Q. What are elastomeric protective coatings and why are they important?
A. Elastomeric coatings are elastic in nature, meaning they are more apt to move as needed.
Q. Are some elastomeric coatings better than others and why?
A. Yes. Some have greater physical features than others. Some retain those features longer. These factors provide a good predictive, comparative value of one product relative to another.
Q. I noticed specifically that elastomeric roof coatings are sold based on more than one feature. Why is this?
A. ASTM and all other national and international tests require various physical feature minimums such as tensile strength, moisture absorption, moisture transmission rates… ability to cool a roof and more. Tests even report how items such as temperature will affect the most critical items such as elongation and strength, or how aging affects this. Some companies won’t reveal these if not in their favor. Therefore, it is wise to compare all features and be suspicious if they’re not printed in company literature when considering competing products.
Q. Is there one physical feature considered to be most important?
A. No. That’s why ASTM, Miami/Dade County, and all others include multiple physical properties in their standards for roof coating products. Unfortunately, no one can accurately predict which will be more needed than another for any situation. “Minimums” don’t always handle it, making any work with those, risky business. This explains why our coatings such as Topps Seal® far exceed every national or international performance standard for elastomeric protective roof coatings. This does not mean they will perform miracles. However, they will outperform in situations where others with lower standards will fail.
Q. What about measurements reported for after a product is brand new, as in testing aged product? What does this imply and why is it important?
A. It is important that basic properties such as Elongation and Tensile strength are evaluated AFTER aging. This advanced testing is required to pass the most stringent regulations such as the Miami/Dade County modified ASTM. Many products don’t report these if results are unfavorable. This is valuable because those features are most crucial with respect to weathering protection and often among the quickest to fail. Products which diminish the quickest are not simply weaker and less able to perform compared to others. They are very likely to provide even less protection later.
Q. Products containing water always seem to be weaker in every capacity. Why is a water based product used when another product can do so much more?
A. Most often this is contractor preference for clean-up by using just soapy water instead of the proper solvent (our solvent based products only involve ordinary simple mineral spirits found in most any hardware or paint store). California requires only water based products so we provide those for this market as well. Under special circumstances, such as application over fibered aluminum roof coating we will recommend only the use of water base. All our products are well within national VOC limits and therefore are widely used.
Q. What about silicone based products? They are costly but are they valuable?
A. The nature of silicones makes them desirable by some for flat roofs which pool water for extended periods. Yet their limited elongation and tensile strength put them on par with coatings costing significantly less for other roofs and worse against others that provide stronger solutions with more typical needs. Reflectivity along with other factors used to measure cooling ability, of silicone coatings, as reported by Energy Star®, CRRC®, quickly and significantly fall. Consequently, they lose favor. Do be aware that silicone coatings do not prevent a seam or other component from coming loose and allowing damage. Once water gets beneath the membrane of a flat roof with rolled roofing, decay accelerates as does the need for a total roof replacement.
For more information read our post Comparing Topps Seal® to 100% Silicone Coatings.
Q. So besides extra features, is there a primary characteristic distinguishing Topps® products?
A. Yes. With each of our products, we utilize chemistry which modifies very slowly during weathering including UV exposure. Because our products are used in such varied climates from Middle East deserts, application on the Antarctic, the tropics of Asia and Africa…to every imaginable climate in between… we know we must be able to withstand greater conditions and provide a realistic and cost effective option where ever product is used. Consequently, even the acrylic basis of our TS Commercial WB is selected from among the thousands available, specifically for rooftop weathering, even when cheaper acrylic resins are available.
Q. I see where products designated as energy saver/cool roofing can produce energy savings. Is this something I should consider? Are some better than others?
A. Consider this only if purchasing a product for reducing rooftop temperatures, and the transfer of that heat energy into the building, are valuable to you. All products that are Energy Star® or CRRC listed will show their reported change in value after 3 years, indicating how they perform over time. As all products are expected to change over time, reduced performance standards have been established. It should be noted that our flagship Topps Seal® even after rooftop aging, continues to exceed the minimum laboratory requirements expected only for roof coatings prior to exposure. This performance level is 50% greater than competitive products are required to meet after aging.
Q. I see where Topps offers liquid installed seam/fastener sealants and flashing compounds, plus a reinforcing mesh. Others offer only tapes to be hand applied to seams etc. Why?
A. Joints provide potential for leaks. Our chemistry allows us to provide sealants in liquid form for more efficient application of those seals. This enables an additional level of sealing which is often ignored for cost reasons (bids) when it requires workers on hands-and-knees to otherwise install a seal. We provide a mesh for optional use where greater reinforcement is needed.
Q. The Topps coatings largely are even more elastic and stronger than repair compounds sold by others. Is there a reason for this?
A. Yes. This comes back to our basic chemistry. It is anchored in synthetic materials that are not easily attacked by nature’s elements. To accomplish this, we started with the development of our repair compounds and built out. Polyprene® flashing cement was engineered some 40 years ago. From there we built our coatings. This is contrary as most will first come up with a coating to sell, then add sealants and repair compounds to make the coating work better. Consequently, it can be said that our flagship coatings are developed off our repair compounds. This makes them standouts and second to none.
Q. Are the Topps products available through distribution outlets?
A. They are available at certain strategically located outlets. We recommend you contact Topps to locate one. We can work through your preferred distributor but also regularly ship direct to sites not serviced by distribution.