Science of Silicone
Silicone coatings have been developed over many decades for different applications. These years of development have created a strong, UV resistant, moisture cured, environmentally friendly roof coating. In this blog we will take a brief look at the chemical makeup of silicone coatings and why they perform so well for roof coating restorations.
Some of the benefits you have probably heard about silicone roof coatings are that they are:
- Highly UV resistant
- Water resistant
- Energy efficient
These benefits (and more) are due to their scientific makeup and organic qualities which we will discuss below!
Silicone coatings are resistant to UV radiation because of the tightly bonded molecules that form the material. The Paint and Coatings Industry (PCI) wrote an article about the use of silicones in coatings. In that article they state, “Thanks to their particular chemistry, versatility and the inventive dynamism of producers, silicones have become one of the primary materials used in systems to protect buildings against the weather.”
One way that they protect buildings is through reflection of UV rays. The molecules that make up silicone roof coatings are highly photostable. This means they are resistant to change under the energy of light. So what does this mean for your building? If you have a roof restored with PM Silicone, your HVAC system won’t have to work as hard to keep the building at a steady internal temperature. White PM Silicone reflects 88% of the sun’s UV rays, keeping immense amounts of heat out of the building.
The sun’s UV rays can also break down certain roof substrates. Any oil/tar based roof coating can dry and crack after years of exposure to the sun’s UV rays. PM Silicone withstands this damage and offers those substrates decades of additional life.
* If you’re concerned about using the sun’s rays to warm your building this winter, check out this blog. We look into the benefits of silicone even in a cooler climate.
In addition to their UV resistant qualities, silicone coatings have been formulated with hydrophobic properties to make them extremely water resistant. The Institute for Problems in Mechanical Engineering explains this property of silicone coatings: “Hydrophobicity of any material is its resistance to flow of water on its surface. A material is highly hydrophobic if it resists to flowing water dropped on it.” As you can see in the picture to the right, the beading water on the silicone coating indicates a highly hydrophobic surface. So, what does this mean for your building? Unlike acrylic roof coatings, ponding water will not break down silicone over time.
Despite the silicone molecules tight bond, silicone membranes remain flexible when cured. This is extremely useful for roofing because silicone can withstand many temperature fluctuations without becoming cracked or damaged. Overtime, many substrates break down with years of expanding and contracting due to temperature changes. Silicone coatings are designed to be elastic and stand the test of time. As we transition to fall and winter, warm days with cold nights are common and it may seem like the perfect weather! However, with an aging roof system, these temperature changes could cause damage. It’s important to keep up with maintenance checks as we head into winter which is why we have a free maintenance guide online.
Silicone coatings are solvent free and contain extremely low VOC levels. Solvent-free means the coatings aren’t flammable and while they can ignite, their flashpoint is extremely high and wouldn’t have the fuel to sustain fire. Silicone Roof Coatings have extremely low VOC levels, even lower than those required by the strictest standards, like in the state of California. Our coatings meet and exceed material safety standards in all 50 states and can be installed without having to worry about whether or not the material is appropriate for use. In a country that is increasingly becoming more environmentally conscious, even to the point of federal and state legislation banning the use of certain items, it is reassuring to know that silicone is well respected and widely used in energy-conscious circles.
Silicone coatings offer a variety of benefits and they also provide peace of mind when considering longevity and energy efficiency. They have been naturally formulated to be one of the best materials in the construction industry. If you have any questions, you can find your Regional Manager here, or call our office at 812-944-7803.