Archive for the ‘Metal Roofing’ Category

Installing the Correct Underlayments for Your Metal Roof Project … “The Right Stuff”

Monday, January 9th, 2017

Selecting the right underlayments for a lifetime metal roof should be a primary concern for anyone thinking about specifying or choosing to install a metal roof on their home. The quality and type of underlayments used on the project in the long term will affect the overall performance of the roof.

metal roof underlayments image 1

Taking Care of Your Building Envelope

The roof is an important element of the Building Envelope. A Building Envelope is the physical separator between the conditioned and unconditioned environment of a building including the resistance to air, water, heat, light, and noise transfer. It needs to be addressed with the utmost care and consideration. Be sure that the contractor you choose is trained in the best methods of installation. Having the “Right Stuff” and not having the skill to do the installation nullifies the benefits of its use.

First Two Underlayment Layers

On most projects, there are two types of underlayments needed. The first on the list would be the ice and water shield. This is a roof membrane underlayment made up of either a rubberized-asphalt or butyl-based adhesive with a polyethylene carrier sheet. It has an adhesive backing with a peel and stick feature. This membrane should be labeled “high temperature” to withstand the surface temperature of the roof on a hot summer day. The heat in hot areas of the country, even here in New England, can exceed the melting point of some of these products. The product should be a premium, high temperature ice and water shield for use with tile, metal, and other roofs with scrim reinforced top surface. It self-seals around nails and provides protection for roof areas prone to ice and water intrusion.

The product needs to be installed on the eave edges up the roof at least two feet inside the face of any exterior wall. The rakes on gable roofs also need treatment to the same standard. All valleys and hips need to be covered. Penetrations such as chimneys, skylights, solar tubes, and vent pipes need to be surrounded with ice and water shield, as well.

If the roof slope is below 3/12 pitch (see our previous post on how to determine a roof’s pitch), the entire roof should be covered, but only if the roof is conventionally vented (cold roof construction).

Once the high temperature ice and water shield has been laid down, you can now add the second underlayment layer. This underlayment layer should be of the highest quality. If the roof is designed to last a lifetime, why would anyone want anything but the best? We recommend a polypropylene scrim reinforced underlayment made up of multiple layers. This type of underlayment is critical to a quality roof installation. It serves as a moisture barrier, as well as a slip sheet. Make sure the product is designed to be used under metal. Once again, this is used on cold roof construction.

When hot roof construction is done – a roof with no ventilation – a breathable underlayment is recommended. This allows moisture that can become trapped in the roof deck to evaporate and escape. This will prevent damage to the deck, stemming from rot and mold, over the long term life of the structure.

Third Underlayment Layer

There is a third product that is sometimes used and specified in new construction: That product is a mesh that would go on top of and over the other underlayment used. It is akin to cedar breather. It provides trapped moisture from under the roof in low slope applications a path to drain. It also creates a thermal break to minimize heat transfer from the roof surface to the structure. This thermal break promotes energy efficiency by stopping conductive heat transfer much like the air space between multiple panes of glass in a thermal pane window. This same break also provides sound attenuation by disrupting sound waves into the structure when rain hits the roof surface. The end result is a cooler, quieter, and healthier building. This product is generally used in hot roof low slope applications with aluminum roofing. See the image below.

metal roof underlayments image 2

To learn more about installing the correct underlayments for your metal roof project or to get a quote, feel free to contact us here.

How to Properly Flash Roof Pitch Transitions with Standing Seam Metal Roofs … “The Right Stuff”

Thursday, December 29th, 2016

Pitch Transitions Are a Common Roof Detail

A roof pitch transition is a line in the roof plane that changes pitch. The roof plane goes from one pitch to a lower pitch. This is a fairly common roof detail. We see this quite frequently in Log Home roofs with porches, for example. See the illustration below.

roof going from higher to lower pitch

As you can see from illustration the roof changes pitch at the porch from a 9/12 to a 3/12 pitch. By the way, pitch is measured by picking any point on the roof, place a level on it, measure 12” out from that point (this is called the run) and then down to the roof surface from the bottom of the level (this is called the rise) to see how many inches the roof pitches over 12”.

roof pitch measurement illustrated

Pitch Transition Points Can Be a Source of Problems

The transition point can be a source of problems if not done correctly. The transition has to be prepared properly with the right underlayments including high temperature ice and water shield when metal is being installed. Then a high quality synthetic underlayment should be installed as well.

