Make Your Home More Energy Efficient With A Metal Roof

Make Your Home More Energy Efficient With A Metal Roof

When your home is energy efficient, it will be cooler while also allowing you to enjoy lower utility costs. Installing a metal roof on your home can greatly impact your energy use while giving you a roof that may last for 50 years or longer. Metal roofs have become increasingly popular because they are highly durable and cost-effective. They are lighter in weight than asphalt and other roofing materials and are less likely to sustain damage from hail. Choosing to install a metal roof on your home can provide you with a fast return on your investment with ongoing energy savings for your roof’s life.

What is a cool roof?

Cool roofs are roofs that help to keep interior temperatures lower. They are typically light-colored or white, and they are designed to reflect heat rather than absorbing it. They have high solar reflectivity and thermal emittance. Since metal absorbs little heat and releases it quickly, it is ideal to use as a roofing material. On the other hand, asphalt roofs absorb heat, which leads it to build up rather than being released.

There are other features of cool metal roofs that help to keep the interior temperatures comfortable. They have protective coatings with a number of different reflective materials that work to help with deflecting the sun’s rays. The highest reflective coatings that are used can help to reflect as much as 90 percent of solar radiation away from your home.

Cool roofs, Energy Star & LEED ratings

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program allows cool roofs to be rated as Energy Star. For this rating, a roof must be a cool roof that helps to reduce heat effects. Steep-slope roofs must have a minimum solar reflectance of 0.25 when they are first installed. After three years, the minimum must be at least 0.15. Low-slope roofs must have a minimum reflectance of 0.65 when they are first installed. After three years, the minimum must be 0.50.

LEED certifications are also used to help you to determine your home’s energy efficiency. The LEED certification is granted by the Green Building Council. Builders and designers earn points toward LEED certification by using certain designs and materials that meet a specified Solar Reflectance Index, or SRI. Cool roofs are materials that earn points because of their energy efficiency and because they are recyclable. Steep-slope roofs must have a minimum SRI of 29 for LEED certification. Low-slope roofs must have a minimum SRI of 78. The roof must also cover a minimum of 75 percent of the surface area not counting skylights, equipment and parapets.

Sustainability

Most metal roofs are made out of steel, a highly sustainable material. It is 100 percent recyclable and may be made out of as much as 95 percent recycled steel. Using recycled steel to create new steel takes just 25 percent of the energy that it takes to create virgin steel.

Discounts and incentives

If you install a metal roof, you may receive a discount on your homeowner’s insurance because of its fire resistance and durability. You can also expect your utility bills to be reduced by as much as 40 percent each year. Finally, you may be eligible to claim tax credits for installing a metal roof.

Variety

Manufacturers are able to create cool roofs in the shade you want although light colors or white will be needed to obtain the highest solar reflectance. The roofs can be formed to look like a traditional shake or asphalt roof. You can also choose to use the standing seam style because it sheds water well and is perfect for an installation of solar panels.

Installation

You will need to make certain that the professional who you are considering is one who has the expertise that is required to replace your roof with a cool metal roof. Installing metal roofs requires specialized skills. The company you choose needs to be knowledgeable about metal roof materials, local codes and the standards in your area. It is possible to install a metal roof on top of shingles if it is needed because the metal roofs are light in weight.

As people have become more aware of the environmental impact structures can have, new green-living initiatives have been instituted. A metal roof is something that you should definitely consider for your home.

Why Metal Roofs Have Become So Popular: What you need to know

Why Metal Roofs Have Become So Popular What you need to know

Metal roofs have grown in popularity over the last few years. Metal roofs are most popular among peple in their 20s and 30s as well as those who are building or purchasing homes valued at $100,000 or more. Some of the reasons metal roofs are so popular may actually surprise you.

Life Expectancy of Roofing

One of the reasons metal roofs are becoming more popular is what is known as the roofing cycle or the life expectancy of roofing material. Despite the warranty on many types of asphalt shingles, the average roofing cycle for that type of roofing material is between 17 and 18 years. A tin roof that is installed properly can last between 40 to 50 years while galvanized steel can last as long as 60 years.

