Pros and cons of different commercial roof coating types

A coating can often be the right choice for a commercial roof, especially with work costs and environmental concerns rising. A coating increases UV protection and protects the roof from the elements, as well as helps reduce the building’s energy costs. It also limits cycles of roof expansion and contraction that could eventually lead to premature failure of the surface. Coatings are usually water resistant, but some are better than others when it comes to preventing water from getting in. A coating can be a good and cost-effective option over heavily repairing or fully replacing a roof, but it’s important to evaluate the condition of the roof regarding its exposure to heat, UV rays, and chemicals. Check out the following comparison of pros and cons to help you pick with coating material is best for you.

Acrylic coatings

Acrylic coating is a water-based and cost-effective solution for a large variety of roofs and climates. They provide the most bang for your buck.


  • Highly reflective

  • UV resistant

  • Easy to work with

  • Best value for your money


  • Loses thickness with weathering

  • Can’t be applied in the cold

  • Not very water resistant

Polyurethane coatings

Polyurethane coatings handle impacts and traffic the best out of all the coatings. The 2 main types of polyurethane coatings are aromatic and aliphatic. Aromatic coatings are cheaper but don’t deal with UV too well, so they are usually applied as a base coating. Aliphatic coatings are more costly, but handle UV very well and stay cleaner than other coatings.


  • Stays cleaner than acrylic

  • More resistant to water than acrylic

  • Can be used as a heat reflector


  • More expensive than acrylic coatings

  • Stronger odor than other coatings

Silicone coatings

Silicone coatings are moisture cured and are the best at keeping water out. They will not chip or crack or react with UV rays. In some cases, they can even eliminate the use of a primer. However, when the coating is damaged, you either have to either completely recoat it with a compatible coating or remove the coating entirely.


  • Weather better than other coatings

  • Don’t get hard or brittle

  • No erosion

  • Best coating at keeping water out


  • Hold dirt and rain

  • Lose reflectivity over time

  • Hard to adhere things to silicone

There are many different options when it comes to roof coatings. They all have their strengths and weaknesses, but they are all cost effective and energy efficient and can often be a better option over a full roof replacement.