Many times we will see a transition done by someone who just bends the metal panel to conform to the transition. See below.

standing seam roof pitch transition done by bending metal panels

A careful look will show this change in pitch was done haphazardly and shows a lack of metal roof installation knowledge. You can see that where the metal is bent and changing pitch. The metal is badly crimped and beginning to fail. The metal is cracking due to the movement of the metal and a poor installation. There is considerable oil canning, as well, for such short panels and there is no snow retention over the front door. This roof was installed only 8 years ago. How do we know this, you might ask? We gave this homeowner an estimate. He said our price was too high. We don’t think the owner was expecting this outcome. He got what he paid for…. a cheap metal roof.

Larger Roofs Can Lead to Larger Problems

The next picture shows that those problems can be multiplied when the roof is larger. Not only was the transition flashing not done, but the outcome was far worse due to the size of the roof. You can see the oil canning due to the stress on the panels and the inability of the panels to move freely because they were not terminated at the transition and properly flashed. Just plain UGLY! Definitely not “the right stuff.” We do not know which company was responsible for this roof.

large standing seam roof pitch transition done by bending metal panels

Make Sure Your Roof Installer Has the “Right Stuff”

The next picture shown a log home with a classic transition change for the porch roof. You can see the transition flashing which separates the two roof planes at the pitch change. This flashing detail is important to maintain the integrity of the roof and it also helps to prevent oil canning as you can see from the picture. This roof was correctly done about 6 years ago by our own crew.

standing seam roof pitch transition correctly done by Classic Metal Roofs

This roof was done with “the right stuff.” It is not just a metal roof. It is a Classic Metal Roof: “The best roof under the sun.”

Why Metal Roofing Makes Maintenance a Breeze

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016

For homeowners seeking a long-lasting, low-maintenance roofing material, aluminum, copper, or zinc options offer great versatility. These metal roofing materials typically last 50-100 years with almost zero necessary upkeep, while asphalt shingles usually do not last longer than 20 years. Learn more about the minimal metal roof maintenance and how it stacks up to other materials.

Easy Maintenance

aluminum standing seam roof in the color charcoal gray

Aluminum Standing Seam Roof in the Color Charcoal Gray

To properly maintain a metal roof, the only necessary task will be removing any leaves, branches, and debris. To prevent damage, remove debris with a window washing brush attached to a long pole. Keep debris from accumulating in gutters, as this can lead to moisture and corrosion problems around the perimeter of the home. Additionally, keep any nearby trees trimmed back to prevent branches from rubbing against the house. Otherwise, high-quality materials require virtually no other regular metal roofing maintenance, on top of lasting three to seven times longer than asphalt shingles.

Comparing Materials

Quality aluminum, copper, and zinc metal roofing does not require any additional protective coating, which significantly reduces maintenance needs. These materials are more durable than steel roofing options, which require annual inspections of the screws and grommets and can rust if they are not covered with a protective coating. Aluminum is a versatile option that can last up to 50 years, while zinc and copper materials can last up to 100 years. Aluminum standing seam roofing systems are often painted with a durable paint like Kynar 500, which gives homeowners more color options without adding extra maintenance or sacrificing the longevity of their investment.

Standing Seam Aluminum Roof in the Color Colonial Red

Standing Seam Aluminum Roof in the Color Colonial Red

With basic care and monitoring, homeowners can keep metal roofing attractive for decades, which can protect this investment and minimize expenses. However, not all metal roofs are created equal. Property owners should work with a specialized metal roofing contractor to ensure the best products and installation backed by a workmanship warranty.

Roof Insulation & Ventilation in Log and Timber Frame Homes

Friday, December 16th, 2016

New England is a mecca for Log and Timber framed homes. It is also known for some of the craziest weather extremes and weather swings in the country. Roof insulation, as well as roof ventilation, is a topic that comes up in our daily conversations with our clients.

What is the correct way to insulate and ventilate a log or timber frame construction roof? By this question, we mean what amount of insulation should you have and should the roof be vented?

SIP Panel No Air Chamber

The “SIP” panel shown here has no air chamber and would be a Hot Roof system.

Building code requirements in MA have set the R value of roof or ceiling to unconditioned attic space at R 38. That is a great place to start. We have seen some projects go to R 45. An investment in insulation is well spent due to the rising energy costs. We all know that energy costs will not come down. If you are building a new home, there are several things to consider, including not only how much, but what type of insulation you are going to use. It is not the intent of this post to convince you of one type of insulation or another, nor are we suggesting a vented, cold roof system or a non- vented hot roof system.

