The Dow Chemical Company

Elastomeric coatings turning roofs and walls into efficient, protective planet-friendly machines for change.

ThermometerRight now, the roof of the building you’re in is probably a very dark color, if not altogether black. Changing that color to white could radically improve operating costs, reduce utility bills, benefit the surrounding environment, and help everyone in the immediate neighborhood feel a little cooler during warm-weather months. Properly installed coatings of an environmentally advanced white elastomeric will enable the roof to last far longer, too.

The benefits of elastomeric coatings are not limited to roofs. Cementitious wall coatings formulated with this tough 100 percent acrylic elastomeric technology remain flexible but retain their tensile strength to protect over a wide range of temperatures. Their flexibility and softness also provide excellent resistance to dirt pickup and prevent wind-driven rain and moisture from seeping into cracks and causing structural damage, even in humid, hurricane-prone regions. Elastomeric wall coatings keep homes in one piece – safe and dry.

“White Knights” to the Rescue
Reducing heat build-up on commercial and residential roofing can dramatically affect building operating costs. Findings reported by the Roofing Manufacturers Association conclude that heat build-up can shorten the useful life of rubber, synthetic polymer, and especially asphalt roofing systems. Cool roof technology utilizing specialized white coatings that reflect the sun’s light before it can be turned into heat significantly reduce temperature. For example, a 95° F day raises black roof top temperature to 170° F, while a white roof would not exceed 120° F — a temperature drop of almost 30%.

Green from Start to Finish

Throughout construction, as long as they remain standing, and when they are eventually razed buildings consume resources and generate waste. According to the National Institute of Building Sciences, buildings account for a substantial percentage of several key environmental impacts in the U.S.

Initiatives such as Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory’s Commercial Building Systems Group are intent on lessening that impact. The Group “focuses on the development of advanced computer-based building design tools that assist the architect or engineer in decision making from early, schematic design through building construction, commissioning and operation.” Their efforts have already yielded software, guidelines, demonstration projects and other tools to help “integrate a variety of isolated building technologies into complete systems that allow for compounded energy efficiency and an increased building life cycle.”

The U. S. National Institute of Building Sciences’ Whole Building Design Guide puts the cost of building operations and maintenance at three times the cost of initial construction. Fuel, capital replacement of building systems, and demolition and disposal all impose additional costs. Planning that takes these long-term costs into account helps improve the bottom line throughout the entire life cycle.

The Global Development Research Center based in Japan states that buildings have been traditionally analyzed according to their individual components and optimized separately. In contrast, lifecycle planning takes every stage into account, from design through demolition, “where cost, investor expectations, building function and flexibility, security, occupant productivity and health, environment and social impacts are all considered collectively, and in the long-term.”

Elastomeric Roof Coatings Help Support Environmental Initiatives

Elastomeric roof coatings receive high marks when assessed on environmental benefits.

  • First, they are “green” in and of themselves: water-based and very, very low in VOCs. (Volatile Organic Content materials are solvents/chemicals that can vaporize and contribute to air pollution.)
  • Second, their unique characteristics contribute to a more efficient building envelope, helping to optimize the performance and longevity of roofing and masonry wall systems.
  • From the broader, integrated viewpoint of lifecycle planning, elastomeric roof (and elastomeric wall coatings, as well) take on even greater significance by enhancing sustainability and cost efficiency at each stage of a building’s life cycle.

Life Cycle Stages


Examples of sustainable practices: Specifying green or recycled products

  • Water-based, extremely low in VOCs.


Examples of sustainable practices: Using sustainable, worker-safe construction methods

  • Surface preparation and application methods safe for workers and environment.


Examples of sustainable practices: Enhancing energy efficiency

  • Roof coatings shown to result in significant reduction in interior temperatures, air conditioning requirements.


Examples of sustainable practices: Prolonging useful life span of building systems

  • Roof coatings reduce surface temperatures, help avoid thermal degradation of substrate. Wall coatings bridge micro-cracks, help prevent structural corrosion from salt and water penetration.


Examples of sustainable practices: Facilitating re-use and recycling

  • No interference with re-use or recycling of substrates.