Archive for May, 2014

Why Metal Roof Snow Brakes Should Be Thought About In the Spring and Summer

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014

The flowers beginning to bloom are only one of the many beautiful manifestations of the calm, tranquil, and spring-defining month of May. As the summer is approaching, we are seeing warmer and sunnier afternoons. The metal roofing industry is beginning its yearly cycle and homeowners all over New England are simultaneously looking to get a new metal roof. It has been frequently said that getting a metal roof is essential for the lifetime protection for a safe, worry-free future of a home; so, with this level of ease in mind, let’s talk about a worrisome topic that may not be top of mind this time of year: snow!

Ice Dams Review

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Ice Dams

Some of the most common roofing problems we hear from homeowners across New England are almost always concerning ice, snow, and ice dams. Sure, these conditions resulting from the many winter elements are troublesome at that given time; however, you should consider the long-term damage that ice and snow can typically do to roofing and how this damage can be prevented.

Let us consider why your asphalt roofing had ice dam issues last winter. If there is poor ventilation in your roofing, heat from the house probably rose up into the attic and melted the snow that was over the given heated areas. Snow that had piled up over your unheated overhangs, such as your porch roof, did not have the same effect. When the ice on the higher parts of your roof began to melt from the heat, it probably began to seep down to the overhangs and freeze into ice. This ice could have backed its way into the roofing material and entered your structure. This is a notoriously endemic issue, and neglecting extra snow that is on your roof can cause serious internal damage of your home.

Pro-tip: If you are not investing in a metal roof, invest in a snow rake, at the very least.

Understand that any type of roofing can be susceptible to ice dams, especially when there is an environment of extremely freezing temperatures and no sun. It can happen on a metal roofing system when snow builds up from the ground or gutters and makes its way up onto the roofing system. This, however, usually is not an issue with a metal roofing system – just be cautious.

Underlayment / Roof Deck Protection

In case of any potential ice dam issues on a metal roof, find out what your hired contractor is planning on using for roof deck protection.  An “underlayment” is a type of rubber membrane, such as Ice and Water Shield, which will provide additional protection to the roof deck, not the shingles. This will protect your home from any potential water infiltration.

When the question, “Will a metal roof avoid ice dams?” is asked, the answer is, for the most part: yes! It is very rare to see an ice dam on a metal roof. In fact, it is so nonexistent that, ironically, we actually need to utilize a method that will *prevent* the snow from falling off the roof too quickly. Metal roofing has a very smooth surface. Metal roofs also have high radiant heat reflectivity, meaning that when the sun’s rays strike the roof, they reflect outward. Radiant heat passes through the snow as soon as the sun comes out, spreading throughout the entire roof. The bottom of the snow starts to become slippery, causing it to slide off of the roof very easily and quickly. Subjectively speaking, a potential issue with a metal roof is not that the snow piles up; it is that it can come off too quickly! How is this prevented?

Metal Roof Snow Brake Systems: Known as Snow Guards, Snow Rails, or Snow Fences

*Classic Metal Roofs, LLC, unlike many other metal roofing contractors in New England, includes the cost of snow brakes in every quote.

Why is it important to utilize metal roof snow brakes?

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Aluminum Snow Brakes

Large chunks of snow falling off of a metal roof at once could be dangerous due to a steep pitch over doorways or vital areas of landscaping. Understand that if the pitch is not very steep, too-frequent spacing of the snow brakes could prevent snow from sliding off to too much of an extent to where it is not shedding any snow at all. In this case, or any other troublesome circumstances, a heat tape can be used on the overhangs to melt the snow. However, understand that the gutters and downspouts must also be lined with the heat tape to ensure that the melted snow can leave the roof efficiently.

There are a variety of styles for metal roof snow brakes, most of which interface very well with most products offered. Be sure to discuss with your contractor which type of snow brake will function and interface with your product most efficiently. Metal roof snow brakes can come in steel, aluminum, copper, and polycarbonate. Keep in mind that the material of the snow brake must match the metal of the roof. Therefore, an aluminum metal roof would require aluminum snow brakes. However, a stainless steel snow brake system can be used with just about any type of metal roofing system because it is nonreactive.

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Snow Fence

If you have done some research on a manufacturer’s website regarding snow brakes, here is an insider tip: the recommendations they give on spacing and placement are often angled towards generating more revenue. Based on Classic Metal Roofs’ experience, for most areas, placing the snow brakes from 12” to 18” apart is adequate. During installation, be sure that the crew is keeping snow brakes away from valleys where snow tends to collect as opposed to escape.

If a contractor neglected to install snow brakes on your already-installed metal roof, there is still hope. Though aluminum snow brakes are installed structurally due to how durable they must be to withstand heavy chunks of ice and snow, a polycarbonate snow brake can be implemented after installation of the roof in case of any possible mistake. Polycarbonate snow brakes have special adhesives which stick them to the roofing material as opposed to being fastened into the roof. The reasoning for using polycarbonate snow brakes is, because they can be done in a retrofit, this can help avoid the potential of nullifying the factory warranty of the roof. Remember, putting a fastener through a panel will typically void your metal roofing system’s warranty.

Conclusion

Pay attention to what your prospective metal roofing contractor is planning on doing and whether or not that contractor meets your criteria. Add to your written criteria the utilization of snow guards and underlayment and be absolutely sure that the contractor you’re meeting with discusses these details with you.

