How to waterproof flat roofs ?
Reflective products allow a lower absorption of solar heat, improving the thermal comfort of the houses and the living conditions of the people. Innovative technology offers the market reflective waterproofing products with excellence performance, that last over time.
There is certainly no lack of valid technical arguments for changing the substance of the approach to problems in the roof waterproofing industry. The most innovative companies, those that invest wisely in research and development, offer the market solutions that are as high-performing as easy to use; products and systems that not only respect human health and the environment, but that also provide surface protection from weather as well as aging, along with energy savings- features that reflective products and systems ensure in terms of cooling buildings with long lasting protective actions.
Such a concentration of certified qualities could not fail to capture the attention of technicians – nowadays the waterproofing of buildings must be carefully specified to achieve the energy performance not only required by regulations – but also increasingly requested by clients keen to implement truly effective systems and limit energy consumption. Reflective products and systems, in fact, allow a lower absorption of solar heat, thus favoring the natural conditioning of the underlying areas without having to use air- conditioners and other air refreshing systems continuously, which are often energy- consuming and release harmful emissions that affect air quality.
Since reflective products are not all the same, what are the needed and unique characteristics for perfectly waterproofing flat roofs, that, at the same time, guarantee a long-lasting reflective action? Of central importance is the reference to national and international standards, that regulate the subject and certify the solar reflectance index. The US CRRC Rating (Cool Roof Rating Council) is one of the most prestigious organization worldwide. The SRI (Solar Reflectance Index) is a value, that express the ability of a roofing material to reflect solar energy. This value is assigned to products by taking into account both the material/ product’s ability to reflect solar radiation as thermal emittance. The higher the SRI value, the more suitable the material for use on a cool roof. SRI values can even exceed 100. Therefore, a product with an above 100 SRI-rating is in itself a guarantee of quality.
The aim of the production, but also that of the construction management, that has to choose the products to be applied, is therefore to create and use not only an excellent reflective waterproofing product, but also a product that maintains its performance features over time, retaining its characteristic snow-white colour – the most reflective of all – without greying rapidly, thus losing its reflective property.
The most advanced technologies offer innovative water-based white-reflective elastomeric liquid waterproof products of great durability and resistance, that are able to reduce the surface temperature of flat roofs by up to almost 50%. At the same time, they guarantee perfect resistance to water stagnation and may be as well as used on large surfaces. These solutions are specially tested for the protection of highly exposed roofs in concrete or fiber cement, insulating panels and bituminous surfaces. Top technology offers solutions that guarantee quick setting time so that the surface could become “rainproof” after only a few hours. A performance quality that is highly appreciated by professionals too, since it means starting and finishing work within the same day, along with considerable saving in labour costs.
Speaking of innovation: highly resistant liquid waterproof products, that do not contain water or solvents, are also available. The characteristics of these ready-to-use products allow applications even under extreme conditions, such as on wet or damp substrates, at high and low temperatures (from 0 to 45 degrees), offering quick curing drying and extending thus the yearly maintenance Despite their excellent surface protection, they allow surfaces to breath, ensuring at the same time an exceptional resistance to counterpressure up to 4 atmospheres. These products, that are often also complete waterproofing systems, are particularly suitable for waterproofing and protecting floors requiring high resistance to puncture as well as traffic. Furthermore, the excellent reflective properties of white-colored version make them indispensable for ensuring proper workmanship in particularly hot areas.
Thermal bridges can interfere with the effectiveness of insulated waterproofing jobs. In order to add an additional barrier to solar radiation, with consequent energy savings for the conditioning of buildings and a considerable energy increase of photovoltaic panels, the most advanced research and development laboratories have created special protective, elastomeric and water-based coatings, that in addition to having a white reflective color, are perfectly resistant to water stagnation. These solutions are used for the protection of bituminous membranes and building roofs in cement, fibre cement and concrete; as well as for metal roofs.
The basis for a perfect waterproofing, that can preserve effective reflectance over time, is always a careful surface maintenance. The market offers excellent solutions in this field too, with transparent, low dirt retention protectives, which work perfectly with high-end waterproofing products. Periodic maintenance, ideally every two years, with these solutions improves the longevity of the reflecting waterproofing effect, which will not suffer dust and smog deposits, that might compromise its effectiveness over time.
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