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The Importance of Prep Work Before a Coating Installation

To efficiently install a commercial roofing project, it’s important to “Prioritize the Prep.”

Many view preparing a roof for installation as tedious, however scraping and covering equipment and skylights as well as masking off a parapet wall is essential.

Roofers Are Anxious to Get Roofing, Quality Roofers Prep First

When asked about preparation, Chris Ford of our technical and training services division said, “In my travels, working with contractors all over the country, failure to perform proper prep work is one of the costliest missteps I see on a regular basis.”

Ford continues, “Having to stop the roof application because an area needs to be cleaned, or needs to be covered to protect it, doesn’t just cost the time it takes to do that work. It costs you times four because the other guys on the crew are likely just standing around while that one guy gets done with what he’s doing.”

An often-overlooked task are pipes, conduits and wires that typically lay on the roof. You may be inclined to spray coating right over it, but someday those pipes and wires will need to be disturbed, which will damage the roof coating’s seal. Instead lift up the pipes and all you have to repair is a small area under your temporary riser. Quick work now will save a lot of trouble later.

It is important to think about air conditioners. Ford states, “If units need to be lifted and cleaned underneath, it is probably two to three times more efficient to get that done before starting the roof application. I see crews leave those all the time. Then when they finally get around to addressing them there is much more dirt and debris under them then they thought. All that ends up flying around the roof and you battle it the rest of the job.”

Don’t ignore surface cleaning, which is needed for good adhesion. If this part of the preparation is not done right, the coating will be applied to the dirt instead of the surface, resulting in an uneven surface that may peel or blister. Power washing paired with a good scrubbing is always preferred, like our #9000 Roof Wash & Prime – 9000.

Do you need to use a primer? Your manufacturer should tell you if the roof surface you are trying to cover needs this additional step. Since commercial roofs are made of different materials, a primer suited for the applicable surface will work best for greater adhesion.

It is also important to address rust. Areas with rust need a rust inhibiting primer, such as our #900R MTL + Rust Primer-900R.

Finally, another important step is scraping and resealing around suppers and drains,

replacing if necessary. This practice makes sure the water leaves the roof like it should.

“If we just spend the extra day or two getting the roof ready so once we start, we don’t have to stop, we can generally finish the job much quicker overall. The work needs to be done either way, the order in which the work gets done is what will determine what the profit will be on the job. Work smarter, not harder.”

If you aren’t sure of what products to use when preparing your roof for a coating installation, contact us to learn more!