The Price of a Metal Roof
t is not uncommon to get a phone call in the office where the voice on the other end of the phone asks, “What is the price of a metal roof?” Is the old saying, “If you have to ask, then you probably can’t afford it,” true? In most cases, I would agree with this saying.
However, when it comes to true lifetime aluminum metal roofing, it could not be further from the truth.
Lifetime metal roofs are installed on homes all over the world today. Here, in southern New England – Massachusetts, southern New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Connecticut – metal roofs are being installed every single day. The level of interest is higher than ever. If the price were not affordable, then why are so many people purchasing them? The average home will need to have its asphalt roof replaced every 17 years. When one considers the cost of stripping off and disposing the old roof, then purchasing and installing a new asphalt roof two times over the next 17 years, that is expensive. Considering that the cost of that asphalt roof will be twice as much when it needs to be replaced in 17 years or sooner.
What we are really addressing here is life cycle cost. What is the true cost of ownership of a metal roof versus the standard asphalt roof that most people end up settling for?
The cost of the asphalt roof over the 17 year period will be significantly more than the lifetime aluminum metal roof. Yes, the initial price of the metal roof is more, but the cost of ownership is far less. The 17 year cost of ownership is less with metal than it is with asphalt. Remember, that is it. There is no additional cost with metal from this point forward as it is maintenance free. It is at this point that the cost of ownership of an asphalt roof, with all of the problems associated with it, skyrockets versus metal. This does not even touch on the environmental benefits, energy savings, curb appeal, or the fact that metal roofs eliminate ice dam issues.
Roofing That Holds Fast In Hurricanes
Finding a roof that will hold during a hurricane is no easy task. Just ask the victims of hurricane Katrina. What about the homeowners in Florida that suffered through three hurricanes back to back in 2004? What roofs worked and what roofs did not?
At the time of this writing, New England has been spared a hurricane strike that has caused major damage for quite some time. Have we been lulled into a state where we think it will not happen to us again? After all, the last one we had that was of any significance was “Bob,” back in 1991, and before that, it was “Gloria,” in 1985. So it has really been about 19 years since we have had any significant hurricane threats. Folks that own property along the coast always have the thought of a hurricane strike on their minds. Just ask someone you know that lives on the coast or owns property there. Cape Cod and the Islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, in Massachusetts, have also been spared. Coastal areas are of prime concern when it comes to hurricanes, but damage can and has occurred well inland when hurricanes have struck here in New England.
If you are considering a roofing option here in New England, or really anywhere where high winds or the possibility of a hurricane is present, you need to take into consideration the ability of that roof to hold fast in those extreme conditions. If your roof fails during a hurricane, the chances are good that your home will suffer severe damage and you may even experience a total loss of your home and its contents.
What are the choices of roofs that will hold fast during a hurricane? Well, most recently, we turn to Florida and Louisiana for the obvious answer. After the storms subsided, all one had to do was look around. The only roofs left unscathed by these horrific storms were lifetime aluminum metal roofing. This roofing has the highest wind rating in the industry. Metal roofing contractors’ lead times went out to two to three years after the storms hit. Maybe if those homeowners had invested in metal roofs before the storm, they could have minimized the damage to their homes. With Federal tax credits now available for these aluminum energy star rated roofs, it may be the time to consider upgrading to a lifetime roof.
We offer hurricane rated aluminum metal roofing that lasts a lifetime and are energy star rated. We are part of a worldwide dealer network.
Reduce Your Carbon Footprint, Install a Metal Roof on Your Home
For those of you who do not know what the term carbon footprint means, here is the definition:
"A carbon footprint is the total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused directly and indirectly by a person, organization, event or product. A person, nation, or organization’s carbon footprint is measured by doing a GHG emissions assessment. When the size of a carbon footprint is quantified, a plan can be implemented to reduce it."
How can installing a metal roof on one’s home reduce one’s carbon footprint?
Today’s premium aluminum metal roofing is coated in a PVDF resin known as Kynar 500. Depending on the color choice, these roofs can reflect from 25% to 97% of the heat gain that would typically be absorbed into the house. These roofs maintain these reflective characteristics for decades. The roof is usually the least energy efficient element of the building exterior, and the use of Kynar 500 coated premium aluminum metal roofing can make a huge contribution to the energy efficiency of the total house.
Most people are unaware that it is buildings, not the transportation segment, of our planet, that is responsible for most of the greenhouse gases generated today, upwards to 48%. A few manufacturers of aluminum roofs use recycled aluminum from industrial scrap, while others use post-consumer recycled aluminum beverage cans. Consider the choice that utilizes the post-consumer recycled aluminum. These roofs are great for the environment. They save energy and will reduce your home’s carbon footprint for the next 100 years.
The installation of one of these metal roofs will contribute up to 15 points in the Federal Government’s LEED program.
