Owning your own home is one of the most exciting components of entering adulthood…but it’s also one of the most expensive. Not only do you have to stay on top of mortgage payments, homeowners insurance, and the dreaded HOA fees, but you’ll also need to budget for routine maintenance and the breakdown of major home systems and appliances.
While appliances and landscaping costs can add up significantly over time, nothing compares to the cost of replacing a roof. A full roof replacement in the US averages about $11,500, but that number can quickly jump by ten or twenty thousand dollars depending on where you live, the cost of supplies, and the type of roof you choose.
Thankfully, you can do a few things to extend your roof’s life. Applying a roof sealant is one of the most popular and least invasive options.
What Is A Roof Sealant?
Roof sealants are adhesive coatings applied to the top of your roof. When applied properly, a roof sealant will protect your chimney, flashing, and vents from leaks or cracks caused by exposure to the sun, wind, rain, snow, etc. If you already have seal cracks, gaps, or other damaged areas, roof sealant will keep the damage from spreading and provide a barrier to keep unfavorable environmental conditions out of your home.
4 Benefits Of Applying A Sealant To Your Roof
Roof sealants are growing in popularity because of their many benefits to homeowners. Here are some of the many benefits a roof sealant offers.
1. Inexpensive Alternative To A Full Roof Replacement
While there is certainly a time and place to invest in a full roof replacement, sometimes all that’s needed is a new sealant application. If you’ve begun noticing some minor issues with your roof or feel it’s just time for some TLC, a full application of roof sealant will provide some extra support at a fraction of the cost.
2. Extends The Life Of Your Roof
Your roof is exposed to a number of harsh environmental conditions, such as the sun, wind, rain, hail, and snow. A quality roof sealant helps prevent normal wear and tear that’s associated with those conditions, such as cracks and gaps around your chimney and vent flashing. Not only that but if you currently have some damage to your flashing, sealant can help keep the issue contained and avoid spreading.
3. Reduces Energy Costs
In addition to doors and windows, your roof is one of the greatest gateways into (and out of) your home. Untreated gaps and cracks not only lower your roof’s structural integrity but also create a doorway for unfavorable air transfers. Applying roof sealant over these vulnerable areas will help keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
4. It’s EcoFriendly
Replacing a roof results in significant contributions to the landfill, as you will often have to remove current materials before installing new ones. On the contrary, you don’t have to remove anything before applying a roof sealant—even if you’ve made an application before. Therefore, regularly applying roof sealant provides no-waste protection.
Types of Roof Sealants
Generally, two roof sealants are available—water-based and solvent-based.
Water-Based Roof Sealants
Water-based roof sealants are thin and therefore tend to be more affordable than solvent-based options. Homeowners that are especially eco-conscious opt for water-based solutions because they don’t emit the same VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and have fewer side effects during the application process. However, if you plan on a water-based sealant, you’ll need to plan on regular applications because, not surprisingly, water-based products don’t hold up the same way to the elements.
Rubber roof sealants are usually water-based and provide protection from the rain and sun. Rubber options are known for being easy to work with and their ability to get into small cracks and gaps. Here are some of our favorite rubber roof sealants:
Acrylic roof sealants do well with UV rays and can actually deflect them to help keep your home cool in the summer months. However, acrylic is not as effective against water. Therefore, this option would work better for homeowners in hot, dry conditions. Also, acrylic should not be used on flat roofs where water builds up. (Note: because of its ability to deflect UV rays, acrylic is often combined with other materials to provide a comprehensive product.)
Solvent-Based Roof Sealants
Solvent-based roof sealants are prized for their ability to withstand tough weather conditions. However, they tend to cost more than water-based options and are more difficult to apply. Solvent-based sealants also produce significantly more VOCs, and you’ll need to wear a mask or respirator when applying it to your roof. On the bright side, because you’re working with a thicker and more durable product, you won’t need to worry about the same number of
Silicone sealants are some of the most expensive options on the market, but you get what you pay for. Silicone sealants are heavy-duty and protect against rain, snow and UV rays. Therefore, they’re ideal for homeowners in wet, humid conditions. Unfortunately, silicone sealants often require removal before applying a new coat to ensure effectiveness.
Some of our favorite silicone options include:
Polyurethane is another heavy-duty material that can withstand large amounts of rain and snow. Unfortunately, it is vulnerable to the sun’s UV rays and breaks down relatively quickly in hot and sunny conditions. Therefore, it’s best for homeowners that experience regular wet conditions.
Our polyurethane sealant picks include:
While most roof sealant products come in the form of a liquid, you can also opt for tape. The benefit of sealant tape is that it’s extremely easy to apply and provides support for rubber membranes. Thanks to its portability and easy application process, sealant tape is an especially popular option for RVs. However, this tape is not designed to cover your entire roof and, therefore, can’t provide the same overall benefits that a liquid roof sealant can.
Choosing The Right Sealant For Your Roof
Ready to invest in some roof sealant and still aren’t sure which option is best for you? Here are some things to keep an eye out for to help you purchase the right sealant for your roof.
Knowing your climate is an important part of finding the right roof sealant for your home. If you live in an area with a lot of humidity, rain or snow, you’ll need a heavy-duty option with a lot of water resistance, like silicone, rubber,r or polyurethane.
Roofs have a front-row seat to the sun’s damaging UV rays. If you live in a particularly dry and sunny location, you’ll need to pay extra attention to the UV protection in your roof sealant. Acrylic sealants help deflect the sun’s rays, while polyurethane sealants don’t provide much UV protection.
The ISO (International Organization for Standardization) provides a ranking based on how well sealants tolerate corrosive elements like salt, humidity, and pollution. C1 sealants can tolerate very minimal exposure to these elements, while C5 sealants can withstand highly corrosive environments. If you live in an area with harsh environmental conditions, make sure your sealant is on the upper end of that scale, ideally with a C5 rating.
We all love the idea of an environmentally-friendly option to protect our roofs, but many of us can’t commit to the regular application of water-based options. Therefore, before you decide between a water-based sealant and a solvent-based option, make sure you know the lifespan of the product and how often it will need to be reapplied. To help your sealant last a long time, consider adding multiple coats. You may also need to apply your sealant on a warm day with 24-48 hours of no rain.
Help Your Roof With A Proper Sealant
Your roof is one of the most important features of your home. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most expensive to replace. A good roof sealant provides an additional barrier to keep the harsh weather conditions from damaging your roof’s vulnerable places. It can also help provide protection for existing cracks and gaps, preventing the damage from spreading and extending the life of your room. There are a variety of sealant options on the market today, each designed with a certain climate in mind. So, don’t just grab the first bottle of sealant you see. Instead, see how the materials withstand water and UV exposure, and look for the ISO certification that’s ideal for your area. A small investment now could add years to your roof.
You might also be interested in: The Most Durable Roofing Materials: A Comprehensive Guide