The Truth Behind “Cool White Roofs”

Since the late 70’s Cool Roofs have made their mark on the roofing industry and become one of the most well known types of commercial roofing to date. The shiny new and often quoted as “Cool White Roofs” have stood the brutal test of time and been vetted as a major contender in the roofing realm. Conklin® comes forth claiming to be the most effective roofing cover out there and boasting a rather impressive warranty to accompany these new titans in asset protection, one can only begin to ponder the limitations of such an urban giant after being propelled into what some say is the new cream of the crop in the commercial roofing industry as a whole. With all this noise and speculation floating about We thought it necessary to do our best to shed some light on this subject in a helpful and informative fashion.

contact Sky view of a completed white roof restoration project.

A Better Seal A Better Deal!

A question that is only able to be answered though time tested weathering and abuse from good ole mother nature herself! For over forty years now these innovative and sophisticated cool white roofing systems have been pummeled and put through the wrath of our weather cycles and constant climate changes throughout the great United States. These trials have left with us a definitive “proof in the pudding” outcome and you just might be surprised with the results. After years of real time testing and countless tens of thousands of roofs covered with over a million square feet of “cool white roof” systems the verdict is in and it is unanimous. Discover more throughout our in depth look into these cool roofing systems and their benefits and shortcomings. Compiled below we have spelled out for you our research to give you everything there is to know and put it at your fingertips.

First steps in a roof restoration project.

The Infamous Leak Proof Roof?

That really says a lot, however, the jury is still out this. The original design of these roofs was to be a more reasonable option for businesses and homeowners alike when it came to being faced with the ever daunting need to have their roofs replaced. The design of these roof coatings is a simple one nonetheless ingenious. The nature of these roofing systems is to cover the existing roofing with a completely seamless, watertight, highly reflective, and very strong surface ensuring that the roof will not leak while helping to reduce the overall temperature of the building by lowering the roof temperature itself but also deliver the longevity and structural integrity that consumers will rave about for years to come.

Catching leak water-a better white roof

Can I Use Cool Roofing On My Roof?

The answer is most always yes! There are many types of roofing that can be updated and re-coated with these new “Cool White Roof” coatings. Generally speaking the slope of the roof would dictate the systems that would work best for the specific pitch of your roof.

Here is s quick rundown of the different roof slopes and what they are:

  • Flat Roof: 2:12
  • Low Slope: 2:12-4:12
  • Conventional Slope Roof: 4:12-9:12
  • Higher Slopes: 9:12 – 20:12
  • Steep Slope: 21:12 and higher
Roof graph

The formula used to define slop or pitch of roofing is as follows:

The slope of your roof is the ratio of vertical distance (rise) to horizontal distance (run). Just write down the measurements you found. There’s no need to simplify them. For example, if you find 4 inches of height with the tape measure at the 12 inch mark on the level, your slope is 4:12 or “4 in 12.”

Flat Roofing is roofing in which the slope is almost level in contrast to the many types of sloped roofs. The slope of a roof is properly known as its pitch and flat roofs have up to approximately 10°. Flat roofs are an ancient form mostly used in arid climates and allow the roof space to be used as a living space or a living roof. Generally, minimum slope for water to run off is 1% (1/8″ per 1′). However, minimum slope for a flat roof by building code is generally 2%. (1/4″ per 1′). You have more than enough slope for your roof, however you will likely need some sort of membrane roofing since it is very low slope.

Low Slope Roofing A “low slope roof” is one that slopes 2″ in 12″ to 4″ in 12″ of run or 2/12 – 4/12. Because low slope roofs also drain water more slowly than moderate or steep sloped roofs, systems such as slate or asphalt shingles that rely on mechanical drainage for successful performance, are not used. Well suited options for this type of roofing are as follows Metal roofing systems are popular because of their longevity and durability. Rubber roofing is usually a top choice for flat or low pitched roofing since it adheres well to the roofing materials below it and, when installed correctly, provides a watertight seal to the harsh natural elements.

Conventional Slope Roofing The most commonly used roof pitches fall in a range between 4/12 and 9/12. Pitches lower than 4/12 have a slight angle, and they are defined as low-slope roofs. Pitches of less than 2/12 are considered flat roofs, even though they may be very slightly angled. Pitches above 9/12 are very highly angled and are designated steep-slope roofs. Typically these are ideal candidates for Metal Roofing, asphalt and other shingle style coverings. Probably the most widely used pitch or slope range among residential strictures.

Higher Slope Roofing A less common type of roof slope. The Pitch or slope of these types of roofs are usually between 9″ to 20″ on a 12′ run or 9/12 – 20/12. Although slightly more difficult to work on and install these roof slopes are generally good candidates for shingle coverings and sheet metal styles or roofing.

