Archive for January, 2013

Solar Roof Perks

solar roofYou may have seen a commercial building, or even a progressive residential home, with solar panels and wondered what all the fuss is about. While solar roofs are just now gaining momentum in popularity, the benefits are bound to last a lifetime.

Lasting Effects

The most obvious benefit of having a solar roof is the environmental impact. By absorbing the sun’s rays, these roof systems generate power that can be used to service the home or building. The average home can generate enough power to sustain its electrical usage for 24 hours, thereby reducing the consumption of traditional energy. Reducing the consumption of traditional electricity saves the homeowner money,  but also decreases carbon emissions produced by a long-term reduction in the need for manufacturing of electricity.

Solar roofs may be more costly than traditional roof repair costs for materials, but they are also longer lasting. Many of these systems come with warranties well above the average 20 year found for other roof materials. Further, there are government rebate programs and tax deductions available for the installation of a solar roof system.

Licensed Bonded and Insured Roofers

You hear the words licensed, bonded and insured when looking for a roofing company but do you really know what they mean? A contractor who is not licensed, bonded and insured might have the same competence as any other roofer but may be more risk to the homeowner.

Your state may not require that your contractor be licensed. If a contractor has a license it does not have a lot of meaning for a homeowner getting a new roof. Licensing is basically a part of the political process. Different areas have different methods of issuing a license; it could be as simple as paying a fee or taking courses and proving hours of experience.

Bonding is an ssurance the job will be completed

There are several types of bonds, which are basically a type of insurance. Bonds can cover payments and bonds can cover performance. A bonded contractor pays the bonding company a fee similar to an insurance payment, and then if a contractor is unable to pay material suppliers or subcontractors the bonding company makes the payments. In case the contractor is unable to complete the labor part of the job, the bonding company will take over and make arrangements for another roofing company to come in and complete the job.

Insurance in contractor work usually relates to accidents. Roofing can be a dangerous job with the use of power tools, and slips and falls. Most of the time workers compensation laws provide for employer insurance covering such injures and the owner of the property does not have to get involved. If however the contractor does not carry insurance and a roofer is injured on the job, the owner of the property is ultimately responsible. Your homeowner insurance may not cover workers engaged in repair or remodel work on your home. It is a good idea to ask to see proof that your roof contractor has insurance for his workers.

Community Gets Together to Put Roof on Home

On Monday, Martin Luther King Day in Santa Fe New Mexico Habitat for Humanity AmeriCorps and YouthWorks volunteers tore the roof of an elderly couple’s home. Agnes and Bob Moses roof had been patched many times. Agnes was sleeping in the living room due to the leaking in their bedroom had saturated her side of the bed.

While Habitat for Humanity normally builds new homes, they felt this was an exception when a friend of the Moses contacted their Santa Fe office. Habitat for Humanity’s volunteer director Rob Lockner said “AmeriCorps requires a MLK day service project; YouthWorks also requires a service day”. They felt re-roofing the 85 year old couples roof would be a good way to celebrate the holiday.

Volunteers and Local Roofers Pitch In

Over a dozen volunteers scraped the tar and old shingles off the roof with shovels and swept up the debris and tossed it all in the dump truck that was parked below the roof. The new roof is expected to be completed in two days. Lopez Roofing and M.A.G. Construction donated labor and materials.

When the volunteer roofers took a lunch break on Monday, they enjoyed a chocolate sheet cake decorated with red roses to celebrate Bob Moses turning 86 a few days before.

The Moses retired to Santa Fe in 1992. They joined AmeriCorps and have been active members, volunteering and advocating for social justice in their community.

Flat Roof Considerations

Roofs come in all sizes and shapes. Flat roofs are not the most traditional of roof shapes among family homes, but they are used for some second floor deck areas and are popular in urban areas. Flat roofs come with a different set of risks and benefits than sloped roofs, all of which should be considered before purchasing a home with a flat roof.

Ups and Downs

One of the reasons flat roofs are attractive is that they are easy to install and  the roof materials to cover them are affordable. Because they lack pitch, or slope, a flat roof does not face the challenges of sloped roofs that require engineering efforts. Flat roofs also provide more useable space in the home, both indoors and outdoors. Indoors, a flat roof eliminates the extreme angles seen in sloped roofs; allowing for more all space and easier placement of structures like a fireplace. Outdoors, a flat roof can provide an area for decking or other types of outdoor living coverings.

