ASPHALT EMULSION – the new latex paint?

Have you heard the word “Emulsion” before and were unsure of exactly what it meant? Don’t feel alone, for it is a lingo that is usually reserved for manufacturers and raw goods producers. However, with everyone “going green” these days, emulsion can put you right among the rest of the greenies. In coating terminology, when you hear the word emulsion … think “water-based”. So what exactly is Asphalt Emulsion and why is it now more important than ever?

In the past, manufacturers used solvents to blend with raw asphalt and manufacture coatings. The solvent is used as a diluent to keep the asphalt coating in a liquid state and then evaporated leaving only the asphalt behind. However, changing laws and increasing legislative pressure to produce more environmentally friendly products have forced many companies to switch to emulsified products. This process eliminates solvents and replaces them with water. After asphalt emulsions are applied, the water evaporates leaving the asphalt material behind. So how does the performance of asphalt emulsions compare with solvent-based asphalt coatings?

The result in a nutshell—a significantly less expensive product with numerous benefits. The benefits include:

  •  No odor caused by evaporation of solvents.
  • UV resistance thus reducing “alligatoring” & cracking and extending the life of the coating.
  • Water clean-up rather than stronger and more corrosive products such as mineral spirits and xylene.
  • May be applied over damp surfaces or green concrete.
  • Increased resistance to sagging on sloped roof surfaces.
  • Provision of an excellent base coat for aluminum top coatings.
  • Increased flexibility compared to solvent based products.

What’s the drawback? Asphalt emulsions must be protected from freezing. Asphalt emulsions also require a curing period to become fully water resistant. They should be protected from rain during that period much like a latex paint or a water-based driveway sealer. Widely used for years in the southern sections of the United States, they have been slow to grow in the Northeast & Midwest because of the greater chance of inclement weather. However, if used properly with cooperative weather conditions, one can stand to save a lot of money and be green simultaneously. So the next time you get questions about “durability”, “ease of application” and “environmentally friendly” …think ASPHALT EMULSION!

Green Products

Thinking about jumping on the green bandwagon? It may be easier than you think! More & more, people are looking for an economical way to become a little more environmentally friendly. One easy solution to reduce energy costs is by using Aluminum pigmented roof coatings. For years, asphalt-based roof coatings have been used to protect roof surfaces because of their waterproofing effectiveness and relatively cheap cost. They are touted as “Maintenance Coatings” because of their ability to revitalize and protect roof surfaces thus extending the life cycle. One drawback with most asphalt-based coatings has stemmed from one thing: color.

Asphalt-based coatings are black and they will absorb nearly all the energy of visible and ultraviolet rays that hit them. The result is that roof temperatures on black asphalt roofs can rise to nearly 180-200*F in the summer. This raises interior temperatures and drives up energy costs associated with cooling and makes inside work environments less palatable. The high temperatures also bake out many of the natural protective properties of asphalt more quickly. The addition of aluminum pigment prevents this from occurring and can reduce interior roof temperatures by as much as 27%.

When aluminum is combined with the asphalt, what is produced is an easy-to-use, pliable coating clad by the reflective properties of aluminum metal. The top aluminum surface beautifies the roof, protects the underlying asphalt so it lasts longer, looks better and saves energy! We would expect a typical roof coated to with aluminum roof coating to require re-coating in 7-12 years versus 3-5 years with a black coating. Not only do aluminum roof coatings save on energy costs, but they save your back as well. Bottom line, the next time you need a roof coating, think Aluminum!