What You Need to Know About the Different Types of Roofing Materials and Roof Products
Humans need three major things for their survival. These are food, water and shelter. In our modern times, it has become easier for us to get these three necessities, but we need to ensure that we build our shelters to last. We want to make sure that the home that we worked hard to get can last with us a lifetime. Sometimes over one lifetime, if we plan on passing it down to our children and loved ones. This means it is more important now than ever to have the proper maintenance done on your home. So if you’re curious to know what the best energy efficient roofing looks like, read on.
One of the most overlooked areas of the home can be the roof. It makes sense since it is the only part of the home we cannot easily see daily. Yet ironically, this is the most important part of your shelter as it is the first line of defense from what we needed shelter for in the first place — the elements. More especially the weather. It comes in a variety of flavors, but all of them can damage to your home, even that nice sunny day.
Those that live in the northeast are all too familiar with varying weather. We have a humid continental climate, which translates to four unique seasons and weather, having a wide range throughout. There’s everything from a hot summer’s day to a horrendous snowstorm that comes out of nowhere.
It is a tough choice when selecting the best roofing. Some roofing options are better for certain conditions and could be detrimental to others. While this is not an exhaustive list of all roofing types and materials, it is a guide to the basic choices available for the average homeowner.
What Elements Damage a Roof and How Can I Ensure Longevity for My Roofing System?
The helmet of our shelter takes quite a beating all year long. From cosmic rays hitting the roof invisibly to snow and hail during the winter months. Let’s look at the common weather North American homeowners face and what it can do to your roof.
Those out of blue rainstorms we often experience during the end of summer and spring are pelting your roof in a constant drumming. Left unchecked, those raindrops can eventually find their way through the roof and cause leaks within your house. Your roof needs to be checked at least once a year to ensure that this issue is prevented. A newer roof has not had time to expand and contract due to heat and cold and therefore is less likely to have any major or minor cracks.
Unless it’s Christmas morning, nothings worse than a snowstorm. As we all know, if the meteorologist calls for 2 inches of snow, we might see 2 feet and if they declare that a horrible storm is on the way and the kids are called off school, it’s usually just a light dusting of snow. No matter what, snow means more than just a sore shoveling back and slow drivers. During our annual snowstorms, two major roofing issues happen here. The first one is that it will add weight on your roof that will cause structural damage (you do not want any weight on your roof, except for the material of the roof itself). The other issue that can happen is ice dams that will cause the snow to melt on the top, run down to the edges of your home, and then refreeze into ice, which will slowly seep into your roof deck. That refreeze is what will cause those teeny tiny roof cracks to eventually become giant gaping holes that require professional roof repair or, sometimes, a total roof replacement.
This will have an immediate effect as it is ice balls hitting your roofing. They can cause dents or cracks in your roofing (depending on the material) and, after every hailstorm, you must inspect the roof to see the damage that was caused. A strong hailstorm can be especially problematic for metal roofs. When combined with a metal roof, hail can cause anything from cosmetic damage to the appearance all the way to real structural damage at the seams and joints of the roof.
What Can You Do to Protect Your Roof?
You can start by conducting annual or semi-annual roofing inspections. This allows you to spot potential issues and hazards before they grow into more expensive problems. Next is ensuring that no matter what happens, you have the best quality roofing supplies and materials protecting the top of your home. Not only do you want to protect yourself from the natural elements, but you also want to look for roofing that is energy efficient. Especially when every penny matters, there’s nothing worse than having a roof that doesn’t properly insulate or ventilate well, which means you’ll spend more on heating and cooling. Let’s look at some of the best energy-efficient roof materials for any budget. Spending a little more for an energy efficient roof might end up saving you a significant amount of money over the long run. The better the decision, the less likely you will ever need to type “roofing repair near me” into your search bar again.
Are Metal Roofing Suppliers the Answer?
When someone says metal roofing, what comes to mind? For many people, they think of the old ugly metal roofs of years past. Thankfully, in the past few decades, metal roofing has come a long way in both esthetics and function. Metal has exploded in popularity these last few years and for good reason. If it works for tanks it should work for your home, right? Metal roofing is an excellent choice when it comes to picking the right roofing material for several key factors. Of the roofing materials we will look at today, metal roofing is certainly the lightest of the bunch, which is great when the snow piles on. They also are fireproof because of the material and have a naturally reflective surface to push those nasty sun rays away.
There are some things to consider. They are more prone to denting (from hail and debris) and can actually contract and expand because of severe hot or cold weather. In addition, on the off chance this metallic surface needs replacement, the sections are much larger than other types of roofing, so it can sometimes be more costly.
How Long Can a Metal Roof Last?
A well-constructed metal roof can last anywhere from 40 to 70 years. That is certainly longer than most other roofing materials, but it’s important to keep in mind that a metal roof usually costs a bit more. A metal roof supplier will give you specific pros and cons to their particular roofing system, which should give you a better idea of if this is the right roofing type for you. When a metal roof is installed most times, they can construct it right over existing asphalt shingles. This will save you significant time and money, not to mention the environmental impact of sending all those old shingles to the dump.
How Energy Efficient Is a Metal Roof?
Metal roofing can be extremely energy efficient, but it depends on how it is installed. An unpainted metal roof will naturally provide decent solar reflection, which will help keep the upper levels of your house cooler. By painting a metal roof, it can further increase its ability to reflect the sun’s rays and increase its thermal emittance rating. Meaning by simply painting a roof with energy efficient paint, you can dramatically decrease the cost of energy usage during the warmest months. A metal roof that is hot to the touch has a low thermal emittance, and a properly painted metal roof with a high thermal emittance is cooler to the touch, meaning it is radiating that heat back outside rather than into your home. Asking your contractor about the best reflective coatings for roofs and specifically the best metal roof coating, could save you thousands over the course of its lifetime.