Cost of Roof Replacement

The cost to replace a roof is another reason why people are switching from asphalt to metal. If you plan to remain in your home 20 or 30 years, a metal roof is a good investment. Although it may cost more initially, the fact that it will not need to be replaced as quickly as other roofing materials makes it a better investment.

Energy Efficiency

Metal roofs are more energy efficient than other types of roofing material. Some homeowners report savings of as much as 20 percent on their energy costs after installing a metal roof. A metal roof that includes integral air space adds even more efficiency to your home. This also means you can reduce your carbon footprint as reducing energy dependency helps the environment. Metal roofs may also be made from recyclable materials, further increasing benefits to the environment.

Home Value

During the recent housing market downturn, homeowners with residences that required less maintenance were able to sell their home more quickly and at the price they wanted than those with homes that required more maintenance. Because metal roofs require little maintenance, they add value to your home, helping you justify a higher price than with other types of roofing materials.

There is no question that each home and homeowner are unique, so it is important to understand as much as possible about metal roofs before you make the decision to install one. You can learn more from the knowledgeable, helpful customer service staff at TriCounty Exteriors. Contact them by phone at 215-322-0110 or complete the simple form online if you are considering a metal roof for your home or business.

Home Repairs That Should Be Fixed Imediately

Home repairs are never fun and exciting things to do. Many are expensive and take a considerable amount of time and energy. Because of this, we often put them off indefinitely. Things like squeaky floors or light switches that don’t always work may get pushed to the side so that you can concentrate on other things in the house. However, there are some home repairs that you should not neglect as they can lead to costlier repairs down the road or safety issues that could be deadly.

Roof Repairs

If you notice water stains on your ceiling or walls, you need to have your roof repaired immediately. Failure to fix a leaking roof can lead to mold growth, structural damage or even fire if the water connects with an electrical source.

Missing Shingles

After a storm that includes heavy rain and wind, you should inspect your roof for missing or damaged shingles. It is possible a loose shingle may not be visible from the ground, so climb on the roof to check for any that may have been damaged. Replace any missing or damaged shingles immediately to avoid roof damage as well as damage to the interior of your home.

Sagging Roof

If it appears that a section of your roof is sagging, you need to have it repaired as soon as you can. A sagging roof can allow moisture to build in your attic and could weaken the structure of the wood. This can lead to exterior wall cracks and poor ventilation in your attic.

Foundation Cracks

Over time, it is possible small cracks could develop in your foundation. If an inspection reveals small cracks, you need to repair them before they become large cracks or it could require a full foundation replacement. This can cost as much as $100,000. Cracks can also lead to leaks under your home and parts of the concrete could actually collapse. If your home is not supported properly, the results could be life-threatening.

Gas Odor

Propane and natural gas are heavier than air, leading them to pool in low areas of your home. If you detect a rotten-egg-like smell, vacate your home immediately and call the gas company. Open doors and windows before you leave the house to dissipate the gas as accumulated propane or natural gas can lead to an explosion.

Leaking Pipes

Water can cause significant damage to your home, including structural damage and mold growth. Mold can lead to health issues, some of which can be severe. If you use municipal water, a leak can cost you hundreds of dollars in extra water fees as well. Check under your sinks several times each year to be sure pipes are not leaking. You should also check exposed pipes in basements, attics and crawlspaces regularly. If you see any leaks, even small ones, contact a plumber immediately.

Mold and Mildew

There is really no “good” mold or mildew, so when you see evidence of mold growth, you need to deal with it as quickly as possible. Just eliminating the mold is not enough, however, as you need to determine what caused the growth in the first place. Minor mold and mildew growth, such as in a corner near a shower where a shower curtain has not been completely closed, can be easily treated with common household bleach.

Electrical Problems

Electrical issues cause more than 40,000 fires each year and many of them could easily have been avoided. Circuit breakers that kick unexpectedly, flickering lights or outlets that are warm to the touch are all symptoms of an electrical problem. Contact an electrician if you notice any electrical issues in your home.

