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Silicone vs Acrylic vs Urethane

All coatings have their place in the market. For example, dry climates (the desert southwest) are excellent environments for acrylics due to the inherent properties of those products. The composition of acrylics do not allow it to withstand UV exposure without breaking it down, which causes chalking on the surface. As this progresses, the coating wears thinner in time, requiring more frequent maintenance and re-coating in order to maintain the integrity of the product’s performance.

Conversely, regions that have a more humid environment and annual rainfall rate are poor candidates for acrylics. These environments promote the growth molds, mildew and algae which are detrimental to acrylics and their performance. Furthermore, the exposure to moisture, especially on low slope and flat roofs will lead to the acrylic coating softening and breaking down at a much more accelerated rate.

Silicone coatings have exploded in the Southeast Region because of the physical properties. Silicone are hydrophobic so they repel water. This gives the coating film the ability to stand up to the constant bombardment of water. Silicones are inorganic and will not be broken down by UV. They have the same chemical backbone as sand and glass, so they will not deteriorate from harsh UV. The film is not porous so the algae tentacles cannot bite into the coating.

Some manufacturers have come out with urethane coating applications for roofs. APT has come out with a single component moisture cure urethane. The physical properties for tensile and elongation are higher than silicone and they stand up to ponding water. Urethanes are organic matter that will break down under UV so the initial film build will be greater than silicone making the application slightly higher in material costs.

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