What You Should Know About Spray Polyurethane Foam Roofing

Sheets of foam on a roof.

What is spray polyurethane foam roofing?

Spray foam roofing is becoming the choice of more and more commercial building owners every year. What is foam roofing? It is a watertight roofing system made up of three materials: 

  • Spray polyurethane foam
  • Silicone coating
  • Granules

By combining the first two, the foam roofing for a flat roof is produced and then pumped out of a truck through a heated hose that sprays it onto an existing commercial roof. This foam will expand up to thirty times its size, capping out at around eighteen inches thick. It creates its own slope for drainage and is installed in two segments with the second segment being a spreading of the granules. The granules are what give spray foam roofing the added strength needed to make it durable roofing. 

Can you walk on a foam roof?    

Because spray foam roofing hasn’t been around as long as many other commercial roofing materials, myths are created. As with anything, polyurethane spray foam (spray foam roofing) has had to prove itself with many of the rumors that get started. One of the many foam roofing pros and cons to be dispelled or proven is whether or not you can walk on a flat roof with spray foam roofing. The answer is yes, you can. 

Reliable organizations have stated that spray foam roofing is safe to walk on and can support a good, sizable weight of up to 50 pounds per square inch. However, a downside to walking and working on spray foam roofing is that it can puncture easily. Rubber-soled shoes are recommended and if any work must be done on the roof, a mat of sorts should be placed to catch dropped nails, screws, or tools to prevent any punctures. If any punctures happen, repairs should be made immediately. 

Is spray polyurethane foam roofing waterproof?

Another myth that has had to be dispelled over the years is the waterproof ability of spray foam roofing. The spray foam roofing application is a “closed cell” foam, meaning there are millions of tiny cells, each one closed and impenetrable by water. If you were to create a block of SPF and submerge it in water, it would remain buoyant and dry. The same material used for spray foam roofing is used on flotation docks and in the hull of sea vessels because of this buoyancy it offers. 

How long does spray foam roofing last?

A professionally installed spray foam roofing that is maintained as recommended by the contractor and manufacturer, and not subjected to constant severe weather, can give you up to a 30-year life span. 

Depending on the type of foam used for the spray foam roofing, every ten years it is recommended to have the foam roof cleaned, primed, and a new coating of the foam applied. With this maintenance and upkeep, a roof could last 50 years before needing to be replaced.

How much does it cost to foam a roof?

This is among the most common questions commercial roofing contractors are asked, and for a good reason. Roofing a home is expensive, but roofing a commercial-size building is even more expensive. It can take a hit on the budget, so building owners need to know what to expect. 

The starting scale most contractors work with is 20,000 square feet. They will of course work smaller roof sizes, but the larger the roof, the more discount is allowed. Factors that will impact the cost of a spray foam roofing job other than size include: 

  • The logistics to move equipment up and across the roof
  • The cost to remove debris of the tear-off
  • The transport costs of the material, typically up 3% of the total costs

As of 2021, commercial foam roofing company contractors have on average charged as little as $4 per square foot and up to $6.00 per square foot for spray foam roofing on commercial structures. 

Tool being used to spray foam.

In Closing – Which is better, spray foam roofing vs. TPO?

If time is of concern, spray foam roofing is the way to go. Spray polyurethane foam takes half the time that TPO roofing takes to be installed. TPO takes labor and time to custom fit a roof, whereas spray foam roofing will expand as it cures, fitting around any roof penetrations. 

Where budgets are concerned, TPO roofing will win over spray foam roofing, with TPO costing approximately half of what spray foam roofing costs. Other areas where spray foam roofing wins out over TPO roofing are: 

  • Energy Efficiency – spray foam roofing delivers thermal, air, and moisture barriers, providing a higher R-value per inch.
  • Durability – The spray foam roofing material contracts and expands as the building moves, minimizing the chance of any cracking and splitting. 
  • Seamless and Waterproof – The surface that spray foam roofing creates is continuous. Because there aren’t any joints or seams, that vulnerability to leak is removed.

If you’re ready to learn more about installing spray foam roofing in Fort Wayne, IN, you can get the process started by calling Tri-County Commercial Roofing LLC at (260) 248-7020 today.