Fibreglass roofs are made up of several layers. The exterior layer, also known as the topcoat serves a number of important functions, including weatherproofing, UV protection, and visual appeal. Occasionally, damage to the topcoat may require fibreglass roof recoating.
However, this is a little bit more complicated than simply applying a lick of paint. Indeed, recoating a fibreglass roof is a fairly involved process, which requires you to thoroughly sand and clean the existing topcoat, before applying the new layer with precision and accuracy.
As such, it is generally best to leave fibreglass roof recoating to experienced professionals.
It’s also important to note that applying a new topcoat is not a magical fix for issues with your fibreglass roof. While many DIYers attempt to save money on roof repairs by taking matters into their own hands, applying a new top coat may only cover up more serious structural issues.
This can lead to more costly repairs in the future. As such, it’s vital that you understand when you should recoat a fibreglass roof, and when you should not.
When is Fibreglass Roof Recoating Appropriate?
Although most issues with fibreglass roofing can be prevented with proper installation, occasionally problems arise nonetheless. SInce a fibreglass roof is made up of different layers, when a problem arises, it’s vital to figure out which of these is the culprit.
For example, many serious issues relate to the fibreglass itself, or the boards which support it. By contrast, some issues are limited in scope to the topcoat. The crux of this is that recoating is only an appropriate solution when you are sure that the topcoat itself is the problem.
The trouble is, when issues arise with the topcoat, it is difficult for most people to tell whether this is simply a surface level issue, or if it has been caused by a more serious problem with their roof.
As such, when you notice a problem with your fibreglass roof, it’s important to seek out professional advice, before attempting to mask over the problem with a new layer of topcoat. With that in mind, here are three specific cases where a fibreglass roof recoating is the right solution.
1. Topcoat or Resin were not Applied Correctly
The most common topcoat issues arise when the outer layers of a fibreglass roof have not been applied correctly. Here, fibreglass recoating is an appropriate fix, as the issues are with the topcoat itself, rather than with the underlying structures.
These can be avoided by using a certified and experienced fibreglass roof contractor. If your topcoat has been improperly applied, there are a number of warning signs. These indicate that it may be best to undertake a fibreglass roof recoating.
Specifically, if a topcoat has not been applied correctly, common issues include:
- Flaking or cracks to the topcoat layer,
- Streaky, patchy or milky appearance,
- Excessive visibility of the fibre layer beneath the topcoat.
A flaky or cracked finish can often indicate that the contractor applied the topcoat layer too thickly, while excessive fibre visibility can indicate that the topcoat layer is not thick enough. Delamination, or strange appearance in the topcoat are often signs of water contamination.
While recoating may be the right solution to many of these problems, this is not certain 100% of the time. For example, an overly thick topcoat is just one of the causes of cracking in fibreglass roofs.
Equally, water contamination may occur when the topcoat is applied in wet conditions, or it might result from a more serious issue, like moisture in the boards beneath a fibreglass roof.
As such, it’s vital to consult with a knowledgeable fibreglass roofer before deciding to go ahead with a new topcoat, in case there is a more serious problem which needs to be addressed.
Consulting an expert will also allow you to choose the right roofing products to prevent future issues. For example, CureIt topcoat and resin systems allow year-round installation, through superior weather resistance.
2. Temporary Fixes for Damage, Cracks and Other Minor Issues
Sometimes, fibreglass roof recoating can be performed as a short-term solution while a more in-depth fix for roofing problems is planned. The idea here is to prevent further damage to the roof or the entire building before a more in-depth fix can be applied.
Of course, it is always preferable to implement a permanent fix as quickly as possible.
For example, leaks may occur as a result of cracks or pinholing, caused by poor installation of a fibreglass roof. Occasionally, it is not possible to immediately address the root causes of these issues, for instance due to erratic weather conditions or other practical issues.
Recoating can be used to prevent further damage in the immediate term. This keeps a building habitable until the ultimate cause of this damage is addressed properly by a professional fibreglass roofing specialist.
It’s important to note that replacing the topcoat should not be used as a long term solution to fibreglass roofing problems, except where the topcoat is the root cause of the issue.
3. Faded Topcoat Colour or Visual Issues
FIbreglass roof topcoats are often plain colours like black, grey or white. However, other colours are available. While the big selling points of fibreglass roofing systems are their durability and strength, aesthetics still matter.
In fact, many people opt for a fibreglass roof specifically because they offer a clean, modern effect. The quality of the topcoat makes a huge contribution to this.
However, over time, your topcoat may begin to lose its visual appeal. This may be as simple as acquiring scuffs and marks. Additionally, some cheaper topcoat layers may have poor UV resistance, leading to colour fade over time.
Alternatively, it’s not uncommon to decide to opt for an entirely different colour for your fibreglass roof, especially if you have recently become the new owner of a home or building. Modern roofing systems like Dryseal offer an impressive range of colour options, to suit every taste.
Fibreglass roof recoating is an excellent way to bring a new lease of life to your roof, even if it is completely structurally sound. As ever, applying a topcoat to a roof is an in-depth process, so it’s best to leave this in the hands of skilled professionals.
Fibreglass Roofs: Recoat, Repair or Replace?
When considering fibreglass roof recoating, the most important thing to decide is whether this is the right course of action, or whether a more comprehensive repair or replacement is needed.
Too often, repairs to the topcoat of a fibreglass roof are used, when in reality this is only covering up a more serious problem. At best, this delays the cost of fixing the core issue. Other times, it can even make the situation worse.
As such, if you are experiencing problems with your fibreglass roof, it’s crucial to speak to an expert about the best course of action. At Nationwide Fibreglass, we’ve over 12 years of fibreglass roof installation experience.
Contact us today to discuss your needs for fibreglass roof installations on the island of Ireland.