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Why Your Bargain Roof Coating Is Leaking & Why You Can’t Stop It.

Finding and fixing roof leaks is very often a frustrating and futile endeavor. It can also be a very costly endeavor if you go about it the wrong way.

First thing you should know is that where you see the water dripping into your home or business is most likely not where the leak is. All roofs are pitched to some degree so leaks can occur on one side of a roof and the water will run to the first opening it finds and leak through. So the source of a leak can be far away from where the actual leak is occurring.

So when you go up on your roof hunting for the source of the leak don’t automatically concentrate on where the drip is located. The best way to find a leak is to walk the roof in sort of a search grid. Up, down and then side to side. You must carefully inspect every inch of the roof. You are looking for any pinhole, crack or split in a seam. Anything that looks like an opening for water to get into. You must also check all HVAC equipment for any loose or damaged panels or shrouds, also check all the curb flashings. These are the usual suspects.

If by chance you locate the source of the leak and it’s simply a split in a seam or small hole from someone stepping on a screw. Then you can apply some roof cement to fix it but make sure you embed some roof mesh into the roof cement. Roof cement is notorious for cracking and needing constant maintenance. Roof mesh will help extend the life of the roof cement. In general roof cement should be viewed as only a temporary fix. Which is ok for a couple of small fixes. What you don’t want to do is go up on your roof with buckets of it and start smearing everything in sight with it.
This will cause more issues than it solves for sure. When you do this you tend to apply the cement way too thick and then in no time it will start to alligator and then crack or chip off. Then you put more on which works for a short time and then when it leaks again you apply more and it now works for an even shorter time and when it fails yet again you have a much bigger problem.

Same goes for when you apply some bargain water based elastomeric roof coating to try and stop your leaks. They always fail way sooner then you think and if you bought it from a Home Improvement Store they will tell you there is no warranty because you didn’t have it professionally installed. Same goes for a lot of other roof coatings. Most times that great sounding warranty isn’t worth the paper it’s written on. The best thing is NOT to ever have to need to make a warranty claim in the first place. That happens when you use a high quality Industrial Roof Coating vs a water based residential grade elastomeric coating.

You must look at the performance specifications so you don’t get fooled into buying what you think is an industrial grade coating when in fact it’s nothing of the sort. Once you start slopping roof cement all over the place and then put on an inferior coating and then have to recoat because your roof keeps developing leaks you end up going down the proverbial rabbit hole and your situation keeps getting worse until you have to rip the roof off and have a new roof installed at a tremendous cost. All of it could have been avoided with the use of the right coating at the start. Yes it cost you more money up front but in the long run you come out way ahead financially and stress wise.

The biggest reason roofs leak and no matter what you do you can’t seam to find the leak is because the actual roofing material or roof coating you used has become porous and water is actually leaking right through the microscopic pores of the material. This is where reading and understanding the specifications come in handy! One of the items in a specification of a roof coating is Perms. Perms is short for permeability, which is how fast moisture can pass through a material. You may have heard of a Perm test for soil, this is where they test the rate water passes through the surface of the soil. Where land that is mostly clay will not be very permeable as compared to soil that is mostly top soil.

Same goes for materials, all physical materials are made up of atoms and the tighter the atoms the less permeable that material is. All roof coatings have microscopic pores, spaces in between the atoms. The size of those pores determine the perm rating. In the case of roof coatings the smaller the Perm number the better. It means moisture has a smaller opening to pass through. When a coating is new the size of it’s pores are smaller than water molecules thus they prevent the water from passing through, much like the clay did in our soil example. However as a coating ages from the sun and begins to stretch out from constant expansion and contraction the pores begin to widen until they get to a point where they are now just slightly larger than water molecules.

So guess what happens, you’re correct, your roof starts leaking. The worst part about it is that you can’t see this so you have no idea why your roof is leaking. Especially since you put a ton of roof cement on everything in sight. What’s even worse your roof may not leak every time it rains. If it’s cold out the roof coating may contract enough to keep water out or if doesn’t rain long enough there won’t be a lot of water weight on the roof coating so again it might not leak. This makes it even more maddening.

So having said all that what you need to take away from this is that you want to start with a roof coating that has the smallest Perm rating to start with. So as your coating stretches and ages it takes a lot longer for that coating’s pores to start passing water. That is why water based elastomerics and most other roof coatings don’t live up to their claims. ArmorGarage uses the highest quality Butyl Rubber and no water in our roof coatings. Butyl rubber is even far superior to EPDM. This gives our coatings the Best Perm ratings by far, compare our Perm rating to your roof coating. This means ArmorGarage roof coatings will stay moisture proof far longer than any elastomeric, water based or EPDM based coating.

So in sum if you go by just the first cost when deciding to do your roof you will most likely end up worse off then you started. Look at the specs, in addition to Perms, you need to look at Hardness ratings and Elongation ratings and what the roof coating is made of ie: water or Butyl rubber and epoxy. A quick word on silicone here, silicone is a must for ponding water and is the only time you should use it. Silicone is soft and subject to damage very easily and once you use silicone you can never use anything else since nothing can stick to it. So when it fails prematurely as most of them do you will be stuck with having to put the same inferior product back on and worse yet you will find out that that amazing sounding warranty is worthless due to one of the small print exceptions they pin on you.

Knowing what you’re buying will help you avoid being in the position of spending untold amounts of time and money trying to fix an ever growing mess you can easily get into. At which time you call in a roofer and he is 99.9% of the time going to tell you that you need a new roof for a gazillion dollars. It’s as easy to predict as if you would ask a Barber if you need a haircut.