For more information, check out how to select a metal roofing contractor …

Aluminum Metal Roofing Versus Asphalt Roofing

Friday, May 2nd, 2014

We consistently attempt to convey the many long-term advantages of aluminum metal roofing compared to the long-term disadvantages of asphalt roofing. However, many homeowners express intense concern as to whether or not these long-term returns actually amount to a worthy investment compared to multiple asphalt roofing installations throughout the duration of their time in the given home.  If  lifetime aluminum metal roofing is 2 ½ – 3 times the cost of asphalt roofing, and an asphalt roof lasts, on average, 16 years…would it not just be wise to get an asphalt roof replacement a couple times throughout your lifetime and save yourself the money? What many homeowners do not realize is that aluminum metal roofing is not some expensive product that is merely a status symbol for showing off – although the upfront cost is expensive, it is for everyone. If you can afford an asphalt roof, you should be able to afford a metal roof. Why?

We will exhibit and explain one simple fact, and, according to many misinformed asphalt roofing contractors, a difficult truth to embrace: aluminum metal roofing is ultimately cheaper than asphalt roofing! Isn’t that a contradiction to what was explained earlier in regards to cost? No – because there is a major dichotomy between upfront cost and long-term cost. The overall long-term cost of an aluminum metal roof is actually less expensive than asphalt roofing.

First, consider the fact that the improved home resale value will be an additional 1% – 6% with aluminum metal roofing compared to asphalt roofing.

Second, homeowners receive, on average, about an 85% return or more of the cost of their metal roof once they sell and as much as 95% here in the eastern states. Homeowners with metal roofs will save about 25% or more on heating and cooling costs; though, keep in mind that many homeowner insurance companies will provide policy discounts in certain areas of the country because these metal roofing options are so resistant, durable, environmentally friendly, and energy efficient.

To truly understand the savings associated with aluminum metal roofing compared to asphalt roofing, let’s consider two imaginary consumers: “Asphalt Al” and “Metal Mike,” both owning identical New England homes withstanding a market value of about $350,000 each.

“Asphalt Al” does not like to use his brain. He does not know how to handle money, and does not care about planning for a stable, secure, and worry-free future. Have you ever seen the movie “Tremors,” where Fred Ward says to Kevin Bacon: “Your problem is, you don’t plan ahead. … Look at me, it’s Monday, and I’m already thinking about Wednesday!” These two characters are a perfect description of Al’s modus operandi. His current asphalt roof is tumbling down and instead of preventing future problems from adding themselves to his already problematic life, he signs a $12,000 contract for another asphalt roofing installation. His reasoning is defined by the fact that asphalt roofing is less of a dent out of his bank account right now, because the upfront cost was about a third of the price of the proposed metal roofing estimates he received.

“Metal Mike” on the other hand, has a thoroughly planned investment portfolio and savings account, as well as a college and retirement fund. Mike understands he is not that wealthy of a man; however, he trusts that his meager savings can slowly prepare himself for a more secure future one step at a time. Unlike Al, Mike goes ahead and “bites the bullet” and buys a $30,000 aluminum metal roof.

If Mike were to put his home up on the market immediately after installation, his home would now be worth about $370,000 – while Al’s home is still worth $350,000, even with his brand new asphalt roof. Remember, Al spent $12,000 on his asphalt roof, so figure he gets a grand total of $340,000 return when he sells his house. Mike spent $30,000 on his roof; however, he will likely recoup the money put into the roof based on the real estate market for your area.

Understand also that if Al and Mike were to sell their homes immediately after the installation, Mike’s would likely sell first because his maintenance free metal roof will never have to be replaced again.

Even if you are worried that you might be putting your home on the market too soon, you still have absolutely nothing to lose when getting a metal roof – and you have everything to gain if you decide instead to stay in the house long-term. Consider, as well, that an aluminum metal roofing system is practically maintenance-free. Any problems associated with asphalt roofing (and its susceptibility to the elements of nature) can be totally avoided with an aluminum metal roofing system. You will generally never have to worry about your roofing again with an aluminum metal roof.

Now, most importantly, let’s consider the more common scenario, one where Mike and Al were to stay in their homes for the next 10 years or more.

Winter is coming to “Asphalt Al” and “Metal Mike.” The weather forecast predicted a snow shower resulting in 2 inches of accumulated snow. Those 2 inches of snow turn into 2 feet. Al steps outside his house when the storm is finally through and sees 2 feet of snow piled on his roof. New England is known for its erratic weather, and it looks like it is supposed to be warm and sunny tomorrow.

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No snow on this metal roof!

Because Al (knowing Al), never thinks ahead, he does not realize it is supposed to be below freezing temperatures a few days later. Classic Al. Because Al has insufficient attic ventilation, the snow on his roof melts, seeps underneath his asphalt shingles, and freezes. Looks like Al now has a case of the ice dams! New England gets hit with another blizzard with a couple more feet of snow. Al now has ice dams and 2 feet of snow piled on his roof. Al comes home from work that day only to find out that his brand new roof has failed. Water is running down the walls and on to the hardwood floors of his home. This cycle continues year after year until Al wises up and invests in a roof rake. Now Al has another job every time it snows: rake the roof. Al cannot leave his house in the winter and get away to a warmer climate either. His roof has held him hostage. “What if it snows while I’m gone? Ice dams could form, and I could come home to a big mess again.”

“Metal Mike,” in contrast, is sitting by his fireplace and sipping on a hot coffee. In his slippers, he steps outside to take a look at his beautiful new metal roof. Though his property is surrounded by walls of snow due to the erratic New England weather, his new metal roof is spotless. Come summer, Mike’s roof is keeping his house much cooler, averaging about 25% savings a month on energy costs. Mike understands that this roof not only is going to last him a lifetime, but in great accordance with that, the longer he has this roof, the more he is going to save – not only money, but time and aggravation. The longevity pays off.

Life is good – for metal Mike …