Heat Reflective Roof Paint Is The Option The Future Would Choose
Saving both cooling costs and the environment at the same time is a whole lot easier than you might imagine. In fact, the difference could be as easy as one thing: paint. The right kind of paint, in the right colour, in the right place. Who Chooses Heat Reflective Roof Paint DIY enthusiasts and weekend warriors are interested in more than just saving costs on tradesmen and their profiteering on materials. They want to leave their mark on their own home and enjoy the satisfaction of having used one’s own hands to accomplish something practical. There’s little wonder then that choosing materials that are environmentally safe is high on the list of priorities for DIY shoppers looking for any building material, online or in-store. So would the priorities be any different when it comes to choosing paint, much less roof paint, a product generally known for its high VOCs, toxic production methods and application hazards? Or course not. But as you’ll see when discovering the following immediate and long term benefits of heat reflective paint and roof paint, the positive effects on the environment extend well beyond those initial environmental benefits. Immediate Benefits Have you ever sat in the sun wearing black clothing and then swapped to white? Have you felt the difference in internal temperature between a car with dark paint and light paint? Or, more pertinently, how about that moment you pop up the reflective foil sun visor behind your car windscreen and create shade that isn’t absorbing any heat? Then that’s the type of immediate benefit you’ll feel from the day the heat reflective coating is on your roof or walls. And if you’re feeling good already because you’ve got great insulation, imagine how good you’ll feel when the insulation isn’t fending off anywhere near as much heat as it was before! Just like you wouldn’t put your picnic cooler (like a mini insulated house) in full sun, shade your insulated walls and ceiling with heat reflective paint, and you’ll notice the effectiveness of your insulating increase immediately and exponentially. A picnic cooler in the shade is always going to fare much better. (And what if you could coat your cooler in something that would release even ambient heat? Read about amount emissivity a little lower down.) Similar to insulation, electricity-free cooling methods like roof vents, which are designed to extract heat from your roof space before it builds up enough to radiate into your living area, will also experience a massive boost in effectiveness. Long Term Benefits Any reduction in heat retention is going to reduce cooling costs. Little or no air conditioner use is achieved by many homeowners thanks to the front line defence of heat reflective paint, with combinations of insulation and/or ventilation. Saving electricity costs means saving the fossil fuels burnt to produce the electricity, and therefore benefits the environment. Even green energy comes at a cost, both operational and environmental, so reducing energy consumption is the real reason heat reflective paint produces so many long term benefits. The reduced energy consumption means reduced maintenance of electric equipment, not to mention reductions in manufacture or production of cooling equipment - so the chain reaction is a far-reaching environmental and economic benefit. There’s even evidence indicating the substrates themselves fair better when protected by heat reflective paint. That’s not just due to the weather sealing effect of a quality roof paint, but because the warping and flexing of heat-affected structures creates pressures that undermine structural integrity and eventually require additional maintenance and repairs. Reduce the heat passed to the substrate and supportive structure, and you’ve alleviated strain from the building, extending the longevity of the dwelling. Why Roofs Matter Walls are shaded at different periods of the day depending on where the sun is at the time, along with the orientation of the building and surrounding buildings. But roofs are rarely shaded. Roofs are the shade. So as your first line of defence against heat, roof paint selection is absolutely critical. We’ll discuss some basics of roof paint selection below, but with the preceding picnic cooler and car sun visor illustrations in mind, suffice to say the colour selection is also imperative when considering a roof paint. Just why slate grey and even black have become fashionable roof colours in warm climates is hard to justify. It’s evident that colour viciously affects heat absorption - we use it to our advantage when heating pool water in black pipes on a roof, or even those black poly camping shower bags that will heat up enough to scald your skin if you leave them in the sun for a few hot hours. So armed with that common knowledge, why do we paint roofs black? Did we not think about it? Or were we sold that colour by marketers that didn’t care for our cooling costs? Or did we feel the macho power from knowing we were heating up our dwelling but could tackle the self-made problem with our gutsy but energy-guzzling climate control system? It sounds silly now when summarising like that. At this