Roof Ice Dams – The Permanent Solution
Most everyone here in New England knows why the ice dam leak occurs, so I will not go into great detail on the anatomy of an ice dam leak. However, let me give you a quick summary to refresh your memory. Snow accumulates on the roof. The exterior wall of the house at the eave loses heat, usually due to poor insulation. The heat travels up through the roof and begins to melt the snow. The outside temperature freezes the melt and it climbs up the roof under the shingles. This cycle continues day after day and then it happens … the warm day. The thaw. The water is now under the shingles and makes its way into the house usually along the interior wall at the eave intersection of the roof.
You call your contractor or roofer and they will tell you that the roof was not properly installed. Some will tell you that the insulation needs to be addressed or that the ventilation is not working properly. Can it be fixed? Yes. Anything can be fixed. In some cases, you will want to reconstruct your roof to include proper overhangs and adequate sofit vents with the correct ratio to the ridge vent or gable vents to create convection of air up the roof to keep it cold. Someone might even tell you to build a cold roof. There are always the heating wires you can lay out on the roof, or maybe you could spring for a metal skirt. That is a two foot metal edge around the perimeter of the roof in hopes that the ice and snow will slide off instead of damming. What typically happens with this solution is the ice dam forms further up the roof just above the recently installed “solution” which can further compound the problem.
Some of these solutions could be helpful in correcting the problem. But over time, with an asphalt roof, one will end up with more ice dams even if the ventilation has been corrected.
The permanent solution to preventing ice dams is, simply, a metal roof. They are constructed and installed in such a way as to eliminate the leaks associated with ice dams. Metal roofing has come a long way. Several manufactures offer traditional styles that look like slate and shakes, and of course the contemporary look of standing seam. Some are made of post-consumer recycled aluminum cans, they are Energy Star rated, and are eligible to qualify for a Federal tax credit in 2013. Yes, they do cost more than an asphalt roof, but, with the energy savings and the 100 year life cycle, they are worth considering.
Cold Roofs and Roof Ventilation
All right, you just figured out you have zero ventilation in your roof. One way to tell that you have no ventilation is if you live in a snow belt and you had ice dams this year or any other year. Another sign of no roof ventilation is the asphalt shingle roof you have just does not last. It curls and gets brittle and cracks within a few years of having it installed. These are sure signs that either your ventilation is not working or that maybe you have no ventilation at all.
What can you do about it?
There are options. One of the options is to attempt to create an air passage by adding a combination of sofit and ridge or gable end vents. The idea is to get some convection going. Sometimes we see that there is no opportunity to make an airway, so this option might not work.
Another option might be to remove all of the insulation in the roof and replace it with one of the new, more efficient spray-in-place foam insulations that do not require roof ventilation. This can be a fairly costly fix. It depends on the access that you have to the insulation.
Do you have to remove interior walls and ceilings to get to it? Sometimes, if you have an older house with boards for roof sheathing instead of plywood, this task can be completed from the outside of the house with less interruption for the home owner.
Depending on the elevations on the roof, a cold roof could be the best answer. If you have dormers and roof to sidewall areas, a cold roof may not work depending on the elevations. A cold roof is basically a roof that is built elevated above the existing roof. Depending on the situation, one can add additional insulation and ventilation very easily, or just ventilation, if that is all that is needed. It can be an economical solution to fixing a big problem.
If you are going to invest the resources to correct the ventilation in your home, why not consider the long term solution of a permanent metal roof? Call or set up an appointment for one of our roofing consultants to do a free ventilation analysis on your roof.
Ridge Venting on Metal Roofs
What should the homeowner expect to get for his or her money in the way of a ridge vent for their new lifetime metal roof? Over the years I have seen scores of metal roofs installed. Today many homeowners have opted for the more traditional look of the shingle type of metal roofing. Is the typical ridge vent material used for asphalt shingle roofing the correct choice for metal shingles? Most of the ridge vents used with asphalt shingle installations are made of some type of polymer.
One of the most common is the mesh type that resembles a bird nest. The contractor will install this over the opening at the ridge, and then nail the shingles right over it; the bulk of the mesh is what provides the gap and opening for the air flow. The biggest problem with this type of vent is that it is way too restrictive. It does not allow for enough air flow to come through its full shed dormers on the back of the house. Unfortunately, these roofs are usually problematic because of the low pitch. They have a tendency to make the rooms below them very hot in the summer. With an aluminum metal roof that is energy star rated, the temperature in those rooms could be as much as 25% cooler in the summer. Asphalt shingles, rolled roofing, or even a rubber membrane, which is black, make the rooms below almost unlivable because of the heat that is transferred from the roof. These are good reasons to consider a metal roof here in southern New England.
Many southern New Englanders have some type of organic growth on their roof. Moss, Algae, Lichens, and those ugly, black streaks are all but eliminated when an aluminum metal roof is installed. Metal roofs do not support any organic growth.
