What is a cool roof system?

A cool roof is designed differently than the common standard roof, in that the cool roof reflects more sunrays absorbing less heat than the standard roofs. Cool roof use paint that has higher light reflecting capabilities, reflective tiles, shingles or even sheet covering. Before installing cool roofs, its required of you to consider the climate of your region. Cool roof requires less conditioning compared to standard or dark roofs.

These roofs come with a couple of benefits compared to what standard roofs offer. Below is a short list of those benefits. Remember the benefits do stretch to the environment if the installation is done on large scale, like a whole community.

The benefits of cool roofs.

Those occupying cool roofed house will have the luxury of benefits like:

  • The roofs reduce conditioning needs thus saving on energy bills.
  • Improve the comfort of indoor spaces without conditioning.
  • The roofs reduce temperatures on the roof thus increasing the durability of your roof.
  • Reduce the urban heat island effect. This is the local temperature.
  • Helps in lowering peak demand for electricity. Preventing or reducing power outages.
  • Prevents the emissions of gases like nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, mercury, and sulfur dioxide. This is achieved by reducing energy used in cooling in the buildings.

There is an endless list of roof systems available. The surface that is exposed to the sun is the main determining factor in having a cool house. Even standard roofs can be made cool by using an appropriate surface.

Coatings for these roofs usually are white or made reflective pigments with the capability to reflect sunlight. The coating is usually thick protecting the surface of the roof from direct UV light and from chemical damage. Some even are water resistant and with restorative features too. These products are available for all roof types.

The low sloped roofs

  1. The single ply membranes.

These are sheets that are pre-fabricated on the rooftop that are attached with mechanical fasteners then adhered with the use of chemical adhesives. They are then held by ballast together. These are made cool by coating them with a black membrane.

  1. The built-up roofs.

This consist of a base sheet that is reinforced with fabric layers with a protective dark layer. These roofs can be made cool by;


  • Using dark gravel in flood coat used as asphalt in place of the reflective marble chips.
  • Instead of dark coating with reflective mineral granules or applied factory coating.
  • On top of the dark asphaltic emulsion, apply a cool coat.
  1. The modified bitumen membrane sheets

These do have more but mostly one layer of rubber or plastic that is reinforced with fabric, that has granule minerals on their surface, and some are smooth. When installed on a roof they are referred to as hybrid roofs. These roofs are made cool by pre-coating them with a cool roof coat.

When you decide to install a cool roof, first determine the cost and whether it will justify the energy savings. These will be among with climate and also the environment, the condition of your current roof, the roof you currently have and not forgetting the efficiency of your current cooling and heating system is. But if it’s a new house then decide while on the planning stage. But if it converting an already installed roof to a cool, then the following options are available for you;

  • Use heat-reflective specialized material to retrofit.
  • Use tile coating to recover the roof or use waterproofing surface.
  • Replace the old roof with a cool one.

If the roof is a bad state or about to attain its durability limit then it will be wise to replace it, re-cover it, or retrofit the entire roof.

The energy and cost saving.

These roofs do not cost more than the non-cool roof. When it comes to new roofs or replacing one. But when it comes to changing standard roofs in good condition, then that will be expensive. For these will include. Materials, maintenance, the recoating and the cleaning not forgetting the labor.

But after installation of the cool roof, the benefits make the whole process cheap for you will gain in energy savings, HVAC downsizing equipment, rebates, and incentives and it will give you a longer life (durability).

Though this may be beneficial to you, it’s better to consider the factors that will affect and lower the durability of such installation. These factors include;

  • Moisture.

• Climate and temperature

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