Author Archives: Burell Built Exteriors

What is the Best Roof For a Commercial Building?

A large, commercial metal roof system.

Introduction: Choosing the Right Roof

Selecting the best roof for a commercial building is a critical decision that impacts the building’s durability, energy efficiency, and overall cost of ownership. Understanding the various roofing options available, along with their advantages and disadvantages, is essential for making an informed choice.

Factors to Consider

Before diving into specific roofing materials, it’s important to consider several key factors that influence the best roofing choice for a commercial building:

Building Structure and Design

The structure and design of the building play a significant role in determining the suitable roofing material. Flat roofs, sloped roofs, and unique architectural features each have different requirements.

Climate and Weather Conditions

Local climate and weather conditions impact the performance and longevity of roofing materials. Areas with heavy rainfall, snow, high winds, or extreme heat require materials that can withstand these elements.

Energy Efficiency

Energy efficiency is a crucial consideration for commercial buildings. Roofing materials with high reflectivity and insulation properties can help reduce heating and cooling costs, making the building more energy-efficient.

Budget and Lifespan

The budget for roofing installation and maintenance, as well as the expected lifespan of the roofing material, are important financial considerations. It’s essential to balance initial costs with long-term benefits.

Popular Commercial Roofing Options

Several roofing materials are commonly used for commercial buildings, each with its own set of benefits and drawbacks.

Built-Up Roofing (BUR)

Built-up roofing (BUR) is one of the oldest and most reliable commercial roofing systems. It consists of multiple layers of bitumen (asphalt) and reinforcing fabrics, topped with a layer of gravel or mineral granules.


  • Durability: BUR systems are highly durable and can last 20 to 30 years with proper maintenance.
  • Weather Resistant: The multiple layers provide excellent protection against weather elements.
  • Low Maintenance: Requires minimal maintenance over its lifespan.


  • Installation Time: BUR systems can be time-consuming and labor-intensive to install.
  • Weight: The multiple layers add significant weight to the building structure, which may require additional support.

Modified Bitumen Roofing

Modified bitumen roofing is a variation of BUR that incorporates polymer-modified bitumen membranes. It offers similar benefits with enhanced flexibility and ease of installation.


  • Flexibility: The added polymers improve the material’s flexibility, making it less prone to cracking.
  • Easy Installation: Modified bitumen can be installed using various methods, including torch-applied, cold-applied, and self-adhering membranes.
  • UV Resistant: Often comes with a reflective surface that improves UV resistance and energy efficiency.


  • Cost: Can be more expensive than traditional BUR systems.
  • Vulnerability to Punctures: Although durable, it can be vulnerable to punctures from sharp objects or heavy foot traffic.

Thermoplastic Olefin (TPO)

Thermoplastic olefin (TPO) roofing is a single-ply membrane known for its energy efficiency and ease of installation. It is one of the fastest-growing commercial roofing systems.


  • Energy Efficiency: TPO membranes are highly reflective, reducing cooling costs by reflecting UV rays.
  • Cost-Effective: Generally more affordable than other single-ply membranes like PVC.
  • Durability: Resistant to tears, punctures, and impact damage.


  • Quality Variability: The quality of TPO can vary significantly between manufacturers, affecting performance and lifespan.
  • Limited Color Options: TPO membranes are typically available in white, limiting aesthetic choices.

Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM)

Ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) is a synthetic rubber roofing membrane widely used for flat and low-slope roofs.


  • Durability: Known for its exceptional durability and longevity, often exceeding 30 years.
  • Weather Resistant: Excellent resistance to UV radiation, ozone, and extreme temperatures.
  • Ease of Repair: Easy to repair and maintain, with a wide range of compatible repair materials.


  • Color Absorption: Typically available in black, which can absorb heat and increase cooling costs.
  • Chemical Sensitivity: Vulnerable to damage from certain chemicals and solvents.

Metal Roofing

Metal roofing is a popular choice for commercial buildings due to its durability, longevity, and modern appearance. Common metals used include steel, aluminum, copper, and zinc.


  • Longevity: Metal roofs can last 40 to 70 years with proper maintenance.
  • Energy Efficiency: Reflective coatings can reduce cooling costs by reflecting solar heat.
  • Fire Resistant: Metal roofs are non-combustible and provide excellent fire resistance.


