Sealing Your Roof Can Extend Its Life and Save You Money on Repair Costs
The roof of a home is designed to provide decades of protection from the elements. Mother Nature, however, is trying to find her way into your house at every turn and given enough time, she usually succeeds. While you may not be able to stop her entirely, you can at least slow her down by using a roof sealant.
Why Should I Seal My Roof?
Your roof is constantly subjected to sun, wind, rain, and other forces capable of lowering its lifespan. But when roof sealant is applied the sealant - not the roof - takes the brunt of the damage. In addition to everyday wear and tear a sealant can help protect your roof from:
- Fire: Applying a sealant increases a roof's flame retardant properties. While stone tile made from slate and concrete are nearly impervious to fire, asphalt, wood, and flat roofs benefit greatly from the added fire protection.
- Microorganisms: A sealant gives your roof greater resistance to moss and algae growth, which can severely diminish the life of your roof if left unchecked.
Types of Roof Sealant
The degree to which a sealant protects the roof depends largely on the material used and the thickness of the material. There are varying degrees of sealant thicknesses available, from 7 to 10 mils (a mil is 1/1,000 of an inch) all the way up to 40 mils. When choosing a sealant material the main considerations are the type of roof and the type of roof covering.
Flat Roof Sealants
A flat roof is especially susceptible to leaks caused by weather and falling debris as well as dirt and rocks that, in tandem with foot traffic, act as abrasives. There are numerous products on the market designed to enhance the protective properties of a flat roof membrane, including those made from rubberized asphalt and elastomer (a type of synthetic rubber).
Shingle and Tile Sealants
There are several options available to seal shingle roofs (asphalt and wood shakes) as well as tile roofs (slate, clay, ceramic, concrete). Most are a type of spray-on clear coat that give the roof added waterproofing and UV protection.
How is Sealant Applied?
How a roof sealant is applied depends on the type of roof sealant used and the type of roof being sealed. Some sealants (such as liquefied rubber and elastomeric products) can be sprayed or rolled/painted on. Other sealants (namely tar) must be rolled and/or brushed on because the substance is far too thick to be used in a sprayer. The sprayer used in most circumstances (with the exception of clear asphalt roof sealant) is a heavy duty commercial-grade sprayer designed to be used with thick substances like elastomerics. The average DIY paint sprayer pump cannot handle much more than latex paint.
Roof Sealant Costs
The cost to seal a roof depends on the area of the country you live in; professional roofing labor costs vary from state to state due to licensing and restriction costs.
- Expect a professional to charge anywhere from $.25 to $1.00 per square foot of roof surface to apply a sealant (or $375 to $1,500 for a typical 1,500 square foot roof). Clear coating shingles and tiles will be on the lower end of the pricing spectrum, while the cost to seal a flat roof tends to be on the higher end.
- The cost of the sealant itself might be $10 to $30 per gallon. One gallon usually covers 75 to 100 square feet, which, for a 1,500 square foot roof, works out to $200 to $600 in materials.