How Long Do Spray Foam Roofs Last?
Different types of roofing systems can have vastly different life cycles of their own. These disparate life-cycles are [insert your best Donald Trump voice here] "hugely" influenced by the climate in which they reside. The average life-span of a spray foam roof is 15 to 20 years. BUT, we’ve personally walked on spray foam roofs that are 55+ years old. Unlike other flat roofing materials, SPF roofs can be infinitely renewed. This is certainly one of the many advantages of a foam roof.
You’re probably wondering if you read that correctly… So let us spell it out again: Spray foam roofs can be infinitely renewed.
This means that with proper routine care and maintenance spray polyurethane foam roofs can basically last forever. [Cue the haters & naysayers.] To be fair, you will greatly extend the life of any roofing material if you show it regular tender, love, and care. Nonetheless, they will still reach a point of degradation where maintenance no longer works and replacement is your only option.
So, what’s the secret to getting a spray foam roof to last forever? Protect it from ultraviolet (UV) light. UV light is polyurethane foam’s #1 enemy. A spray foam roof will need to be protected from the sun in order to be an insulator and water proof. If the foam is damaged by the sun, it will take on water and then it will be damaged.
Many people incorrectly assume that the coating over a spray foam roof act as the water protective barrier. But, the coating’s sole responsibility is to protect the foam from the sun. A roof is protected from the harmful UV rays of the sun at 15 dry mils and the thicker the coating is then the longer the coating will last.
How to maintain a spray foam roof:
Foam roofs typically need maintenance every 10 to 20 years. If the roof is kept free from the sun, it should last forever. Your roof will need maintenance if there is any visible damage or when the top layer is about 10 mils. When there is damage, the top layer will just need to be recoated.
It’s not complicated: be diligent in protecting your foam from the sun and your foam roof will never wear out.
Acrylic roof coatings normally yield around 8.8 dry mills per gallon. The foam is protected from the sun at roughly 10-15 mils. The acrylic roof coating will be oxidized (just like sunscreen and the need to reapply) at a rate of roughly .5 to 1 mil per year. Much different than that of a single-ply TPO roof, when the membrane in a TPO roof has oxidized, it will need to be torn off and replaced (the end of its life-cycle). Like mentioned in our previous article, you cannot heat wield to aged TPO.
Building owners, property managers, and real estate executives should their spray foam roofs are being properly maintained in order to get the most life out of their roof. SPF roofing systems should be inspected periodically, especially after events that could damage the integrity of the roof (rain, hail, high-wind storms, etc.) Small damages or cracks can be easily repaired. If the damage is more severe, the damaged layer can be removed and then a new layer of spray foam and coating may be applied. Re-coating should be done regularly to extend the life of your foam roof. Ultimately, with the proper care and roof maintenance, the life cycle of a foam roof is indefinite.