  • Cost: Higher initial cost compared to other roofing materials.
  • Noise: Can be noisier during rain or hail unless properly insulated.

Green Roofing

Green roofing systems, also known as vegetative or eco-roofs, consist of a waterproof membrane covered with soil and vegetation.


  • Environmental Benefits: Improve air quality, reduce urban heat islands, and promote biodiversity.
  • Energy Efficiency: Provide natural insulation, reducing heating and cooling costs.
  • Stormwater Management: Absorb rainwater, reducing runoff and mitigating flooding.


  • Weight: Green roofs are heavy and may require structural reinforcement.
  • Maintenance: Require regular maintenance to ensure the health of the vegetation and integrity of the roofing system.

Conclusion: Making the Best Choice

Choosing the best roof for a commercial building involves evaluating various factors, including building structure, climate, energy efficiency, budget, and expected lifespan. Each roofing material has its unique benefits and drawbacks, making it essential to consider the specific needs and priorities of your building.

Consulting with a professional roofing contractor can provide valuable insights and help you make an informed decision. With the right roof in place, you can enhance the durability, efficiency, and aesthetic appeal of your commercial building, ensuring long-term protection and value. If you need a commercial roof replacement in Louisville and Chattanooga, TN, please get in touch with us today at 865-238-2628. Call now!

Choosing the Right Roofing Material for Your Home: Pros and Cons

various colors of asphalt shingles

Call Burell Built Roofing, LLC for all Your Roofing Services in Louisville and Chattanooga, TN

Choosing the right roofing material for your home is a crucial decision that can significantly impact its appearance, durability, and energy efficiency. If you want to learn more about the pros and cons of some of the most popular roofing materials, keep reading. And if you need roof installation in Louisville and Chattanooga, TN, give your local roofers at Burell Built Roofing, LLC a call. 

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are relatively inexpensive compared to other roofing materials. They are lightweight and can be installed quickly by professionals. Asphalt shingles are available in a wide range of colors and styles to suit different home designs, and they are relatively durable. Some high-quality asphalt shingles can last up to 20-30 years.

On the flip side, asphalt shingles are vulnerable to weather and can be damaged by severe weather conditions like hail and high winds. Compared to other types of roofs, lower-grade asphalt shingles may have a shorter lifespan compared to other materials. Finally, asphalt shingles are not the most sustainable option, as they contribute to landfill waste.

Metal Roofing

Metal roofs can last 40-70 years or more, depending on the material used. They are resistant to fire, mildew, insects, and rot. Metal roofs reflect solar heat, reducing cooling costs in hot climates. This makes them one of the most energy-efficient roofing systems. Metal roofs can also be recycled, making them an environmentally friendly option.

Conversely, metal roofs are more expensive upfront compared to asphalt shingles. Without proper insulation, metal roofs can be noisy during heavy rain or hailstorms. Furthermore, metal expands and contracts with temperature fluctuations, which may cause noise and potential damage over time if not installed correctly.

Call Your Local Roofer for Roofing Options Galore

Wood Shingles or Shakes

Wood shingles offer a rustic, natural look that complements many architectural styles. Because of wood’s insulative properties, wooden roofing can help regulate indoor temperatures. If sourced responsibly, wood shingles can be an environmentally friendly option.

Despite its benefits, there are a few drawbacks to consider when thinking about installing a wooden roof in Louisville and Chattanooga, TN. For starters, wood shingles require regular maintenance, including sealing, staining, and occasional replacement. Because wood is flammable, wooden shingles may pose a fire hazard in areas prone to wildfires or with strict building codes. They are also more expensive than traditional asphalt shingles. 

Clay or Concrete Tiles

Clay and concrete tiles are prized for their longevity and can last 50-100 years or more with proper maintenance. Tiles offer a distinctive, elegant look that enhances the curb appeal of a home. Furthermore, they are fire-resistant, making them a great option for areas prone to wildfires. 

Nevertheless, clay and concrete tiles do have some negatives — namely their weight. Oftentimes, additional structural support is necessary to withstand the weight of the roof. These roofing options are also a lot more expensive than others. And despite their longevity, clay tiles in particular are fragile and can crack if walked on or impacted by a tree branch or large hailstones. 

