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When to Use Aluminum Reflective Roof Coatings or Acrylic on Your Commercial Roof

For building owners and operators, energy efficiency is, increasingly, the name of the game. From high-performance insulation to energy-efficient windows and lighting, there are all sorts of products on the market to help you keep your utility bills down.

But what about your roof? Out of sight/out of mind means that we often don’t think about how to leverage our roofing systems to help manage the buildings’ overall energy efficiency. However, innovative roofing materials not only reduces the energy load on your building but helps extend the overall lifespan of your roof system.

What Are Reflective Roof Coatings?

Reflective roof coatings and specifically aluminum reflective roof coatings, are a great option for contractors and building owners looking to improve their building’s energy efficiency at a lower price point than the longer-lasting and higher performing acrylic coatings. 

What Are the Other Benefits of Reflective Roof Coatings?

Along with potential cost savings from reduced energy usage, reflective roof coatings offer a number of other benefits to contractors and building owners, including:

  • Durability. Reflective Coatings are part of Western Colloid’s Fluid Applied Reinforced Roof (FARR) coating systems. FARR systems are liquid emulsion coatings applied between layers of reinforced polyester fabric, creating a waterproof and long-lasting commercial roof coating.
  • Ease of installation. Western Colloid roof coatings are designed to be applied over existing roof systems, including metal and BUR roofs. This saves contractors significant time by skipping the removal of the existing roof.
  • Affordability. FARR systems are a cost-effective way of extending the life of your roof. Materials are significantly less expensive than traditional roof systems, and installation is typically faster, reducing labor costs.

Acrylic or Aluminum: Which Should I Choose?

While Western Colloid started out almost 50 years ago with the cost saving and revolutionary aluminum-based coatings such as this 525 SilverWhite coating, they now offer longer-lasting acrylic coatings that are even more energy-efficient. Both types of coatings are designed to be compatible with a number of different roof systems, including metal, smooth BUR, mineral granulated surface, emulsion and Glass Shield roof systems.  

Aluminum reflective coatings are a great solution for commercial roofs in cold climates. Although aluminum coatings are less reflective than acrylic, they are still designed to reflect up to 76% of the sun’s rays, making them a very effective and cost-saving solution for regions that don’t experience extreme heat in the summer. 

Aluminum coating is an excellent option when a building has no A/C cooling load such as warehouses. It also provides an excellent UV and weather barrier for the roof membrane.  This adds extra years to the life and performance of the membrane. Plus, it is easily re-coated, adding even more life to the membrane.

Installing Your Aluminum Reflective Roof Coating


Aluminum reflective roof coatings are designed to be installed over a number of different roof systems, including BUR. However, before the coating is applied, make sure your contractor properly repairs the roof surface. Steps should include:

  • Removing all loose debris
  • Cleaning any oil or grease stains
  • Repairing cracks and updating curbs and flashings
  • Making sure the roof is fully dry

Depending on the area to be coated, contractors can apply aluminum coatings with either a spray or a broom. 525 SilverWhite coating is designed to cover 100 square feet to the gallon. 

Although it’s formulated to work best in cooler climates, aluminum roof coatings should not be applied if the temperature is below 55 degrees, as it may not dry properly. In addition, contractors should not apply it if there is a chance of rain or in the evening where it can accumulate dew before it has sufficiently dried.

Want to Know More?

If you think a reflective roof coating might be right for you, visit the Western Colloid website to find out more about 525 SilverWhite coating or 720 ARC ElastaHyde to request a consultation