Answering Your Questions About Roofing

A Brief Overview of How a Spray-Foam Roof Is Applied to Your Flat-Roofed Industrial Building

by Donald Evans

A spray-foam roof can provide the same amount of protection from the elements as traditional roofing but at a lower cost in terms of application and maintenance. The foam is made out of a polyurethane material that comes in a liquid form. When the liquid is sprayed out onto the roof, it turns into a foam that creates a strong barrier between water from rain, snow, and ultraviolet rays from the sun and the material used to build the roof. This will help make your roof last longer. The foam also provides a good level of insulation to help you conserve energy in your building and lower your operating costs. If you are a building owner who is thinking about getting a spray-foam roof for your flat-roof industrial building, here is a brief overview of the how the work is done.

Prepare Roof

The foam can be sprayed over the existing roofing materials already on the roof. The first thing workers will do is clean the roof to remove any debris, dirt, grease, and oils that might be on the roof. These types of materials can interfere with the ability of the foam to bond to the existing roofing materials. The roof will be swept clean, and then a power washer will be used to clean off any grease or oils that may have collected on the roof from the HVAC machines or any other sources. A general degreaser is used with the power washer to dissolve the grease and oils. 

Cover Equipment and Pipes

Plastic sheets are placed over all the machinery on the roof, the openings on the pipes, and any other spots where the liquid polyurethane can get into the building before it turns into a foam. This is done to protect the equipment on the roof and prevent the foam and vapors from getting inside the building where it could interfere with your workers.

Spray Foam

The sprayer equipment is typically too large to put up on a commercial industrial roof, and it will be situated either in a truck or on a trailer on the ground. A long hose will be attached to the sprayer and carried up on the outside of the building to the rooftop. One person will operate the hose nozzle while another helps to move the hose around. The work will start at the far end of the roof. The entire roof will be sprayed down until it is covered with a thick layer of foam. The foam will typically cure within a day or two. When the foam cures and is safe to walk on, the workers will return and remove the coverings over the HVAC system, pipes, and other areas to finish the job.