In this article, I’m going to answer your question using all of my knowledge and experience to the best of my ability. The question I get asked a lot is – are thermal roof coatings worth it?
Are thermal roof coatings a scam?
I do not believe thermal roof coatings are beneficial for a roof. Some of the wildly outrageous claims I have heard make me laugh out loud. The best one has to be how you can save up to 40% on your annual heating bill.
The roof paint itself has ceramic microspheres of vacuum beads to reflect heat away from the surface it is on. How can thermal paint sprayed on exterior roof tiles possibly keep the heat in your home and stop it escaping?
The roof space is meant to have airflow.
Most roofs are designed to have airflow. The whole point of airflow in the roof space is to stop the build-up of condensation. Have you ever noticed the loft is always the coldest place in your house? Why is that?
It is important to understand that when tiles are put in place, they are laid in such a way so air can flow underneath the tiles. They are not supposed to be airtight, and they were never designed to be. Spraying paint on the tiles from the outside will do nothing to stop the airflow under the tiles as this is what they were designed to do.
I will also make a point of saying warm air will not be trapped inside the loft space either. Any warm air from your home will escape through other air vents on your roof. Overlapping tiles, small gaps around lead work and even soffit vents, are all ways for warm air to escape. Paint on the tiles cannot prevent the warm air in the loft space escaping.
Airflow in the roof space makes thermal roof paint utterly redundant in my opinion. What is the point? The heat from your house is still going up into the loft space and out of the air vents. The only protective measure that will effectively trap any heat in your home is loft insulation. Cover all of your ceilings in the loft space with good quality insulation. That will stop the heat from escaping out of your roof.
But don’t just take my word for it let’s see what the trading standards have to say about this in the following statement:
The trading standards have been made aware of door-to-door salespeople offering roof coating and roof cleaning services. The door-to-door salespeople claim the special paint used to coat the roof provides thermal insulation. Roof tiles are designed in such a way as to allow air to flow freely through the roof space. There is no evidence in painting the exterior of the tiles that it will improve your home’s thermal efficiency.
Its also been noted that during the preparation stage of thermal paint application process to the roof tiles requires a pressure washer to clean the roof. Pressure washing can damage roof tiles by stripping away the protective surface and lowering the life expectancy of the tiles. You may also encounter the problem of water finding its way into the roof space. Although it is tempting if you have a low-cost quote the risks far outweigh the benefits of thermal coating systems on your roof tiles.
The risks being you stand to waste a lot of your hard-earned money on a product that is unproven to benefit your roof in any way apart from cosmetically.
There we have it, that’s the views of the trading standards.
Hopefully, my explanation will crush any wild claims of how having thermal roof coatings applied to your roof will keep the warm air trapped inside. All it will do is lighten your bank account and give you more headaches down the line when it starts flaking.
My advice would be to weigh up replacing the tiles. Some of the crazy prices I have heard over the years for basically spraying your roof a different color could pay for new tiles easily. Having new tiles would give you the full life expectancy of the tiles which is between 60 – 100 years.
If energy efficiency was a motivating factor for you to be considering a thermal roof coating, there are far better ways of making your home more energy efficient. You will be better spending your money on good quality loft insulation to preserve heat in your home. Another option would be to have cavity wall insulation installed.
There are government grants available for free loft insulation to be installed providing the criteria is met. Criteria such as claiming tax credits or having an income of less than £16,190 per year. For more information, you can apply here – https://www.freeinsulationgrants.co.uk/.
If you do choose to proceed to have your roof spray painted with the “special coating”keep in mind that the company will more than likely use a pressure washer on the tiles. Pressure washers are used because they are much quicker at cleaning the roof than doing it by hand with a stiff brush and trowel. The blasting of the tiles with pressure washing strips the tiles of their protective surface. The lifespan of the tiles on the roof may be reduced. I would insist on them not using a pressure washer on your roof.
Be Clear About What it is That You Want.
Think about how you ended up here in the first place. Where you tempted by a slick salesperson’s false promises of thermal roof coatings? Or was you just interested in roof moss removal and general cleanup to make your roof more visually appealing?
There is a massive difference between having a roof cleaned as opposed to having a thermal coating applied to your tiles. If you would like to have, your roof cleaned up, repaired and painted another colour, by all means, go ahead. If you think a thermal coating sprayed onto your roof tiles is going to reduce your heating bills and protect your roof and make it even better than it was you are sadly mistaken.
