Tag: asphalt shingles

  • Roofing Tips: How to Choose a New Roof

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    There are tons of options when it comes to installing a new roof, as well as a wide range of prices (anywhere from $.50 to $10 per square foot).  It can be exceptionally confusing when you're trying to get an estimate and someone is throwing tons of roofing terms at you.

    Here are some explanations of important roofing terms and materials you should become familiar with in order to pick the roof that's right for you, courtesy of BobVila.com:

    Squares

    Roofers often use squares instead of "square feet" when talking about measurements.  " A square is their basic unit of measurement—one square is 100 square feet in area, the equivalent of a 10-foot by 10-foot square," according to BobVila.com.

    For example:

    The roof of a typical two-story, 2,000-square-foot house with a gable roof will consist of less than 1,500 square feet of roofing area, or about fifteen squares.

    Cost

    Many aspects of a roof, from the materials to the condition of the existing roof can affect the price tag.  The shape of the roof is also important when figuring out the price.

    For example:

    A gable roof with few or no breaks in its planes (like chimneys, vent pipes, or dormers) makes for a simple roofing job. A house with multiple chimneys, intersecting rooflines (the points of intersection are called valleys), turrets,skylights, or other elements will cost significantly more to roof.

    Materials

    Different types of roofs may require different roofing materials.  Here are some options you may want to look over and discuss with your roofing contractor:

    • Asphalt Shingle. This is the most commonly used of all roof materials, probably because it’s the least expensive and requires a minimum of skill to install. It’s made of a fiberglass medium that’s been impregnated with asphalt and then given a surface of sand-like granules. Two basic configurations are sold: the standard single-thickness variety and thicker, laminated products. The standard type costs roughly half as much, but laminated shingles have an appealing textured appearance and last roughly half as long (typically 25 years or more, versus 15 years plus). Prices begin at about $50 a square, but depending upon the type of shingle chosen and the installation, can cost many times that.

    • Wood.  Wood was the main choice for centuries, and it’s still a good option, though in some areas fire codes forbid its use. Usually made of cedar, redwood, or southern pine, shingles are sawn or split. They have a life expectancy in the 25-year range (like asphalt shingles) but cost an average of twice as much.

    • Metal.  Aluminum, steel, copper, copper-and-asphalt, and lead are all durable—and expensive—roofing surfaces. Lead and the copper/asphalt varieties are typically installed as shingles, but others are manufactured for seamed roofs consisting of vertical lengths of metal that are joined with solder. These roofs start at about $250 per square but often cost two or three times that.

    • Tile and Cement.  The half cylinders of tile roofing are common on Spanish Colonial and Mission styles; cement and some metal roofs imitate tile’s wavy effect. All are expensive, very durable, and tend to be very heavy.

    • Slate.  Slate is among the most durable of all roofing materials. Not all slate is the same—some comes from quarries in Vermont, some from Pennsylvania and other states—but the best of it will outlast the fasteners that hold it in place. Hundred-year-old slate, in fact, is often recycled for reinstallation, with the expectation it will last another century. But slate is expensive—typically prices start at about $800 a square—and very heavy.

    Installation Notes

    Here are some important installation notes, courtesy of BobVila.com.

    Whatever your choice of roofing surface, you will probably need flashing. Flashing is a crucial part of all exterior work, both on the roof and siding. Flashing is metal (aluminum or copper, occasionally lead) or plastic film. It is applied in strips to areas where dissimilar materials adjoin, such as the intersection of the masonry chimney and the roofing shingles, where the siding abuts the window frames, and so on. Good flashing work is essential to keeping a structure watertight, as the most likely place for leakage to occur is where different materials meet.

    Whatever the choice of roof materials, the coursing should be regular to the eye and parallel to roof edges. From one course to the next, the joints should be staggered to prevent leakage. Beware of a contractor who relies on tar for joints. Except with certain roofs where a membrane is used, tar is a lazy expedient that should not be used for a new roofing surface.

    For most roofing, a material like building felt (a.k.a. tar paper) is rolled on before the shingles are nailed in place. With cedar shakes, however, lengths of furring strips (sometimes called “cedar breathers”) will be laid across the roof in order to allow the roof to breathe. In snowy areas, a membrane called a snow and ice shield may also be laid.

    Exterior Specialties of PA is here to help with all of your roofing installation and roofing repair needs.  Call us today at (215) 453-9180 for your FREE estimate!

  • What You Need to Know About Asphalt Shingles

    Courtesy of BobVila.com

    Courtesy of BobVila.com

    When it comes to shingles, asphalt is often a popular choice.  They are efficient to produce and widely available, as well as fairly easy to install.

    In addition, "their guaranteed life span pits them favorably against competitors," according to BobVila.com.

    Here is an overview of what you should know about asphalt shingles, courtesy of BobVila.com:

    THE BASICS
    Asphalt shingles come in two varieties: Fiberglass and organic.

    Fiberglass shingles are made of a woven fiberglass base mat, covered with a waterproof asphalt coating, and topped with ceramic granules that shield the product from harmful UV rays. Because of the composition of the fiberglass mat, less asphalt is needed to give the shingles their durability and strength. The result is a lighter weight and thinner roofing material. Fiberglass shingles also have a higher fire rating than organic varieties and generally carry a longer warranty. Fiberglass shingles were developed in the 1980s, but have quickly become the roofing material of choice for most homeowners and contractors today.