Your Local Roofer is Just a Call Away

When choosing the right roofing material for your home, consider factors such as your budget, climate, architectural style, and long-term maintenance requirements. It’s also essential to consult with roofing professionals to determine the best option for your specific needs and preferences. If you need guidance for your roof in Louisville and Chattanooga, TN, give us a call at 865-238-2628. A member of our team is ready to help answer all your questions, so call today.

What are the 3 Types of Green Roofs?

Green Roofing

All across the country, including here in the Knoxville, Tennessee area, everyone is concerned with the environment and what can be done to help, like minimizing the island heat effect and the air quality. While common in European countries, green roofing has become more popular here in the United States because of the many benefits they have for the environment

What is green roofing and what are the benefits? 

Green roofing is sometimes referred to as a living roof or a vegetated roof. They are installed on a ballasted roof with a waterproofing membrane. Once the membrane is in place, the soil and plants are then installed.  Well-designed and well-engineered green roofing that is consistently maintained can provide several benefits such as: 

  • Environmental
  • Social
  • Economic 
  • Aesthetics

Results of research and studies provide us with more details on these benefits: 

  • Stormwater Management: There are massive amounts of concrete and paved surfaces in suburban and urban areas which can cause problems, like not allowing stormwater to be absorbed into the earth’s natural surface. This results in excessive amounts of runoff water causing damage and sweeping pollutants into the water bodies. Green roofing reduces that stormwater flow by over 60% and delays the flow rate by 3 hours.
  • Energy: Green roofing reduces the energy needed to cool structures by providing shade, insulation, and thermal mass.
  • Biodiversity and Habitats: Green roofing provides new urban habitat for birds, insects, and plants which increases biodiversity.
  • Urban Heat Island: If you’ve gone from the city to the country, you’ve noticed the air is typically warmer. This is because these asphalt and concrete surfaces absorb solar radiation. That leads to more energy consumed to cool homes and businesses. Green roofing helps reduce this Urban Heat Island effect.
  • Lifespan of Roofs: Green roofing has a lifespan that is two times longer than conventional and traditional roofing.
  • Aesthetically: Green roofing adds beauty to a flat roof structure, which adds value to the structure too.

What does green roofing installation cost?

This can depend on which type of green roofing you choose to have installed. The general price range of the 4 different types, based on 1,000 square feet and includes the materials are: 
Semi-intensive Green Roofing: Between $15,000 and $35,000
Extensive Green Roofing: Between $10,000 and $25,000
Blue-Green Roofing: Between $13,000 and $35,000
Bi-solar Green Roofing: Between $25,000 and $40,000

What are the differences in these 4 types of green roofing?

Any of these four green roofing options is a help to the environment in its way. The differences in these roofing options are:

  • Semi-intensive green roofing is typically six to ten inches deep and is lighter and shallower than an intensive roof. It has a higher level of maintenance than extensive green roofing, but less than intensive green roofing. It can support a wider selection and more plant life than extensive green roofing. 
  • Extensive green roofing is more affordable with a soil layer between four inches and seven inches. Ideal for a flat or low-sloping roof with shallow root vegetation. Minimal maintenance is required with extensive green roofing. 
  • Blue Green roofing incorporates stormwater collection and management (the blue part) and a garden (the green part), giving the structure energy and water efficiency. 
  • Bi-solar Green Roofing is a combination of vegetation and solar panels. This eases the Urban Heat Island effect and helps the building create clean electricity.   

Are there any drawbacks to green roofing?

Green roofing has several advantages, and they are important to our climate and environment. But yes, there are drawbacks to green roofing too: 

1. A higher cost 

Green roofing is, unfortunately, more expensive to install than the standard roofing options. Contributing to that higher cost is the extra support that is needed to handle the increased load.  While this may give you sticker shock initially, the ROI will come over time in lower utility bills. 

2. Increased weight load 

As mentioned above,  the higher cost is attributed to the additional support because of the additional weight of green roofing. Green roofing can increase the weight up to 110 pounds per square foot. A structural engineer inspection should be done before having green roofing installed to ensure the structure can handle the weight even with extra support. 

