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8 Problems With Spray Foam Roofing

Posted on June 23, 2024

Spray Foam Roofing

Spray foam roofing has been one of the most talked about roofing materials for flat roofs over the last few years. This option, also known as spray polyurethane foam (SPF) roofing, is durable, quick to install, and doesn’t have any seams, reducing the possibility of roof leaks. 

However, every roofing option has its limitations, and spray foam roofing is no exception. In this blog post, we will cover the problems you may face after you install SPF roofing, how serious they are, and what can you do about them. 

But before we move on to the problems, let’s first understand what this roofing material is. 

What Is Spray Foam Roofing? 

There are several types of roofing materials available on the market, and out of them, spray foam roofing is often seen as the most distinct. 

SPF roofing is a type of roofing system that involves spraying a liquid mixture that cures into a membrane, creating a solid, seamless layer across the surface of a roof. The spray liquid consists of polyol resin that is mixed with isocyanate to create a membrane. 

This type of material has become popular for both residential and commercial buildings due to its several advantages, however, it’s crucial to be aware of its drawbacks as well. 

Common Issues with SPF Roofing Membranes

Problem 1: High Cost (Expensive Installation and Materials)

Cost is often the first thing property owners consider when looking at renovation projects. Price is one of the biggest issues with spray foam roofing. This flat roofing material is generally more expensive than traditional flat roofing options such as EPDM or metal panels. 

For example, if we talk about the upfront costs, spray foam roofing costs around $6 to $7 per square foot. On the other hand, EPDM costs around $3 to $4 per square foot. 

The materials themselves are costly, and the installation process requires specialized equipment and trained professionals, which adds to the overall cost. Property owners will have to budget accordingly for this premium roofing solution.

Problem 2: Potential for Moisture Entrapment 

If spray foam roofing is not installed correctly, moisture can become trapped between the foam and the roof deck. This trapped moisture can lead to mold growth and rot, compromising the structural integrity of your roof over time. Proper installation techniques and ventilation are crucial to prevent this issue.

Problem 3: Need A Professional Roofing Contractor

The installation of spray foam roofing is a complex process that requires specialized training and experience. Installing most flat roofing systems involves laying a membrane and using adhesives or a torch to attach them. For spray foam roofing, knowledge of chemicals and proper application techniques is required. Additionally, there is a high chance of overspray, which is why it is important to hire a contractor that can handle the equipment. 

Attempting to install SPF roofing yourself or hiring an inexperienced contractor can lead to improper application and can compromise the performance and longevity of the roofing system. It’s essential to hire a professional roofing contractor with expertise in spray foam roof installations.

Problem 4: Potential for Shrinkage and Cracks

Over time, spray foam roofing can shrink, which can cause cracks and gaps to form in the material. These can allow water to penetrate, leading to leaks and potential damage to the roof deck and interior of the building. Regular inspections and maintenance are necessary to identify and address any shrinkage issues.

Problem 5: Less Flexibility In Installation

Spray foam roofing requires specific weather conditions and a fixed installation time to ensure optimal performance. For example, the weather should be dry, not humid, and the temperature should be at least 50 degrees. 

The installation process is less flexible than other alternatives and is time-sensitive, as the foam needs to be applied and cured correctly before it loses its effectiveness.

Problem 6: Sensitivity to Sunlight

UV exposure can degrade spray foam. Prolonged exposure to UV rays from sunlight can cause the spray foam roofing material to degrade over time. This degradation can lead to cracking, discoloration, and a loss of insulative properties. To mitigate this issue, a protective coating or covering is needed, which can add to the overall cost and maintenance requirements.

Problem 7: Potential for Off-Gassing

Some spray foam roofing materials can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) through a process called off-gassing. These VOCs can potentially cause health issues for individuals with respiratory conditions or chemical sensitivities. Proper ventilation during and after installation is crucial to minimize this risk.

Problem 8: Not Suitable for Every Roof Type

Spray foam roofing may not be suitable for certain roof types or designs, such as complex or steeply pitched roofs. The application process can be more challenging on intricate roof structures, and the foam may not adhere properly or provide adequate coverage in certain areas. It’s essential to consult with a professional roofing contractor to determine if your roof is suitable for a spray foam roofing system.

Other Alternatives For Your Commercial Roof 

While SPF roofing has its benefits, it’s essential to consider alternatives to ensure you choose the best roofing system for your commercial property. Two popular alternatives to SPF roofing are TPO (thermoplastic olefin) and EPDM (ethylene propylene diene monomer).


TPO Roof
TPO Roof

TPO roofs are known to be durable and energy efficient. The reflective surface of TPO helps reduce heat absorption, lowering cooling costs for your building. Its heat-welded seams create a watertight barrier, minimizing the risk of leaks. TPO is also easy to install and resistant to tears and punctures, making it a reliable choice for commercial properties.



EPDM roofing membranes are celebrated for their longevity and flexibility. This cost-effective option can last up to 30 years with proper maintenance. Its flexibility makes it ideal for buildings that experience significant temperature fluctuations. While traditional black EPDM can absorb heat, white EPDM is available to enhance energy efficiency. EPDM is also easy to repair, making it a practical and durable roofing solution.

Also Read: TPO Vs. EPDM Roofing Membranes: A Comparison Guide

Your Premier Contractors For Commercial Roof Installations

Prestige Roofing is one of the best roofing contractors serving Northeastern Wisconsin. Our experts are adept at installing flat roofing systems. We have years of experience and the necessary credentials to make sure you get the best commercial roofing system that looks great and lasts for years to come. 

We install both TPO and EPDM roofing systems and offer commercial roof installation, repair, and replacement services. Contact us today at (920) 791-0414 to schedule a roof inspection.