Asphalt is one of the most popular materials used in residential roofing. Statistics suggest that roughly 80% or four out of every five homes in the US are covered with asphalt shingles. Asphalt shingles are affordable, look good, and hold up reasonably well against the elements.
Roof in need of a maintenance or replacement due to cracks or thermal splitting in asphalt shingles
A roof is a big investment for homeowners, and it’s important to protect your investment by conducting regular, thorough maintenance. A little roof maintenance goes a long way toward extending the service life of your roof and a thorough inspection will find small problems to fix before they become big repairs with expensive price tags.
Why Bother Insulating Your Roof and/or Attic Space?
Insulating your roof and attic space will help retain energy in your home, often leading to cost savings and comfort improvement.
Insulating in and around your roof attic space also prevents long term damage from moisture build up or ice damming, which results from the warm air trying to escape through the apex of the roof, but instead heating up the snow. Additionally, insulation serves as a way to enhance sound proofing on the uppermost envelop of your house.
attic space insulation
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There are five primary types of insulation for roofs, with their own advantages and disadvantages. The key value is always the capacity of insulation to resist heat flow. — This is also known as thermal resistance and is often measured in terms of R-value. The higher that value, the better the insulating power.
This is one of the two most common types of insulation. Often installed into wall cavities as a way to retro-fit walls lacking insulation, it can also be blown into unfinished attic spaces. Typically, fiberglass or cellulose are the material choices.
R-value for loose-fill per-inch is between R2 and R4, higher value with fiberglass
Pros: relatively low expense, fairly easy to install (blown-in or poured in)
Cons: as the material settles over time, the R-value is (slightly) lessened, needs vapor barrier as the material is prone to moisture absorption
Cost: Generally, homeowners seek between R30 and R50, and to achieve that for loose fill over 1,000 sq. ft. the cost amounts to $500 to $900 installed.
Are your ready to make your home greener and more energy-efficient? If so, consider the following five home improvement upgrades that can be completed by a professional remodeling contractor, as well as by an experienced DIY enthusiast working collaboratively with a handy friend. 😉
1. Cool Roofs Vs. Traditional Asphalt and Dark EPDM Rubber
Dark roofs make houses hotter, light roofs make houses cooler. To achieve these benefits a specialist applicator can coat your roof with reflective materials, some of which are applied like paint, sprayed directly on the surface of an existing roof. Of course, this is often, but not always, a one-season solution.
Energy conservation wizards are currently working on tiles that will go from light to dark as needed — they can cut the sunlight absorbed into your house by 80% when they are white and slice heating costs by 20% and more when they turn black.
You can find a cool roof coating formulated with acrylic polymers, resins, fillers and titanium dioxide pigments for about $100 for a 4.75 gallon container (Via GreenHomeGuide.com).
If rather than applying it yourself, your would prefer to hire a professional, expect to pay anywhere from a few to several thousands of dollars to properly apply a liquid roof coating. You should know that most liquid roof coatings are only suitable for durable membrane-based flat roofs and aging metal roofs.
Surely, cool liquid roof coatings can also be applied over asphalt shingles, but the results will not be as good, because asphalt shingles have a tendency to chip and crack. Thus, a complete re-roofing application may be a better option for an aged asphalt roof.
Energy Efficient, Solar-Reflective PVC membrane on a flat roof
PVC membrane installed by: New England Metal Roof
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If you have a flat or low-slope roof that is starting to show the signs of age, and may thus require replacement soon, then consider installing one of the following membranes; white, energy-efficient and solar-reflective PVC membrane, TPO membrane, or white EPDM rubber roof. Expect to pay from $4.50 to $6.00 per foot for EPDM rubber membrane installed. A PVC or TPO membrane will cost about $5.50 to $7.50 per square foot installed.
A standing seam metal roof on the house
Today’s metal roofs have come a long way from the tin shacks of yore. Modern metal roofs are as likely to look like cedar shakes or clay tiles or asphalt shingles as sheet metal. A metal roof won’t blow off in hurricane-force winds and is fireproof.
Metal roofs will cost more to purchase and install than traditional asphalt roofs, but will still be on the job half a century from now, while two or three asphalt roofs are clogging landfills. 😉
Steel Shingles Roof
Expect a metal roof comprised of interlocking shingles to run around $3.50 to $4.50 per square foot for materials including trim. With the installation, a metal shingles roof will cost about $7.50 to $10.00 per square foot.
concave-shaped standing seam roof
Materials for Galvalume standing seam will cost about $4.50 to $5.00 per square foot. With the installation, a standing seam metal roof will cost about $10 to $12 per square foot, not counting the expense of a roof tear-off.
During winter, an energy efficient metal roof, such as standing seam or metal shingles will help shed the snow off the roof, before the snow has a chance to accumulate. It can thus be an energy-smart and elegant alternative to heat cables and/or snow rakes commonly employed to deal with the ice dams on the roof.
Speaking of home energy efficiency, another major advantage of a standing seam metal roof is that it is solar roof ready. Meaning that it can be simply and elegantly combined and integrated with PV solar panels by means of simple metal clamps via a bracketing systems attached to the seam. This method does not require drilling any holes (potential future sources of leaks) in the roof
3. Energy Efficient Window
Windows are among the biggest culprits in creating high energy bills. But no one wants to live in a house without windows. Double-pane windows are one solution; they will retain room heat in the winter and prevent heat gain in the summer. At the same time the double-panes will keep your house bright and sunny. And a little quieter as well — the extra layer of glass helps prevent outside noises from penetrating the windows.
Most average-sized double-pane windows will cost anywhere from $500 to $700 installed.
There is more to double-pane windows than two pieces of glass. Low-E glass, filled with argon gas provides the ultimate in insulation over a single-pane window. Expect to pay about $40 extra per window. But more is not always better when it comes to window panes. Triple-panes can be a help in the harshest climates, but they come at a cost of reduced clarity in looking to the world outside.
4. Green Frames
The frames your windows live in are opportunities for the green-minded remodeler. Wood offers the best insulation but may deteriorate prematurely in a rainy climate. Plus, they are going to need new coats of paint every few years.
If that means latex paint, that will douse your interior air with a bucket of noxious petrochemicals (there is a reason paint requires special disposal techniques). Eco-safe paints are getting better every year with more durability and a wider variety of people-pleasing colors. And they are less costly at the cash register as well.
It is hard to beat the look of wood on windows and that preference can trump green tendencies when it comes to alternatives such as vinyl or aluminum. Vinyl is budget-friendly (from $450-$600 as opposed to between $800 and $1,000 for the installation of wood windows) and no trees are destroyed, and aluminum can be a good choice in rainy climates.
Seal and insulate, seal and insulate, seal and insulate. That is the manta of energy-efficiency, but green-minded homeowners can take this basic Eco-friendly chore one step beyond. Spray insulation or traditional batting insulation is loaded with chemicals. Soy foam works the same insulating magic without the environmental downsides.
Home insulation is where the true green converts are separated from the wanna-bes. Closed-cell spray foam is a pricey insulation option, costing between $3.00 and $3.50 a square foot in walls and another $1.00 per square foot for attics.
Soy foam will work as well as cheaper and more readily available fiberglass-based batting insulation, but not so much better that it will be a boon to your pocketbook in the long run. You won’t recoup the costs of hidden soy insulation at resale. This is one financial bullet you will be taking for the good of the planet. 😉