Fibered aluminum roof coating product quality vs. price

I recently had a roofing contractor give me a bid on a fibered aluminum roof coating over a smooth torch down roof on a small commercial property i own. He said that he could use either of two different products,Henry or Sealbest (i believe one is from Home Depot and the other is from Menards). The price difference for Sealbest was much cheaper than Henry. Is there that much of a difference in the product quality? I have been trying to find customer reviews or comparisons but have not had much luck with the Sealbest. Any and all info would be much appreciated. Thanks!

If memory serves me here, there are basically 3 grades of aluminum coating and they’re all based on the actual content of aluminum paste or flake in the coating. Aluminum coating is really two things: aluminum and a binder / carrier for the aluminum. As the material dries a lot of the coating flashes away leaving the binder and physical aluminum. It’s the Aluminum that supposedly protects the roof from the sun by reflecting back all the UV etc. The “Good Stuff”, and I use that term REALLY loosely since I’m well convinced aluminum roof coating is all junk, is the 5 lb paste content stuff (ideally from a reputable manufacturer like Karnak or Henery). The next grade down is 3 lb paste content, and then you have cheep junk in a can that technically can’t be sold as ‘Aluminum Coating’ and is generally sold as ‘Reflective Coating’ or something deceptive like that- this stuff usually has 1.5 lb paste content or less… My guess is that if your contractor is buying his material from a big box warehouse and not a roofing supply distributor he is probably buying 3 lb content material or less.

If you’re really going to go ahead an aluminum coat your roof, and it’s certainly a good thing to do vs. not doing anything at all, then 2 keys to success: First, your roof is going to need to be cleaned, and that means power washing it at 3000 psi with a fan tip nozzle to remove any dirt. Second, and this is where 99% of the Handymen out there posing as roofers screw up, your roof should be primed. Any fast drying asphaltic roof primer conforming to ASTM D41 will work fine, application rate is typically 1/2 gal - 1 gal / SQ. So it’s not like you have to spend much on material, the stuff goes a really long way… And it does wonders when it comes to finding aluminum flakes or not at the bottom of your downspouts in 3 years…

So, here’s my ‘pitch’ on behalf of your roof: instead of coating it with cheap aluminum coating that really has a questionable history of doing anything to truly reduce energy consumption or extend the life of the roof (sure it does act as a barrier, but not by much). Why not consider installing an elastomeric coating instead?? Similar in cost, proven to increase reflectivity and emissivity, looks better and lasts longer… And please, have your contractor visit an actual roofing supply warehouse, even the worst product they sell at ABC, Allied, or Beacon is going to be 10 Times the quality of the most expensive product sold at a big box warehouse- and probably very comparable in cost too.

Hope that helps!

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I extremely appreciate your help and input. I had my concerns right off the bat with this “roofer” when he mentioned the big box stores. I have one additional question,if the roof has already been coated with a fibered aluminum(before i purchased it) does that mean i need to go back with the same or is the elastomeric an option if the prep/prime work is done right?


Your typical clueless joe

It really depends on the condition of the existing. If the existing coating is all dried out and starting to flake away, then yes. You can power wash away anything loose and apply the elastomeric coating to the roof. I would recommend an elastomeric coating with an asphalt blocker in it though, occasionally the elastomeric will ‘re activate’ some of the old asphalt of aluminum and it will stain through to the new coating. Good elastomeric so with bleed blockers / asphalt blockers will eliminate this from happening.

Now if the old aluminum coating is ‘soft’ at all or still wet / active then you really can’t do anything with it.

Omg, I have never disagreed with a fellow poster so much…
I don’t even know where to start.

First off, the Henry’s is the most expensive aluminum roof coating I have ever seen.
Always trusted their roofing cement.
They make a great product.
At Home Depot or lowes it sells for 130 dollars a bucket.
I can get other aluminum coatings for 60 dollars at any roofing supply store…
The Henry’s product should cost double what the other product you mentioned.
Great product! But it’s gonna cost ya.

You want a paint product that wears away
Not flakes away like elastomeric!!!’
New aluminum coating blends right into the old aluminum coating without a pressure water cleaning!!!
Without any primer either!!!
It never flakes off as precious poster mentioned!!!

