We continue our DIY series with this post re-blogged with permission from That There Paul.
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The flat black rubber roof over my apartment would get very hot, so one sunny spring day, I painted it white
I used Gaco Roof White, a silicon-based paint—do not use regular elastomeric white roof paint on a rubber roof. 20, and not 30, 1-gallon cans were plenty for 1500 square feet, two coats. $1000. Why not four 5-gallon buckets? Because the silicon and pigment layers separate. Instead of trying to mix a 5-gallon bucket by hand, much easier to just pour the whole gallon into the tray.
Besides the roof paint itself, you’ll also need a pair of gloves (your hands will blister and be totally coated white otherwise), a 5-foot extension pole, a sturdy roller frame that can fit 18-inch rollers, at least 2 1½-inch roller endcaps, at least 3 18-inch ½”-nap rollers, and a 24-inch-wide rolling tray. $114.
Four months later, the roof is holding up well. Where water ponds, dark gray builds up, unavoidable unless you can find a way of washing the air before it rains.
With my finger, I easily wiped away a small square underneath a puddle, and saw that the Gaco Roof White underneath was intact.White roofs cool houses and may even help mitigate global warming, as explained on Wikipedia here, ThinkProgress here, DiscoveryNews here, and the New York Times here. Incredibly, there still seems to be controversy over white roofs. An often-viewed FastCompany article here, which, in a convoluted piece of reasoning, cites a Mark Z. Jacobsen study that “concluded that white roofs did indeed cool urban surfaces” and a Keith Oleson study that stated “white roofs would cool temperatures within buildings” to argue that “painting your roof white would be simply a massive waste,” because any reduction in global warming would be outweighed, supposedly, by more energy used to heat a building during the winter because the roof would be white. Hello? Isn’t that what happens anyway whenever there’s snow on the roof? Apparently, the FastCompany article is wrong: according to a more recent 2010 Ronnen Levinson study, even up to Canadian latitudes white roofs conserve energy, helping the earth.
The house has been awesomely cooler all summer. Even during last month’s 100º-plus heat wave, a single air conditioner in the back bedroom cooled the entire 1250-square-foot apartment. Oh, and you can see my house now from space. Meanwhile, the White Roof Project seeks to paint roofs white nationwide. Rock on!