CoatingsPro Magazine

MAR 2017

CoatingsPro offers an in-depth look at coatings based on case studies, successful business operation, new products, industry news, and the safe and profitable use of coatings and equipment.

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Page 82 of 84

82 MARCH 2017 COATINGSPROMAG.COM Industry Insight I n 1939, German industrial chemist Otto Bayer mixed two chemicals together and created the first polyurethane foam. With this event, Dr. Bayer essentially led the research team that discovered polyurethanes. In the decade that followed, the military began to exper- iment with the new material, during World War II and ultimately utiliz- ing polyurethane foam as a flotation material for boats. e next big milestone took place in 1957 when polyurethane foam was first utilized on a roof. is foam was applied on a rail car roof to fix leaks, and surprising to many, the roof lasted many years. Significant advances were subsequently made in 1963 when Fred Gusmer and Fred Werner created the first reliable machine to spray the foam material. Contractors no longer had to use the time-consuming technique of hand mixing and pouring the material into molds for tank and wall insulation, buoys, and boats. e new equip- ment developments forever changed the industry. Roofing Market Spray application of the polyurethane foam made the marketplace ripe for the utilization of the material on aged roofing systems via retrofits. e seamless, monolithic insulation layer was recognized for its ability to provide substantial benefits to both the struc- ture and the owner, and the spray foam could be coated to further protect it from damage caused by the sun's rays and other elements. Roofing applications are where spray polyurethane foam (SPF) began its widespread acceptance as a viable construction material. Sales and applications grew quickly in the 1970s because of a handful of factors, such as relatively low installed cost of spray foam roofing, rising energy costs, and the insulation performance benefits of the product. W hile SPF had also been used in insulation applications since the 1960s, it has experienced exponential growth during the past decade. Widespread use of the product in building envelope assemblies, including walls, ceilings, floors, attics, crawl spaces, and roofing, is linked directly to code-mandated improvements in energy efficiency and specifically requirements for reduced building air leakage. e journey hasn't always been an easy one, but increasingly stringent building codes, such as the State of California's Title 24 and International Code Council 's International Energy Conservation Code, are now driving builders to utilize materials that reduce fossil fuel consumption and conserve energy. Likewise, the Net Zero Energy movement has pushed past its initial status as a visionary concept and into mainstream use where it has proven both achievable and affordable. SPF can have a place in all of these developments. Growth for the Coatings Marketplace W hat does the future hold for SPF? e roofing market continues to be an area for growth. SPF roofing must be protected with a covering to prevent surface degradation caused by ultraviolet (UV) exposure, mechanical wear, and other weathering processes. at is good news for coatings contractors. e spray foam material can be covered with acrylic, silicone, butyl rubber, polyurethane, and polyurea coatings — all acting as elastomeric membranes. ese coatings can also be used to: • inhibit moisture vapor transmission; • enhance aesthetics of the system; • increase the impact, chemical, and abrasion resistance of the system; • help achieve fire resistance criteria and code requirements; • renew the weathering surface of existing roof systems; • offer a sustainable alternative to reroofing. W hile there are many coating options, the two most commonly used w ith SPF are acr ylic- and silicone- based coatings. Regardless of the chosen coating, growth in SPF roofing is expected to continue to increase the use and sales for these various coatings that are used in conjunction with the product. More developments will continue in the SPF and coatings fields, and together this partnership can help enhance and protect substrates. CP Photo courtesy of SPFA By Rick Duncan, Ph.D., P.E., Technical Director of the Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance (SPFA) SPF and the Roofing Industry

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