Southern New England has one of the prettiest coast lines and arguably some of the nicest beaches in the East. There are many homes along these coastal areas. The roofs in these areas can take a beating due to high winds and salt air. It is not uncommon to find asphalt shingles in the yard after a nor’easter blows through. Lifetime aluminum roofs have some of the highest wind ratings available today. With hurricane rating, metal roofs can withstand just about anything New England weather can throw at them.
With all of these benefits, including the 100 year life cycle, now might be the time to consider a metal roof for your home in Southern New England.
A Roof You Don’t Have to Think About
The past few winters have been doozies as far as weather is concerned here in New England. Weather is the driving force behind the relationship between you and your roof.
I have spoken to dozens and dozens of people this spring who have thought about almost nothing else but their roof every time a little bad weather has headed in their direction.
It did not seem to matter how old the roof was, and whether the roof was flat or low pitched, or even if it was a steep pitch. When snow builds up on the roof and creates ice, problems arise, usually in the form of water in the house.
I spoke to a homeowner the other day that told me that he was fearful of going on vacation this past winter. Why? I asked. He said that if a storm came in and he was not here to take care of the snow and ice on the roof, it would cause massive damage in his house in the form of roof leaks. Basically, he was being held hostage by his roof. This scenario was typical of a lot of people this winter, and being held hostage by one’s roof has almost become a cliché.
What can be done when the roof was just re-roofed with a new asphalt roof a few years ago? Was it a botched job? Were the asphalt shingles defective? Why are the seams on my flat roof coming apart? The fact is, we live in a harsh climate. Temperatures can fluctuate by as much as 50 degrees in a single day. We can go from sunshine to blizzard conditions in a matter of hours. With all this going on, it is important to understand that a roof is the first line of defense against this attack on your home. The average roof that is available today is just that, average. Average isn’t cutting the mustard.
“I love my roof, isn’t it beautiful? I love the way it keeps the rain, snow and ice out of my home. I cannot believe how it keeps me so cool in the summer and warm in the winter.”
When was the last time you heard a homeowner say that? When a roof is doing what it is designed to do, not only do you not talk about it, you just don’t think about your roof.
White is the New Green in Metal Roofing
If you have not noticed, start looking up, because these energy-efficient wonders are fast becoming the “Prius” of metal roofing.
It started in the fall of 2007. It was almost as if someone had flipped a switch. The orders for white metal roofing started to increase disproportionately. We had sold a few white roofs over the years, but the sudden interest caught us by surprise.
White is definitely the most energy saving of the roof colors. The PVDF resin finish commonly known as a hI-kynar/Hylar is the finish of choice on high quality lifetime aluminum roofing. The roofs being manufactured in this finish are all Energy Star rated. They are highly reflective and will keep a house substantially cooler in the summer, with some reports of up to 30% cooler. If one is using air conditioning, that equates to a significant savings. If one is not using air conditioning, it means a marketplace and been used by the consumer. It has then been collected and returned to a recycling facility to be processed and put back into a new product.
Many companies claim their products are made of recycled materials. The fact is, under close examination, one will find that they are made from industrial scrap, which is typically material that they themselves generate in the manufacturing process and reuse.
Another pertinent question to ask is whether the contractor doing the installation is recycling the scrap aluminum material generated at the job site? This is yet another post-consumer source of recycling.
What is the price of metal roofing that has gone green? It is typically no more than aluminum roofing that is not recycled, which is a great reason to consider the product that is kind to the environment. The next time you recycle aluminum cans or anything else that is made from aluminum, know that the cycle is being completed when you purchase a roof made from this material.
What You Should Know about Asphalt Shingle Roofs
Asphalt shingle roofs have undergone some significant changes over the years. Today most are made of spun fiberglass, some with organic or polyester matting, which is then soaked in asphalt and coated with granules to give it that traditional look.
There are several manufacturers of asphalt shingles left; some have gone out of business due to class action law suits. The most common shingle is the standard 3 tab, generally 36 inches x 12 inches. This is the least expensive of the asphalt roof shingles per square foot.
Then there are the so called Architectural Shingles. There are some small differences from one manufacturer to another but they are all very similar. Some are multiple layers laminated together with granules on both sides. They may be a little thicker than the 3 tabs, but, at the end of the day, they are still an asphalt shingle.
How long can you expect an asphalt shingle to last here in New England? Our experience is about 17 years on average. However, we have seen some last significantly fewer years.
The insurance industry standard is that an asphalt roof over 17 years old is valued at zero in the event of a loss. They also state that there is no reliable testing that has been done on these products.
Some of the basic characteristics of an asphalt roof are as follows: They are inexpensive. They are easy to walk on (depending on the pitch of your roof). They require the least amount of skill to install. They are prone to wind damage. They do not do well in sun – they get brittle, dry out and crack or cup. They hold snow on the roof, creating potential ice dams. They are available in a large variety of colors.