Common Misconceptions about SPF Roofing Systems

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There are some common misconceptions about SPF roofing systems that Kauffman Roofing in Jamesport can help clear up so that you can decide what roof is best for your building. And if you still need a little help, you’re welcome to contact our team for a consultation.

SPF stands for sprayed polyurethane foam. So, let’s take a look at the characteristics of an SPF commercial roofing system as described in a National Roofing Contractors Association article.

Adhered Roof System

These types of roof are made by mixing and spraying a two-component liquid that forms the base of an adhered roof system. A foam is installed in different thicknesses to have a specified thermal resistance which is called an R-value or to give the roof a certain slope which allows the roof to drain. Then a protective surfacing is applied to the foam protecting it from the elements.


The first layer is closed cell, spray polyurethane foam (SPF) insulation which has components of isocyanate and polyol. Transfer pumps heat and spray the components through dual hoses where they are mixed at the spray gun and applied to a substrate.

Protective Surfacing

This is usually sprayed as an elastomeric coating, but sometimes hand and power rollers are used. It may also be a membrane like a fleece-backed thermoset single ply membrane. The protective surface adds weatherproofing to the roof, protecting the foam from UV exposure and from mechanical damage. It also helps make the roof fire-resistant.

There are different types of coatings used on SPF-based commercial roof systems including:

  • Aromatic Polyurethane Elastomer
  • Aliphatic Polyurethane Elastomer
  • Modified Polyurethane Elastomer
  • Acrylic
  • Butyl Rubber
  • Hypalon™
  • Silicone

Conditions like wind speed, sunlight, surface moisture, humidity, and temperature of the substrate can affect the reaction of the polyurethane foam. Depending on what kind of weather your building will experience, the chemicals used to make the polyurethane foam can be made to perform in various temperature ranges. Sometimes mineral granules or sand are used in the coating to improve surface durability and aesthetic value.

Common Misconceptions about SPF Roofing Systems

Not everyone understands how an SPF roof system works and how it can benefit your building. Now let’s take a look at some common misconceptions about SPF roofing systems and then the facts. This can help you decide if an SPF roofing system is the best choice for your building.

Misconception: Sprayed polyurethane foam roofing doesn’t last long as other types of roofs.

Fact: Experience and research show that SPF roofing systems can last at least up to 30 years and sometimes longer. Since the physical properties of the SPF don’t change much with age, how long it lasts depends on if you have your commercial roof installed properly and if the roof has been routinely maintained. A National Roofing Foundation (NRF) study at Arizona State University showed high customer satisfaction relating to the durability of SPF materials.

Misconception: SPF is too new to the industry and is not a proven material for insulation and roofing.

Fact: Polyurethane spray foam technology has actually been around for more than 50 years. It was first used commercially in the US in the 1960s for cold storage and industrial insulation projects. The foam’s exterior applications on tanks and pipes in the late 1960s to early 1970s evolved into SPF roofing systems. SPF roofing material is recognized by the National Building Code and has been proven to reduce penetrations of the building envelope.

Misconception: You can’t walk on SPF roofs.

Fact: If the foam is applied correctly it can hold up to 40 pounds per square inch or more, according to the Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance (SPFA) and National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA). This is quite capable of holding the weight of any normal person. The SPF product we use can easily withstand light foot traffic and other weight load bearing requirements.

If you do need to walk on the roof, we caution that an extremely sharp object can create a hole in the roofing that may compromise the building envelope. To avoid problems, you should use the walk pads when making commercial roofing repairs and inspections.

Misconception: You must wait for perfect weather to apply SPF roofing system.

Fact: Sprayed polyurethane foam has been installed worldwide in all kinds of weather. Of course, it’s best to install your SPF roofing system when the temperature is between 60 and 120 degrees Fahrenheit. But that ideal temperature is the same for any other roofing application. When we install your SPF roofing system we will also pay attention to moisture levels, humidity and the wind, but any roofing installation should also consider those factors.

Misconception: An SPF roofing system is very difficult to apply properly.

Fact: Our roofing experts know what they are doing. They have the experience and training with SPF roofing systems. We don’t believe in cutting corners or skimping on quality in our roofing work. We take the time to perform meticulous roof installation jobs and repairs. We are focused on completing your commercial roofing project on time and within budget.

Misconception: SPF roofing systems are all the same.

Fact: Although it is true that SPF products are lightweight yet strong, provide a seal over your entire roof deck, give high insulation value, provide weather resistance and have environmental benefits, all SPF materials are not the same and roofing professionals are not the same. An incorrectly applied roof will have problems. Kauffman Roofing can help you decide the appropriate roof for your building’s conditions.

Misconception: SPF roofing systems are expensive.

Fact: Sprayed polyurethane foam is an affordable roofing option. Over the last few years, the costs of flat roofs have increased but the cost of SPF commercial roofing systems have not. They are very competitively priced. You will save money on replacement costs with an SPF roof because it is strong and will last a long time and the maintenance costs are low. Your building will also save on energy costs.

It’s time to learn the truth regarding the common misconceptions about SPF roofing systems. And it may be time for you to consider an SPF roofing system for your commercial building. Our experts at Kauffman Roofing in Jamesport can walk you through the benefits and see if it’s right for your needs. Get in touch today to speak with one of our commercial roofing professionals.

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