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New Roof Coating vs. New Roof Replacement

If your home or business has an aging, leaky, or weather-worn roof, there are two options to address the issue: roof coatings or a full roof replacement. Both options can eliminate roofing problems, but each is best for certain scenarios.

Take a look at the differences between roof coatings and roof replacements to determine which option might be the right fit for your specific needs.

Is it Worthwhile to Invest in Roof Coatings?

A roof coating is a specially formulated liquid that keeps your roof safe for up to 20 years. It protects your roof against weather damage, UV rays, and minor impacts. Roof coatings are a cost-effective solution to address less extensive roof damage or as a form of roof maintenance. You can apply them over any roof, even membranes, to repair or increase its protection.

What Types of Roof Coatings are Best?

Various roof coatings are available, like acrylic, asphalt, and silicone. These are applied in liquid form, so a roofer typically uses a spray or a roller to spread it onto your roof. Each coating type is formulated for a specific purpose. For instance, acrylic coatings shield your roof from UV rays, and silicone guards against weather damage and standing rainwater.

A reputable roofing company in Los Angeles can advise you on the most suitable option for your home or business’s roof.

Pros of Roof Coating:

  • Cost-effectiveness. Roof coatings are a cost-effective way to protect your roof from the elements. They use fewer materials and labor than roof repairs or replacements.
  • Faster solution. Roof coatings are easy to apply, even on complex roofs, and quickly boost your roof’s protection.
  • Can repair some types of roof damage. A roof coating can fix minor cracks and prevent leaks. Applying it early can save money by stopping further damage and reducing major repair costs.
  • Can give your roof additional protection. The right roof coating for your home or commercial building can reduce wear and tear. For example, some coatings can protect metal roofs against corrosion. Others can increase the roof’s reflectance to meet California Cool Roof standards.
  • Suitable for complex roof designs. Roof coatings typically have elastomeric formulas that can expand or contract roofing corners, valleys, and intricate details like flashing and joints.

Cons of Roof Coatings:

  • Not a long-term solution. Roof coatings applied professionally can last years; however, they do not replace roof repairs or replacements. Coatings eventually wear off and require re-application.
  • Not all coatings work on all roofs. Roof coatings are not available for all roofing types or slope angles. Coatings may not adhere well on high-angle roofs or materials like tile or shingles.
  • Cannot fix structural issues. Coatings offer barrier surface protection and can often mask underlying structural issues that can deteriorate over time, resulting in more costly repairs. Coatings can’t address serious issues like significant leaks, structural harm, or missing tiles and shingles.
  • Needs a lot of prep work. Dirt and debris can prevent proper coating adherence. The contractor cleans the roof thoroughly and patches and seals blisters, cracks, or damaged flashing before applying the coating. Porous roofs, like asphalt, need priming before coating.
  • Can only be applied in good weather. Roof coatings should be applied in warm, dry conditions. Moisture can cause poor adherence and issues like blistering. The coating needs time to set; very cold or hot weather can affect the quality and curing time.

When to Consider a Roof Replacement

If your roof is old, has many damaged parts, or has a compromised underlayment, roof coatings may not be enough to protect your home and prevent damage to its interior. That is when you should consider a partial or total roof replacement instead.

Roof replacement projects require more time and resources than roof coatings, typically requiring a thorough inspection of its structure, removal of old and damaged parts, and installation of new roof materials. You should consider it if a roofing professional recommends it or if roof coatings wouldn’t be sufficient to address all issues.

Pros of Roof Replacement:

  • High longevity. A roof replacement is ideal for a long-lasting fix. Although roofs typically last between 10 and 50 years based on their material, timely replacement can prolong their lifespan.
  • Can strengthen your building. Besides fixing damage, modern roofing materials offer better insulation, helping maintain indoor temperatures and easing HVAC loads. Newer materials also have higher wind resistance ratings, and replacing the roof can redistribute the weight of the roof evenly over the building structure. This is ideal if your old roof has begun to sag or degrade due to moisture damage or rot.
  • Restores your roof’s appearance. Your roof plays a role in your home or building’s appearance. A roof replacement not only fixes damage but gives it a refreshed, new look, improving its curb appeal.
  • New roof can be made from green materials. When replacing a roof, you can choose eco-friendly roofing materials. This allows you to take advantage of rebates and other incentives for installing materials that qualify your roof as a Cool Roof in California.

Cons of Roof Replacement:

  • Takes longer to complete. The extent of the work can mean that your home or commercial space might be inaccessible for several days or even weeks. For instance, replacing an asphalt shingle roof for a typical home usually takes 1-3 days. However, for larger homes, more complex roofs, or when using slower-to-install materials, it can take a week or more.
  • More expensive. While roof replacement can address more problems than a roof coating, it is also more costly. Ask for a detailed quote to understand the costs involved in your roof replacement project.
  • May expose parts of your building. The old roofing material must be entirely removed to ensure the new roof adheres properly and any underlying issues are addressed. This process exposes the underlying deck or substrate.
  • Mechanical and HVAC installations can complicate re-roofing. Due to accessibility challenges and potential obstructions, these units might require temporary removal and reinstallation, increasing labor and costs.

New Roof Coating vs. New Roof Replacement: What is the Right Roofing Solution for Me?

Determining whether your roof needs a coating or a replacement depends on your roof’s materials, slope angle, the type and extent of the damage or issues it is experiencing.

A professional roofing contractor can inspect your roof and advise you on the best option. Our team at AJ Reyes will check the condition of your roof, determine whether it needs a coating or a replacement, and provide a quote and estimated time to complete so you know what to expect.

Roofing Professionals Can Help You

Whether your home or commercial building needs a new coating, repairs, or a full replacement, you can count on AJ Reyes. We have over 25 years of experience handling roofing projects for customers in Los Angeles and across Southern California. Contact us today to get a free estimate.


The lifespan of a roof coating depends on the materials used. On average, most coatings last 10 to 20 years.

Extensive damage typically calls for a roof replacement as a long-lasting, cost-effective solution. However, for minor problems, a roof coating offers a more budget-friendly, short-term fix.

While the time needed to complete either project depends on the size and complexity of your roof, coating projects take 1-2 days on average, drying time included. A roof replacement project can require anywhere between 1 and 8 days.

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