Types of Roofing Materials You Need to Know Before You Purchase

used mobile spray foam rigsAs a full-service, Spray Polyurethane Foam (SPF) insulation equipment supplier, our team often receives questions from commercial roofing professionals.

Just last week, one customer asked:

What are the different types of roofing tools and equipment used in commercial projects and how are they used?

Whether you are a seasoned SPF roofing contractor, or it is your first day on the job, there are numerous roofing supplies required to get the job done right. To get the most out of your commercial roofing rig requires the operator to have specialized knowledge of different products and materials.

Here are some of the most important commercial roofing supplies and tools that can streamline your SPF roofing projects:

Surface Preparation Supplies

  • Plastic sheeting and tape. Overspraying SPF can result in damage to a building. Because overspray is inevitable, you must make efforts to minimize it. Many contractors use plastic sheeting, draping it across areas most in need of protection. You can affix the plastic with heavy-duty painter’s tape. Key areas to consider covering should include any windows and doors. You should also plan to shut down the building’s HVAC systems during prep work and seal the air intakes with plastic sheeting. We also suggest masking off the floors, as well as any existing furniture, and/or any mechanical units.
  • Moisture strips. In every SPF roofing application, the substrate should be moisture-free. If the substrate contains excess moisture, then the SPF application will be ineffective. To prevent this from happening, use moisture strips to detect moisture content. If you do find moisture, manually remove it before spraying.  
  • Backpack blowers and brooms. The cleaner the surface, the smoother the spray foam application. Backpack blowers and brooms are vital tools you should keep in your toolbox. Keep in mind, anything less than a debris-free surface may result in a sub-par SPF installation.
  • Power washer. The high-pressure water flow of a power washer against a roof’s substrate provides an effective solution to clear a roof of debris. You should always use a power washer to create a clean surface before proceeding with any SPF installation.
  • Heaters and roof dryers. Cold substrates can pose SPF installation issues. Because you have to heat and apply spray foam at a specific temperature, a cold substrate can cause the foam to detach from the roof surface. During colder weather commercial roofing projects, you should always use roofing supplies, such as heaters, to warm the substrate to the appropriate temperature.Note: We do not recommend propane or gas-fired heaters as their use can lead to high humidity levels, which can create unwanted moisture. In addition, utilize roof dryers to reduce frost or dew, and ensure the roof surface is smooth and clean prior to

Getting Down to Business

As noted in some of our previous articles and blog posts, every SPF roofing contractor must have a proportioning machine, a heated hose, and a reliable spray gun to get started.

There are additional types of roofing materials and tools, as well, that can help you execute an ideal application, and that can improve the quality of your work.

Here are a few we recommend:

  • Measuring pins. Measuring pins are helpful in reducing the guesswork in SPF installation and can ensure that the foam you apply results in the right thickness. You simply stick the pins onto the substrate where you are applying the SPF, apply the foam around the pin, and, as the foam expands, it will become flush with the pin.
  • Gun cleaner. One issue that can occur mid-application is a clogged spray gun.This situation can, unfortunately, lead to downtime. To prevent an interruption of this kind, carry a reliable gun cleaning solvent to clean and flush out the lines, dissolve uncured foam, and remove build-up.
  • Ladders. You need ladders in every SPF insulation roofing application scenario. The need for more than one ladder depends on the depth and scope of each project. For example, you may need a 20-foot extension ladder to get up to the roof of a commercial building.
  • Depth and mil gauges. You can use a depth gauge to determine the thickness of both open-cell and closed-cell foam, allowing you to install foam at the specified depth evenly. The same applies to mil gauges, which can be helpful in the event of a roofing application in which you use acrylic elastomeric or silicone coatings.
  • Harnesses and anchors. OSHA’s fall protection requirement states that workers operating in an area that is higher than six feet must be “tied off.” In laymen’s terms, this means any spray foam roofing application requires crew members to wear safety harnesses and tie-off for fall protection. Equip your toolbox with fall protection anchors, including weighted anchors or parapet clamps, to tie-off with the lanyards of your harnesses and safeguard against fall-related injuries.
  • Goggles. Whether you are wearing a half-face or full-face respirator, you should always wear goggles underneath to add an extra layer of protection to your eyes.
  • Spray hoods. While goggles protect the area around your eyes, a spray hood, or sock, can protect the rest of your head. These protective devices cover up any remaining exposed areas, including your face, scalp, and neck.
  • Warning signs and flags. It is critical that you post visible “Keep Out” or “Warning” signs around spray areas to protect people from exposure to chemicals. Also, for added safety, you should set up perimeter flags along the edge of a roof, helping alert team members as to when they are working close to the edge of the building.

Also Read What to Consider Before Selecting a Commercial Roofing System

We Have the Commercial Roofing Supplies and Tools You Need

When choosing commercial roofing tools and equipment, it is important to research providers of equipment with an eye toward value and to ensure quality and long-term performance.

Intech Equipment & Supply is committed to supporting your business with the best possible experience, and can supply all your commercial roofing supply needs. Check out our selection of roofing materials and equipment in our online store today!