COMPARING TOPPS SEAL®TO 100% SILICONE COATINGS

COMPARING TOPPS SEAL®TO 100% SILICONE COATINGS

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COMPARING TOPPS SEAL® TO 100% SILICONE COATINGS


February 27, 2018

 

 

WHICH IS BETTER?

Most everyone who has used a bathtub caulk has experience using silicones. And everyone who has a car with rubber bumpers and tires knows the virtues of rubber with weathering. Both are excellent – for their own purposes. But which has better properties for roofing?

Let’s begin with metal roofing. Both products have nearly identical moisture absorption standards for days on end in ASTM testing with this type roofing which always slopes. They allow almost zero absorption for durations of weather. This means excellent protection against rust and corrosion. Both also provide excellent protection against UV and other elements. However, that’s where their similarities end.

Topps Seal® is preferred for metal because of far superior physical features like elongation and tensile strength. Elongation of Topps Seal for example is 900%. The best quality silicones typically offer about 200 – 250% elongation. Elongation shows the ability to move with a roof and stay unbroken. Metal roof panels can experience more movement. Under this scenario it means Topps Seal is at least 4x more capable in terms of performance when it comes to the additional elongation your roof may need.

Ultimate tensile strength also is a highly regarded property for which elastomeric roof coatings are considered. ASTM and all other norms will measure and require certain minimums. Silicone coatings generally provide strength only in the neighborhood of 300 – 700 psi (~2 – 5 N/mm2). Whereas standard grade Topps Seal can provide upwards of 1500+ psi (~12 N/mm2). Ultimate tensile strength determines a coatings’ resistance to failure when put under stress. Again, another highly revered quality that’s especially valuable with roofing built of metal panels. What’s more, property retention over years of service stays greater for better outcomes.

100% rubber Topps Seal is a better option for this roof type for various other reasons. The silicone coating presents a particularly hazardous situation on every sloped roof when the slightest amount of moisture is present. To their detriment as we all have experienced they are extremely slippery when wet. Residual rain drops, fog, dew, or even high humidity makes those roofs an even more extreme safety hazard for any rooftop equipment repairman, plumber, roofer or other who has to get up on the sloped roof. Sooner or later it is required. For similar reasons including toughness, more athletic shoe soles are constructed with rubber, not silicone. 

While a 100% silicone coating may provide all that’s necessary in some circumstances, their use on metal comes at a considerable expense. They generally are costly. Research shows one can expect to pay nearly double for a good quality silicone alternative compared to the Topps® all rubber option which offers more. This is before factoring in that the physical properties may fall short of your roof’s needs in the first place. Why pay more for a silicone that provides less?

Flat roofs present a better option for silicones, particularly if they hold water for longer periods. The construction of those roofs, not being multiple panels or having much slope, reduces the safety risk considerably, and the potential for leaks associated with roof movement. To the silicone coating’s credit, they can be useful with roofs holding water for extended periods. They also can boast a very high moisture vapor transmission, suggesting trapped moisture beneath plies might escape it. Yet one must consider that silicone products used on bitumen typically require an epoxy primer. Epoxy allows zero vapor passage, so it defeats the moisture transmission value of the coating on top. Because of this, reputable silicone suppliers and roofers won’t coat or provide a warranty over entrapped moisture. The consequence of trapped moisture always is decaying underlayment, loss of insulation, and premature catastrophic roof failure. Virtually all national roofing standards require dry substrates as well. For this reason, infrared or nuclear scans always are strongly recommended before using any roof coating on low slope roofs. If moisture comes in, the epoxy primer most assuredly won’t let it out. This usually makes moisture permeability a moot point.

Finally, there is the issue of shelf life. 100% silicone coatings usually have only a 6-month shelf life kept at moderate temperatures to avoid spoiling. A partial pail that has been reclosed will become totally hard within 24hrs and require disposal. One must factor this into their costs and make certain that they are not using expired silicone coating. Unopened Topps Seal® by contrast has a 2-year minimum guaranteed shelf-life however we have experienced excellent performance even after 7-years of storage. An opened Topps container will remain usable for months when resealed immediately after use.

We have been asked for research about the best roof coating for cooling capabilities, and how silicone roof coatings compared to Topps Seal®. We will address this in a later blog. In general, while they may start off similarly, after only 3 years Topps Seal’s reflectivity exceeds most silicone products by as much as 50%. The retention of physical properties are strong indicators of a coating’s future value.

