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What Is a Foam Roof? A Complete Guide

on top of roof

As a homeowner, you will need to replace your roof at some point in time. You may be looking for an updated look, need to repair a leak, or want to increase the value of your home. No matter what your reasoning is, there are many different roofing options to consider. One option is a foam roof. Keep reading to learn more about a foam roof, its potential advantages and disadvantages, and other considerations.

What Is a Foam Roof?

A foam roof is exactly as it sounds – a roof made out of foam. It is typically referred to as spray polyurethane foam (SPF). It is made by combining isocyanate and polyol. The foam comes out as a liquid spray that then expands and hardens into the foam material.

The spray is applied directly to the roof surface and will expand up to 20 to 30 times its original size. This usually looks like 1 to 1.5 inches of foam. Roofers can apply additional coatings to provide added durability and protection against things like radiation, fire, and more.

So, when you look at a finished foam roof, you will see the following layers:

  • The existing roof or decking
  • The spray foam
  • A base coat
  • A top coat
  • Optional granules

You may also encounter two different types of spray foam: open-cell and closed-cell foam. Open-cell is often used solely for interior applications. Closed-cell is ideal for roofing because it offers more insulation to help keep water and air out. By hiring a professional roofing company, such as Axis Roofing, you can ensure the right spray foam is being used for your home.

Foam Roof Advantage: Insulation

There are several advantages of a foam roof. One of the largest benefits is ample insulation. Foam roofs have optimal thermal resistance to help keep your home’s temperature stable while reducing the impact of atmospheric temperatures. In other words, it will help keep your home cool in the hot weather and warm in the cold weather. This will also aid with energy efficiency. You could see improvements in your utility bills if your new foam roof offers better insulation than your current roof.

Foam Roof Advantage: Water Resistance

Another key advantage of foam roofing is its waterproofing capabilities. When applied properly, the foam should be airtight and even, with no holes, gaps, or nooks for water to seep through. Closed-cell spray foam also resists water absorption for added protection. Keeping water out is crucial to preventing water damage, sagging, mold, and other water-related issues. Excess water could quickly cause structural issues that lead to even costlier repairs.

You may experience better waterproofing and water resistance from foam roofing than options like shingles because it doesn’t rely on layering and overlapping to close-off areas where water can enter.

Foam Roof Advantage: Lightweight Design

The weight of your roof puts additional demand on your house’s structure. A foam roof is relatively lightweight, weighing in at as little as 0.25 pounds per square foot. This is ideal for meeting weight restrictions, especially if you’re dealing with an older home that may not be as durable as new construction. To figure out your home’s unique needs, reach out to Axis Roofing. We can help evaluate your current roof, any weight limitations, and if a foam room is the best solution for your new roof.

Foam Roof Disadvantage: Certain Conditions Must Be Met

To apply a foam roof, there are certain physical and environmental conditions that must be met. Ideally, the weather should be warm and dry. Snow, ice, rain, and other types of moisture can keep the foam spray from adhering properly. Additionally, cold temperatures can keep the foam from forming properly. Keep this in mind when planning what time of year you’ll install your foam roof. The roof must also be prepped prior to installation. It should be free of dust, dirt, leaves, oil, and all other forms of debris. This requires thorough cleaning and inspection. A professional roofer will understand how to meet these conditions to ensure proper installation.

Foam Roof Disadvantage: Potential Health Hazards

Many spray-on products can present health risks if they aren’t used properly. The foam spray can release toxic fumes that are dangerous to your health. Professional roofers will understand the associated risks and come prepared with the right equipment. They will likely utilize eye, skin, and respiratory safety equipment for protection.

Because of the toxic fumes, you must also be conscious of overspray. Inexperienced individuals could spray too far over the edge of the house, causing excess fumes and droplets. This further asserts the need for professional help. Professionals will know how to vacate the area, use windscreens, and eliminate concerns associated with potential overspray.

Installing a Foam Roof

To install a foam roof, isocyanate and polyol are brought to the worksite in separate containers. They are usually kept in the back of a truck, which is then parked near the home. The chemicals are heated and transferred through two hoses, where they will meet at a mixing gun. They then mix together before being sprayed onto the roofing surface.

Roofers will apply the foam at a thickness of at least 1 inch, but it usually averages around 1.5 inches to 2 inches. The right thickness is crucial to ensure proper density and insulation. The application must also be even to prevent issues with water pooling.

Spray-on foam is susceptible to UV damage. Over time, the sun’s rays can break down the roofing and cause damage. As a result, a coating is applied over the foam within three days. Professional roofers will use an elastomeric coating that can expand and contract with changing temperatures.

Foam Roof Maintenance

As with any roof, foam roofs require regular maintenance. They are susceptible to damage from storms, birds, and debris. You should keep your roof clean of dirt, twigs, leaves, and other items using a soft-bristled brush. You should also have a roofer inspect your roof twice a year to monitor for any cracks, holes, or other imperfections. Catching these issues as soon as possible is crucial to preventing extensive damage.

How Long Do Foam Roofs Last

The average lifespan of foam roofs is around 20 years. However, some can last up to 50 years as long as they are properly installed and maintained. Improper installation can severely cut down on the roof’s longevity, as can neglect. Any issues with your foam roof should be addressed quickly and appropriately for it to last as long as possible.

Should You Get a Foam Roof?

Foam roofs are a great option to consider, with the potential to bring insulation, energy efficiency, and more to your home. There are some possible disadvantages to going with a foam roof, though you can avoid these drawbacks by seeking professional help. We can help you make an informed and confident decision.

Get Roofing Help Today

Axis Roofing is a roofing company with over a decade of experience. We provide residential and commercial roofing assistance. This includes storm damage repairs, low-slope roofing, foam roofing, shingle roofing, roof coating, and roof maintenance. Whether you’re looking for a quote or are ready to start your roofing project, we’re ready to help. If you’re in Mesa, AZ or any of the surrounding areas, contact Axis Roofing today!

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