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5 year recoat on foam roof

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Joined: Apr 13 2006

I installed a foam roof 5 years ago and it has been perfect. I noticed at least 10 degrees cooler in the summers, and my gas bills has been reasonable in the winters.
I just got a letter suggesting a recoat to be done on the roof. I paid around $12000 for my 1800 sq footage house 5 years ago, but the recoating price is close to $4000. This is supposed done every 5 years.... My roof is in perfect shape right now, I just wonder if this is at all necessary. The price seems VERY high to me.
I am thinking that if I don't do the recoating now, and if the roof can last for 15 years, I'm still even, and hopefully the roof can last longer than that...
What's the general opinion on this?

Joined: Apr 2 2003

We have people on the board that do foam roofs for a living--I expect you will hear from them shortly. In the meantime, you might want to use the search link on this site (top of page) to see previous postings discussing this topic.

In general, I think you'll find the postings say that a recoat is needed after the *first* five years and then should not be necessary for up to 13 years after that. The experts can give you the where's and why-for's.

I had mine recoated after 5 years and was glad to do so as in the 4th year I noticed some bubbling (I think it was the top UV-protectant layer separating from the foam insulating layer). The roofing company (who installed the original roof and advertises on this site) fixed the bubbles then recoated. With the amount of rain we've been getting, I'm glad I didn't wait to see if it would hold longer.

I'm not planning to recoat for another decade.

My 2 cents.

eichfan at rawbw dot com

Joined: Mar 12 2005

Just curious to find out what the average or typical price range would be for a NEW foam room. You mention $18,000 5 years ago but I would be curious to find out what others have paid (or been quoted) within the last 1-2 years.


Joined: Mar 25 2003

$16,000-$17,000 two years ago. Recoat after five. Should be good after that.

Joined: Oct 10 2003

for our 2200sq ft roof (1800 sq ft house -those darm overhangs) it was 15K for the new foam roof from the advertiser at center top of this page, + 5K for recoating in 5-10 years. this was 3 years ago.

Joined: Apr 20 2006

I had a foam roof installed on my eichler about 13 years ago. It has performed flawlessly. The roof came with a 10 year guarantee, no recoat necessary. I had the original contractor inspect the roof at 10 years and he said that it is good for at least another 5 before a recoat is necessary. At the time a recoat was about $1500. There were a few dings in the roof from branches and what not that he fixed for free during the inspection.

The original cost of the roof was 14k. And 3k of that was for the tear off that I insisted on and he said was not necessary. He even gave me zero interest financing after I put 50%down for two years.

If you want the contractor's name, you can email and I will send it to you. for some reason, the network does not like 'unapproved' contractors here.


Joined: Apr 20 2006

I think I may need to retract some of what I quoted.

After some reflection and some help with my memory, the $1500 may have been for materials only if I was going to do the recoat myself. And I honestly can't remember how much it was for the contractor to do the recoat. I just remember the cheap number cause that was what I was going to do.

Seems to me that I went with foam since a T&G roof was about 7k every 5-6 years and the foam would be cheaper in the long run, even with recoats.

Sorry for the mis-information.


Joined: Jan 16 2004

We paid $15K for our Walnut Creek Foam Roof 5 years ago and are very Happy with it. Have had our share of leaks but have always had good luck having them come out and fix the problems. Always in the Flat Section.
We will probably get a $5K re-coat next year.
Gerald in Rancho San Miguel

Joined: Mar 20 2003

It's been about 4 years since we have had our foam roof installed. I go up on the roof periodically to inspect it and clean off branches and clean the skylights.

What kind of things should I be looking for to see if our roof needs recoating? The company who did it said they recommend a 10 year recoat (they are out of business now but previously advertised on this site). Any tips would be appreciated.


Joined: Apr 20 2006

This will sound really stupid, but on a foam roof....You won't see what you are looking for until it is much too late.

Here's what happens. Foam is made of tiny cells filled with an insulating gas. Coatings needs to protect the foam surface from sunlight. Sunlight can begin to destroy the surface cells right through the coating.

On the surface, this damage may not be visible, and for years, does not look like a big deal when it is visible.

This is really bad because the surface now has many fatal defects and damage which prevents a new application of coating from attaching. We know it is a waste of money to try to recover the roof in this condition. When the roof is washed under the pressure necessary to adequately clean the surface...bits and chunks and areas of the surface foam and coating, which looked fine before, disintegrate leaving rough, damaged, wet foam on the surface.