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DON’T REPLACE YOUR ROOF…RESTORE IT WITH TOPPS

DON’T REPLACE YOUR ROOF…RESTORE IT WITH TOPPS

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DON’T REPLACE YOUR ROOF…RESTORE IT WITH TOPPS

Topps commercial roofing systems blanket your commercial roof with a seamless, cold-applied rubber membrane that conforms to all surfaces, sealing out the damaging effects of weather and environmental corrosives. Click here for the system just right for your needs. They are lightweight, sound deadening, energy efficient and, best of all, there’s NO downtime during application.

Why replace 100% of your roof when only 10% is the problem? Sounds pretty costly and inefficient! There’s an old adage “your roof accounts for 10% of the total cost of construction of a building, but accounts for 90% of its problems down the road” – most facility managers will probably agree!

When a roof has failed or is damaged beyond repair, there’s no question but to replace it. Integrating the Topps system into your roof maintenance plan can save you money down the road.

Leaks occur initially in isolated areas; seams, skylights, around HVAC equipment. Making regular repairs to these vulnerable areas can save real money by preventing premature roof replacement.

Roof replacement is disruptive, costly and often completely unnecessary. The Topps® restoration and maintenance system is non-invasive, economical, adds years to the life of your existing roof and typically saves 1/2 to 2/3 the cost of premature replacement.

Interested in a Low-Cost Metal Roof Cooling and Protection System?

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HOW TO MAINTAIN YOUR GUTTERS TO PREVENT RUST, LEAKS, AND BLOCKAGE

HOW TO MAINTAIN YOUR GUTTERS TO PREVENT RUST, LEAKS, AND BLOCKAGE

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HOW TO MAINTAIN YOUR GUTTERS TO PREVENT RUST, LEAKS, AND BLOCKAGE

It’s easy to overlook just how much your gutters do to protect your building. Channeling water away might seem like a simple and routine function, but what your gutter system is really doing by finding proper drainage for rain and snow is protecting your roof, walls, and even your foundation from water damage.

When gutters are working properly, we hardly notice them at all, but when they are rusted, leaky, or blocked, they can be a major headache. This is why it is important to perform routine cleaning and maintenance of your gutters and downspouts, restoring them if necessary, and to take preventative measures to protect your drainage system.

 

SEASONAL THREATS TO YOUR GUTTER

Your gutters face a variety of hazards all year round. Here are some seasonal pitfalls to guard against:

Spring

Heavy, wet spring snows can weaken joints and seams, and fluctuating temperatures can cause freeze-thaw cycles that widen seams and gaps. Accumulated dirt and debris from fall and winter can cause blockages.

Summer

Persistent or heavy rainfall can leak through compromised seams. Water exposure can lead to rust.

Fall

Leaves and other debris can clog gutters, resulting in blockages, which can lead to rust and water accumulation on the roof.

Winter

Freezing temperatures can lead to ice accumulation, which can compromise seams. Freeze-thaw cycles can exacerbate damage from built-up ice. Persistent freezing temperatures can lead to ice dams, causing blockage. In warmer climates, persistent winter rainfall can lead to rust and water accumulation or overflow.

 

PREVENTATIVE CARE: MAINTAINING YOUR GUTTER

The best way to treat damage to your gutter is to avoid it in the first place. Here are some ways to head off gutter damage.

Clean Regularly

The most important thing you can do to protect your gutters and downspouts is to clean them regularly to avoid blockage and moisture accumulation. For most drainage systems, this is as simple as removing gutter debris using your hands or a trowel, and flushing downspout blockages. Other systems may require more thorough cleaning methods.

Self-Clean? or Hire A Pro?

When it comes time to clean gutters, many people elect to do it themselves, while others pay to have it done professionally. What’s the difference? While most people can adequately clean their gutters DIY, a professional service will use specialized equipment that cleans more efficiently and effectively, and will typically go through a routine checklist of tasks for a meticulous clean. For this reason, the pro’s job will be quicker and more thorough. Additionally, for buildings that are especially large or tall, a professional service may be the safest way to go.

Install Gutter Screens

If your building is located in an area with lots of trees or other sources of debris, you may choose to install gutter screens to keep litter out of your gutters. These devices range from simple metal grates that filter out large debris, to nylon screens that do a more thorough job, to foam filters that allow water through your gutter while bouncing litter away.

Trim Trees

At least once a year, you should trim any overhanging tree branches to reduce leaf litter come fall.

Clean Roof

Keeping your roof clean is a good idea for a variety of reasons. One of them is that the more debris that’s on your roof, the more that can find its way into your gutters.

Check Gutter Pitch

Pour a bucket or two of water into your gutters to ensure that they are properly sloped and water is indeed draining.

Apply A Sealant

A quality rubber sealant can protect gutters from rust, maintain seam integrity, and facilitate better drainage, reducing blockage.

