The Truth about Ponding Water Roof Coatings

ponding water exampleFor decades roof coatings have been an effective repair option for a variety of roofing substrates. They are durable, economical, and if applied properly, they can transform a troubled roof into an energy-efficient, leak-free asset. However, before executing a roof coating project, it is important to conduct a comprehensive inspection of the pre-existing roof to determine its overall condition. If any surface areas are compromised, the coating may not fully adhere and merely exacerbate a serious underlying problem.

For instance, applying a coating over an area affected by ponding water can lead to numerous challenges down the road. Ponding or standing water can occur from insufficient drainage or a number of other reasons. Perhaps the most common reason is water damage to the substrate or insulated board stock; persistent leaks can cause these materials to eventually break down or settle, creating a place where water can accumulate into stagnate pools.

failed coating installWhen coatings are applied over moisture trapped areas, the following issues can ensue:

  • Deterioration of the substrate
  • Rusting of the fasteners
  • Adverse effects on roof insulation
  • Rusting of the steel decks
  • Buckling and warping of plywood
  • Break down of seam adhesive on single-ply roofs
  • Added weight to the roof
  • Blisters from improper curing of the coatings
  • Freeze and thaw damage
  • Adhesion failure

A Cutting-edge Method to Locate Moisture

water problem roofThe best way to identify trapped moisture is by performing a thermal scan. Utilizing infrared technology, roofing specialists can detect areas of moisture that are invisible to the naked eye. Here is how the device works: During the day the sun’s rays warm the roof and at night the roof radiates that heat back into the atmosphere, a process called radiational cooling. When insulation is wet, it retains heat for a longer period of time. Infrared imagers reveal this uneven heat dissipation and accurately pinpoint pockets of moisture. Once located, the saturated materials can be removed and the area rebuilt using dry insulation board stock.

There are many advantages to using a roof coating system; however, thoughtful preliminary preparation should never be underestimated. Critical steps taken before the coating process can determine the outcome of the entire project.

Roof Coatings for Ponding Water

building-code-requirementsCan silicone roof coatings withstand ponding water? Yes. Because of their chemical makeup, silicone coatings can withstand ponding water for quite a while if applied properly. However, these coatings are not an adequate substitute to fixing ponding water issues and the product is not without its drawbacks. Compared to acrylic coatings, silicone has some definite disadvantages:

Pros & Cons of Various Roofing Systems

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  • High initial costs
  • Labor intensive application and clean up
  • Picks up dirt and debris easily
  • Low abrasion resistance
  • Recoating requires a compatible silicone product
  • Difficult to remove from an existing substrate
  • Loses reflectivity over time
  • It can pull away from the edges and curl, allowing leaks

Again, though, ponding water is a serious issue and should be properly addressed.

Advantages of Conklin Acrylic Coatings

For over 40+ years, Conklin has been a trusted name in the American commercial roofing industry.

Conklin ponding water coatingWhile there are many coating products on the market today, Conklin’s acrylic roof coating systems standout for a number of reasons:

  • Tried and tested Conklin products have been applied to 2+ billion square feet nationwide. The company has established a reputation for excellence among corporate bodies and nationally recognized franchises.
  • Durability — The seamless, water-resistant membrane can withstand exposure to UV rays, strong winds, heavy rain, hail, and other hazards.
  • Cost Performance When compared with similar products, acrylic coatings offer some of the lowest life cycle costs on the market.
  • Energy efficiency — ENERGY STAR® certified, the coatings can reflect up to 85% of the sun’s rays and lower annual A/C expenses by as much as 30%. With this degree of energy savings, the roofing system could pay for itself in less than 10 years.
  • Superior warranty options Conklin coatings can be backed by a non-prorated warranty for up to 18 years.
  • Life-extending capabilities The liquid-applied membrane reinforces the existing roof, potentially adding decades to its lifespan with proper maintenance.
  • Easy clean up As a water-based product, acrylic coatings clean up with ease and will not damage application equipment.
  • Product support When you have a question, you will receive product support from an experienced Conklin user (not a salesperson with no applicator experience).
  • Elastomeric properties Acrylic coatings expand and contract with changing temperatures.

Determining the Root Cause of Ponding Water

cause-of-ponding-waterRegardless of the formula, roof coatings should never be an excuse to ignore ponding water issues. Every roof needs positive drainage, which means water should flow off the roof within 48 hours. When water pools for longer periods of time, it can indicate a serious problem. A roof inspection should reveal blocked drainage, depressions in the roof, structural issues, or a lack of pitch. Once diagnosed, the problematic areas can be properly repaired, making the roof truly ready to receive a coating system application.

The Advantages of Roof Restoration

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When a roof is old or badly damaged, the default solution seems to be replacement. However, industry studies suggest that 80% of commercial roofs are replaced prematurely. Building owners cannot get the maximum return on their investment if the roof is replaced before its projected lifespan. The good news is acrylic roof coatings or “roof restorations” can be a cost-effective, life-extending alternative to complete re-roofing services.

A liquid-applied product, acrylic coatings are spread over the surface of a pre-existing commercial roof. When dry, the product forms a new, seamless, fully adhered protective membrane on top of the roof’s substrate. Roof restoration can extend the life of an old roof for years and help save building owners thousands of dollars over time. Because it is a coating process, roof restoration usually does not require intensive tear-off or any of the other burdensome expenses associated with commercial re-roofing projects. Instead building owners can expect the following:

  • Lower labor costs
  • No tear-off costs
  • No landfill and disposal fees
  • Little to no disruption to business operations
  • Easy, low-cost future repairs

Interested in a Roof Coating System and a Proper Install?

Schedule Inspection800-670-5583
Contact a Choice Roof Contractor member in your area to see if your roof is eligible for a coating system. A local roofing expert will schedule an on-site survey to determine if any preliminary preparation is needed to address ponding water or any other roof-related difficulty.

When You Choose a Choice Roof Contractor Member, you can enjoy peace of mind:

  • Members must match or exceed certain criteria and are held accountable by peers
  • We use coating products with a 35+ year reputation for excellence
  • Our members maintain high levels of quality & craftsmanship
  • Members pool their knowledge, resources, and expertise to offer unparalleled service

For more information, please call one of our knowledgeable members today at (800) 670-5583. We look forward to speaking with you!


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Written by: Cami Cox
Cami Cox
Cami is one of the main writers at Choice Roof Contractor Group. Leveraging her unique background in the space and more than a decade of professional writing experience, she has written countless articles on the various aspects of commercial roofs and has gained the respect of building owners and contractors across the country.