Roof coatings for commercial roofs offer a host of benefits, from increased strength through to better efficiency. At Industrial Roofing Services (NE) Ltd, we work with many businesses to identify the best roofing solution for their specific requirements. Having an understanding of the additional coatings and finishings that a roof can be paired with gives you the freedom to further improve on your investment. In today’s guide, we’ll take a look at the protective coatings available on the market to help you decide on the best solution for you.

What Is a Roof Coating?

In opposition to paint, roof coatings provide a thicker protective coating. This protection is there to prevent the damage caused by a multitude of exposures, including:

  • UV Exposure.
  • Extreme Weather Conditions.
  • Heavy Foot Traffic.
  • Minimising the Growth of Mould.
  • Prevents the Build-Up of Moisture.
  • Waterproofs.

While they may be a financial investment upfront, they provide extra durability which leads to a longer life span and reduced damage. Roof coatings help to maintain the structure of your chosen roof material and slow down the rate of degradation due to age too. Overall, they are something that every commercial property owner should consider – especially if you’ve faced specific challenges in the past.

Types of Protective Roof Coatings for Commercial Roofs

There are 3 main roof coating options when it comes to industrial roofing specifically – acrylic, silicone, and polyurethane. Let’s take a look at each of these individually as well as their pros and cons.

Acrylic Roof Coating

Used largely on sloped metal roofs, acrylic coats are a popular solution for many commercial buildings. It can be used on built-up roofs, single ply roofs, spray polyurethane foam roofs and modified bitumen roofs. Largely cited as one of the most used options when it comes to roof protection, acrylic coatings offer a host of benefits that have led to their popularity.


  • Cost-effective – In contrast to other options on the market, acrylic coat is widely recognised as one of the most cost-effective. It manages to provide the same durability without excess costs along with a host of benefits that normally come from a heavier investment.
  • Protection from UV rays – Being both highly reflective and resistant to UV rays, acrylic coatings prevent degradation and damage.
  • Energy-efficient – In a note to the point above, being resistant against UV helps roofs to better manage cooling and heating costs throughout the year. It minimises the build-up of heat inside a building while also helping to cool when needed. This reduces energy bills and helps to create a comfortable internal environment at all times.
  • Simple installation process – Acrylic coatings are quick to install, reducing the drop in productivity or disruption in your business. They are also water-based, making them easy to lay while still achieving a high-quality finish.


  • Susceptible to water damage – Acrylic coatings are primarily used on sloped roofs because of the damage that can occur with pooled water.
  • Susceptible to temperature – As a water-based product, acrylic coatings can freeze if exposed to very low temperatures. This also means that their installation is dependent on the weather too.
  • Thins over time – During wear and tear, acrylic roofs become thinner and provide less protection.

Silicone Roof Coatings

Sprayed or rolled on, silicone roof coatings are laid as a single layer and provide a host of benefits. While they don]’t provide insulation or heat protection, they will protect against the elements and give a smooth, professional look. They are most commonly used to reinforce the structure of an existing and well-performing roof.


  • Cost-effective – As this coating is primarily laid on existing roofs, it is less expensive to install than other solutions.
  • Durable – Silicone roof coatings can extend the lifespan of a roof by making it stronger. The silicone fills in cracks or breaks in the existing roof, reinforcing it significantly. Some solutions on the market come with warranties that last up to 20 years – showing the reliability of this product.
  • Create a cool roof – Silicone has a bright finish that effortlessly reflects sunlight. This makes it easier to maintain a cool environment internally, reducing your energy bills.
  • Reduced downtime – Silicone can be installed quickly, which reduces labour fees and minimises disruption to your employees.


  • Specific requirements – Silicone roof coatings cannot be applied to just any roof. It needs to be less than 25% saturated with good seams and having been maintained annually.
  • Requires specialist installation – You need to invest in a specialist installation team to get the best results from your silicone coating. This can increase the initial installation costs.
  • Slipping hazard – If your roof experiences regular and repeat foot traffic, silicone may not be the safest solution. When it becomes wet, it becomes very slippery which increases the risk of damage.
  • Potent installation – Silicone, when being laid, gives off an unpleasant smell. While it doesn’t last long, it does mean that vents or intakes may need to be sealed during installation.

Polyurethane Roof Coating

Known as being some of the strongest and most flexible solutions on the market today. With a quick installation and adherence to a multitude of different roofing materials, they are ideal for use on commercial properties. There are two types of polyurethane coating – aliphatic and aromatic. Aliphatic are UV stable and have good resistance to dirt, meaning they are largely used as the top finishing coat. Aromatic coatings are less effective and stand as the base in most solutions.


  • Hard Wearing – Polyurethane coatings are very strong and durable, with the ability to withstand expansion and contraction as well as water exposure.
  • Strong adhesion – They can adhere to a range of roof substrates, making them a flexible solution for a variety of businesses
  • UV stable – As we mentioned about, Aliphatic roof coatings are UV stable. This makes it easier to manage the temperature inside a building, reducing your energy bills.


  • Strong odour – During installation, polyurethane roof coatings give off a strong and unpleasant smell.
  • Specialist installation – As a solvent-based coating, polyurethane coatings require specialists to install them properly. This labour and the need for specific machinery can increase the initial installation costs.

Here at Industrial Roofing Services (NE) Ltd, we provide roofing solutions and coatings to businesses of all sizes. If you would like more information about these protective coatings or any of our other services, please do get in contact today.