Our intent is to make the reader aware of the options and the pros and cons of each.

One option that is widely available in new construction regarding insulation is the SIP panel roof. A “SIP” panel is a structural panel available in a multitude of dimensional sizes and thicknesses. They consist of some type of foam core insulation sandwiched between two structural boards. These types of insulation roof systems can cut construction cost, as they go in very quickly. They are also available with built in air space for ventilation or no ventilation in a hot roof configuration.

SIP With Vent Chamber

The picture above shows a “SIP” panel with a vent chamber. This would make the system a cold roof.

Then there is the option of using some sort of spray foam. This has become widely used today in new construction and is available in both closed and open celled foam.

First let’s consider closed cell foam insulation.

With closed cell foam insulation, the cells are closed and densely packed together and they are smaller in size. They are mixed with a gas which expands the foam. Because the cells are closed, this prevents air and water vapor from infiltrating, a well-engineered advantage that its open cell counterpart does not offer. It works very well as a roofing insulator and is also available in several densities.

The benefits:

Closed cell foam is very strong and ridged with significantly higher thermal resistance than most of the other options. It also prevents leakage of air and water vapor migration.

The disadvantages:

Because it’s more dense, it requires more material, which makes it more costly than the open cell option.

Closed cell foam has a higher R-value. The higher the R-value means more effective insulation; the rate per R value is higher than that of open cell foam.

What about open cell foam insulation?

Open cell foam is composed of tiny cells which are not enclosed. This type of foam is not as expensive. It works in blocking out air but is not an effective barrier against water vapor. Since the cells aren’t closed, air fills up the open space inside the material sometimes causing the foam to become weaker and easier to penetrate in comparison to the closed cell option.

The benefit:

Lower cost and an effective way to get a thorough insulation barrier in the roof.

Whether the choice is closed or open, spray foam insulation is a proven method to reduce energy expenses. Buildings in the U.S. with spray foam insulation are at least 50% more effective at preventing energy loss through air infiltration. Spray foam insulation also helps guard against the growth of mold and mildew and the decay of wood. In addition to controlling temperature and keeping moisture out, it also helps in soundproofing.

Open And Closed Foam

Shown above; both open and closed cell foam look about the same.

Recently, building scientists have been conducting tests and re-evaluating the accepted philosophy on roof ventilation. The Journal of Light Construction published an article, in which Ralph Britton with the Housing and Home Finance Agency is quoted,

“Un-vented roof assemblies performed well, showing no excess moisture accumulation, while the only vented roof assemblies that performed equally well had good vapor barriers and good workmanship.”

Here in New England, there are varying opinions on the subject. Our advice: do your homework.

The idea behind venting:

The reason to vent a roof in part depends on the climate you live in. In cold climates, like here in New England, the idea is to maintain a cold temperature under the roof deck. The reason is to help eliminate ice dam issues by keeping the roof cold. In hot climates or summer weather, the venting will keep the space below the roof cooler.

Venting a roof (cold roof) versus un-vented roofs (hot roof)- the differences:

Venting a roof not only helps with heat and cold regulation depending on the season, but it also removes moisture from the structure. This can all contribute to lower energy costs, as well.

The idea behind an un-vented roof:

A hot roof is designed to hold the heat in the building completely with high R values in the insulation and an air tight building envelope.

The tighter the building envelope the more effective the hot roof. Air leaks and poor air circulation can contribute to long term trouble that can lead to moisture build up, mold, and rot.

Mechanical air handling systems are the ideal situation when it comes to hot roof installation.

If you have an existing log or timber framed home, adding insulation and ventilation can be a major challenge and expense due to demolition costs. However, it can be done from the roof side at the time you replace your asphalt or cedar roof with a new aluminum metal roof. Many times, insulation and/or ventilation can be added to an existing roof making it function the way it is supposed to.

So You Need to Choose a Roof for Your Log Home?

Thursday, December 8th, 2016

Log Cabin Homes invoke nostalgic images of a place of safe and cozy refuge nestled in the woods or by the lake or river. It sounds like a warm and comfy inviting retreat.

Whether you are building a new log home or re-roofing an existing home you need to know your options.

