Eco-Friendly Roofing

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With an overwhelming interest in green living over the past few years, roofing manufacturers have developed a wide range of eco-friendly roofing products. Homeowners can now choose from a variety of styles that are energy efficient, environmentally friendly, long lasting and affordable. Take a look at some of the top eco-friendly roofing products on the market today.

Cool Roofing

“Cool roofs” are made in white or lightly-colored materials that reflect the sun’s rays away from your house, rather than absorbing heat into your roof. By reducing heat transfer to your home, they reduce air conditioning costs and create comfortable, more even temperatures, especially in areas with hot, sunny climates. By conserving energy use, they also decrease air pollution associated with greenhouse gas emissions. A high solar reflectance, created with special coated granules in the roof tiles, combined with a high thermal emittance allows cool roofs to stay up to 75% cooler than conventional roofing materials during hot weather.  Note: Asphalt shingles are available in white and light colors, but they are a petroleum based product and not considered eco-friendly “cool roofs.”

Metal Roofing

Metal roofs are a great eco-friendly investment for your home. They’re made from recycled metal materials like steel, aluminum, copper and zinc that are light reflective, fire-resistant, extremely durable and completely recyclable. Next to tile, copper and slate, standing-seam metal roofing provides the best longevity at a less expensive price. Compared to conventional asphalt shingles which last about 20 years, metal roofing can easily last up to 50 years, so it’s highly unlikely that you would ever need to replace your roof. Metal roofing is available in a variety of colors and designs to complement any architectural style, from a century old, rural farmhouse to a contemporary, urban home. For an additional green factor, you can select a light color that promotes the heat resistance of “cool roofs.”

Wood Shake and Shingle Roofing

Natural wood shakes and shingles are eco-friendly, biodegradable roofing materials that offer a classic look for more traditional homes. Conventional wood shakes are typically made from old-growth western cedar that’s becoming scarce, but eco-friendly wood shakes come from sustainable forests that are certified by The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), the largest world-wide certifier of responsibly harvested forest products. You can also find wood shakes and shingles that are made using reclaimed wood from old bridges, mills, wine barrels and water tanks. Although natural wood shakes and shingles are beautiful, they are not fire-resistant and should be treated with a fire-resistant coating. If building or zoning laws in your area prohibit the use of real wood shakes or shingles, you can select from shake-like roofing materials that are manufactured from 80% post-industrial recycled rubber.

Clay and Slate Tile Roofing

Natural clay and slate tiles have been used as roofing materials for centuries. Because of their durability and long life, up to 100 years, natural clay and slate tiles can be found on many European homes and buildings dating back to the 18th century. As eco-friendly, natural materials, clay and slate roof tiles offer many advantages. They are fire-resistant, rot-resistant, insect-resistant and maintenance-free, but they can crack or break with force. The biggest drawback is weight. Because these roofing materials are heavy, your roof may require extra support. Clay and slate roof tiles come in a variety of colors, shapes and sizes to complement architectural styles and features on every home. Although they are more expensive than other materials, the long lifespan of a clay or slate tile roof will definitely offset the initial costs.

Roof Maintenance Checklist

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If you are a homeowner in the San Francisco Bay Area who wants to ensure the longest possible lifespan for your roof while helping to prevent any damage to your home’s interior, an annual roofing inspection will serve you well. Regardless of whether you’re a do-it-yourself minded individual or if you prefer to hire a professional, the same issues will be thoroughly assessed during the inspection.

Interior Moisture Can Degrade Roofing Materials

Since a significant enemy to your roof is interior moisture which can cause warping on your shingles, its important to check the condition of your attic insulation and complete any necessary upgrades as soon as possible. In addition to keeping humid air out of your attic where it can cause numerous types of structural damage, adding additional attic insulation will also reduce the energy usage of your home and save you money on your utility bills year round.

Check the Condition of All Aspects of Your Roof

When you’re ready to complete the outdoor portion of your roofing inspection, you can either immediately set up a ladder and climb onto your roof (if you feel comfortable), or break out a pair of binoculars to get a decent idea of the condition of each of the following issues from the ground. You can always follow up with a closer look or call a professional if you notice any signs of problems, such as:

  • Shingles that are curling during cold weather, particularly around the bottom edge of your roof
  • Surface cracking anywhere on your roof, indicating worn, brittle shingles
  • Blistering, which can indicate a manufacturer defect in your roofing materials or poor ventilation within your attic
  • Any shingles that are loose, broken or completely missing, as well as any popped nails, indicating a need for immediate repair or replacement
  • Moss or lichen growing on your roof, indicating the presence of rot beneath the surface; algae growth, on the other hand, is cosmetic, but can be removed if you prefer
  • Chimney, skylight, or vent flashing with cracked sealant or rust on the surface
  • Colored grit in your gutters, indicating that your shingles may be nearing the end of their lifespan. Since those sand-like particles are designed to protect your shingles from UV damage, your roof will deteriorate more quickly once they begin to separate from the shingles themselves
  • Buildup of debris within your gutters, which should be promptly cleared to allow proper water drainage from your roof

Decide Who Will Complete Any Needed Repairs

Once you’ve completed your basic assessment, you will be able to decide if you are comfortable completing any needed repairs or would prefer to contact a professional. Simple fixes like adding caulk to cover any cracks in your flashing, replacing a few missing or broken shingles, and/or hammering down any popped nails can often be handled by you as the homeowner and save you the cost of a service call, but more serious issues such as badly degraded shingles may warrant a complete roof replacement, and that’s a job that’s definitely best handled by the pros.

If you are in need of any professional roofing services in the San Francisco Bay area, including attic insulation, contact Pacific Coast Roofing Service. Our family owned team of business professionals would be happy to assist you any step of the way, from your basic annual roof inspection to the installation of a completely new roof.

Roofing Maintenance Checklist

roofing-maintenance-checklist

A roof is a vital part of your home. Like other aspects of your house, it will need regular roofing maintenance and inspection for issues to stay in good shape and keep the leaks out. The amount of maintenance required, and the lifespan of your roof will depend on the materials you use and the weather your house is exposed to.

Basic Roofing Inspections

What to Look For:

The best way to determine if repairs or maintenance are needed is to conduct an inspection of your roof.  Inspections are recommended about twice a year. Examine your roof once before the cold/wet season, and once at the end of  winter. Check for signs of aging. Cold weather can cause curling along the edges. Brittle shingles may show surface cracks, and bubbles can indicate ventilation issues.

Walk around your house and inspect the roof from the top, sides, inside and out. Check the attic and make sure it is insulated properly and that there are no leaks. Attic insulation can increase the lifespan of your roof and protect it from the elements. Check your gutters and downspouts. Make sure the areas are working properly and aren’t clogged. Proper water drainage is especially important with areas that experience heavy or frequent rain.

Professional Opinions:

If you detect signs of major moisture issues, it’s best not to rush and tear apart your roof to find a leak. Instead, try getting a professional moisture survey. There are three primary kinds of moisture detection:

  • Infrared Scans – These scans can detect how much heat is being retained or lost. Think of it like a ‘soggy insulation’ detector.
  • Nuclear Isotopic Meters – While this sounds like some sort of scary radiation scanner, it’s really a device that detects Hydrogen atoms. Since water is H2O chemically, the more H’s detected, the more water is present.
  • Electrical Capacity/Resistance – Water is highly conductive, so the better your roof conducts – the more water is present.

Professionals can detect widespread problems and propose the best solution for you. If our regular maintenance is not enough, a whole house solution can be developed to keep you dry.

Roofing Materials

Here are some of the common types of roofing material and their general maintenance concerns:

  • Asphalt Shingles – The most commonly used type of roofing for American homes, these shingles have varying lifespans based on the kind purchased but are easy to install and patch.
  • Wood Shingle or Shake – Beautiful and classic, this wooden roofing can be high maintenance. Frequent cracks and rotting from moisture require regular inspections and maintenance.
  • Clay & Concrete Tiles – Usually offering a lifespan of 50 years, these tiles are highly durable and energy efficient. Due to the extra weight involved, proper installation is a must to prevent issues down the road.
  • Metal Roofing – Metals are available in new and recycled options, in materials including copper, aluminum, and steel. Lightweight and highly durable, these roofs are very resistant to adverse weather. Look for dents and dings that may require cosmetic repairs.

For more information on roofing maintenance and installation, consult your local expert.

A Brief History of Roofing

a-brief-history-of-roofingAs long as there has been a history of mankind, there has been a history of roofing. Since no one likes to sleep out in the rain or snow, even the earliest primitive humans were in need of coverage. While caves certainly provide adequate shelter, they are often dank and moist, riddled with wildlife and otherwise not very hospitable. As a result, man soon set out to build freestanding homes. In fact, one of the earliest roofing materials was a mammoth skin found in Siberia, dating back to 40,000 BC.