Gutter Debris

Probably one of the least pleasant household chores is clearing debris from gutters. It may seem like a minor problem, but clogged gutters can lead to major problems in your home. Gutters pull rainfall from your home and if water cannot drain, it builds up in pools. This can lead to fascia rot or damage to your foundation when rainfall overflows the gutters and does not drain away from the home. In areas where there is extreme cold, clogged gutters can lead to ice dams that can damage your roof. Clean your gutters twice each year to allow water to flow properly away from your home.

Driveway Cracks

Although you may look at cracks in your driveway as nothing more than a cosmetic issue, your driveway is actually designed to pull water away from your foundation. Cracks could lead to water build-up which may damage your foundation. In addition, cracks could grow larger and become a tripping hazard to guests and family.

Damage to Decks

Worn or missing flashing, the thin layer of material designed to keep water from your home, can lead to water damaging the ledger board. It can also weaken the fasteners that keep yoru deck together. Weakened wood and connectors can have deadly consequences if the deck is overloaded. Worn and wooden boards can also be tripping hazards, so replace any damaged wood as soon as possible and check the flashing on a regular basis.

Dryer Vents

Cleaning the lint filter before each use may seem unnecessary, but it could actually save your home. It is also important to clear the vent, the hose that connects the dryer to the outside, of any debris or lint as well. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, a division of FEMA, there are an average of 2,900 home clothes dryer fires each year, many due to build-up of dryer lint in the vents. The lint screen in the drum of your dryer only removes about 25 percent of the lint, with the remaining 75 percent traveling through the ducts and often getting trapped on the sides.

These simple but important tips can protect your home from significant damage and many of them will protect your family and friends from potential illness or injury. For more information on keeping your home safe, contact TriCounty Exteriors at 215-322-0110 or visit us online.

Pitched Roof or Flat Roof Which Is Better

Pitched Roof or Flat Roof: Which Is Better?

Your roof plays a key role in your home’s value as it protects it from the elements and offers insulation from hot or cold air.

When you are building a house, you may have the option of a pitched or flat roof but you may have no idea which option is better.

There are five main reasons why a pitched roof is the better option, even though they are often more expensive than flat roofs.

Longer Lasting

Pitched roofs have a longer life than flat roofs and are much easier to fix. Like everything in your home, your roof can suffer wear and tear, especially since it is exposed to the elements at all times. The materials used for pitched roofs tend to be more durable and resistant to weather. This means that, although flat roofs may cost less initially, a pitched roof is less expensive for the long term.

Better in Inclement Weather

In areas of the world that receive a significant amount of ice and snow, you will notice that the roofs are often steeply pitched. This allows snow, ice and rain to drain from the roof easily, preventing damage. Flat roofs do not drain as well and must be inspected regularly to be sure any drains installed are working properly.

Ground-Level Inspection

It is easier to inspect a pitched roof from the ground, allowing you to identify problems before they become big issues. Unseen roof damage can lead to extensive water damage inside your attic or around flashing that separates roofing materials from skylights, chimneys or other fixtures. However, if you do need to access the roof for inspection, a pitched roof is much more difficult to stand on than a flat roof. You may want to consider hiring a specialist to inspect the roof if yours has a steep pitch.

Better Storage Options

A pitched roof gives you the opportunity to include an attic in your home design. Most pitched roofs allow ample space at the top of the house for an attic or even a cozy loft bedroom or office. If you begin using the attic area for storage, it is not difficult to convert the space to finished room in the future.

Whether you choose a pitched for flat roof, there are many options available for roofing materials, including composition dimensional, asphalt and wood shingles. You can select a material that will not only protect your home but also match the design of your home’s exterior. If you are considering replacing your roof, contact us today to learn what options are available. You can speak to one of our friendly customer service representatives by phone or complete the simple form online to learn more about our roofing products.

How to Prevent Ice Dams This Winter

How to Prevent Ice Dams This Winter

An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of your roof, preventing water from draining.