 

PROACTIVE CARE; RESTORING YOUR GUTTER

Even with regular maintenance, your gutters can suffer damage and wear from the elements. It’s a good idea to inspect your drainage system for trouble spots at least once a year, and to address damage with a restoration process.

Find Leaks

Leaks are generally apparent during rainstorms and snowmelt, but you can also inspect for them by pouring a bucket or two of water into strategic areas of your gutter system. Leaky seams should be sealed with a caulking compound, while small holes can be patched with roofing cement. If a segment of gutter is especially leaky, it may warrant replacing.

Remove Rust

It is important to treat any rust before it does serious damage to your gutter. Remove light rust using a wire brush, and be sure to flush or vacuum the resulting debris. You can also use a rust-removing solvent before power washing your gutters.

Reline Your Gutter

After fixing leaks and removing rust, you should consider relining your gutter with a rubber sealant. This measure can keep seams from leaking, prevent rust, and limit blockage from debris.

 

CONCLUSION

Our gutters work hard to maintain healthy drainage around our property, but they’re constantly exposed to small hazards that can wear them down over time. It’s crucial to keep drainage systems in good condition with regular maintenance and cleaning, and by addressing small damages before they become huge problems.

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PROTECTING YOUR FLAT COMMERCIAL ROOF FROM SNOW AND ICE

PROTECTING YOUR FLAT COMMERCIAL ROOF FROM SNOW AND ICE

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PROTECTING YOUR FLAT COMMERCIAL ROOF FROM SNOW AND ICE


August 17, 2018

We often take for granted the work our roofs do for us in winter. While we stay safe from routine events like snow and ice storms, the roofs above our heads bear the brunt of the elements. But the work they do takes its toll over time. Snow and ice accumulation can have devastating effects on a commercial roof, causing damage to roofing materials and weakening structural components. If you own or manage a building in a wintry climate, taking steps to protect your roof from ice and snow can save you a lot of money, effort, and energy. In this article, we’ll discuss the hazards your roof faces in winter, and how you can prepare for them.

 

AREAS MOST AT RISK OF SNOW AND ICE DAMAGE TO ROOFS

Buildings that are situated anywhere that sees temperatures below freezing during colder months are vulnerable to the hazards of snow and ice damage. These areas include most northern states, as well as the Midwest and parts of the South. Most mountainous areas, such as the Rockies, the Appalachians, the Sierra Nevadas, and the Cascades, are also prone to heavy snowfall. Areas of the northeast, such as New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, as well as upper midwestern states like Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin, see a substantial amount of wintertime roof damage because of the heavy concentration of commercial buildings there.

Snow and ice damage, however, is not limited to predictably colder climates. In fact, unusual winter weather events in typically warm or dry climates can be devastating, as building managers often neglect to prepare their roofs for ice and snow accumulation.

 

THE EFFECTS OF SNOW AND ICE ON YOUR COMMERCIAL ROOF

Snow and ice are surprisingly versatile in their ability to compromise your commercial roof. Here are the most common hazards they present:

Excessive snow load and potential collapse

One cubic foot of snow typically weighs about 12 pounds, and can weigh as much as 20 pounds. To put that in perspective, a 10,000-square-foot warehouse, after a storm that drops six inches of snow, may be bearing anywhere from 30 to 50 tons of snow. This stress is even greater in especially cold climates, where multiple snowfalls may accumulate before temperatures can rise enough to melt snow.

This kind of weight puts tremendous strain on a roof, damaging load-bearing components and sometimes causing total collapse, which can result in serious injury and costly damages.

Weakened roofing materials

Snow and ice, like any kind of moisture, can quickly deteriorate roofing materials. It can bend and buckle flashing, widen gaps in seams and joints, and exacerbate other weaknesses, such as membrane cracks or depressions in the surface.

Freeze and thaw cycles

As accumulated snow melts, the water that runs off of it may find its way into even the smallest gaps in the roof structure, especially around panel seams, flashing, joints, and curbs. This provides the pathway for water to travel beneath the roofing membrane. When the temperature drops below freezing again, this water will expand as it becomes ice, widening these gaps and compromising the integrity of the roof. Every time the gap widens, it allows more water in during the next melt, causing exponentially more damage with each cycle.

Ice dams

Water will often collect at the edges of the roof during a melt, creating what is called an ice dam as it refreezes. Ice dams prevent future melt runoff from draining properly, causing pooling, stress, and further ice damage to the roofing as this ice dam grows .

