What is Roofing Material Testing?

There are two primary purposes of roofing material testing:

  1. To determine whether the material can perform as expected in its intended service environment.
  2. To predict the lifespan of the product.

This is done by recreating the conditions of the service environment in a controlled laboratory setting. For example, roofing materials are exposed to direct sunlight for many hours each day. As part of a roofing materials test program, a sample might be placed in a Xenon arc chamber, which simulates solar radiation, and its reaction can be observed.

Benefits of Testing Roofing Materials

Laboratory testing of roofing materials offers several significant benefits to both the manufacturer and the customer.

First, roofing materials testing makes it much easier for the manufacturer to predict how long their materials will last. This is critical for marketing, as well as product development. If a product is expected to last longer than others on the market, this gives the company a competitive edge. If its lifespan is less impressive, the company can focus their R&D resources on developing a longer-lasting product.

Second, roofing materials testing allows manufacturers to detect potential issues and address them well before product launch. Roofing materials are often in service for many years, and issues might not arise until the product has already seen several years of service. Testing companies can accelerate the long-term effects of weathering and exposure in a laboratory. As a result, manufacturers can more accurately predict how their materials will perform and change over time and make adjustments if necessary.

Third, if a manufacturer is choosing between multiple material formulations or options, they can use objective testing data to determine the best choice for their application. Roofing materials testing is a fantastic, objective benchmarking tool that can be used at any stage of the product development process.

Types of Material Testing

Solar Reflectance and Emittance Testing

Sustainability and environmental considerations are becoming increasingly important to the construction industry. When it comes to roofing materials specifically, many manufacturers are developing products that reflect solar heat to reduce the strain on air conditioning systems. Other products are designed to minimize overall thermal emittance to counteract phenomena such as “heat islands.”

Solar reflectance and emittance testing methods are designed to assess the thermal properties and heat flow of roofing materials. This data can be used to predict the lifespan and performance of the product or demonstrate compliance with “cool roof” standards, such as those released by the Cool Roofs Rating Council (CRRC).

Common solar reflectance and emittance test standards include ASTM C1371, ASTM C1549, and ASTM E1980.

Mechanical Properties Testing

Roofs and structures are inclined to shift slightly over time as a result of changing weather, ground movement, and other factors. These shifts can place strain on roofing materials. Mechanical properties testing, such as elongation and tensile strength, can help predict how roofing materials will respond to the expansion and contraction it may encounter while in service.

Another important mechanical properties test for roofing materials is adhesion. Roof coatings and other products must be able to maintain adhesion with other components to ensure durability and performance. Adhesion testing is an excellent method for predicting the material’s adhesive performance and properties over time.

ASTM D6083 and ASTM D6694 are common roofing material standards that include mechanical properties test methods.

Weathering and Environmental Testing

Roofing materials are exposed to a wide range of natural elements over time. This includes sun, wind, and virtually every type of precipitation, from rain and snow to hail and sleet.

Testing laboratories can replicate—and accelerate—these factors in a controlled laboratory environment. Fluid exposure testing, QUV and Xenon arc testing, permeance testing, and a variety of other methods can be used to predict how a roofing material will respond to a single factor or a blend of conditions over time.

Specific accelerated aging methods for roofing materials can be found in ASTM D6083 and ASTM D6694.

Get Material Testing from a CRRC Certified Lab

ACE Laboratories is proud to be one of the few test labs certified by the Cool Roofs Rating Council to conduct thousands of tests on construction materials, including roofing products. Our team has years of material testing experience, so we can help you navigate the regulatory environment and develop products that meet the rigorous standards of the industry. Our CRRC-certified lab is also ISO 17025 accredited, and we uphold the highest quality standards in everything we do.

To learn more about roofing materials testing from ACE, talk to a member of our team >