HOW TO DO A BLACK & WHITE CHECKERBOARD FLOOR

This floor takes a little extra effort and some patience but is a beautiful look when done. After cleaning the floor properly you will apply two coats of our Armor II commercial epoxy base coat in white. Then apply the bright white topcoat. It will be three layers of white in total. That’s how you get the ultra bright white floor that won’t yellow. Then you will mark out in pencil the black squares. The squares in this floor are 23″ square. If you have a laser it will make the job a lot easier to get the lines straight. We recommend you use 3M pin-stripping tape to avoid bleed through. This is where the extra effort and patience comes in. Getting the tape lines down straight is crucial to having the floor look symmetrical when done. Once you have all the squares taped out you will apply the black in one thick coat using a good 3″ cut in brush and a 4″ roller. Take care not to get black paint into the white squares. It’s a good idea to have some Xylene handy in case you do you can clean it up right away.

Let the black epoxy dry about five hours and then remove the tape. That’s it nothing complicated, it just takes some extra time and a little patience.

The Products used on this floor were the Armor II Commercial Epoxy System in bright white and the black topcoat. To order just select this option in the Color drop down menu.


COVE BASE & EPOXY FLOORING

When doing an epoxy flooring job where you need a 100% water tight floor or you need a 100% sanitary finish between the wall and the floor, cove base is your answer. As you can see from the picture cove base is curved at the top and bottom so that it finishes flush with the wall and floor. This is important for commercial kitchens and food production areas that cannot have a seam or ledge for bacteria to sit on and grow. It’s also great for wash down areas since it protects the walls from water splatter and makes it easier to wash down the floor.
A lot of times even in residential applications you have a garage or other such room over a finished room below. In the case of a garage application you can get snow melt and rain run off that will work its way through the concrete and into the finished space below. Remember concrete is porous so water can and will penetrate all the way through. With a good floor epoxy and some cove base you can turn your garage floor or any floor for that matter into a waterproof tub. Simply install the cove base around the entire perimeter of your space and then run any of our epoxy systems across the floor and up the cove base. You now have a monolithic water tight coating over the floor and up your wall.

Cove base is available in different heights to accommodate any application requirements. It’s easy to install and can be fitted around corners also. We like www.easycove.com. They make a good product that is epoxy paint ready. Or you can make your own cove base out of mortar and a cove base tool. However this very often doesn’t turn out as nice as the easy cove and is very time consuming. Either way you do it, cove base is a great way to finish you epoxy flooring project both from a finished look aspect and for the waterproofing and sanitary benefits.


CAN I EPOXY PAINT MY CURB WALL?

Many garages have a small 6-12” high curb wall around the perimeter. The question is can you epoxy paint that. The answer is yes. But you have to allow for sufficient amount of material to do it. Curb walls are notorious for using up a lot more material than normal. So when you calculate the square footage of the curb wall you should at the very least double it, we like to triple it to be safe, especially if it’s cinder block.

If the size of your garage is 550 square feet, you should not order just one Armor Chip Kit since that is right at the max coverage. You would need to order the Add On Half Kit. With the half kit you will have plenty of material to do your curb wall. If you don’t have a curb wall and your floor size is close to or just over the max coverage, the other option is to purchase the Epoxy Primer. The primer will add an extra layer of epoxy so that you end up with a thicker coating and it also will increase the coverage of the epoxy since it is now going over a sealed surface.

To prep your curb wall you can simply scrub some etching solution on it and rinse well. Prep on the curb wall is not as critical as it is on the floor since you will not be driving or walking on it. You can apply the color flakes to the curb wall by tossing them underhanded at the curb in small quantities. Using a brush is usually the best option to apply the epoxy.
You can do the curb wall first and cut in the floor edges at the same time. We would do a cut in strip of at least 6” on the floor so that you can have at least a 4” strip of wet epoxy without flakes in it. This lets you overlap onto the epoxy without chips in it for a smoother finish when you do the floor.

Topcoating your curb wall is optional. Again since there is not traffic load a topcoat is not necessary. But if you ordered a sufficient amount of product you should have plenty of topcoat on hand. So you might as well go ahead and use all the topcoat.


HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO GET MY GARAGE EPOXY ORDER

When ordering epoxy coatings it’s never a good idea to wait to order so that it arrives a day or two before you plan on doing the job. Many times we get calls from customers who placed an order on a Tuesday or Wednesday expecting to do their project that weekend. If you are in the Tri State area in the Northeast that may be fine but if you are on the west coast or thereabouts then that will be an issue. We do our best to get orders out the door as fast as possible but you have to allow sufficient ground delivery time.

Only water based epoxies can be overnighted so none of our epoxies can be overnighted. When planning to epoxy paint your floor allow as much lead time as possible for several reasons. The epoxy has a shelf life of 1 year and the military topcoat has a shelf life of 6 months. So if you order ahead of time the product will be fine when you’re ready to apply. Also during busy season we tend to get back logged on epoxy orders and it could take a couple of extra days for the warehouse to ship out your epoxy, which is the case as of this righting. We have a sizable backlog of epoxy and deck coating orders. Severe weather can delay FedEx deliveries, or FedEx can lose or damage your order.
As a general guideline always allow a week for delivery, if you are on the west coast allow 7-8 business days to be safe. During summer months lead time for our Renew It Deck Coating can stretch out to two weeks due to demand. Ahead of major holidays you should allow an extra week for delivery.

So plan ahead and if you have an urgent situation gives a call at 866-532-3979 and will do the best we can to accommodate you.