Unfortunately, flat roofs do have their drawbacks. Unlike a sloped roof, flat roofs are more maintenance. Their lack pitch makes them prone to water runoff issues, which can lead to a greater need for roof repair or replacement. The life span of a flat roof can be much less than a sloped roof, unless special roof materials are used to ensure effective water drainage. Flat roofs also tend to accumulate more heat than a sloped roof. However, this can be avoided by the installation of a white roof system designed to reflect the sun’s UV rays and reduce heat absorption.

Leaking Roof at Georgia City Hall

Marietta Georgia City Hall is making plans to fix its leaky roof. City Safety service director Jonathan Hupp said “There are actually three roofs on this building front to back.”
The front section of the building is covered by a slate roof and flat roofs are on the back sections. The membrane materials are deteriorating and rain water is leaking through.

The second floor main hallway has puddles of water and trash cans and buckets to catch the rainwater as it drains through. Along with the damage to the walls and roof, ceiling tiles are falling exposing insulation and wiring.

New Roof First Order of Business

Davis Pickering Architects from Parkersburg have begun preliminary designs on renovating the city hall. City Engineer Joe Tucker said a new roof will have to be in place before any upgrades can be done inside the aging building. The membrane and spray foam on the flat roof is approximately 15 years old and will need to be replaced. The roof does not have the proper pitch to allow rainwater to drain off and will need to be replaced.

Tucker said “This will not be a simple re-roofing job, because we also need to seal the roof to prevent water from leaking inside the walls of the building. And core samples of the roof will have to be taken to determine which areas are made of concrete, metal decking or other materials.”

City engineers will be doing as much of the roofing work as possible and will be working with the roofing supplier, Fiber Tite Roofing of Wooster to determine the scope of the project.

Tucker is eager to get the roof repair started, the deterioration caused by the leaking water is holding up other renovation projects to the city hall.

Roof Related Replacements

When you have made the decision to re-roof your home it may be the right time to replace some other roof related materials. The common replacements are gutters, downspouts, repairing or replacing the fascia and soffits, vents and insulation.

Deteriorating roof edges must be repaired before new roofing materials can be applied and often times this means removing the gutters. If your gutters are in bad shape, it will be hard to remove them without damaging them further and sometimes they are too bad of shape to try to put back up. If your contractor will be installing new roof drainage system it can be completed the same time as the roofing project.

If the fascia and soffit materials are broken or water damaged they will need to be replaced. Materials include aluminum, vinyl, plywood or hardboard. You can also replace soffit materials with ventilator openings. Regardless of the material used it is generally easier to do a replacement rather than trying to re-cover the damaged areas. Old weather worn areas will not hold a nail well and rotting can easily occur on the back of the boards.

Ventilation in attic spaces helps avoid summer heat buildup and moisture condensation in the winter. The circulation is through intake vents in the lower areas of the attic space, such as soffit vents and then through outlet vents in the upper roof areas.

Your roof contractor can go over these issues with you when you are getting estimates for your roof repair or replacement. By visiting do it yourself building type retail outlets and searching online you should be able to get a good understanding of the products available to you and best for the climate you live in.

Roof Installation Tips

When it comes time to get a new roof, many homeowners are unprepared for the process. From decision making on materials, to what to expect with a warranty, there are lots of important considerations to make sure the job gets done right.

Do Your Homework

Many people go into the roof replacement process blind. Although you may not be the one performing the task, it is important to know what you want and what to expect. First, do some research in different roof material options. Although you may have traditional asphalt shingles now, you could find that upgrading to a better quality product or even green roofing solution is a good fit for your home. Also, shop around online and in builder material stores to get an idea of prices. Knowing the industry standard for roof materials could prevent you from being overcharged and save you money.

Hire A Professional

Roof repair is not an everyday maintenance task. It is a process that should be handled only by a trained professional. When looking for a qualified roof contractor, start by asking friends and family for referrals. The most honest reviews come from previous customers, so find someone that knows of a company they trust. Check the company’s standings with the Better Business Bureau. It is also important to obtain multiple quotes before choosing a roofer.

