The 5 Best Roofing Alternatives

Not all roofs have to be the same. The market has so many great options that you might want to rethink what you are proposing and consider an alternative roofing material. Many lesser-known options can outlast asphalt shingles and other conventional materials, and some can even lower your electric bill! And if you’re planning a low-slope roof, chances are that shingles won’t work anyway. Contact us for more information. Stone-Coated Metal Stone-coated metal roofing, or stone-coated steel roofing, has a deep, architectural profile and can mimic the look of asphalt shingles, wood shakes, or clay tiles. This premium roofing material comes with warranties up to 50 years and is rated highly for resistance to winds, hail, and fire. It is made with corrosion-resistant metal coated with crushed granite that is permanently bonded to the metal. The granite coating is not designed to slough off over time, as with the mineral coating on asphalt shingles. Stone-coated metal roofing typically is installed over wood strips, or battens, that create air channels between the roof deck and the roofing. These air spaces serve as insulation to help keep the roof deck cooler in summer and help minimize ice dams in winter. Built-Up Roofing Built-up roofing is the most popular roofing material used on low-sloped roofs. Made of several layers of bitumen surfaces, built-up roofing is finished by applying an aggregate layer or coating as the top layer. This top layer normally is tar, over which the gravel is laid. Types of built-up roofs include smooth asphalt (either hot or cold) and ballasted asphalt. All types generally comprise four parts: decking, insulation, ply sheets (reinforcing fabrics), and one or more surfacing materials. The layers are bonded together with asphalt (tar) or other bitumen material. The type of surface coating used can have a significant impact on the cost and durability of the roof. Most built-up roofs installed today include a layer of rigid insulation for energy performance. The ply sheets are commonly reinforced with fiberglass mats or organic mats, depending on their application. Solar Shingles Solar shingles offer an alternative to conventional rooftop solar panels, while also serving as a roofing material. While early versions of solar shingles and other solar roofing products used flexible “thin-film” solar technology, today’s solar shingles typically are made with rigid materials, such as tempered glass. This makes them look and perform more like conventional shingles, and most can be installed similarly to shingles and without special installation crews. Of course, the greatest benefit of solar shingles is that they create electricity during daylight hours. As a result, roofing starts paying for itself from the day it is installed and over the entire lifetime of the system. It’s the only roofing material that offers a financial return on your investment. Single-Ply Roofing Single-ply roofing is a popular option for commercial buildings and can be used on any slope of roof. There are two main types of single-ply roofing: thermoset and thermoplastic. Thermoset membranes are made with layers of synthetic rubber polymers, such as EPDM, CSPE, and Neoprene. They are commonly used for large roof areas because their large size minimizes the number of seams. Thermoplastic single-ply membranes often are hot-air welded together to form cohesive laps. When the thermoplastic material cools, it returns to its original state, forming a permanent bond. Thermoplastic membranes typically include a reinforcing layer of polyester or fiberglass for strength and stability. Standing Seam Roofing Standing seam roofing is a type of metal roofing made up of vertical panels with two seams per panel that stand up vertically. They offer a more finished appearance and better durability than traditional corrugated metal roofing. Standing seam roofing is commonly available in galvanized steel, Galvalume, and copper materials. Standing seam panels are installed over standard plywood roof decking and an approved underlayment, such as ice-and-water shield. The panels are typically 12 to 24 inches wide and run parallel to the slope of the roof.

Roofing Tips For First-Time Homeowners

Roofing Tip #1: Spring Clean Your Roof Don’t just spring clean the inside of your house! Making sure that your roof is free of debris is essential. Fall, winter, and, spring can wreak havoc with mountains of leaves, snowstorms blowing down branches, not to mention bomb cyclones carrying shingles off to Oz. Cleaning your roof is important. If your pitch is low enough, you may be able to handle that task on your own, but keep in mind, that roof is a lot higher than you think. Not to mention, shingles and other roofing material can be very slippery when damp, so if you attempt to remove branches and leaves on your own, wait until it is good and dry. When you are getting the leaves off your roof, make sure and sweep in a downward motion and make sure that you are secure on your ladder or scaffolding. Roofing Tip #2: Gut Your Gutters Full gutters are a huge factor in leaks and roof damage, so making sure those are clean after the fall colors have faded is equally important. Likewise, gutters may end up pulling away from your house and in the long run, will lead to water running down into your foundation. Before those April showers and for your own peace of mind, you might schedule a standing appointment with a roofer at the end of a long winter to give your gutters and roof some spring cleaning. At the very least, get an estimate. It might just be worth your time and your money to let someone else handle sweeping the roof and cleaning the gutters. Roofing Tip #3: Roof Mold, Moss & Algae Other types of debris that are common in areas where lots of trees grow, like Michigan where I live, are mold, moss, and algae. Allowing these to continue to grow on your roof will shorten the longevity of your roof and allow water to pool which is never a good thing. You don’t want to use a power-washer nor do you want to use a stiff bristled brush or broom because it will damage your shingles and will shorten their life. Find a good cleaner for moss and use it to kill the moss before sweeping it off, or better yet, call someone and have your roofer do that dirty job for you. Roofing Tip #4: Inspect Your Attic After you have checked your roof on the outside, make sure and periodically check the inside of your roof.  If your roof has any leaks or damage, sometimes the easiest way to spot it is from the interior.  Check out your attic spaces for any water damage, the smell of mildew or mold, and any visible signs of light from any small holes in the roof. Include this task with your monthly or bi-monthly to do list.  Roofing Tip #5: Go Looking For Trouble One of the most troublesome areas in roofing, along with the gutters, is the chimney. The chimney often has flashing around it and roofing materials butted up against it as well. Checking to make sure the flashing and shingles are up tight against the chimney and waterproof is an important part of roof maintenance. Because of the height of most chimneys, this might be something you will want to leave up to the professionals. Roofing Tip #6: Look For Small Aesthetic Flaws In Your Roof When you are inspecting your roof, you need to look for small superficial flaws that can lead to huge, costly issues. Look for shingles that are bald. Also, be on the lookout for any nails that have come up and that are protruding. A good pair of binoculars is not a bad tool to have when examining your roof. Keeping your roof on your mind is an important part of being a homeowner, but it doesn’t have to be an all-consuming or daunting task. Put it on your calendar and keep these tips handy as you do your inspections. If your roof needs some upkeep, then you have another decision to make. If you decide to do the maintenance on your roof yourself, please take all the safety precautions you can. When choosing a professional, make sure you have a reputable contractor. Check with vetting agencies, like ImproveNet and get recommendations. Roof repairs are important, so you want the best to help you avoid any large costs in the future. An ounce of prevention not only keeps the doctor away, but it will keep your roof looking good and functioning at its best because we all know, there really is, “no place like home.”