This can lead to leaks that can cause damage to your roof, walls, ceiling or insulation as the backup behind the dam forces water inside your home rather than draining from the roof as it should.

In order to prevent damage to the interior of your home, you need to understand how to prevent ice dams.

Keep Your Roof Cold

It may seem counterproductive, but one of the best ways to prevent an ice dam is to keep your roof cold. The underside of your roof should not be higher than 30 degrees Fahrenheit in order to allow snow to dissipate without creating large amounts of water. Check to be sure there is adequate insulation and sealing gaps that allow warm air to exit the attic. Your attic also needs ventilation so that heated air escapes rapidly when cold air enters. The problem with a warm roof is that snow melts rapidly, but once it reaches the eaves, which are colder, the water freezes leading to ice dams.

Attic Furnaces

If your furnace is in your attic, it may be difficult to prevent ice dams. One of the best methods for preventing an ice dam if your furnace is in the attic is to add extra insulation between the roof rafters. Keep air space between the roof deck and the insulation to avoid condensation. Before adding insulation, install polystyrene rafter air channels that are available at home centers. Lay insulation batts or blankets over the heating ducts to help reduce heat buildup. If your ridge vents and gables do not dissipate the heat enough, add a motorized vent at one end to remove heat and another vent on the other end to draw in cold air.

Signs of an ice Dam

Even if you take all the precautions mentioned for how to prevent ice dams, it is still possible that one could develop. If you notice dark lines on the ceiling, it is possible you have an ice dam. Even with insulation in your attic floor the bottom of your trusses are often bare. Because they are exposed to low temperatures, they create a cold strip on the ceiling that allows condensation to form. The moisture traps dust and can lead to mold growth creating the lines which are called shadow lines. You can clean the mildew by washing the area in a bleach solution of one part bleach to three parts warm water. Rinse and allow to dry.

Learning how to prevent ice dams is critical to keeping your home from damage due to leaks. For more information about preventing ice dams, contact us by phone or visit our website to speak to one of our knowledgeable staff members.

What is a Roof Drip Edge and Why Is It Necessary?

Almost every shingle manufacturer shows a metal roof drip edge in their installation instructions. The Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association “Residential Asphalt Roofing Manual” indicates that roofing drip edge be included in the construction of a shingle roof. Yet, many residential roof installations do not have them installed.

Unfortunately, the drip edge is often omitted from a bid unless the scope of work specifically requires it, normally as a money-saving tactic. When the drip edge is included, the type of metal, gauge and dimensions are rarely included.

Many roofers believe the roof drip edge is unnecessary as long as the shingles are extended far enough over the edge of the deck into the gutters, something that is not true. The fact is you need a drip edge on roof edges for many different reasons.

Critical at Eaves

The most critical location for a roofing drip edge is at the eaves of your house as this is where the most drips occur. Rake edges should also get drip edge as well as at the edge of the felt underlayment. Felt can be installed on top or underneath the metal.

The edge of the roof that catches the most water needs the best protection possible. Shingles that are extended more than three-quarters or one-inch over the edge of the roof will bend, eventually fracture and break. If there is no metal drip edge, water may not cascade off the eaves into the gutters, allowing water to get into the substrate by turning up under the shingle.

Damage Under Shingles

If water gets under your shingles, it can cause short-term staining, but more importantly, it can cause long-term deterioration of the roof deck and along the fascia board.

If the water damage is allowed to exist for a prolonged period, it can also affect the ends of the roof joists and trusses. Eventually, you may develop leaks and damage inside your home that could be extremely costly to repair.

Not a Money Saver

Ironically, not including a drip edge on roof bids is often done as a money-saver but can lead to catastrophic damage later. This leads to extensive repair costs both inside and outside the home.

In some cases, a builder may rush the roof and cover it with felt in order to speed the interior work. In these cases, the builder may hurriedly run a cutter along the roof deck, but because they are rushing, they often do not do so in a straight line. This causes the edge of the felt short of the edge and, when fascia board is added later, the felt is even further from the roofing drip edge.

