Once a flat roof starts to fail and cause water ingress to the structure below, you have two options:
1.) Rip up the failing roof and replace it with a new one.
2.) Use an overcoat system to coat the existing one, returning it to its watertight state.
Both ways of repairing a failing roof have their benefits and, in this blog, we will look at the benefits and costs associated with both ways of doing it.
Whichever way you prefer to deliver a roof that meets its function, having a cost-effective solution to repairing failing flat roofs in your arsenal can give you a much greater advantage when bidding for job opportunities.
Not all systems can be used to overcoat failing roofs. Some can only be applied to new build OSB boards, and so, you only have one option with these – strip and re-board. But there are systems on the market that are specifically designed to save you the time and effort of a full strip and re-board and enable you to complete jobs to the same level of quality, for a fraction of the cost.
Don’t believe me?
Roof Strip and Re-Board
Have you been called out to a job to fix a failing roof and when you arrive, you just know that the timber structure below will be sodden? More than likely. With roofs that have degraded poorly, this can be easy to tell. And in this situation, there is typically only one option.
But some contractors believe this to be only one option to fix all failing flat roofs; strip and re-board.
If you expose the timber beneath the liquid coating and discover the timber to be sodden, you should complete a full job of ripping up the timber and re-laying new boards.
However, if the timber structure is still sound, you can save yourself the costly exercise of stripping timber boards and decking as well as the labour to complete the extra work.
If there was a more cost-effective solution, would it be worth looking at?
Roof Overcoat Systems
Certain liquid roofing systems are designed specifically to overcoat failing systems.
They have become a large part of the market due to the need for roofing contractors to offer a more cost-effective solution than entirely ripping up a roof.
When you’re tasked with fixing a roof you factor in the cost of labour and materials.
When a business or building owner is thinking of having their roof fixed, it’s not just the cost of materials and labour they need to think about. If as a roofing contractor you are going to fully strip their roof off, this means their business cannot function for that time. Whether that be a day, a few days, or even a few weeks; the cost of closing their business for any amount of time can very quickly add up!
So, for these customers, if you can offer a solution that negated the need to rip the roof off their building, do you think this might be a more attractive offer?
That’s where overcoating systems come into their own.
How to Know What Overcoating System is Best?
Now that we’ve established that having an overcoating system to offer your customers can be a massively beneficial tool to have in your arsenal. Next, it helps to know what overcoating system is best for different applications.
Depending on what the failing roof substrate you’re looking to overcoat is, there will be a range of systems suitable for this application. Let’s have a look at a few of these here and determine the best overcoating option.
Liquid Coatings, GRP, Single Ply
One of the best overcoating systems on the market for these substrates is RapidRoof. A high-performance, fast curing PMMA system that delivers excellent bonding properties, flexibility, and a seamless finish.
Overcoating felt and asphalt can bring up additional challenges and you will need a tried and tested system if you are looking to overcoat this type of substrate. The best system for this on the market that we know of is FastCoat, a pure polyurethane (PU) cold liquid applied coating ideal for this type of project.
Metal, Concrete, EPDM, Asbestos
You will struggle to find a system on that market suitable to cover some of these substrates. EPDM can bring up several problems, and when it comes to asbestos you need to be extremely careful. We only know of one system that can overcoat all these as well as safely encapsulate asbestos: Elasto-Kote. A SEBS elastomeric polymer that can be spray applied to make large roofing projects simpler.
f you’re still here at this point, I assume it’s because you’re interested in what we’ve said. You’re probably starting to agree that there are many benefits to offering a flat roof overcoat system to your customers.