How Often Should a Flat Roof Be Coated?

Hunker may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story.

Even more so than other roofs, flat roofs require maintenance in order to last. This maintenance typically comes in the form of coating the flat roof. A lifespan of an un-coated flat roof is around 10 years but coating it every five years or so can extend this enormously. Coating a flat roof can also save money on costly repairs down the line. How often you need to coat your roof, and which coating is the best, depends on a few factors.

How Often Should a Flat Roof Be Coated?
Image Credit: DaveBolton/E+/GettyImages

How Can You Tell Your Flat Roof Needs Coating?

Flat roofs are not usually actually flat, but instead have a very slight slope. Because of this, the main issue which affects flat roofs is drainage issues. It's far better to coat the roof as a pre-emptive measure rather than wait for drainage issues such as ponding or leaks and then attempt to correct them. Ponding can also lead to fine cracks in PVC called crazing. Any signs of structural damage are a sure sign your roof needs coating. However, even if you do not have signs of damage and it has been five or more years since your roof was last coated, it's still worth coating your flat roof.

Aluminum Coating For Flat Roof

A popular way to coat flat roofs is to use a reflective roof coating. These can include aluminum or silver roof paints. These paints help keep a home cooler in the summer, which saves on energy bills. A flat roof's silver coating will not likely be made of actual silver–it is more likely to be aluminum based. These paints also don't look metallic and, in fact, dry white, which gives them a much more subtle effect. They also inhibit fungal growth and are usually self-priming, which makes them a quicker choice for flat roof coating.

How To Coat Your Flat Roof

The first step towards coating your roof is to thoroughly clean it. There is no way to ensure a coating properly adheres unless your roof is thoroughly clean.

It can also be a good idea to use a primer on your roof before painting. Primers will help coating thoroughly adhere. Conversely to what you may think, coatings tend to adhere better to rougher surfaces. Check with your coating manufacturer for primer recommendations.

You can paint on your silver coat roof seal yourself. However, if there are underlying issues such a leaks or ponding, it may be better to use a contractor for a more thorough job. If you do undertake the task, remember to take adequate safety precautions. Make sure your ladders are stable and in good condition, and never work in adverse weather conditions.


Annie Walton Doyle is a freelance writer based in Manchester, UK. Her work has appeared in The Huffington Post, The Daily Telegraph, Professional Photography Magazine, Bustle, Ravishly and more. When not writing, she enjoys pubs, knitting, nature and mysteries.

View Work