If you are in need of a new roof or are planning to build a new home, contact us to learn more about roofing, shingles and drip edges. You can speak to one of our knowledgeable customer service representatives by calling or completing the easy form online.

What You Need To Know About Roofing Ventilation

What You Need To Know About Roofing Ventilation

Proper ventilation in your roof is critical in your home as ventilation not only provides circulation throughout your home, it also keeps air fresh and reduces moisture levels. Choosing the right type of roofing ventilation, however, can be tricky as it can depend on several factors.

Box Vents

Box vents work best with soffit ventilation as they are designed for use in open attics. In addition, the vents do not need to be placed close to roof ridges for optimal performance. Box vents are static and not mechanical. They are placed in a whole that is cut into the roof and then use natural winds to remove hot air and moisture. Most homes need more than one of these types of vents. The actual number will depend on the square footage of your attic.

Continuous Ridge Vents

Continuous ridge vents are installed at the peak of your roof ridge so that warm air can escape from the attic. The vents also create a vacuum that draws the air from the attic and they are the best option if you have vaulted ceilings. Only one is required as opposed to the need for multiple box vents. Continuous ridge vents are also non-mechanical so there is no concern about electrical failures that could lead to problems. However, continuous ridge vents are more expensive than box vents.

Soffit Vents

In most houses, soffit vents draw air up through the attic and then out a ridge vent. However, not all houses have continuous soffit and ridge vents, but instead have an opening at the gable ends. Houses without rafters or overhangs may not soffits and older houses may not have vents that open into attic spaces. Because older homes were not as airtight as modern homes, condensation may not be as much of a problem although roof ventilation may help reduce energy costs in those homes.

Prevent Condensation

Improper roofing ventilation causes colder air in an attic to mix with warm, moist air from the rest of your house. The combined temperatures cause condensation to form which can damage your home. If you have noticed peeling or blistering paint on gable-ends or exteriors, it could mean you do not have proper ventilation in your roof. Buckling roof shingles can also indicate improper ventilation. Ice dams, which occur often in the Midwest and Northeast where there is significant winter weather may indicate that you need to address your roof ventilation. Even water stains on a ceiling may not mean you have a roof leak, but that you have condensation dripping from your roof.

If you are interested in learning more about roofing ventilation, contact us today to speak to one of our knowledgeable customer service staff. You can speak to them by phone or complete the form online to learn more about the types of ventilation available.

Choosing the Right Shingles for Your Home

Choosing the Right Shingles for Your Home

Building or remodeling a home allows you to spend time picking out all types of new patterns, styles and accessories for your home. This may include countertops, light fixtures or flooring styles. Although not as exciting as a new granite countertop, there is one aspect of a home that is just as important – the shingles on your roof. Choosing the right shingles is not only important because they are visible from the outside, but you also want to be sure the shingles you choose provide other benefits in your home. Before choosing shingles, it is important to know more about the types of shingles available, their life expectancy and how they protect your home.

Types of Shingles

Before choosing the right shingles, it is important to understand the differences between types of shingles. Traditional asphalt shingles are coated in asphalt and ceramic over a fiberglass or organic base. Fiberglass creates a shingle that is lighter but more durable than other types of material. Architectural shingles, which are also known as laminated dimensional shingles, are also made of fiberglass and asphalt, but weigh as much as 200 pounds more per square. Traditional shingles look like three flat rectangles when placed along the roof. Architectural shingles are not cut into tabs, but are over-layered in order to create a more dimensional appearance. They provide a unique look to a roof line and are considered more durable than traditional shingles. Because they are heavier, they can withstand higher winds. Builders prefer them because they can hide errors and flaws better than traditional shingles. They also work better with turrets and gables often found in roof lines. Architectural shingles are more expensive and are not recommended for low-sloped roofs, however.

