Myths & Facts

1.    Myth: SPF roofing systems do not last.

Fact: Many research projects have been conducted to document the field performance of SPF roofing systems, including the National Roofing Foundation (NRF). They conducted surveys showing that customer satisfaction level high both at initial implementation and at the study’s conclusion several years later. Your SPF roof may well last the life of your building. To check out a 30-year photo of Whiting Construction’s first commercial roof from 1981, click here.

2.   Myth: SPF roofs can only be installed during very limited conditions.

Fact: SPF and elastomeric roof coatings can be installed in all geographic areas of the United States. Most applications occur when temperatures are 45°F to a very warm 120°F. While moisture— such as rain, frost, dew, and snow— on the substrate will prohibit the application of foam or coatings, there are ways around this application barrier. The SPF industry has established guidelines stating that SPF is not to be applied when the temperature is within five degrees of the current dew point. Applicators typically monitor the weather conditions through weather data and by using handheld electronic measurement tools.

3.   Myth: Birds eat through SPF roofs.

Fact: Birds on top of roof systems are a common occurrence. There have been infrequent cases where birds pecked holes in SPF, and can be repaired as part of routine maintenance or roof inspections. If necessary, a simple reseal of the bird peck with a sealant (compatible with the roof coating) will repair the spot. In recent years, the use of roofing granules embedded in the top layer of elastomeric coatings has brought about even greater resistance to bird damage.

4.   Myth: You can’t walk on SPF roofs.

Fact: The Spray Foam Alliance (SPFA, and National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) both give a weight rating of at least 40 psi. If we calculate 40 psi (compressive strength) times 1 square foot, this allows more than 5,760 pounds on a square foot. If point-loading of heavy equipment is anticipated, SPF, like other roofing systems, suggests the use of plywood to distribute the weight load over a larger area without damage to the roof system.

In an informal crush test, Whiting SPF roofs performed well under heavy weight. To see photos, click here.

SPF roofs are especially useful when there is trash or construction debris involved, since they hold up well and can also be easily repaired. Click here to read about a project that illustrated this difference.