Look around any neighborhood in Hawaii and you will see a real revolution taking place — the “Cool Roof” revolution. Homeowners are choosing to leave their roofs in place and protect them with a waterproof coating instead of replacing them every 10 to 20 years. This is very cost-effective. Until recently, most of these coatings were water-based acrylic coatings — which have performed very well in Hawaii’s climate, but not perfectly. On flat roofs with heavy ponding water, there are cases where the coating will eventually wrinkle up.

It is easy enough to fix these areas every few years with more roof fabric and coating, but now you don’t need to. The silicone-based coatings, which have grabbed a large share of the local market over the last four years, have proven themselves. They have proven themselves in even the heaviest ponding water conditions — even those roofs that never dry at all. This is because silicone is not water-based, so it does not absorb moisture at all.

Protection against ponding water is only one of the many benefits of silicone coatings. Here are some others:


• Silicone won’t chalk off over time. Silicone is what is called a “non-sacrificial” coating — meaning that it won’t slowly shed as the years go by. How long? GacoRoof, one of the leading brands, offers a 50-year material warranty against defects in the coating. How long will it really stand up under Hawaii’s tough conditions? So far most of the roofs that have been done here locally are only about four to five years old, but they look new. It will be worth it to see if Gaco Silicone and Tropical Silicone really can stand the test of time — stay tuned.

• It’s easy to apply because it doesn’t need to be reinforced with a roof fabric. This saves a lot of time and money. In some cases homeowners may want to reinforce a few “weak-knee” areas like the perimeter drip edge, or a skylight curb with the roof fabric. However, in many cases it’s not needed.

• It dries quickly and won’t wash off if a sudden rain squall comes in while you are applying it. It also bonds tightly to most surfaces.

No coating is perfect. Here are the things to watch out for: • It’s slippery when wet. Be careful if you go on your roof to pick mangoes.


Better yet, don’t even try.

• It’s more expensive per gallon than acrylics. However you don’t need to buy roof fabric — or put down a coating as thick — so the cost per square foot is roughly the same as the acrylics.

• Once you go silicone you can’t go back. In the future if you do need to recoat it, you will most likely have to stick with silicone again. No one knows for sure what new materials will come out, but right now most other coatings don’t stick to silicones.

Whether you are thinking of doing it yourself or having a licensed contractor install a cool roof for you, visit The Cool Roof Store at GEO at 575 Cooke St. in Kakaako. There you can compare all the major roof coating brands: GACO, Tropical Silicone, Hawaiian SunGuard, Apoc Sta-Kool, White Lava and others. Talk to the real experts there, who often-times have just come off a roof and may still have fresh coating on their hands. They have installed them all and know them well.


You can go to www.leakmaster.com — the website of its sister company, LeakMaster Roofing, for some web-only specials. You also can call the company at 591-1900.

CONTACT: 591-1900
WEBSITE: www.leakmaster.com


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