CAN A ROOF COATING SAVE MY CEMENT TILE ROOF?

There is no easy answer to this question, especially if the expectation is a long term solution vs. a temporary band-aid.  There are so many different types of roof designs and roof surfaces that they must be evaluated individually.  The age and condition of the roof is also a critical factor on whether the roof is a candidate for waterproofing.   The most common types of roofs that my customers inquire about are asphalt based flat roofs, shingle roofs and cement tile roofs.   Although all of these types of roofs can be waterproofed successfully, a lot has to be considered before and investment is made.  My focus on this article will be the cement tile roof since they are the most rewarding yet the hardest to waterproof.

By far, the most frequently inquired about roof is the cement tile roof.  Cement tile roofs are the most expensive roofs to replace due to the intense labor of removing the old tiles and the expense of purchasing new tiles and installing them.  The unfortunate part is that the cement tiles are never the cause of a leaky tile roof; it is the underlayment beneath the tiles.  Most homeowners agree that it is an unfortunate waste of resources and money simply because the underlayment (the least expensive component) of the roof has become brittle and is no longer waterproof.  Often times the wood structure below is in perfect condition and the tiles are secure and perfectly functional.  This leads many homeowners to believe that if they roll a coating over the tiles, it will solve the problem.  Also, many roof coating suppliers, especially in the consumer market, often do not give the entire story on what is required to save a cement tile roof for the long term. 

Acrylux has been manufacturing roof coatings since the early 1970’s and was one of the pioneers of waterproofing cement tile roofs.  So, the answer to the question, will waterproof coatings same my cement tile roof is…maybe.  The first evaluation for an aged cement tile roof with active leaks should be to have an inspection by a qualified person to determine if the structural part of the roof is in good shape.  This means no rotted wood sheeting, no rusted away metal flashing, no missing tiles and nail on tiles should be secure.  If the roof is in good shape, then a waterproof system can be considered.  I also like to recommend having active leaks repaired prior to applying the waterproof system.

The biggest misconception about roof coatings is that the can simply be applied and all will be well.  Unfortunately, there are steps to be taken prior to applying these coatings.  Because all tile roofs are not seamless by nature; there are open seams above, below and on each side of every tile which have to be filled in prior to the coating being applied.  Roof coating are not capable of bridging the gaps between all of the tiles, unless you were to do multiple coats--upwards of maybe four or five coats.   Because this is not practical, the best approach is to grout the tiles like you would a floor or caulk each tile as needed.  Although labor intensive, this approach gives a much more permanent seam which will last indefinitely as long as the roof is maintained with good quality coatings.

Once a seamless surface has been created, then a roof coating can do its job by creating a breathable covering over the entire roof area.  Essentially the roof coating becomes the primary waterproofing by keeping moisture from ever reaching the deteriorated tar paper below.  If you had all leaks fixed prior to coating the roof, the paper below is still functional and becomes the secondary waterproofing.  This type of system has been applied to thousands of cement tile roofs over the years with many of them being maintained to well over 50 years; that s twice the original lifespan of the roof.  So if your roof is a good candidate for a waterproof coating, YES, your roof can be saved.

What coating is right for my roof? (Silicone vs. Acrylic)

As a manufacturer of many high end acrylic roof coatings and a distributer of a variety of silicone roof coatings, here at Acrylux we are often in the middle of a very familiar topic of discussion - will acrylic or silicone be a better fit for my roof?

In order to address this question, we must first examine the pros and cons of each waterproof coating. A few of the performance indicators that we will begin to compare are product cost, coating sheen, ease of use, environmental safety, and ponding water resistance.

Cost

The recent emergence of silicone products to the roof coating market has come along with one predominant issue, the extremely high costs. Silicone products cost on average between 2 and 3 times the amount of their acrylic counterparts. Acrylux’s best selling acrylic Flat Roof Mastic, retails at under $130 compared to competing silicone based products starting at over $275. Considering the young nature of silicone coatings, more suppliers are beginning to enter the market. This increase in competition has begun to spur a decrease in silicone’s price, but a noticeable decrease in quality is evident in these products.

Sheen

Both products will lay down a beautiful coat the week of application, but how will each coating hold up years down the road? A major benefit of working with acrylic roof coatings is they will retain their white luster for a longer period of time than silicone. The nature of silicone products causes them to start compiling a dirty, yellow appearance after only a couple years of application. Acrylic products resilient properties allow it to hold up its reflectivity for years, keeping houses cooler and saving AC costs. The tendency for silicone products to collect dirt and grime kills reflectivity and reduces the roof’s aesthetic appeal.

