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Roof Coating vs Roof Paint: What's the Difference?

If you’ve done the math and feel it’s just not time to fully replace your home’s roof, you may want to consider a treatment to instead help increase its lifespan. As you research options, it’s easy to confuse the terms. At a glance, roof coating and roof paint seem like they may be interchangeable. But that’s not the case at all. 

In fact, the two couldn’t be more different. 

Roof through trees

Table of Contents

Roof Coating vs Roof Paint

Roof coating is a protective sealant. It gives the top of a home an extra layer of protection against extreme weather and other hazards. A coating consists of an elastic-type property and looks like a thick film. The flexibility within the sealant helps provide extra room to breathe with a roof as it is exposed to different weather conditions. 

In contrast, roof paint is exactly what it sounds like — a thin layer of paint that will not add extra protection against weather elements. Instead, it will change a roof’s color while a roof coating will provide a new, protective element. 

Roof Coating: How it Works 

Roof coating helps your roof last longer because that extra layer of film is intended to be exposed to the elements instead of your home’s shingles or tiles. 

They make a home more fire-resistant, less prone to growing mold, and more energy efficient through its reflective qualities. They require a professional to apply them because even the smallest opening in the treatment could cause leaks and other issues. 

By extending your roof’s lifespan, roof coatings are viewed as a sustainable option because they reduce waste and decrease the environmental impacts that accompany a full-blown roof replacement. 

Roof Paint: What it Does

Roof paint can change the color of your roof and, with a white paint, can help reflect the sun to some degree. However, the efficiency is not as impactful as a roof coating. 

Because the paint is a significantly thinner layer compared to a polyurethane or acrylic roof coating, this improvement is less expensive. It also does not need to be completed by a licensed roof professional. 

Painting a roof can be an inexpensive way to spruce up a home’s curb appeal. Still, it does not come with the weather-resistant and waterproof perks that a roof coating will bring to the table. It is also worth noting that paint may fade and need to be re-applied often. 

Should I Choose a Roof Coating or Roof Paint? 

The decision of whether to opt for a roof coating versus roof paint comes down to your long-term goals. If you’re looking for a simple facelift, roof paint may be a quick, inexpensive option. But if your objective is to extend your roof’s longevity, roof coating is a smarter decision. 

It’s also important to factor things like weather and climate into the equation. Where you live and what your home is exposed to can help you pick the best option. Your roof type might also be a factor, especially if you have a flat roof.

No matter your objective, proper planning and outlining of what you want to accomplish can help achieve those goals. 

Modernize recommends discussing your goals with a professional to better weigh your options. 

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