    The traditional organic mat-based shingles are made from a recycled layer of felt paper, asphalt-saturated for waterproofing, and coated with adhesive asphalt into which the ceramic granules are embedded. With 40 percent more asphalt than their fiberglass counterparts, the traditional organic mat-based shingles are heavier, thicker and more costly. While organic shingles are considered more rugged and more flexible, they are also more absorbent and can warp over time. The additional asphalt content also makes them less environmentally friendly.

    SHINGLE TYPES
    Regardless of whether they are fiberglass- or organic-based, asphalt shingles generally measure 12 by 36 inches and are commonly manufactured in two different types:

    Three-tab shingles are distinguished by cutouts—tabs—made along their long lower edge. The result, says Joan Crowe, a technical services director for the National Roofing Contractor's Association (NRCA), is that “each shingle looks like three separate pieces when installed, but it’s only one.” Three-tab shingles have been around a long time and are still the most economical and most popular shingle today.

    Architectural asphalt shingles contain no cutouts, but their lower portions are laminated with an additional asphalt layer. This creates the contoured, dimensional look that gives them their name. Asphalt sealant bonds the layers, reinforcing the shingles’ waterproof capability. Though durable,architectural shingles are not recommended for low-sloping roofs, which are more vulnerable to wind-driven rain.

    STYLE AND COLOR
    Installed properly, asphalt shingles are no longer easy to identify. Why? Some are made to convincingly mimic the look of slate, wood shakes or even tile. And shingle shapes can be similarly varied; consider the scalloped-edge tabs that complement Victorian architecture or the square, slate-like shingles perfectly suited for Colonial homes.

    Color choices are more varied than ever, depending on your taste and the style of your home. You’ll generally find tones ranging from pale gray, medium gray and dark gray to beige, reddish and medium brown to dark brown, plus shades of blue and blue green. There are also variegated looks achieved by mixing light and dark tones skillfully, plus weathered looks designed to make a new roof-look suit a vintage house. There are interactive tools online that can help you "try on" colors and styles to find the asphalt shingle best suited to your home.

    In addition to color and style, today's manufacturers are also adopting energy-saving, cool-roof technology to help reduce the amount of heat absorbed by the roof. CertainTeed's Landmark Solaris, for example, is a steep-slope, solar reflective asphalt roofing shingle that contains advanced colored granules that reflect the sun's rays and can reduce a roof's temperature by as much as 20% in the summer. Similar ENERGY STAR-rated technology is available with Owens Corning ’s Duration Premium Cool Shingles and GAF’s Timberline Cool Series Energy-Saving Shingles.

    DURABILITY AND COST
    Manufacturer warranties currently guarantee asphalt shingles a 15- to 30-year useful life. Why the wide span? Climate, weather and environmental factors. Homeowners in areas enduring long summers with high heat may need to replace roofing sooner than homeowners in cooler regions. Most damaging are sudden spiking temperatures—from 40 or 50 degrees at night to well over 100 by midday, for example. Similarly, in areas known for severe winters, ice dams formed as water freezes may aggravate tiny cracks and fissures that eventually necessitate repairs.

    Roof pitch also affects shingle life. The steeper the slope, the likelier it is that water and ice can drain off quickly and not remain to become destructive. It is for this reason that architectural shingles, though durable, are not recommended for low-sloping roofs, which are more vulnerable to wind-driven rain and ice buildup.

    Algae and fungus growth can also be potentially damaging for roofing in perennially damp or subtropical areas.  Depending on where you live, you might want to consider algae-resistant shingles, some of whose ceramic granules are coated with leachable copper to prevent discoloration and long-term damage from algae and moss growth. Keep in mind that algae resistance could add 10 to 15 percent to your materials budget.

    Asphalt shingle pricing is influenced somewhat by geography but mostly by regional differences in labor cost. According to Tom Bollnow, senior director of technical services at the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA), “Labor-wise, asphalt shingles are still the least expensive to install on a roof.” This, he believes, may be one reason nearly 70 percent of domestic roofing installations are asphalt shingles. Even so, price swings are notable. Says Crowe, “We tell homeowners all the time to get three or four contractor estimates. In the same region it’s possible to get different numbers.”

    Generally speaking, the average cost of asphalt shingle roofing is $.80 to $1.20 per square foot for the materials.  According to CostOwl.com, for a medium-pitch roof, the average cost will be somewhere between $100 and $200 per square for the shingles alone. (A square in “roofing lingo” is equal to the size of a 10’ x 10’ area, or 100 square feet.)  Making asphalt shingles even more desirable is the fact that they can be applied directly over old shingles, providing the roof deck is in good condition. If, however, there are already two or more shingle layers, or your existing roof is shake-shingled, it's advisable to remove the old before applying the new.

    No matter which type, style or color you select, you’ll want your asphalt-shingle purchase to include a long-life warranty. Be aware, however, that DIY-installed shingles may not be covered—and that warranty coverage can be nullified if the manufacturer determines its product was installed improperly. This is not to say that an experienced DIYer shouldn’t install roof shingles, only that choosing not to hire a licensed, certified and fully insured roofing contractor may involve more than just physical risk.

    Warranties mainly cover defects—shingle cupping or curling, for example, plus granule loss and thermal splitting. Study the proffered warranty before making a purchase decision. Make sure you understand that your warranty may not include the cost of labor for shingle repair or replacement. Also, most warranties don’t cover the wrath of Mother Nature: earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, severe wind or hail storms. Note that if you sell your home during the warranty period, coverage will likely end.

    Exterior Specialties of PA, located in Telford, PA, is here to help with all of your asphalt shingle installation, roofing installation, roof repair and roof inspection needs.  Call us today at (215) 453-9180 for your FREE estimate.