But the elastomeric paint does flake off
And then you try to Recoat it and the bottem layer still keeps flaking off.

Yes, you do have to paint more often but it is the way to go.
I’m convinced you can make a low slope roof last a lifetime if you are willing to give it a paint job every few years.

You see the paint wearing away, you Recoat it. No extensive cleaning or priming.

Usually a good sweep and then blow off is all you need and mix up the paint really well with a drill.

Don’t believe the 15, 20 year on those elastomeric cans. They lie.


GACO New flexible coating, costly but worth good LONG TERM

Hey roof lover, love your post! Ive never heard anyone put that the way you did. Very well done! What you said mirrirs what i have been observing as a first time learner as i try to figure out how to take care of a previously painted galvanized 35 year old roof with aluminum fiber coating. Im gonna use Rustoleum 15 year Extreme. Original layer was Alumanation 301 by Republic now made by Tremco. 1thanks so much for that super helpful post. However on my hand bent edges that meet and bend over the flashing are rusty. Some of the rust has got under the bend to the underside. I want to stop this and wonder what you would reccomend to stop it in its tracks. I was thinking bend it up from the edges, brush1 it and then osfo followed by a coat of aluminum fiber then bend it back into place. What do you think?

Honestly, i am unsure what you mean when you say “brush1 and osfo”
Without seeing a pic
I would hit it with some brushable asphalt primer.
You can find it in the one gallon can if you look hard enough.
No, you dont want to be stuck with a 5 gallon can.
Spray can primer is cheap and easy but it is not as quality.
And it sounds like you need quality with this application.
But Maybe if i saw a pic of what you are doing, i might have a a different opinion all together.

Let the primer dry a couple hours, maybe more depending how thick you use.
You want it sticky to the touch or dry,
Not wet. None should get on your finger when you touch it at your thickest spot.
then 2-3 coats of aluminum roof coating along with the rest of the roof.

If you’re going to powerwash it, hit the rust with phosphoric acid the day before you wash it. Kills the O2 in the rust and turns it black.

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Ok thanks a bunch. I didn’t describe it completely so here’s some more info on this roof. It already has about 15 year old aluminum fiber on it with only the ribs exposed that were never painted only the flat in between the ribs. The tech at the aluminum fiber maker said just power wash with 2000psi+ to get it down to tight rust and then paint with aluminum fiber directly onto tight rust. He said no need for ospho/phosphoric acid. Its designed to go straight onto tight rust. Does that make sense? The original alum fiber paint is hanging on very tight. You have to wire wheel it to death and it wont flake or chip. It just wears down. So you think putting more of the same after power wash should stick?

He’s right Andy!
The aluminum coating will bond and stick to anything!

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Thanks a bunch roof lover! Im off to paint!

I recently tried to tackle a project which is to paint the roof of a metal shed which we are using to house some animals in. In the summer, the heat inside is way too high for animals, so I looked at the RoofWorks Fibered Aluminum Roof & Mobile Home Coating at Menards, made by ThorWorks Industries Inc. The current inflation price is about $58 for a 5 gallon bucket. It claims to drop the surface temperature by 10-20 degrees. First off, the instructions say not to apply within 24 hours of rain or heavy dew. Unfortunately in the summer, the dew can’t really be avoided where we live. I put on the coating early in the morning hoping it would cure enough by sunset. First, don’t even think of using this unless you have a drill with a good 5 gallon mixer, as there are multiple layers of hardened material that would be nearly impossible to mix by hand. When putting it on, the color turned silver just minutes after applying, so it looked like it might work. However, the opposite became true. It didn’t cool down the surface temperature of the metal surface one bit the first day, or after. And, the next day the color was more of a light gray, and seemed to lose its reflective properties, which didn’t seem to help anyway. The only thing it did do was seal some small leaks. But if you are hoping to help with the heat, forget it. I ended up installing 2 inch thick foam boards against the ceiling, which immediately dropped the temperatures by 10-20 degrees. To me this is false advertisement so I will never buy any products again made by ThorWorks Industries, Inc, who makes the RoofWorks.