My recommendation would be to either have your roof professionally cleaned without the use of pressure washers. Or have your roof re-tiled with new tiles in the color of your choice. I’ve had roofers tell me they could replace all the tiles on a roof for not much more money than the cost of having their roof spray-painted a different color. New tiles on your roof would give you the full life expectancy of the tiles. Paint sprayed onto your existing roof tiles is not going to improve the life expectancy of the tiles. They are still old tiles under the paint. Would you paint over old wood and kid yourself its like new?
Be on Your Guard for Unscrupulous Salesman.
Now we know all the facts about roof coatings, now its time to keep on your guard in case you get someone at your door trying to sell it to you.
A dodgy salesperson working for a dishonest roof maintenance company will usually prey on their potential customers by cold calling. Cold calling is knocking on your door unannounced and trying to sell you something.
Some of these salesmen do not have a conscience. All they think about is lining their own pockets. If an older person opens the door then all the better. In their eyes, older people are more vulnerable to their unscrupulous sales tactics.
Keep a roof coating salesperson at your door for long enough, and they will start spinning stories about how beneficial his special roof paint is. Try not to laugh. Many of them will tell you its as good as having a new roof!
Let me just clear that up for you. Roof painting does not replace old rusty nails that are as old as the house. Roof painting does not replace the tiles that are probably as old as the house. Painting your roof doesn’t replace old, rotten timbers in the frame of your roof. So how can a bit of paint on the roof make it just as good as a new roof? It can’t. Honestly, these people believe their own lies.
Some of these salesmen will tell you anything to get your money. The only thing as good as a new roof is a new roof. New timber, new tiles, and new nails.
When it comes to roof coatings, I have seen and heard all kinds of stories. I have seen paint flaking off roofs in less than 12 months after the paint was applied. I have heard direct from a customers mouth that he was told by a salesman that the special paint they use had the same pigments in it as what they use on NASA space rockets. Apparently, the same paint reflects the heat away from the space rockets as its traveling so fast through the atmosphere. They literally will say anything. The more outrageous the claim, the more you should be on your guard.
One of the most common tactics the dodgy salesmen use is to tell you your roof is in a bad state of decay. The cheapest way for you to stop this deterioration in its tracks is for you to have this special roof coating applied. It’s no wonder people fall for this sneaky manoeuvre out of fear. The thought of having to shell out a fortune for a new roof is frightening.
It’s not uncommon to hear wild claims such as the roof paint will increase the value of your home.
Another claim is how the special paint can prevent leaks on your roof. Interesting. How about having your roof checked over by an honest roofer every 1 – 2 years. This can prevent leaks on your roof for a fraction of the cost. Take no notice of these bizarre statements and pay attention to your gut feeling.
Who are the most vulnerable for roof coating scams?
Sadly the majority of people who are scammed out of their money are the elderly. Seniors are a lot more vulnerable to the tactics of pushy salespeople. A lot of elderly people are on their own and are too scared to say no. They end up going along with the salesman’s recommendations and suggestions. As you can imagine the higher the price, the salesman gets, the bigger the commission for them. Snakes in suits come to mind.
Watch out for the next sneaky tactic that usually follows. It goes like this; the salesman will tell you the roof painting service usually costs £10,000, but today only you can have it done for £5000! Take no notice of this extremely misleading sales tactic. It’s called pressure sales. The whole point of saying this to you is to put you under pressure so you will part with your money quickly and easily.
The sad thing is in many cases these people had ended up with roofs that are in a worse state than when they started. Some people have said they ended up with paint flaking off the roof within six months.
These people they have spraying the roofs with the miracle paint are unscrupulous cowboys too. They don’t know what they are doing half the time. It’s not uncommon to hear people have ended up with more damage on the roof after the paint was applied. Roof tiles being broken during the roof paint application and not replaced. The broken tiles on the roof is what caused the leaks in the roof when it was raining.
There are clear guidelines for applying roof coatings. If these guidelines are not followed correctly, then the finished result will be a disaster. You should do all you can to make sure you only hire professionals to apply a roof coating to your home.
There are legitimate companies out there who will do an excellent job if you would like it cleaning and painting. Unfortunately, there are an awful lot of roof coating scammers who promise you everything and deliver nothing. These scamming roof painting companies are the ones who use a slimy salesman to knock on your door and lie to your face.
Only reputable roof coating companies should be trusted, and they are few and far between. The roof maintenance business is saturated with rogue traders. Wonder why that is? There must be a lot of easy money to be made.
Read my guide on how to avoid rogue traders.
So do Thermal Roof Coatings Work or Not?
The answer is no. Its a scam with no evidence to back up there claims.
You can read my articles about some of the roof coating scammers out there who have been sent to prison. Most are in jail for ripping people off with large sums of money and making false claims. Shame on them.