Recognizing Worn Shingles

Architectural shingles last about 40 years while traditional shingles last around 20 years. It is recommended that homeowners check their shingles for wear periodically and replace any that may be damaged or worn. Signs that your shingles need replacing include small circles or cracks at the edges as well as algae or moss growth. Worn shingles may have bald spots where the granules have been lost as well as divots and pitting. Damaged shingles can cause water to be trapped underneath, damaging the roof structure. Shingles that are blistered may be due to trapped moisture or they may indicate a defect that could be covered under the shingle warranty.

Purpose of Shingles

The main purpose of shingles is to protect your home from inclement weather. In addition, shingles also protect your home from pests like insects and rodents. Properly installed shingles provide drainage from the roof peak, also protecting your home from excess ground water that can cause damage to the foundation. Shingles need proper ventilation as well to provide adequate protection. Your builder will more than likely recommend insulation in your attic as a way to help shingles protect your home. Without adequate ventilation, shingles may buckle, compromising your roofs protection. Shingles also act as a barrier, keeping water and heat from entering the home, damaging interior supports.

If you are building a new home or performing maintenance on the roof, you need to be sure to choose the right shingles, not only for aesthetic purposes but to protect your home from water and sun damage. For more information and guidance on choosing the right shingles, contact Tri-County Exteriors today.

Roof Types, Vocabulary and Things You Should Know

Roof Types, Vocabulary and Things You Should Know

When replacing an old roof or building a house from scratch, you may quickly find yourself confused by the number of unfamiliar terms used when looking at the different roof types.  Not to mention the seemingly strange lingo being thrown around by those in the roofing profession. Square feet or squares? Gabled roof or hip-and-valley? Crickets, soffits, flashing and rakes…

The sometimes mystifying vocabulary employed by roofers may not be quite as arcane as, say, a football playbook or quantum physics. But there are a number of terms and definitions that the average homeowner should understand before talking with a pro. To this end, we’ve created an infographic that explains the basics of roof vocabulary, materials, construction and general things you should be aware of before you dive into a roofing project.

Roof Types, Vocabulary and Things You Should Know

What Is The Best Color For My Roof?

What Is The Best Color For My Roof

It’s not always easy to find the perfect colors for your new roofing installation, especially when you discover how many choices are out there. Not only do you have to choose the right color, there are even more shades and color combinations to decide among.

A new roof has the potential to last more than 20 years, so it’s important to make a decision that you can live with long-term.

The Light vs. Dark Debate

In any area with really hot summers, possible heat retention in the roof can be a big concern. Dark colors are known to absorb heat from the sun, with solid black shingles being 10 degrees hotter than plain white. The difference in grays and browns are considerably less significant so there really is no sense in worrying about anything except quality and style.

Match Shingles to Your Brick

It’s always possible to change the color of shutters or wall paint, but the exterior bricks never change. Most homeowners start finding attractive options by comparing samples with the existing brick before taking paint colors into consideration.

Find a Material That Looks Good With the Exterior Paint Color

If you do plan to freshen up the paint on the outside of your home, it’s a smart idea to compare each of these different styles. Put a paint sample next to the roofing material options to find a combination that is appealing to your preference.

Add Dimension with a Complementary Color

Matching roofing too closely with brick or siding is going to make the house look dull and lifeless. A little variation is a very good thing because it defines the different materials for a more interesting visual.

Don’t Rule Out the Simple Colors

There is no requirement stating that shingles have to be multicolored or feature some type of pattern. Rather than risk making the house look too busy, use a simple shingle style to tone down the different exterior elements. If the home features a lot of neutrals, it would be a good idea to make sure that the shingles do stand out on their own.

Compare Shingles in Different Lighting

Brick, shingles, and siding all take on a slightly different look when comparing them in shade and direct sunlight. View samples at different times during the day to be sure that any variations do not throw off the overall harmony.

Keep Resale Value in Mind

Pleasing your personal style is important, but it is valuable to consider a broader audience if you ever plan to sell. A unique shade of green might be your favorite option, but it’s going to be a tough sell for a lot of buyers. Neutral is always a safe way to protect the resale value of your home when investing in a new roof.

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