The Top 5 SPF Roofing System Misconceptions

Unfortunately, even after decades of providing the best roofing solution for flat and low-slope roofs, Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) roofing is still misunderstood by many people.  At Armstrong Foam Roofing, we have been proudly installing SPF roofing systems in San Francisco and the Bay Area for over 30 years and would like to ensure that people understand why this particular roofing system is the best choice for them since it offers excellent waterproofing and insulation in one application!  As a result, we have written this article in order to help dispel some of the most common misconceptions about SPF roofing.

Misconception 1: SPF is New and Untested for Durability

Polyurethane foam has been around since the late 1930s when it was developed by Otto Bayer but it wasn’t used for exterior roofing applications until the late 60s and early 70s. In the early 70s, Texas A&M Laboratories investigated SPF roofing for use on buildings at the University and today, over 90% of the 10 million square feet of roofs at the Texas A&M campus are protected with SPF roofing (for more details about this topic read our May 24th post). One of the earliest roofs protected with SPF at the Texas A&M campus was the Davis-Gary dorm, which after several decades, its roof has not leaked and requires minimal maintenance. At Armstrong Roofing, we are so confident in our SPF roofing system’s durability that we offer our customers the best, longest-lasting warranties available on the market. If this roofing system is properly maintained, it can last the entire lifetime of any building.

Misconception 2: SPF Roofs are Delicate and Vulnerable to Birds

We have been asked by many customers if they will be able to walk on their roofs. We can safely say that SPF roofing can easily support the weight of a normal person.  However, it is wise not to walk on it in high-heeled shoes or construction boots. It’s better to wear soft rubber sole shoes in order to avoid damaging the surface.  There is no fear of causing a leak even if it is punctured slightly since only a hole that reaches the underlying substrate can cause a leak. For the roofing system to last a lifetime though, it must be kept protected from UV rays so any damage must be repaired (which is usually a very fast, simple and inexpensive procedure).

We have also been asked if birds can peck at it and cause serious damage. The answer to that is “NO” since the protective coating added to all Armstrong SPF roofing systems prevents birds from penetrating the surface and causes their beaks to bounce off, so they tend to stop pecking.

Misconception 3: SPF is Expensive

An SPF roofing system normally costs about as much as the traditional tar and gravel built-up roofing (BUR) systems. However, due to the many benefits it offers, in the long-term, it actually saves you money! Researchers at Texas A&M University looked at 27 buildings and found that the savings in energy costs over 4.5 years can pay for the cost of the roof installation. Another study by the Oakridge National Laboratories reported that cooling and heating energy costs were reduced by 50%.  What’s more, under normal conditions, you will never need to replace your roofing system. All you need to do is maintain it periodically by recoating to protect it from the sun’s destructive UV rays.  On the other hand, if you install a BUR system then you’ll most likely have to replace it after 20 years. Therefore, SPF roofing is not only cheaper, in the long run, but it also saves you money on your energy bills!

Misconception 4: SPF is the Same as Foam Boards

Although foam boards may be relatively easy to install, in fact, many homeowners attempt it as a DIY project, they don’t offer nearly as many benefits as SPF. For example, as we have detailed in our May 24th post and in our May 29th post, SPF roofing is manufactured on-site and is sprayed to perfectly conform to any roof as a single monolithic barrier which prevents moisture or air from penetrating your roofing system. However, if you decide to install foam boards then your roof will be full of seams which can allow moisture and vapor to pass through and greatly reduce the insulation capacity of your roofing system.

Misconception 5: SPF is not Eco-friendly

We have been asked on many occasions if SPF is toxic and bad for the environment. We explain to our customers that polyurethane foam is a form of altered plastic with millions of tiny trapped air bubbles designed for roofing applications and optimized for the best combination of thermal resistance and durability.  The base material is the same as that which you will find in many objects you have at home (e.g. couch or car seat cushions, foam mattresses or pillow). Polyurethane foam materials are completely inert which means they are safe and harmless.

As we have mentioned, SPF roofing systems save energy and may eliminate the need to replace your roof. SPF is considered to be “Green or Sustainable Building Material” (For more information about this issue, please also read our previous post on White Roofs).  Inch-per-inch, it is the most energy efficient roofing material available and provides excellent climate control within a building envelope.  Consequently, we are able to reduce our consumption of fossil fuels and thereby reducing greenhouse gases released into our atmosphere.  SPF roofing systems are also considered sustainable due to their proven longevity. They have also been proven to reduce the “urban heat island effect” because their reflective coating does not absorb the sun’s heat (for more, please read our post on White Roofs ). Finally, many of the SPF roof system components have been charter partners in the Energy Star Roofing program, and several companies have been active in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program.

For more information about SPF roofing systems, please contact us today.  Armstrong has installed more residential foam roofing than any other company in America! And we offer you the best, longest-lasting warranties available!  Before you consider any other roofing system for your flat or low-slope roof, let Armstrong show you why our Bay Area Foam roofing system is the best investment for your home or business!

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