The roof is the first line of defense against the weather. It is the primary source of protection against the elements. The decision as to what goes on the roof should be carefully and thoughtfully made and evaluated. What are your best options for your log home long- or short-term?

First, and Most Frequently Chosen, Option

The asphalt shingle. It is definitely the most frequent choice but NOT because it is the best option. It is chosen because it is the least expensive way to go. Asphalt or composition shingles are a petroleum-based product. They are not great choice if you are attempting to be environmentally friendly.

Log Cabin House 1

Log Home with Asphalt Shingles

The product is made by producing a large roll of paper, felt, or fiberglass mat which is then saturated in limestone and petroleum followed by a final top-coating of ceramic granules in various colors.

These products begin to break down due to the elements as soon as they are installed on the roof. They are exposed to the summer sun and winter conditions. It is just a matter of time before the roof needs to be replaced again. Here in New England life expectancy is about 15-17 years.

The pros of an asphalt roof: Cheap, easy, and quick to install.

The cons: Poor environmental choice; they will end up in landfill; problematic in the winter months due to ice dams; not a very attractive roof. Maintenance required. Typically has a 25-50 year limited factory material warranty, with exclusions that end up in reality boiling down to a 10 year warranty. Workmanship / labor warranty terms depend on the contractor doing the installation.

Second Option: Cedar Shakes (Wood)

Log Cabin House 2

Log Home with Cedar Wood Shingles

This is a classic option for your log home in this writer’s opinion. What a great look. The installation of wood shakes takes more time to install than just about any other roofing material, so expect to pay a premium.

Then there is the choice of which cedar to pick. The most common cedar woods for roofing are Western Red Cedar and Alaskan Yellow Cedar. Both are good choices; however, the Alaskan Yellow is a very tough tree and is among the hardest and most durable, known for its longevity. Both are relatively comparable in cost. Most of the cedar today is from new-growth trees rather than old-growth trees. This is the big reason that cedar does not last as long as you would expect. Most of the old-growth forest was depleted in the 1940s. These trees were several hundred years old and provided a much more stable, rot resistant, and stronger wood product than the new younger tree stock that grows more quickly and is less dense. In our experience, we expect the average life of these wood roofs to be around 15 years.

If you live in a forest fire prone area you may want to consider not putting wood on your roof. Some states have actually banned wood roofs where risk of wild fires exist.

Do you currently have a wood roof on your log home? When you have it removed to install your new roof, pile it up in the back yard; it makes great kindling.

The pros of cedar shake roofing: They are beautiful. (But that is subjective.)

The cons: Expensive, not a very sustainable product, short life, and a fire hazard. Maintenance required. The factory warranty is virtually non-existent, when you read the exclusions. Workmanship/labor warranty would depend on the contractor doing the installation.

The Third Option: Metal Roofing

Log Cabin House 3

Log Home with Standing Seam Aluminum Metal Roof

Have you noticed that most of the Log Home Builders’ and manufacturers’ brochures and pictures on the web display their homes with beautiful metal roofs? There is a good reason for that. Metal roofing is the proven choice for log cabin style and timber frame homes. Not only does it look terrific, but some of them have a life expectancy of close to 100 years.

When we refer to metal roofing for residential installations, we are referring primarily of aluminum metal roofs. Zinc and copper are great options as well, but only for those with no budgetary restrictions. Aluminum is by far the best choice for longevity, energy efficiency, the environment, sustainability, and beauty. Most of the aluminum roofing today is made from recycled aluminum. If you have ever returned aluminum beverage cans to be recycled, there is a high probability those cans went into manufacturing our roofs. All of the aluminum roofs we install are Energy Star rated. These roofs are also ideal in wooded areas where fire threats exist. They have a Class A fire rating. These roofs also have the highest hail impact rating.

Log Cabin House 4

Log Home Entrance with Rustic Aluminum “Shake” Roof

Aluminum metal roofing is available in many colors and profiles. The two most popular styles are standing seam and the Rustic shake. Both are ideal choices for your log home.

The pros of aluminum metal roofing: Longevity, beauty, Energy Star rated, many color choices, a lifetime warranty – 50-year non-prorated transferable. Workmanship / labor warranty depends on the contractor; Classic Metal Roofs’ is for as long as you own the house. This maintenance-free roof offers one of the best returns on investment available.

The cons: It costs more money initially.


The aluminum metal roofing option for your log cabin home gives you durability, beauty, color options, environmental friendliness, and a good return on your investment. What’s not to like?