3. Extra maintenance

Green roofing will require some work to ensure it is thriving and doing the job you have in mind. Green roofing will require a routine of feeding, watering, and weeding. For a commercial structure, dividing these tasks between the occupants can make light the work! 

At The Root of The Matter: Is Green Roofing Worthwhile? 

Just as with your own home, the benefits of green roofing on a commercial structure are quite significant. They not only help minimize the urban island heat issue, but green roofing can help lower energy use, which will lower your energy bills. It also helps extend the lifespan of the existing roof surface, which is money saved by eliminating having to replace the roofing. 

Is Solar Roofing a Good Choice for Commercial Structures?

solar panels on a roof

Is solar roofing a good option?

Solar roofing has gained interest among homeowners here in the Knoxville, Tennessee area. But what about commercial properties, is solar roofing beneficial for them too?  Well, most of us don’t realize that skylights have been used in commercial buildings for years, but solar roofing interest is growing. 

Can solar roofing power a commercial building?

Absolutely! The square footage of a commercial structure makes it ideal for a solar roofing installation. With solar panels properly installed and positioned, they can generate ample power for a commercial structure’s energy consumption.

Is solar roofing for commercial buildings different from solar roofing for residential structures?

The technology used for both commercial and residential solar roofing is the same, but there are some differences in the way it is used including: 

  • The Size:  Commercial solar roofing panels are heavier and larger. 
  • The Wattage: Commercial building solar roofing is made to meet the higher energy requirements.
  • The Mounting: Commercial and residential structures have different types of architecture. Commercial structures typically have flat roofing which requires additional equipment for mounting the solar roofing panels. This additional mounting equipment allows the panels to tilt for optimum energy absorption. 
  • The Installation: Solar roofing installation requires more labor and time because the panels are heavier and larger. 
  • The Cost: Installation for residential solar roofing is less expensive than for commercial structures. Both commercial and residential have rebates tax credits.
  • The Regulatory: Commercial solar roofing installations may be subjected to regulations and permits that residential properties don’t. 

What size is commercial solar roofing available in? 

The average commercial solar roofing panel is 78” by 39” with 72 cells and can produce up to 400 watts, making them ideal for large-scale solar installations. Other choices in solar roofing panels for commercial properties include: 

  • 60 cells installed in a 6 x 10 grid
  • 72 cells installed in a 6 x 12 grid
  • 96 cells installed in an 8 x 12 grid

How is the size of a commercial solar roofing system determined? 

A professional solar roofing contractor will help you determine the size of solar roofing panels needed. This is done by taking the daily kWh energy requirement and dividing it by the hours of peak hours of the sun to determine the kW output. Then the kW output is divided by the solar roofing panel’s efficiency to determine an estimation of the solar panels needed.

What are the disadvantages of solar roofing for commercial structures?

There are several advantages for a business or commercial structure to invest in a solar roofing installation. Among those advantages are: 

  • Money Saver: Energy cost savings are a key advantage to commercial solar roofing installation, but there are several other incentives offered to a business that switches to solar power. Those incentives can help offset the initial expense of installation like MACRS (Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System), which can be claimed for up to 5 years.
  • Going Green: By switching to solar roofing energy, a business can reduce its carbon footprint significantly, a bonus to overall environmental impact. 
  • Minimal Maintenance: Solar roofing systems require little to no maintenance. The primary concerns are keeping them clean so the UV rays from the sun aren’t blocked or minimized. 

But with these significant advantages, there are some disadvantages to commercial solar roofing panel installation. Among them are: 

  • Upgrades to the roofing system
  • Upfront installation is expensive (including the roofing upgrade)
  • It is weather Dependent (as more sunshine equals more energy)
  • Incentives and requirements change every year

Is a larger solar roofing system better? 

Larger isn’t better in all instances, but when it comes to solar roofing, having an oversized solar roofing panel system can only produce more energy. What isn’t used is stored, and in many areas, the business may get paid for excess created energy through PV Demand Credit.

Why don’t more commercial buildings have solar panels?

There are two main reasons that more commercial structure owners haven’t invested in solar roofing systems, with cost being the number one reason. Over time, there is a reduction in energy costs that can offset the initial expense. But that initial expense is an expense that many businesses can’t spare. 