Stretched hide, sod and other natural materials, remained the constant throughout much of early mans history. It was much more recently, by historical standards, that tiles have been developed. The earliest known case of a glazed roof tile was discovered in China, dating back to around 5000 years ago. Many examples of Chinese architecture still use this same style of elaborate roof tile, even today, albeit in temple structures and palaces. Wonderful examples of Chinese architecture and roofing can be found in the forbidden city museum in Beijing.

Around this same time, flat earthenware tiles were developed in what is now modern day Greece. These same types of shingles were adopted by the romans and eventually brought to England around 100 BC. For the next 800 years these clay tiles were widely used, by the wealthier portion of society, throughout Western Europe.

Thatchery has been an important part of structural architecture since the inception of the first straw huts. When animal skins were scarce, tightly bundled reeds and fronds quickly became a suitable substitute for semi-nomadic ancient human tribes. The same concept persisted throughout the ages and many dwellings, even stone buildings, were capped with a straw roof. Thatchery remained in practice right up into modern day as a low cost, abundantly available solution, for people that could not afford the more expensive clay tile shingles.

Roofing has changed significantly over the last 200 years and modern building materials have little in common with the reeds or clay of roofs of the past. In more recent years, eco-friendly materials and energy conservation in general has become the focal point of roofing research and development. Advances in materials, smog absorbing tiles, and even built in solar panels all strive towards saving money while maintaining an esthetically pleasing roof.

The profession of roofing has come a long way from those first animal skins strung over our heads 40,000 years ago. But the desire and need to build safe and comfortable shelter remained the same throughout the ages. As the roofing industry moves forward into the future, new and innovative technology will set the scene for safe, economical and harmonious trends.

 

What Is Dry Rot and What Should I Do About It?

The first thing to remember when dealing with dry rot is that the name is misleading. Dry rot is not normal decomposition. It is decay caused by several species of fungi. The word dry is somewhat misleading as well, as fungi require moisture to do their dirty work. The wood can have the appearance of dryness, however, once the fungi have completely weakened the wood.

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Needless to say, this is an extremely dangerous condition. Anything that relies on the wood’s structural integrity is at risk of collapse. It is important that you know what to look for and what you can to do about it.

Identification. Dry rot begins simply, with the introduction of microscopic spores into the wood. Over time, they proliferate. You may begin to notice changes in the wood’s appearance. It may take on mushroom-colored appearance in the early stages of infestation. More advanced cases will show a white, wool-like, fungus eventually giving way to a splotchy brown or dark brown discoloration mixed with orange or rust. Wood that is completely infested will be crumbly, and some parts could be so weak they are all but pulverized.

  • Seriously infected wood will have a damp, musty odor.

Treatment. Nevertheless, hope is not lost. Caught early, wood infested with dry rot can be treated. You’ll need wood stabilizer and wood filler, both available at your local hardware store. You’ll also need two paintbrushes, a chisel or a saw, and don’t forget gloves and safety goggles. Follow the four-step treatment process below.

1. Stop the source of any leaks that may be responsible for the condition.

2. If the infected area is small enough to be removed without doing serious structural damage, go ahead and use a chisel, or a saw if needed, and remove it.

  • It is of the utmost importance that you remove every last piece of infected wood. Leaving only a little behind is enough to start the whole process rolling again.

3. You will need to treat any uninfected wood that may have bordered the infected swatch with wood stabilizer. Apply the glue-like stabilizer in even layers with one of the paintbrushes. When you’re through, discard the brush. You won’t be able to re-use it. Give the stabilizer a few hours to dry.

4. Apply a layer of wood filler over the stabilizer. Allow it to dry completely before adding a second coat.

  • All wood repair of this sort should be performed on the least humid day possible.
  • Dispose of infected wood promptly. Fungus can spread.
  • Safety first: Wear gloves and goggles when handling and applying chemicals.

Prevention. Of course, the best way to treat dry rot is to do your best to prevent it in the first place. Boric acid, also known as borate, can act as a fungicide. Most hardware stores stock the chemical either by itself or as part of a dry rot treatment kit.

Regular borate is water-soluble and will be ineffective in wet areas. If you are treating wood where there is some degree of liquid water, you will need to use fused borate. Talk to your hardware store sales associate if you are unsure of what to use.

  • Remember, dry rot is not actually dry. The most effective preventative measure you can take is to eliminate as much excess moisture as possible. Pay attention to leaking pipes or faucets and address their cause as soon as possible.

Early identification and treatment of dry rot is essential to preventing serious damage. With a few simple chemicals and a little bit of work, you can ensure a structurally sound home.

