Frequently Asked Foam Roofing Questions Mesa
Paul Robinett Roofing Arizona 480-964-4006

To install a foam roof, does the existing roof membrane need to be removed?

Often, an existing tar and gravel, torch down, single ply, modified bitumen, or cap sheet roof surface can be prepared to receive a foam roof without being completely removed. Any loose dirt or gravel is removed and the existing roof membrane is secured to the decking below. Decking below the membrane is inspected for dry rot by searching for soft spots and also slicing the membrane open in various locations. After preparation is complete, the clean and secured roof membrane makes an excellent surface for applying a foam roof. City requirements vary with respect to the number of roof layers that are allowed to be placed on top of one another. In some cases where significant water or termite damage has occurred, foam will recommend tearing off the existing roof membrane to replace damaged roof deck in a more cost effective manner.

How thick is a foam roof?

Foam roofs are a minimum of 1″ thick on most commercial and residential roofs. Thickness may be greater to meet insulation or drainage requirements. For example, new construction requiring minimum R19 insulation receives 3.5″ of polyurethane foam over the occupied areas. Roofs with low areas will receive additional material to displace areas of problematic standing water. For example, an area on a roof where ponds are 2″ deep could have about 2.5″ of additional material applied to displace major amounts of ponding water. The coating layers that protect the underlying polyurethane foam are not included in the total roof thickness because these layers are relatively thin.

Does the foam soak-up water and leak if the coating layer is damaged?

Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) installed by us is closed cell polyurethane and will not soak up water. The coating layers over the foam are depended on only for UV protection. Also, surface damage to the coating layer will not cause leakage, nor will surface damage cause the foam to soak up water. For a leak to occur, the thick SPF layer must be totally penetrated.

What colors are available for foam roofs?

Generally, white coating is recommended because it is the most energy efficient and lasts the longest. Tinted coatings are available for special situations. Some cities require tinted coatings and sometimes reduced reflectivity is desired for visible roof surfaces especially in hill areas. Other coating colors are available for these types of situations such as Tan and Light Gray. Dark coatings are not recommended because they are not certified for Cool Roof Systems; dark coatings absorb too much heat and wear out too fast.

How much does a foam roof cost?

Our roof prices are competitive with bids from other high quality roofing contractors. Foam estimators are prepared to visit the property and provide a formal proposal at no charge. Also, our estimators can give you a rough idea of price over the phone if your project is only in the planning stage and not ready for a formal proposal.

Are foam roofs environmentally friendly?

Foam roofs are friendly to the environment for several reasons. First, Foam roofs greatly reduce landfill waste because existing roof membranes are left on the roof surface and used as a substrate for applying the foam roof system. Also, landfill waste is reduced with foam roofs because foam lasts the life of the building and never has to be replaced. Second, foam is more energy efficient than any other flat roof system. Because foam is classified as a Cool Roof System, it reduces “Urban Heat Islands” (increased outdoor temperatures in cities due to excessive concentration of dark roads and roof surfaces). Third, foam is 100% non-toxic. Our polyurethane foam is totally inert. During the installation process, tenants are safe to dwell inside of the property.

Why are foam roofs energy efficient?

Foam is more energy efficient than any other flat or low slope roof system. The reflective surface coating is classified as a Cool Roof System and is certified by Energy Star for its efficiency. Foam is also extremely energy efficient because of the insulation properties of polyurethane foam. The polyurethane foam applied on our roof systems has no joints for heat to escape (unlike foam board insulation installed in 4’x8′ sheets on other roof systems). In addition, the placement of the foam roof system on the outer most surface of the roof structure improves energy efficiency by keeping the underlying mass of roof structure at a stable and comfortable indoor air temperature. With other roof systems, the roof surface heats up and cools down with outside air temperature working negatively against the desired indoor temperature. For example, a tar and gravel or cap sheet roof typically reaches temperatures around 160º F on a warm summer afternoon. This hot mass of material transmits a lot of heat through underlying insulation (if any) and then throughout the entire roof structure resulting in uncomfortably hot indoor air temperatures or excessive cooling cost. Foam roofs avoid this dilemma by providing highly efficient insulation at the outermost layer of the roof structure.

How much cooler will my home be in the summer with a Foam roof?

With a Foam roof, expect to stay 10ºF to 20ºF cooler on hot summer days if you are in a home or building with no air conditioning.

How much will I save on energy bills with a Foam Roof?

For buildings with air conditioning, cooling costs are typically reduced by 30% to 60%. Heating costs are typically reduced by 30% to 50%. Common factors that affect actual energy savings include insulation quality of the building’s walls and windows, and the amount of insulation in the existing roof structure. The most dramatic energy savings occur in homes and buildings that have little insulation in the existing roof structure.

What fire rating does a Foam roof have?

When installed over non-combustible decking or an existing Class A roof structure, a Foam roof has a Class A fire rating (the highest rating available).

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