Today we're going to go over what is the difference between silicone and acrylic roof coating.
What is the difference between acrylics and silicone?
All right, so the first thing that's really different between acrylics and silicone is actually at the chemical level. Literally, what molecules make up the two different materials?
Whereas on acrylic, it's water based, just like a lot of the paint on your wall might be in your house or in your office. If you were to rub on it with some aggressiveness, you would see it actually starts.
Chalking, is what we call it, and it'll come off on your finger. So the biggest difference between silicone and acrylic is literally at the chemical level, they're just two completely different materials. Now, in terms of roofing and which one is best for your property, we'll kind of walk through the different categories that can help you make a decision. Some of those include cost, longevity and durability, reflectivity. And then, obviously, we also want to be conscious of any environmental factors that come into play in regards to the materials that we're using on a specific building. So we'll go ahead and dive into some of the other factors that help you decide what's the best option for your specific building.
What's more affordable, acrylic or silicone roof coatings? It's almost always going to be acrylic. Now, when it comes down to the longevity, the durability, the reflectivity, we're going to go into some of the details next on each of those categories in regards to which one is best. You'll read that overall, silicone is a better material. That's why it costs more. Right. The old saying, you get what you pay for. Well, that's kind of the nature of roof coatings. Acrylics are a very viable solution for a lot of buildings. If you're on a budget and you want maybe a short term option, something to tide you over, you're thinking about selling the building and don't want to invest. From a capital standpoint, there's a variety of situations. Maybe you have plenty of slope to the roof. You're not worried about ponding water. Acrylic could be a very good option for that as well. So the important thing to know is that from a cost standpoint, acrylic is almost always going to be a cheaper option. But there are some detriments to that. So let's look at the next categories of longevity and durability, and look at which one wins in that respect.
Longevity and Durability
We wrote about earlier how silicone is a non sacrificial material, and acrylic is a sacrificial material, meaning that it actually has chalking to it. It wears down over time. So when we're talking about longevity and durability, you can get anywhere from a five to a 20 year, sometimes even 30 year warranty, depending on the specific manufacturer of the silicone. But when it comes to ultimate longevity and durability, regardless of the warranty, how is the roof going to hold up over time? How is the coating going to hold up over time? There's no doubt that silicone is the winner, and that's largely because it's non sacrificial. It also, as we'll talk about in a minute, deals with ponding water much better than acrylic does. And so, as you have issues with ponding on a roof, or if there's a large rain and water sits on the roof for a while, silicone is always going to deal with that better. The last piece of it is the uv stability. Silicone is going to win in the uv stability category, and that provides some more longevity to it. Basically, what does uv stability mean? It means that the sun's rays over time aren't going to chew it up as bad as an acrylic roof, and that's a big factor in determining longevity and durability.
Literally, how much does acrylic or silicone reflect sunlight and provide reflectivity, which ultimately tends to translate into energy efficiency in different situations. So this one, acrylic, actually tends to win. When the materials are first applied, they're going to be very similar, somewhere between 80 and 90% reflectivity. When the materials age. Silicone is actually a little bit stickier. And non sacrificial, like we talked about before. So when something gets up against it and kind of gets embedded in it, it's not going to move off of it the same way that it will. Acrylic. Acrylic is sacrificial, meaning it chalks, it wears off over time. And so what will happen is it actually stays cleaner. There won't be as much dirt build up on it, because that's constantly a layer of acrylic is washing off, and that ultimately helps it stay more reflective than silicone does. So one of the benefits of acrylic is the fact that from a reflectivity standpoint, it's actually going to stay a bit more reflective over the years.
Resistance to Ponding
How the material deals with moisture? Silicone is completely waterproof, basically at the moment that it's put down, whereas acrylic is water based. And so you can run into issues with ponding water where if there's ponding on top of acrylic, it can actually make that sacrificial nature of the product accelerate. You can run into issues with the coating not staying in place and the longevity and durability really decreasing as that acrylic ages. So when it comes to ponding water, if you have a flat roof, for instance, where you have a membrane on it right now, and you'd like to look at doing a roof coating, silicone is almost always going to be the best option for you. It is a little bit more expensive than acrylic, like we talked about earlier, but at the same time, when ponding comes into play and you have an opportunity to mitigate that, silicone is going to be the best bet from a roof coating standpoint.
This is really more important from a contractor standpoint, but it does impact, if you're a property owner, how much you're going to pay for a specific one. And that's part of the reason that silicone is a more costly material, or roof coating to install, and that's because it's really hard on equipment. So when we look at sprayers, which there's a number of different roof coating sprayers out there, they're not too dissimilar from paint sprayers. When we look at sprayers, silicone really doesn't cooperate very well. There are sprayers that are designed specifically for silicone, but they're more expensive and a lot of the times, the silicone, due to the thickness of it, the nature that it doesn't have as much water in it and that it's not water based, makes the machinery struggle a little bit more, much more difficult to clean up. Because it's not water based acrylics. You can simply run them through a machine like you would paint on your wall, and then clean the machine with water. And it's really simple. Silicone and water don't agree. You have to keep those apart as you're going through the process. You can't just start spraying water or running water through your sprayer and hope to clean it up after you're done. So because of the nature of being a very specialized material and specific machines that are needed to apply it, it can ultimately cause the pricing to go up more. And that's why the cost of silicon is a bit more. But the important thing to know is just that acrylic is much easier. It wins in the category of application ease. That's why we consider it to be the more affordable option.
These are both considered relatively environmental friendly materials. That being said, acrylic wins in this respect because it is water based, so it breaks down easily in nature. And so when it comes to making the best decision for your building, you can rest assured that you're choosing two materials that are going to treat the environment well.