Posts Tagged ‘metal roof’

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.

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?