  Silicone coating on a flat roof next to the tile portion which was done in acrylic.  Both roofs were done at the same time.

Silicone coating on a flat roof next to the tile portion which was done in acrylic.  Both roofs were done at the same time.

Application

A major selling point for silicone roof coatings is the claim that these coatings can be applied extremely thick at a high millage, and may only require one coat. Although silicone products do provide a very high millage, this makes them noticeably more difficult to apply while also often requiring a second coat. Silicone coatings are very thick and sticky, which is quite difficult for applicators to roll out. If attempting to spray the material, it requires heavy duty equipment that many contractors may not have on hand. In addition to the difficult application conditions, silicone based products also require a solvent clean up, with a solution such as mineral spirits, that is more toxic than the water clean-up alternative. Due to silicone being moisture activated, applicators must be careful of opening expensive silicone buckets on high moisture days due to the risk of the product drying up and solidifying within the bucket. Acrylic roof coatings roll out smoothly, spray with basic sprayer equipment, require basic water clean -up, and can be saved in the bucket for 5 years of future use.

Environment

When conducting the environmentally friendly argument between these two products, acrylic coatings come out as the clear winner. The fundamental difference between these coatings is that silicone products are made up of a chemical solvent, while this solvent is replaced by water in acrylic products. Acrylic coatings have VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) levels almost 3 times lower than silicone competitors, and also have much less odor given off. Acrylux’s Roof Mastic product advertises a VOC of around 75 g/L compared to a comparable silicone coating being listed as 240 g/L.

Ponding Water

Due to their water base makeup, acrylic roof coatings have one main deficiency: withstanding ponding water. Silicone roof coatings excel in this environment. Silicone coatings will remain perfectly intact under large amounts of ponding water, and can even be applied properly being applied on a humid, moist day. Here at Acrylux, we recommend a combination of acrylic coatings for any flat roofs with proper drainage or less than 3/8 an inch of ponding water. A flat roof with any ponding water greater than this amount will require the use of acrylic coatings with fabric embedded or a silicone coating for optimal performance.

Everyone’s situation is unique and will require specialized advice to come up with the perfect coating to fit the job. After considering the properties of both acrylic and silicone products, we arrive at the conclusion that acrylic roof coatings are the far more cost efficient, long-lasting, and effective method of roof sealing. Silicone is great for addressing severe ponding water… but almost everything else about it is a potential negative.

Acry-glaze UV Tint Seal makes my roof look like new

Finished up Friday and the neighbors are telling me it looks like a new roof.  Here are the comparison and finished photos.  3700 sq ft under roof equates to somewhere in the realm of 4200 sq ft.  Excluding the accidental misfiring from my pressure pot (my mistake) and little extra on some portions of the roof in the initial spraying, the job would have required approximately 24 -25 gals to complete.  The product is a perfect mix and the tiles retain much of their natural distinction and actually has greater beauty than when the roof was new.

With the roof repairs after Hurricane Wilma, like so many other roofs in S. Florida, the roof tiles became dissimilar in appearance because the replacement tiles were new and the original tiles were old and faded.

With recent roof caps re-cementing, the Acryglaze does and astonishing job of covering the raw concrete repair with very little effort.

This photo reveals the right portion of the completed Acryglaze UV tinting vs the main portion of the roof with thirty "J" trail of replacement tiles, that are very recognizable even from other property distances.  The roof has been pressured cleaned every year since Wilma yet the replacement tiles still render an unwanted contrast to the original tiles.

Acryglaze Roof work3.jpg

This photo reveals the extreme contrast between the original faded tiles and the color mix from Acrylux that afforded the revived roof distinction that the home owner is completely satisfied with.

 

After one day of curing, the original "J" replacement tiles are a thing of the past.  The roof color mixing and consistent coverage render a handsome surface reconditioning that should last for years.

  A completed view from across the lake.

A completed view from across the lake.

A Real World Exterior Test: Acrylux vs. Sherwin Williams

I was recently asked to prove to someone that Acrylux would be a better choice than Sherwin Williams for a new home being built in Miami Beach.  The customer was familiar with our reputation of superior durability, and long term protection; however, there was concern that less coverage may cost him more labor.  So, we set up a test to see how well we stack up against Sherwin Williams's best paint system--Loxon Primer and Resilience Paint.  We compared this to Acrylux's UL200 Primer and Exterior Premium Paint for hiding, which is the most important factor in coverage ability.

