Why Polyurethane Foam is an Excellent Roofing Material

Originally published by: Building EnclosureApril 21, 2017

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Society’s movement towards sustainability has impacted the roofing industry significantly. The intent of the sustainability movement is to encourage use and development of environmentally-friendly options. In the roofing area, this is achieved by installation of products providing long-term service with renewability options and cost-effective service. As regulation increases, manufacturers are moving more towards “green” focused products. These products are durable, environmentally friendly and cost-effective.

Polyurethane Foam

For flat roofs, spray polyurethane foam is an excellent option to consider. It consists of two components (resin and polyisocyanurate) joined together with heat and pressure, which react to rise and form a solid surface. Foam has a number of distinct advantages. It is an insulating material, serves as soundproofing, adds rigidity to a structure, is lightweight and very durable. Foam has been used in roofing applications since the 1960s.

Since it is a seamless product, maintenance is fairly simple. A utility knife and a tube of caulk will serve to address most issues that might arise with a foam roof.

Polyurethane foam has one distinct disadvantage—it will break down over time when exposed to the sun. This is overcome by coating the roof with an elastomeric acrylic, silicone or polyurea, all of which block ultraviolet rays from getting at the foam. The coatings can be used to add a variety of colors to the roof system, although the lighter colors tend to add the most to the insulating value of the roof system.

Polyurethane foam can be installed to any thickness in a series of passes called “lifts.” This puts insulation on the outside of the building, blocking heat or cold from passing through to the structure beneath, and vice-versa. No other roofing material has the combination of strength, formability, seamlessness and insulating value provided by spray polyurethane foam.

As society becomes more environmentally-conscious, architects and developers are converting to more “green” products for construction purposes. For more information about “green” roofing materials, be sure to reach out to your local roofing expert.