an idiot if I did not take this opportunity to communicate to you how much we appreciate the way in which you conduct business and take care of our facility. In my experience you, and your team, are at the top of the list of all the roofing companies I’ve dealt with over the years. Thank you!

Jim Lowry - Bissinger's Handcrafted Chocolatier

Eric and crew were really nice to have around. They were courteous, careful and caused little if any disruption. Their work looks good too! To be honest… a good experience with a product that I initially had misgivings about. I’m a convert because of Bubba, Sam and Eric. Thank you.

Jim Lowry - Bissinger's Handcrafted Chocolatier

“I want to thank the crew at R&A for a job well done on our very leaky roof at the shop. It is certainly nice to have the drips and rivers gone from the shop when it is raining. I also wanted you to know how much we appreciated that the guys were able to stay out of our way and allowed us to do business as usual without any problems or interruptions. The roof looks great and the clean-up after the job made it so we couldn’t even tell you’d been here. Thanks for doing what you do so well!”

Jay Moore, President of Safe Way Tire and Auto Center

“My wife and I were on vacation when water pipes burst in our house. We got a hold of Craig and the R&A crew was able to start evacuating the water immediately. The best part was that they were able to start work before we even returned home. It was a very fast turnaround considering the extensive amount of water damage.”

Will from Dardenne Prairie, MO

“Craig and Mike came out in a timely fashion when we needed the work done. They did a reliable and quality job.”

Jerry from SLR Properties

“Craig helped us out tremendously with the insurance process. Timely and very professional.”

Lindell from Greater Missouri Builders (GMB)

“We purchased a house and there was some damage to the roof. Very impressed with the thoroughness of Mike’s inspection. Very comfortable with their explanation of what needed to be fixed. Most impressive was the way they protected our landscaping. Really liked the way they treated me as a valued customer, even though it was only a small project.”

Ross from Troy, MO

“I use R&A Contracting when my commercial roofs receive storm damage. They work on our behalf through every step of the insurance claim process. They perform all of the work and complete the insurance process, making our roofs better than they were before the storm.”

Director of Facilities for a large Property Management Company

“The team at R & A Contracting responded immediately when notified of our water disaster. They removed water-damaged materials and property quickly and restored our home even before the final settlement from our insurance company. They minimized how long our family had to live in a hotel and got us back to normal as fast as possible.”

Will from O'Fallon, MO