SW Loxon Primer vs Acrylux UL200 Primer

Well, the results were quite conclusive with Acrylux coming out a clear winner.  The Acrylux had superior hiding along with a much whiter appearance.  Both products were able to cover the brand new stucco with relative ease (one coat of primer and two coats of paint) however I wanted to share these results to prove that Acrylux is a win/win when it comes to coverage, cost and durability.

SW Resilience vs Acrylux Exterior

PAVER SEALER-THE EVOLUTION

On early Florida homes, if you looked down, you were either walking on a poured concrete slab or an asphalt surface.  This was due to it's ease of installation, functionality and lower cost.  However, over the years, more asthetically pleasing solutions gave rise to stamped concrete, chattahoochee, clay bricks and various other decorative concrete systems-- but none became as popular as the concrete paver.  Since the 1980s, interlocking brick pavers became the premier hardscape material for driveways, patios, pool decks and commercial applications.

It did not take long to realize that a whole new industry would arise due to the high maintenance requirements of concrete pavers.  Concrete pavers require regular sealing in order to prevent fading, mildew growth, surface wear, staining and marking.  Acrylux recognized the tremendous need for cleaning and sealing products for pavers and launched their line of Colorback products. 

The Colorback Xylene based paver sealer became a staple in the industry for maintenance and beautification.  Acrylux offered a water based version for a more eco-friendly option which was more moisture tolerant but didn't quite match the xylene’s durability.  Acrylux also added cleaners, degreasers and efflorescence removers to the colorback line of products. 

Some of the biggest problems the paver sealer industry had were:  1) Xylene based sealers required a perfectly dry surface or it would blush. 2) A build-up of sealers would cause whitening and eventually have to be stripped.  3)  Having to wait for pavers to dry during the rainy summers hurt the profitability of applicators.  There was still a need in the market place for a water based sealer that would perform equal to Xylene but have the moisture tolerance to clean and seal in the same day.  A solution would have to enhance colors, have good gloss retention, be eco-friendly and be applied over moist surfaces.

Acrylux soon launched its Colorlock line of paver sealers which would solve many of the issues facing the industry.  The two-component chemistry was a departure from what most applicators were used to but the benefits far outweighed the costs.  The two-part paver sealer could be used over wet pavers and be completely unaffected by the moisture.  This allowed the applicators to pressure clean the pavers and seal them all in one day which potentially doubled productivity and profitability. 

The 2-part paver sealer system proved to be beneficial in many more ways because of the urethane base being more UV resistant than acrylic based sealers.  The two part urethane based paver sealers can also be diluted to adjust solids and sheen levels.  These benefits along with others created a true benefit for the applicator and homeowner alike.  Colorlock two-part paver sealer is available at Acrylux and other outlets in the South Florida area.

50 YEARS OF ROOF COATINGS

The South Florida roofing landscape has changed many times since the building boom of the 50s and 60s.  Acrylux was established over 50 years ago to serve the needs of roofers and roof painters who wanted a better longer lasting solution to painting roofs.  Back in the 50s and 60s it was normal to whitewash cement tile roofs every year to keep them white and mildew free.  In the 70s and 80s everyone moved to acrylic based paint in order to keep their roofs bright white for longer periods.  Acrylic paint was a great success and Acrylux was instrumental in developing some of the best roof paints that required less cleaning and maintenance than the competition.

The 1990s marked a time when the original Gory flat tile roofs, Bermuda roofs, and Bahama roofs were beginning to age beyond their 30 year life span.  Acrylux would make its second major breakthrough in the roof maintenance market.  Many contractors wanted a way to extend the life of thousands of these roofs that were beginning to leak due to the aging tar paper underneath the tiles.  Acrylux along with other local business came up with the idea of grouting the spaces between the tiles thus creating a seamless surface which could then be coated with paint.  This process basically created a barrier over the tiles which kept water from ever reaching the deteriorated tarpaper underneath.  Acrylux went on to perfect the system by manufacturing a specific waterproof coating that would resist cracking due to its thickness and flexibility.

What was this coating that Acrylux came up with?  Was it an elastomeric type coating before elastomerics were commercially available?  In the very early stages of waterproof roof coating development, Acrylux uniquely blended a caulk formula and a paint formula to come up with a thick flexible coating which I believe was the first ever elastomeric roof coating.  This thick, rubbery and flexible coating would become the water barrier over thousands of cement tile roofs in South Florida.  The process allowed homeowners to extend the life of their tile roofs beyond 50 years or more.  To this day, Acrylux still sells this waterproofing as well as many other elastomeric coatings for similar applications.

