5 Common Myths About Foam Roof Maintenance

Foam roofing has earned a mixed reputation over the last decade. It remains a good option for improving the insulation of a flat or low slope roof without costly improvements, but it also requires regular upkeep to stay in good shape and protect the rest of the home from moisture. Learn more information about the five most common myths spread about maintaining foam roof coatings before you invest in this treatment for your own home or business.

Foam Roofs Need No Maintenance

While a foam roof is surprisingly durable and can last years without any attention, this material does eventually need care from a professional if you want it to last for decades. Regular cleaning and re-coating should be done every five to ten years for best results. Annual inspections are also important to make sure nothing has punctured or ripped the top layer that protects the rest of the foam below.

Degradation is Easily Reversed

When you wait a decade or more to get a new coating on a foam roof, the UV rays from the sun eat holes in the surface and form small pits that gather water. Pitting across the surface can't simply get covered over with a top layer when you decide you're finally ready to properly maintain the roof. Once the damage is done, the foam requires removal and re-installation from the bottom up to work properly again.

It's much smarter to simply stick with a regular coating and maintenance schedule from the beginning. Annual inspections catch small pits and cracks before they spread and ruin the entire surface coating. A simple patch job is more affordable than a full re-coating and costs a mere fraction of the price for a brand new foam roof.

Cleaning is Unnecessary

If you're tired of scraping moss off slate tiles, a foam roof isn't necessarily the best replacement option. You still need to keep the roof clean and free of debris by heading up there every few months and after any big storms. Natural materials that can damage the roof include:

  • Branches and limbs, even small ones, that puncture the foam when dragged across the surface by high winds.
  • Leaves and pine needles prone to rotting and creating acids that threaten the durability of the surface.
  • Bird and animal nests, indicating unwanted residents that could dig or peck holes in the foam.
  • Moss, lichens, and algae that break down the top coating faster than usual.

Walking on the Roof is Impossible

Once many building owners realize they need to clean and check their foam roof on a regular basis, they decide to skip the material because they've heard it's too fragile to walk on. However, the same tough coating that protects the foam from rain and sunlight also supports the weight of building owners and roof repair experts alike. A properly built foam roof can support 40 pounds per square inch or more, which is more than enough to hold up a person who walks carefully on the surface.

Recoating is Easy to DIY

With a new coating needed every decade or so, it might seem worthwhile to handle the job yourself to save money. Since the roof needs extensive cleaning and inspection before a new layer of polymer is sprayed on with heavy-duty equipment, it's best to leave this kind of work to the professionals. You don't get a warranty when installing a coating yourself, leaving you responsible for paying for repairs if your coating fails a few months after you apply it.

If you can accept the truth about foam roof maintenance and don't mind doing a little cleaning now and then, this might be the perfect flat roof system for you. A reflective and insulating coating that lower your cooling and heating bills is likely well worth the extra effort to keep your roof in good shape.