Are Asphalt Roof Shingles a Good Choice for Energy Efficiency?
If you’re looking for one of the cheapest yet durable options out there, look no further than these types of roof shingles. Be warned, though, that you need to ensure that these are energy efficient from the get-go. Asphalt roof shingles, that are not rated as efficient, can actually be some of the least efficient materials for roofing out there. Check the labeling and ask the construction team you might be using. If energy efficiency is a major concern of yours, and it should be, discuss this with your roofing contractor up front so they know to use the type of material that will be most efficient. Discuss the differences in asphalt shingles (pros, cons, cost, and efficiency) before committing to any work.
Some asphalt shingles come with a specialized coating on them to prevent damage caused by Mother Nature and improve fire resistance. All asphalt shingles have the added benefit of providing increased sound insulation, in case you want to blast your music and not bother the neighbors. They also can come in a wide variety of shapes and colors, making it easy to provide something aesthetically pleasing, while also easy to maintain and replace.
How Long Will My Asphalt Shingle Roof Last?
When correctly installed and properly vented with roofing vents, you can expect a new asphalt shingle roof to last at least 20 years. And considering that the cost to replace these types of roofs is considerably lower than other roofing materials, when judging strictly from a pricing viewpoint, it’s tough to beat this type of roofing material. Most basic manufacturer’s warranty will cover the roofing material for between 25-30 years, though some have much longer warranties. Just be sure to ask for energy efficient roof shingles as well as ask about the most energy efficient roof color.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Tile Roofing?
If you want to go for that beautiful look with some of the best durability out there, look at Tile Roofing. If you plan on staying at your home and eventually passing it down to your family, take the time to think about investing in such a long-lasting material.
Pros of Tile Roofing and How Long Will a Tile Roof Last?
It is not unheard of for a tile roof to last 50 years or more, if well maintained. As long as you do not have to worry about fallen branches cracking the tiles, they are long lasting and require little maintenance at all. It’s a good idea to check the roof a few times per year to ensure that no tiles have developed cracks that could allow water to penetrate the surface. In addition, because of their unique shape, they might be one of the best choices out there from an energy efficiency standpoint. Tile roofs have fantastic circulation, so energy can be conserved year-round. The spacing underneath the tiles offers a place for hot air to escape, keeping it from the attic and upper floors of your home. We usually find them in that light brown/maroon color, but also have the distinct advantage of coming in multiple colors and shapes. They are also extremely durable against most damage that weather can cause as well as fireproof.
Cons of Tile Roofing
Tile roofing, though great for some, like anything else, has some major drawbacks as well. First is that it is a very heavy roofing material. Remember earlier when we discussed the impact that weight has on a roof? Well, tile roofing is among one of the heaviest and so special care must be taken to ensure the structure of your home can support this added weight, plus any weight from snow or ice that may accumulate in winter. Also tile roofing is not cheap, often it can cost almost twice that of asphalt shingles. Last, while typically very durable, when it is hit by tree branches or debris, it can become very brittle as they typically make it from clay or concrete.
What is Green Roofing?
Though rarely considered when discussing a roof, green roofing has become more popular in recent years and is particularly suited to city environments. If you have a flat roof, you might consider covering it with a garden or even basic plant covering to help with energy costs, insulation, storm-water management. This type of roofing is much more expensive and requires the help of a professional who’s trained in sustainable green roofing for installation. Simple rubber coating for roofs combined with green roofing can be an effective way to get both longevity and lower your monthly energy costs at the same time. An experienced roofer who has built green roofs in the past will work with you to carefully assess your property to decide if this is a viable option or if you should consider a different roofing material.
What About Solar Panels, Do They Work Well?
If you want to go even further with energy efficiency, consider Solar Panels. Yes, even in inclement weather with snow and rain, there have been significant advancements made to increase the durability of these energy creators. Yet again, because of the wide variations in the weather, it would be best to ensure high-quality roofing is placed first. The best roofing company will find the right balance. When considering solar panels, know that they are also not all made alike. It is important to focus on those especially for inclement weather so that they can maintain their efficiencies during those bright sunny periods.
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In fact, solar companies have improved the technology to such a degree that most homes can actually save money on electric each month and have the entire solar panel system paid off within 10 years or fewer. And unlike the solar power of years ago, today’s solar panels are usually stronger than standard roofing tiles. So even though PA does not receive the same type of sun that a state like Arizona or California receives you can still feel confident that the panels will last through the abuse of our different seasons and generate energy day after day eventually helping the roof pay for itself.
Today you can get solar panels for no money out of pocket with a financing plan built to not only save you money on your electric bill each month, but also build equity in your home. Houses with solar sell for more than those without it. In addition they sell faster, and in a competitive market that can make a huge difference. If your house receives a fair bit of sun, it’s almost a no brainer as it allows you to save money monthly and current government incentives make the switch to renewable clean energy even cheaper.
Final Words About Installing an Energy Efficient Roof
It can be tough not knowing how to approach that roofing, and it is also important to note that you cannot place roofing materials if the weather is too cold (around 40 degrees Fahrenheit) or too hot (around 90 degrees Fahrenheit), otherwise the tiles won’t settle and adhere properly. This means that this is something that cannot be rushed and must take the time to make the best decision. Keep in mind the budget for the roofing and the energy efficiency it carries as it relates to the rest of the household. The first step is to get written estimates from local roofing companies as they will know what works best in your area.
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