point, the discerning reader may interject: if colour is the basis of reflectivity, then are heat reflective paints just bright coloured paints? Good question. The answer is no. Much more than colour is required for a heat reflective paint. The way the colour pigment is produced can significantly affect reflectivity. And heat reflective paints don’t only reflect light, they release heat. That factor of heat release is the second element that makes heat reflective paint so special. Do you want to see some proof? Other Applications Proof that heat reflective paint is not a gimmick sold by big paint brands is that, well, big paint brands don’t sell much real heat reflective paint. (More on that shortly.) But most compelling is the fact that industry has for decades been coating interstate pipelines spanning thousands of desert kilometres in heat reflective paint. Imagine the savings when heat-sensitive pipelines, including combustibles, no longer have to be underground pipelines because the above-ground pipes can be coated in heat reflective paint! All that research and development by industry is not benefiting consumers, including the DIY brigade, because it wasn’t a huge leap to adapt that pipeline paint technology to roofing paint. The Right Heat Reflective Paint Whether or not you’re familiar with the saying “oils ain’t oils”, you’ll soon agree that not all paints are created equal. It’s not just the difference in finish that stands one paint apart from the rest - satin, gloss, matt, textured, and the like are imperative for your project, as are tint, mixing methods, weather ratings, and application instructions. Those latter factors go a long way in determining if a paint is designed for interior or exterior application, especially if it’s right for special surfaces and applications, like this range of roof paint. After all, roof paint is on the most exposed surface, the least likely to be regularly and closely inspected, and yet the most critical surface for a sealant - to stop rain from entering your home. But heat reflective paint, and particularly heat reflective roof paint, opens up a whole new field of variants, metrics and contrasts that can be dizzyingly complex, to say the least. What’s the coating thickness? Life span? Guarantee period? Time before it’s safe to collect drinking water? Personally, I’m happy to leave the science of it all to the lab technicians, but there’s one thing I won’t stand for: don’t try and sell me some wow factor by telling me your paint is better because you put ceramic spheres or glass nanoparticles in it. Whether or not that works and whether or not Nike tries to tell me the same thing about what they put in the sole of my sneaker isn’t proven just by you naming it. So forget the marketing and give me the facts thanks very much. I’ll weigh up the differences between my other options. When it comes to heat reflective paint, what you should be looking for is the SRI rating. That stands for Solar Reflective Index. It’s a superior measurement because it’s a mathematical formula that combines the two important factors in heat transmission: reflectivity and emissivity. That is to say, how much heat is reflected, and of what’s not reflected, how quickly heat is released from the coating without passing it through to the substrate. So the higher the SRI, the less heat there is which enters your home. It’s as simple as that in the end. Your Next Steps Shop online for a high SRI (110+) like this heat reflective paint at a price that shows the technology hasn’t been sold to exploit your environmental conscience but because the manufacturer truly believes in the benefits to the consumer and environment from a quality roof paint. So why aren’t the big paint brands seriously promoting heat reflective roof paints? Maybe the answer to that question is similar to why the big car brands took over a decade to get behind their own front runner electric vehicle models. The bigger the ship, the slower it is to turn it around. Global corporations focus so keenly on their bottom line, they simply aren’t adept at putting environmental or even consumer concerns first. They’ve become highly skilled at promoting the perception of focusing on those two priorities, at a tortoise pace and in a conservative manner that insures not the least number of their customer base who follow the path of least resistance are left behind. It seems these multi-national corporations figure there’s no point educating the market when they can sell what they’ve already got to the uneducated. And that’s a solid business model when profit reigns supreme instead of environmental or consumer concerns. A simple case in point is this delightful expression I just caught on some marketing copy by one of the world’s foremost paint brands; they introduced their product with the words “This thick and creamy emulsion...” Honestly, suppose it wasn’t for the image of a branded paint tin. In that case, I couldn’t tell if they were flogging a carbonara pasta sauce, some new latte style, or an exterior coating designed to protect substrate, structure and occupants from the weather. So now you’ve seen the options and read a little about the facts, go for what the future would choose.