Get Documentation

Once you have decided on a roofing company, get proof of their insurance and license. Hiring an uninsured or unlicensed company is never advised, be sure the company you hire can back up their work. After the work has been completed it is important you keep a copy of the work order, receipt of payment and warranty information. If you are going to file a claim or submit the work to your homeowners insurance provider, you will likely need copies of all of these documents.

Domed Roof to Catch Rainwater

In Syracuse New York, Syracuse University received a $1.35 million state grant to install a rainwater collection system for the Carrier Dome. The 7 acre fabric roof will collect 6.6 million gallons of water from the approximately 880,000 that pours off the Dome roof every year.

The water will run off the roof material and be stored in tanks at the bottom of the bleachers. The retained water will be used during events to flush toilets in the 16 public bathrooms. The water will be dyed to prevent confusion between toilet water and drinking water.

The Gutter is Wide Enough To Hold a Car

The water runoff roof system includes a gutter that runs the entire edge of the bottom of the roof. The gutter is heated in the winter to prevent ice buildup and is approximately 10 feet wide.

The water is held in 4 tanks that hold 5,000 gallons of rainwater each. The tanks at Carrier Dome will hold enough water to flush the toilets and urinals during two major sporting events.

The State Environmental Facilities Corp. grant will pay for most of the rainwater collection system to include the tanks, pipes, filtration and chlorination system. Syracuse University will cover the remaining cost of the $1.5 million project.

The university wants the public to notice the water harvesting system to demonstrate how such systems can conserve municipal water supplies while reducing the amount of rainwater into an overloaded wastewater treatment system.

Bruce Wanlass, principle engineer for C&S Engineers came up with the idea for the system while we was attending a basketball game with his 7 year old son.

Roofing Complications

Sometimes just by looking at a roof you can tell which ones will be easier to re-roof than others. For example steeply sloped or pitched roofs can involve special instructions for applying asphalt shingles. The factory applied adhesive works best for lower sloped roofs when the weight of the shingle plus the sun’s heat softens the adhesive and completes the bond. When the roof is steeply sloped you may need additional enforcement of roof cement to help the bonding process.

Roof dormers combined with steep roof slopes further complicate re-roofing efforts. These areas are difficult to climb around and take additional time to fit the shingles around the dormer ridges and valleys. Slips and falls are a strong concern when maneuvering around on a steeply sloped roof, and especially so when you must maneuver around dormers or other protrusions from your roof.

Damaged Sheathing

Other complications arise from the condition of the roof sheathing underneath the roof covering. Moisture damaged and rotting roof sheathing boards means repair work needs to be done in addition to the re-roofing. New roofing materials won’t last very long if applied to damaged boards that won’t hold nails.

Even if there is no moisture damage there can still be sagging in the sheathing from old boards. In most cases you can use longer nails to put the new sheathing material up over the old wavy sheathing boards.

How steep your roof slopes and if there is any sheathing damage should be a strong deciding factor in choosing to re-roof your home yourself or hiring an experienced roofing company to do the job.

Dome Roof Gym Doubles as Storm Shelter

In Edna Texas a high school gymnasium was built to withstand winds up to 200 miles per hour. The windowless building with a dome shaped roof will do double duty as a storm shelter during hurricane season. The new roof has layers of concrete, insulation and rebar. Edna has a population of 5,500 and is approximately 100 miles southwest of Houston.

The $2.5 million building was primarily financed through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The heavy duty building has a double layer of cinder block walls reinforced by steel bars and cement piers that are buried 30 feet into the ground.

More Domes Planned

The Edna dome is the second hurricane dome in Texas. The first dome was built near Corpus Christi in Woodsboro Texas. The domes were built to protect the residents who may not be able to leave the area, such as the elderly and the sick. Local officials and first responders will also be able to take advantage of the shelters so they will be in the immediate area to begin recovery efforts.

Local communities are paying approximately 25% of the dome costs with FEMA picking up the rest. The buildings are being built as recreation or community centers when not needed as emergency shelters.

FEMA plans to build 28 dome buildings, with shelters planned in Brownsville, Bay City, and two in Kingsville. According to Tom Vinger a spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety, they plan to add these structures to 11 counties in the Rio Grande Valley, Corpus Christi and along the coast from Victoria to Newton Counties.