Elastomeric Paint: The Best Choice for Protective Roof Coating?

March 9, 2020


More than 14,000 American homes and businesses suffer water damage every day.

Insurance companies pay out more than $2.5 billion in related claims, annually. The majority of the cost burden still lands on property owners, however.  

To help protect themselves, many property owners and managers are turning to creative solutions. Elastomeric paint is one of the key tools finding new favor in the fight to protect and enhance properties. 

Keep reading to learn what elastomeric coatings are and what they can do for you. 

What Is Elastomeric Paint?

Despite having been in use since the 1950s, elastomeric paint is less well known than many other types of paints and sealants. Even experienced property managers may find themselves unclear on the question "what is elastomeric paint?" 

Put simply, elastomeric coatings are a stretchy, rubbery type of paint. 

Elastomerics:

  • Can be applied using the same methods as paint (e.g. rollers, brushes, sprayers)
  • Contain a higher percentage of solids than regular paint
  • Create a flexible and durable coating on almost any surface 
  • Can stretch up to 400 percent after application
  • Create coatings up to 10 times thicker than standard paint
  • Provide lasting protection for roofs and other surfaces
  • Typically carry longer warranties than paint
  • Are waterproof

When asking "what is an elastomeric coating?" it is important to keep in mind that there are multiple types. The four most common are: 

  • Acrylic 
  • Butyl
  • Polyurethane
  • Silicone

What Is It Good For?

Due to their durability, flexibility, and waterproofness, elastomeric coatings are ideal for external use on buildings. They are a particularly popular choice for:

  • Roofs
  • Stucco buildings 
  • Concrete surfaces
  • Masonry walls
  • Wooden or log walls or siding

Elastomeric paint provides a strong protective layer against extreme temperatures, rough weather, and other common threats to building exteriors. The coating's flexible nature allows it to expand and contract without breaking, chipping, or cracking. 

It also creates a smooth, strong barrier that prevents dangerous water infiltration in places where there may be cracks or natural pores in the building material. 

Additionally, it is a good choice in situations where the substrate is expected to shift or move. Unlike traditional paint, elastomeric paints have the flexibility to adapt to these changes without breaking coverage or showing wear.  

Benefits Of Elastomeric Paint

Elastomeric paint offers a wide range of benefits for residential and commercial properties of every kind. 

Waterproofing

Elastomerics provide invaluable waterproofing to roofs and walls. This can prevent costly water damage and enormous inconvenience. It may also result in lower insurance premiums.

This is particularly important on naturally porous surfaces such as stucco and concrete. Elastomerics are also fungi and mildew resistant. 

Energy Efficiency

Elastomerics are resistant to heat and UV rays. Using them on a roof or walls can significantly increase a building's energy efficiency. This can directly save property owners large sums of money on HVAC expenses.

Long-Lasting Coverage

Elastomerics have the flexibility to expand and contract in response to extreme heat and cold. This allows them to adapt to changing weather without cracking, chipping or breaking as traditional paint would. 

Elastomeric coatings are also applied 5 to 10 times as thickly as regular paint. This enables them to keep looking good for decades at a time without touch-ups. 

Attractiveness

Properly applied, elastomeric coatings provide an attractive finish. They can be dyed nearly any color, giving customers endless design options as well. 

The thickness of the material also helps mask blemishes and minor damage to the surfaces on which it is applied. 

Ease of Installation 

Although elastomeric coatings must be applied by professionals, they are fairly quick and easy to apply. 

Drawbacks To Elastomeric Paint

While it offers many benefits, elastomeric paint is not perfect for all applications. The few elastomeric paint reviews you will find that are not glowing with praise tend to focus on a few primary drawbacks. 

Must Be Applied by a Professional

Elastomeric waterproofing coatings should never be applied by amateurs or inexperienced painters. Only qualified professional painters have the knowledge and experience to achieve the correct thickness and finish needed. 

Some Preparation Is Required

As with any form of painting or waterproofing, some prep work is required.

  • Larger chips or cracks in base surfaces must be repaired
  • Surfaces must be cured, clean, and dry 

Timing matters as well. Coatings should not be applied during exceptionally hot or cold weather for the best results. 

Multiple Coats Are Required 

Again, as with paint, multiple coats are required to achieve the correct thickness with elastomeric coatings. Insufficient coats will create an unattractive finish that will not provide the desired protection and longevity. 

Cost

Like most products that are well-made and designed to last for decades, elastomeric paints cost more upfront than the alternatives. Over time, elastomeric paints are highly cost-effective, however. 

Permanence 

The extended life-span of elastomeric paints is typically considered a benefit. However, it may make these coatings a drawback to properties that change aesthetics frequently. 

Properties that wish to change wall or roofing colors regularly may find standard paint more suitable. 

Not Ideal for All Surfaces

Owners of log cabins and wood-shingled homes may find that elastomeric coatings are not the best choice for their properties. While elastomeric paints can be used on these types of buildings, additional concerns apply. 

For example, the wood must be allowed an opportunity to breathe. Typically, this means only coating on one side and ensuring there are no vapor barriers on the other. 

Choosing Paint for Your Property 

If you're looking for a durable, attractive, and waterproof finish to protect the walls or roof of your property, elastomeric paint may be just what you need. 

Contact the experts today and find out what you need to get started reaping the benefits of elastomeric paints on your property, today!

The Author | Melissa Petrusse
Melissa Petrusse, President, Petrusse-Norris Painting - Licensed Painting/Decorating Contractor and Color-Expert. Please feel free to reach out to Melissa with any painting project questions, as she is happy to be of service. Simply fill out the Contact Form found on our Contact Page, as Melissa personally receives each request. View More Post from Melissa Petrusse