What is Roofing Underlayment?

what-is-roofing-underlaymentAs long as it doesn’t leak and looks reasonably attractive, the average homeowner probably doesn’t give their roof much thought. Still, the roof – and not just the shingles but, more importantly, the underlayment – is an integral part of a homes engineering and construction and must be maintained regularly, if it is to properly do its job. Here are a few of the most important things to know about the underlayment of your roof:

What is roofing underlayment?

While the shingles on a roof usually get all the credit for deflecting the wind and the rain and the snow, it is the underlayment that actually allows them to do so. In particular, the underlayment is the support structure of 4′ x 8′ plywood sheets to which the shingles are attached and any additional materials laid between that structure and the singles. In addition, this underlayment also supports the various flashing, vents, soffits and rakes that keep water from infiltrating under the shingles and into your home.

Does every roof need it?

As noted, the underlayment supports the shingles and the associated items that protect the entire structure from the elements. It is also an integral part of the structural support of the entire building. In fact, it actually holds the walls together unlike the floor that adds no real structural strength – contrary to a popular misconception. So, the answer to the original question posed is a resounding, “Yes!”

Types of underlayment?

The basic components of a roof underlayment are the sheathing, the felt and any specialty protective materials. The sheathing is simply the wood underneath to which everything else is attached. The felt is a material laid on the sheathing so that the shingles do not slide while being installed or at any time afterward. The specialty materials – usually incorrectly called the underlayment by most industry professionals – encompass such things as solar reflective materials, insulators and roof liners that provide extra protection from the wind and the rain.

How does a homeowner maintain it?

Just like any part of the exterior of your home a semi-annual inspection is the best way to identify immediate and potential problems. A reputable roofing repair company will do this task and provide a quote for the necessary repairs for free. It is essential that the inspectors examine the entire perimeter of the roof line, investigate for leaks in the attic as well as “walk the roof” – that is, actually climb onto the roof and feel for soft spots in the underlayment.

How to proceed

There is simply no other option than to have someone – you, a friend or a professional roofer – climb onto your roof once or twice a year and inspect for water infiltration, wind damage and general deterioration. Any potential issues should be addressed as soon as possible as Mother Nature is quite a harsh mistress when it comes to dealing with substandard materials. In short, you can pay a little to fix it now or a lot more to fix it later.

Aluminum Roofing vs. Steel Roofing

aluminum-roofing-vs-steel-roofingAre you considering a new roof for your home? Is your current roof leaking because of poorly manufactured and/or installed shingles? Or is it just time for a new roof altogether? If so, you may want to consider asking your roofing contractor about switching to aluminum or steel as an alternative. They are sleek, attractive, and will last considerably longer than tile roofs. But, which one should you go with? There are pros and cons to both, some of which are:

• Aluminum is more resistant to corrosion
• Steel is more fire resistant
• Aluminum is slightly more expensive
• Noise associated with both are virtually non-existent
• You can “camouflage” both by offsetting cosmetic issues
• And both options are sure to last long beyond your life expectancy

There are advantages and disadvantages to both options, and as you can see, it can be a tough choice to make. You will want to make the best informed decision so that you are able to enjoy your new roof for many years to come. Knowing what to look for and what to avoid can help give you the satisfaction of knowing you made the right choice. So, let’s look at the two as separate entities.

Aluminum Roofing

Aluminum roofing offers superior resistance from corrosion as opposed to steel, meaning that coastal regions will benefit greatly by using this option. A few more things to note not listed above are:

• Aesthetically, aluminum does not age very well. It is a bare and natural metal. Painting your aluminum roof before it is installed is highly recommended to take away from that “raw” look.
• Aluminum is an easy material to install for roofers, as its roofing applications are formidable and easier to work with.
• Aluminum is significantly lighter than steel and its strength to weight ratio is higher than most “common” metals. Consider the fact that airliners use aluminum as the framework for their jets. That’s a pretty strong case for choosing aluminum roofing.

Steel Roofing

Steel is the more common material associated with roofing. As with its aluminum counterpart, there are varying factors that could weigh into your decision to choose it. Some of those attributes are:

• Steel roofs almost always come with a colored finish applied
• Newer steel roofs are very lightweight and also have good resistance to corrosion
• When looking at value alone, steel is the right choice for several applications
• Steel is not as susceptible to denting, as is aluminum. It is a softer metal and can absorb a little more punishment

Installing Your New Roof With Peace Of Mind

There are several determining factors that may sway you one way or the other when deciding on an aluminum or steel roof. Having access to your roof so you can walk on it, overhanging branches from trees that might fall in a storm, heavy snowfall expectations…these are things to factor in when purchasing your new roof. One will handle those stresses better than the other.