Steep Slope Roofing Usually a very high slope and not commonplace to be used more often than not used in older constructions. The steep slopes are usually above 21″ and Up for every 12′ run or 21/12. The ideal covering for these types of highly sloped roofs are similar to those of the conventional roof type in that coverings such as metal, asphalt, wood, and other shingle styled covering would work well.

***The reason slope is important to note when it comes to roofing with cool roofs is depending on the slope of the roof your style of roof coating will change to give you the best result. Each roof coating has a better suited slope for optimal results.

Numerous Benefits Of Cool White Roofs

A few highlights to consider when looking at new cool roofing options

  • Provide a reduction in monthly energy bills by decreasing air conditioning requirements.
  • Increase temperature comfort levels for indoor spaces that are not climate controlled, such as garages, covered decks and patios, Or even gazebos and pergolas
  • Lowering overall roof temperature, known to provide less stress to the roofing surface therefore can extend the life of the roof itself.
Roof reflectivity graph.

There are also many more environmental benefits, especially when many buildings in a community have these types of roofs. Cool roofs can:

  • Positively impact the local temperature. usually as a overall reduction while lowering the climatological buildup of heat and greenhouses gases in densely populated areas. (sometimes referred to as the urban heat island effect)

  • Preventing Outages in local power. By reducing the demand put on the power grid.

  • Provide a reduction in power plant emissions. By limiting things such as carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxides, and mercury, Through reducing energy needs in supported local buildings.

  • Contribute to Slowed climate change. Cool roofs decrease heat absorbed at the Earth’s surface which in turn can lower earths surface temperatures. The decrease in surface temperatures reduces the rise of heat and greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, offsetting global warming caused by greenhouse gases.
Late afternoon temperature graph

Is There Any Drawback To Cool Roofing?

Indeed there are a couple undesirable "side effects" of these types of roof coatings.

  • They can prove to be more demanding on heating needs. Throughout the colder winter months cool roofs can increase the need for heating energy especially in consistently colder climates. However, in winter the sun typically stays lower, daylight hours are shorter, and skies are usually overcast which limits UV rays that reach the roof surface. Also another notable consideration is that the tends to have some form of accumulated snowfall or ice coverage that makes the color or the roof whitish in nature, therefore voiding the effects of the color difference in roofing. A study conducted by the Heat Island Group shows that in the United States, this winter heating penalty is typically small compared to the more dramatic summer cooling benefits.
  • Sun Glare: Glare from a lighter colored reflective white roof or other light shade of roofing on top a building may provide a slight disturbance to occupants of other taller neighboring buildings. In these situations using a different shade for cool roof coloring such as a lighter (nonwhite) roof may be more appropriate for the shorter building.

Solar energy distribution graph

In Conclusion, Cool Roofing Is Actually A Great Option!

The Benefits of these efficient and reflective “Cool White Roofs” far outweighs any negative scenario that may play into your decision making when it comes to choosing a new roof coating for your next roofing project.

Now the hard part is to decide what type of “Cool Roofing” is best for your business or home. These newly found roof coatings may seem unfamiliar to you unless you have done extensive research on the subject or in fact have some sort of real world applicable knowledge of each roofing type and coating pair that would best allow you to take advantage of all the plentiful benefits.

Hopefully this was a informative look into these options and allows you the luxury of making a better informed decision on your next roofing project and by now you actually have a good understanding on the subject. We are always here to serve you and more than happy to help walk you through our processes and explain what the different systems and benefits are that make them the best suited options both longevity and price when you go to re-coat or repair your roofing so please do not hesitate to reach out to us!

Until next time “Stay Cool”

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Our provider with the most premium quality cool roof coatings available to date. To best service all your roof coating needs! Put your trust in systems that are proven to perform and withstand the test of time over and over again!

Conklin company with over fifty years experience in the residential and commercial “Cool Roof” coating industry, continuously leading from the front this consumer and contractor focused company is always keeping just ahead of the wave as the nations top “Cool Roof” coatings provider. The associated distributors are the best in the business and extensively trained to professionally install and maintain your roof coatings for life!

We Provide The Best In Quality Service All The Time!

If it comes down to your commercial flat roof requiring a roof replacement, we will only deliver your project using the most premium materials possible. All of our solutions are customized to fit your flat roof’s unique specifications. Call us today at (804) 357-8038 and we’ll schedule an appointment at a time convenient for you to have your flat roof professionally inspected. If your flat roof is suitable for a complete flat roof replacement, we will put together an on-site estimate for your commercial facility. Eric B. Mast Enterprises looks forward to potentially working with you.

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