Pooling and leaks

Water from melting snow will accumulate in any depressions in the roof and leak through any unsealed or newly created gaps. This hazard is only compounded by the other dangers we’ve discussed.

 

 

HOW TO PROTECT YOUR COMMERCIAL ROOF FROM SNOW AND ICE

Snow and ice accumulation can cause considerable damage to a flat or commercial roof, but there are things you can do to protect from damage and extend the life of your roof.

Inspect annually for vulnerabilities and trouble spots

Before each winter, check your roof for any issues that could make it susceptible to snow and ice damage. Repair any gaps around seams, joints, and flashing, as well as any rooftop equipment. Address any damage to the membrane, especially around curbs and drainage sites, and check for any buckling or damage to structural components. If your roof is in need of substantial repair, you may save money down the road by performing at least a partial if not full restoration to shore it up for wintertime performance.

Know your roof’s weight limits and check for warning signs of structural damage

It can be difficult to know just how much weight your roof can bear, but there are some clear signs of damage from excessive load. Check your ceiling for any sagging or cracks, and look for bowing in load-bearing beams and walls. Displaced lighting, pipes, air ducts, and ceiling tiles may also indicate a compromised roof. Additionally, substantial depressions in the roof, or any leaking, could point to serious damage. Structural deficiencies in your roof should be fixed immediately. Correcting these prior to coating can typically save you money and aggravation.

Know when to remove snow from your roof

Even if your building is not showing signs of structural roof damage, it is important not to let snow and ice accumulate beyond its load-bearing capacity. The longer that snow builds up on your roof, the more damage it may do. After large storms, or long periods of below-freezing temperatures, you may need to remove snow from your roof. When removing snow, it’s important to take proper safety precautions, and to use techniques that will not harm your roof.

Use de-icing and melting materials that will not damage your roof

Having to remove snow from your roof can be prevented with the use of de-icing and melting materials and equipment. However, using products that are not compatible with roofing materials can cause even more damage. Before using de-icing chemicals, check to make sure they won’t cause deterioration in roofing materials.

Clear gutters for proper drainage

It’s always a good idea to keep drainage systems clear, but it’s especially important when it comes to snow. Any other precautions you take are pointless if the water has nowhere to go after a melt.

Protect your roof with a coating system

As we’ve discussed, snow and ice will worsen any flaws in a commercial roof, and moisture will always find a way to exploit those flaws. One of the best things you can do to protect your roof is to apply a coating system that will shield it from moisture penetration. This measure is especially effective at preventing damage from freeze and thaw cycles, and has the added benefit of protecting your roof year-round, not just during winter.

 

CONCLUSION

Winter in cold climates can wreak havoc on commercial roofs, straining load-bearing elements, weakening roofing components, and resulting in leaks. With proactive care and attention, however, you can prepare your roof to significantly help prevent damage from snow and ice. Annual inspections, routine cleaning and maintenance, and a properly applied coating system can help your roof to weather many winters to come.

GET A ROOF RESTORATION SYSTEM NOW TO PROTECT YOUR ROOF FROM WINTER WEATHER

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WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT PROTECTING AND FIXING YOUR SKYLIGHT

WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT PROTECTING AND FIXING YOUR SKYLIGHT

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WHAT TO KNOW ABOUT PROTECTING AND FIXING YOUR SKYLIGHT

August 6, 2018

Skylights are a popular feature of many commercial buildings. They are a great way to bring pleasant, natural lighting into commercial spaces that may necessarily have few windows, and they can help save on energy costs. However, as with any roofing fixture, skylights can be weakened by weather, age, or improper installation, compromising the integrity of your roof and exposing your building to the elements. In this article, we’ll talk about the various hazards to skylights, how to repair a leaking skylight, and how to protect your skylight from damage and leaks.

 

HOW DO I KNOW IF MY SKYLIGHT IS LEAKING?

The easiest way to determine whether your skylight has a leak is the most obvious one: inspect the area beneath it for drips and pooling water. Having a drip, however, is not necessarily a sign of a leak.

Rule Out Condensation

Just as your windshield has a tendency to fog up on a cool morning, environmental humidity will often condense on the pane of your skylight. Any temperature variation between the inside and outside of the skylight will cause moisture to gather on the pane. This is especially common during rainstorms and cold weather. If you see fogging or water beading on your skylight pain, you have a condensation issue.

Check Weep Holes

To prevent condensation from building up and raining back down into your building, skylights are outfitted with “weep holes,” small openings along the side that allow condensation to drain out onto the roof. If these holes are obstructed, condensed water has nowhere to go but down. If you suspect your skylight is leaking, you should first check to make sure that the weep holes are clear, and to unblock them if necessary. If condensation continues to be a problem once you’ve done this, you may need to replace your skylight. If condensation stops, but you still have a drip, you probably have a leak.

