What is Solar Reflective Paint – What are its Pros and Cons?

Solar Reflective Paint

For business owners and homeowners looking for ways to save on their energy bills, solar reflective paint on the roof offers a simple, yet powerful method of reducing air conditioning costs.

The principle of solar reflective paint is simple – it reflects the heat and sun rays.

The white color reflects the solar rays that otherwise would hit the roof and cause the interior temperature of the building to rise.

By reflecting the rays, the heat is reflected as well which means that your air conditioning unit will run less often.

If the roof of your building has a dark color, heat reflective paint can be applied.  

Because the paint works on different types of surface materials, it can be applied to most roofs.

Plus, there are no special requirements for the paint.

You can apply it the same way as standard paints without using special equipment.

What are the Benefits of Heat Reflective Roof Paint?

The benefits of solar reflective paint (also called heat-reflective paint or anti-glare paint) start with the passive quality of the paint to reflect heat.

In other words, once applied, the paint works to reflect the solar rays when the sun is out.

The paint does not need any additional support or energy to do its work.

This means that once you pay for the paint and its application, you do not pay anything else until the paint needs to be replaced.

1- It’s Highly Versatile:

The paint can be applied to different surfaces that include metal, concrete, brick and mortar, bitumen, stable felt, and more.

Because of the wide range of materials, the anti-heat paint can be used on different types of roofs including conservatory roofs.

It can also be used for walls that face the sun most of the day to reflect solar heat as well.

2- Good for old roofs:

If you are planning to repair old asphalt roofing rather than setting out the new one, heat reflective coating can be a fantastic option.

The most reliable paints on the market meet the requirements for the Energy Star reflectance performance requirements.

Plus, they provide protection to various types of roofs like pitched roofs, flat roofs, along with low and high-sloped metal roofs by providing over 80% of the sun’s rays.  

3- Fungal Growth Reduction:

For humid areas that suffer from fungus, the paint has qualities that reduce fungal growth.

This means a reduction in the need to treat surfaces for fungal growth that have this paint applied.

However, there are a few issues with heat-blocking paint, which you may need to keep in mind before applying them.

What are the Cons?

The first is that it is somewhat more expensive compared to standard paints.

Although the price difference is not too great, it should be noted that ordinary white paint may not have the durability to last on the roof compared to the heat-resistant type. 

Another issue is that at best, heat reflective paint will reduce energy costs by up to 15%.

While 15% is nothing to sneeze at, it’s also not all that dramatic of a decrease.

There are reasons why the paint does not do a more efficient job, but keep in mind that the sun is only one of several reasons why your home may be heating up.

And finally, if you live in an area that gets cold during the winter, then the heat reflective paint may work against the snow melting off the roof.

The added weight of the snow over time may cause damage to flat roofs at a higher rate compared to dark paint which helps melt the snow.

It is why some advocate for solar air conditioning rather than heat reflective paint as being a better, all-around choice.

does solar reflective roof paint work

Solar Air Conditioning vs. Heat Reflective Paint: What is Better?

Solar air conditioning is the use of solar panels to run your air conditioning system.

The benefit is two-fold as the solar panels on the roof either absorb or keep the sunlight from striking the roof.

And the power generated by the solar panels runs the air conditioning which saves on your electricity bills.

For comparative purposes, the solar air conditioning system offers considerable advantages over heat reflective paint.

The most important of which is that it generates electricity which means that you save more on your energy bills by comparison.

Plus, the solar panels will reflect much of the light that strikes the roof, although not quite as much as the heat reflective paint.

Where the paint has the advantage is that solar panels require maintenance and care, which adds to the overall cost which is considerably higher.

While the solar panels will pay for themselves eventually, the initial cost along with the maintenance is higher compared to the heat shield paint.

Which works better?

In terms of which one is better, solar air conditioning has the advantage over paint that repels sunlight.

It works well across the country no matter the temperature conditions in providing electricity to the building.

While the panels will require maintenance, the cost is normally paid for long before the panels stop working.

This means that despite a higher initial investment, solar panels will pay for themselves and keep adding value for many years to come.

However, if you are on a strict budget and solar panels are not a practical addition to your building, then heat and light reflective paint is the better choice.

It does not do as well during the winter months, but you can save upwards of 15% on your electricity bills. 

How to Cool Down Your Roof

Few Other Ways to Cool Down Your Roof and Control Heat

Roofs, particularly polycarbonate roofs in your conservatory, can be very hard to keep cool in extreme summer temperatures.

And that’s the reason, metal, slate, single ply membrane, clay, terra cotta or rubber shingles are the better options for homeowners in warm climates.

But if you already have your roofs installed and want to control heat from the roof, there are a few widely accepted ways and expert tips out there – besides using sun reflective paint for the roof.

Some of them include:

1- Tiled roof

Tiled roofs for the conservatory not only enhance the aesthetics of your property but also help by improving thermal performance by making a significant difference to the temperature.

If you like to keep your roof look more traditional without giving them a feel of glazing, tiles can be a great option for homeowners living in areas with warm climates.

2- Glass roof

Unlike old polycarbonate, glass does not overheat your roof much.

So, to boost the thermal performance and keep the temperature under control you can definitely go for a glass roof replacement for your conservatory which should be within your budget.

3- Integral blinds

If you already have glass panes installed on your conservatory’s windows and glass roof, integral blinds can be installed.

These are available in a wide range of colors and you can opt for manually or electronically operated options to keep your place cool as well as shaded.

4- Window film/tinting

Metallic coating/films and tinted windows are the other great options that can be added for keeping your place naturally cool via an overheated roof.

These are almost invisible and can help in reflecting the sun’s rays to reduce the solar glare and heat to a significant level.

5- Go green with a rooftop garden

Roofs other than conservatories can be replaced into rooftop gardens to reduce the surface temperature as well as overall building temperature.

Plus, it offers a great many benefits along with a feeling of pleasure to homeowners who love gardening but do not have a backyard garden available.

The Bottom Line

As you can see, solar reflective coatings can be one of the best ways to keep the temperature under control.

These reflective roof coating and protection paints are also available in color options like white, black, and a few others.

But it isn’t the only way you can choose for your property.

If you think it’s a lot of hassle to pick and apply the right heat reflective paint, you can go with many other ways to cool down your roof I have mentioned above.

It all comes down to your expectations, the condition of your roof, the color, and the budget you have in mind.

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