It's as traumatic as shampooing your dog, and having patches of skin and hair fall off in your hands.....and just about as easy to fix.

Joined: Mar 16 2005

OK, then a re-coat for about $4K is recommended after 5 years?? because we can't see latent damage.

My roofer was Able Roof, and I think the site allows us to talk about the dead.
My roof has granular particles embedded, and after heavy rains, a puddle of particles accumulates around the bottom of the down spouts. I haven't seen another foam roof with these particles; I had an addition roofed by another roofer, and the coating was coarse white & hard - - the crew didn't know why I had granular particles on the main roof. These particles seem to me to make it diffucult if not impossible to re-coat.

Also, my roof has 3 layers -- the original T&G and 2 foams. -- looking 10 years ahead, I'm assuming Code will require a tear-off and not permit a 4th roof (the weight would be dangerous). What's the current cost to tear off multiple roofs??

Joined: Apr 20 2006

We spent 15 years taking and studying little slices (slit tests) of our 5 year old roofs. For 26 years we have studied little slits of foam roof from every age and contractor. From 1981 to 1991 we told our customers to re-coat every 5 years. In 1991 we changed that to after 5 years on our roofs. Manufacturers say to re-coat every 5 or 6 years. We found it is BEST to re-coat at 5 years and use 3 times their recommended amount of coating. This is the most cost and durability efficient method. 26 to 6 year old roofs have a 5-year-old soul. Aging stopped on the original roof when the re-coat covered it, making it tougher and protected.

We don’t want to re-coat our roofs after more than 15 years of exposure. As early as 15 years it’s possible to see small bits of latent damage. (thank you Prefab) The original coating is no longer 100% and some bits of the foam are getting degraded. We can’t predict how difficult the re-coat job will be, nor how durable the results. You pay more and get less. We work harder and get worse results. Re-coating at 5 years takes full advantage of the fact that foam roofs are the only roofs that are ‘sustainable’.

In the Bay Area, every home sells after an average of 7 years. New owners seldom re-coat since the roof looks and works great. Later, when the house sells again, the Roof Inspection says the roof is not right and the next buyer gets a credit for a new expensive roof. Often, people waste money trying to fix a degraded roof, then it gets replaced when the fix does not work. 25% of our customers don’t re-coat their roof.

All foam roofs are not equal. There are huge variations in materials and installation. We have seen roof with ‘latent damage’ to the foam surface that was unrepairable after only six months of exposure. If prefab mails us four surface slits 1” by ¼” and ½” deep we will tell him what he has. Caulk the holes after cutting the roof with a sharp knife or razor blade.

Joined: Mar 20 2003

I have an Able roof just like Prefabs. Mine is almost 4 years old. I will send you a sample for analysis.

As far as the white granules are concerned, I saw other roof's that Able did before I bought theirs and saw the granules come out of the downspout. I suspect that the granules help give the toughness to the top? I think some get imbedded in the coating and some never do. The ones that are loose wash off through the downspouts. I asked Able about this and they offered to coat it again for another $1000 or so to prevent the granules from coming off (I didn't have it done though).

Lynn Drake
Louis Road
Palo Alto

Joined: Apr 20 2006

I am not a fan of granules because they cause a lot of problems, solve few.

Good things about granules:
1. As the final layer of coating is installed, $40 to $100 will buy the little white granules that are broadcast onto the wet surface.
2. Some lesser coatings require granules to protect the coating from sunlight and pass the fire code tests.
3. It would seem that the surface is made tougher if the granules can stay embedded in the coating.
4. Granules can be used to cover (hide?) uneven foam application.

Other things about granules:

1. When each granule breaks out of the coating, it leaves a thin spot in the coating.
2. Sweeping the roof, and especially wet leaves and debris grinds granules loose and is very difficult, compared to a smooth foam surface.
3. Granule coverage is always inconsistent.
4. The best coating Manufacturers are now claiming you can’t buy granules clean enough to stick properly to wet coating.
5. The piles of granules, and especially the layer at the base of sloped roofs looks like Kitty Litter to a cat.
6. You will find little white rocks everywhere.

Granules and re-coating:
1. Foam with granules is very hard to clean.
2. Then it is hard to dry.
3. It takes twice the amount of coating to cover.
4. Coating over loose granules creates coverage and application quality problems.
5. Owners don’t like how the surface tends to look blotchy when the inconsistent granule coverage shows through on the new surface.
6. Coating application often requires rolling while spraying, more than doubling the application labor costs.
7. You will find little white rocks everywhere.

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