 

WHAT ARE THE CAUSES OF A LEAKY SKYLIGHT?

There are a number of factors that can cause a skylight to leak. Here are the most common:

  • Damaged Flashing
    • Flashing is the flat metal covering creates a seal around a skylight. A variety of things can weaken or damage skylight flashing. Moisture can corrode or deteriorate the metal, and weather and debris can dent, warp, or loosen it. Temperature fluctuations cause roofs to expand and contract, pulling flashing away from the roof over time. Any such weakening of flashing can cause water to get through a skylight.
  • Damaged Roof Cement
    • In cases where a skylight is installed with roof cement, that may be the source of the leak. The elements can cause cement to crack or crumble over time. Pores, pinholes, and cracks in cement make a perfect passageway for water to get through.
  • Compromised Pane Seal
    • Water can also find its way directly through the gaps between the pane and the frame if the pane is not properly sealed.
  • Improper Installation
    • Ideally, your skylights were installed carefully and competently, but even an experienced installer can make a mistake, especially if they are unaware of the roof’s characteristics or the manufacturer’s specifications.

 

OTHER SKYLIGHT HAZARDS

Though leaking is one of the most common forms of skylight damage, it isn’t the only one. Your skylights, like the rest of your roof, are exposed to the elements day in and day out, and they face a multitude of hazards.

  • Debris
    • Heavy objects present a danger to glass, fiberglass, and polycarbonate skylight panes. Overhanging tree limbs can drop onto the panel, and rooftop debris or improperly secured equipment can fly into them during high winds.
  • Acid Rain
    • Acid rain and other pollutants can take a toll on skylights, dirtying them over time and causing oxidation and chalking.
  • UV Rays
    • Ultraviolet radiation can also damage skylight panes, causing fiberglass and polycarbonate panels to yellow over time. Additionally, UV rays coming in through your skylight can bleach wooden furniture or paper products and cause skin damage to the people inside.

 

HOW DO I PROTECT MY SKYLIGHT?

Given these hazards, there are a few things you can do to prepare your skylight and head off costly repairs in the future.

  • Prevent Leaks
    • The best way to prevent a leaking skylight is with careful installation and regular inspection. If small leaks begin to occur, check for wear along the flashing. Small openings in the flashing can generally be resealed with a flashing cement protected by a polyester membrane.
  • Remove Debris
    • At least once a year, inspect your roof for potentially dangerous hazards. Remove any debris, trim overhanging tree limbs, and ensure that rooftop equipment is properly secured.
  • Apply a Protective Coating
    • To protect fiberglass or polycarbonate skylights from the elements, you should consider applying a skylight sealant. These products can extend the life of your skylights by strengthening them and preventing oxidation and chalking. You may also consider applying a UV-blocking film to protect your skylight and your building from the sun.

 

 

REPAIR VS. REPLACE

So, the damage is already done. The sun, wind, and rain have battered your skylight over the years and left it leaking or otherwise exposed. Can the damage be reversed? Or should you bite the bullet and replace it?

In most cases, damage can be repaired. As we mentioned earlier, leaks caused by compromised flashing can usually be fixed by applying a sealant. However, if water permeation has caused substantial damage to the curb or to the roof around the skylight, replacement may be necessary. Similarly, damage to the pane often requires outright replacement.

 

HOW TO REPAIR A LEAKING SKYLIGHT

How you repair a leaky skylight depends on the source of the leak. The first thing to do, as we mentioned earlier, is to rule out condensation. Once you’ve done this, you’ll need to determine where the leak is coming from. If the source is not evident during rain or snowmelt, you can try to replicate the leak with a garden hose.

  • Seal Gaps in Flashing
    • If the leak appears to be occurring as a result of compromised flashing, you can reseal any gaps with a durable flashing cement. After you’ve done so, we recommend applying a polyester membrane for total impermeability.
  • Replace or Repair Flashing
    • If the flashing is corroded or damaged beyond the small gaps caused by everyday wear, it may be necessary to replace it outright.
  • Seal the Pane
    • If the leak appears to be occurring between the pane and the frame, you’ll have to reseal the pane with a silicone caulking.

 

CONCLUSION

Skylights are a popular and beneficial feature of many commercial roofs, but they’re also prone to damage and leaking. Careful installation and regular inspection can prevent the worst damage, but to get the most out of your skylight it is helpful to apply a protective sealant. Doing so could save time and money down the road.

PROTECT YOUR SKYLIGHTS WITH SKYCOAT

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