During this period, many of the tile roofs that were not coated were either replaced by much cheaper shingle roofs or the trendy color through barrel tile roofs that didn't need to be painted.  The combination of unscrupulous contractors and push-back by the roofing industry became a threat to Acrylux's position in the marketplace.  Then in 2005 hurricane Wilma came through South Florida blowing away many of the shingle and barrel tile roofs that were not attached well.  Ironically, the Acrylux coated roofs proved to be extremely wind resistant and in some areas the only roofs to survive without damage.  This was not enough to rescue the dwindling waterproofing market, conversely, the abundance of new roofs that followed the hurricane, further decreased the need for waterproofing.

Now ten years into the post Wilma market, Acrylux responded once again to the needs of the marketplace.  Time proved that color through roofs were not beyond maintenance and needed regular cleanings.  The constant pressure cleaning and chemical washing of these roofs eventually dulled the colors and degraded the surface of the tiles.  To solve this issue, Acrylux formulated a clear roof tile sealer that reduces pressure cleaning requirements, gives the tile a renewed luster and brings back some color. 

Along with color through tile maintenance, Acrylux continues to be the preferred high end roof coating supplier for those choosing to paint or waterproof their roof.  Acrylux has also made advancements in the flat roof coating market with products that resist ponding water as well as reducing roof temperatures.  With products from the past as well as the cutting edge, Acrylux has a complete solution to all roof maintenance and waterproofing needs.

 

 

Acrylux Add Blog to website

Acrylux Paint Manufacturing Co., Inc. was started by the original owner and founder, William C. Riedesel, in 1959.  Prior to that time, Riedesel was a roof painting contractor.  He started painting roofs in 1956, one month after he arrived in South Florida, from Rochester, New York.

At that time, almost all roofs were either not painted or painted with various combinations of cement and lime.  The idea was that lime and cement would gradually shed itself over time while taking the dirt and mildew with it.  "This material didn't work very well" says Riedesel, "because it had poor adhesion and very little resistance to mildew".

"In my search to find a better roof paint, one day, I found an article in one of the paint journals concerning a test made by one of the largest manufacturers of acrylic resin".  The test was based on using 100% acrylic paint on roofs in South Florida.  The results shown were far superior to anything being used at the time".

"Now that I had found the right paint for South Florida, I was still faced with another problem:  The few major brands of acrylic paint on the market were priced so high that the paint costs alone to do a roof was above and beyond the price normally charged to clean and paint a roof.  Consumers were not willing to spend the extra money to have their roofs done in a more efficient longer lasting way."

"This began my search for a means of reducing the cost of labor and materials so that I could give my customers a far superior job than anyone else.  So with this in mind, I began investigating all the different avenues available to me concerning the use of acrylic paint.  After exhausting every avenue, I found that I could keep the costs down by manufacturing my own acrylic paint."

"I started manufacturing paint in 1959 in a small rented area consisting of only 300 square feet behind a steel warehouse in Dania, Florida.  At first, I made paint only for myself, but eventually other painters found that I was not only making superior paint, but the results were excellent.  Not only could I save them money by offering them a reasonable price, but the paint quality was better than anything on the market."

"After three years, I needed more space, so I rented a larger facility by the airport.  Then again in approximately four years the business had outgrown itself.  This time I bought a 5,000 square foot warehouse located near Sears town, just north of Sunrise Boulevard.  Soon after I added another 1,600 square feet to this location only to find that one year later we had already outgrown the addition.  At that time in 1981 I began to look for property for a new modern paint facility".

"In 1982, I began my search for land that was suitable for manufacturing and had easy access to the major highways.  In February, 1983 I found the land that fit my current needs and also had room for growth.  The property was located near I-95 and Cypress Creek Road where we constructed a 12,000 square foot plant including offices and a showroom.  On April 9th 1984 we opened the doors of our new facility".

"Acrylux Paint manufactures not only superior acrylic roof paint, but interior and exterior wall paints, waterproof coatings for roofs and walls, paver sealer, clear roof tile sealer and many other products.  My goal as a paint manufacturer was to make sure the public received quality materials at a reasonable cost."

Acrylux continues to serve the contractor, homeowner and do-it-yourselfer with innovative products at a reasonable price.