The next concern is reliability with the intermittent pattern of solar power. When the sun is out and strong, more energy is stored, but there are times when there is less sun, such as rainy days. The peak power production doesn’t always align with the demands of a business, especially a business that operates 24 hours. Because solar roofing power isn’t consistent, many businesses can’t depend entirely on solar power.

The Bottom Line

As a business owner, will it be worthwhile to invest in solar roofing? Yes, it is just a matter of patience for the solar roofing panels to build up the energy. The more solar tiles you have installed, the more savings you’ll see. This can vary between forty and sixty percent over a year. However, if you’re interested in solar roofing in Knoxville, Tennessee, our team can walk you through your options. Give us a call at 865-238-2628 to speak to one of our professionals.

Will Solar Panel Roofing Lower My Electric Bill?

home with solar panels on the roof

Choosing Solar Panel Roofing

Who isn’t interested in reducing their energy bills these days? Well, probably the homeowners that have solar panel roofing aren’t too concerned. You may be asking “why is solar cheaper than electric”. After the initial expense of having solar panel roofing installed, yes! Solar-powered energy is much less expensive than electric power. And with the continued rising cost of electricity, solar power is looking to be cheaper! 

How do solar panels reduce electricity usage?

After that initial expense, solar panel roofing acquires the sun’s energy and turns it into energy that you can use in your home – for free!  These panels installed on the roof are generating power to run your air conditioning, watch television, use your computer, hair dryer, and all things electrical. 

Not only are minimizing how much that electric meter on the side of your house is spinning, but you are also building up more electrical power to use the next day, and you’re making energy that you can sell back to the power company! 

How does solar power reduce your electricity bill?

It is that upfront expense of having solar panel roofing installed that makes homeowners wary of joining the solar power movement. But this is one home improvement project that will give your home ongoing, long-term energy efficiency. There are other benefits of solar panels to be enjoyed too, so let’s recap those benefits: 

Saving Money

We have stated this already, but worth stating it over again, having solar panel roofing installed saves you money on utilities. Many homeowners say they have seen a 50% drop in their electric bill, because their home is getting powered by the sun through their solar panels. What happens those cloudy days or at night though? Your home is still hooked up to the local power grid and that is the only power you’ll pay for. 

No Maintenance 

With solar panel roofing, there aren’t those unexpected issues and expenses that occur when you’re on the electrical power grid. Solar panels come with extensive warranties and when there is a problem, they take ownership and make any needed repairs. When there is an issue with the electric company that causes you damage, the utility companies do not take any ownership other than getting the power restored. 

Tax Credit

The government encourages us to go with solar panel roofing and in many areas, homeowners are given tax credits for having this environmentally conscious home improvement installed. Some local municipalities will give you tax credit and the federal gives tax credit too.  

Electric Power Costs

You’ve already noticed that your electrical bill is higher now than it was this time last year. And it will continue to increase every year, even if just a fraction of a penny per KWh, it will increase, just as natural gas and other means of power – except solar power! With solar panel roofing, your monthly expenses will not increase! 

Do solar panels power your house?

Any homeowner that is considering solar panel roofing will always ask, “Is solar power energy really able to power my entire house?” And solar panel roofing experts will reassure them, yes, your entire home can be powered by having solar panel roofing installed! 

However, there are some variances that need to be taken into consideration, like power output levels of the panels and how many solar panels your home need for your family’s energy use. Any solar panel roofing expert will review these things with you, ask questions about your electrical uses, and then make recommendations for the number of panels and the placement of the panels. 

No two homes are exact in their energy use, so the number of panels installed will be different. The placement and the angle of the panels will vary too so that you’re getting the most benefit from the sun’s energy possible. 

Do solar panels reduce the heat load on a roof?

The numbers vary from house to house, city to city, state to state, but most homeowners that have gone with a solar panel roofing install have found their roof is cooler by as much as 5 degrees, some even more. The solar panels are absorbing the sun’s UV rays before they get to the roof, so the roof isn’t getting heated up. Think of solar panel roofing as an umbrella for your roof! 

How many solar panels are needed to run a house?

Again, no two homes are the same, so the number of panels needed to give you the most benefit of the sun’s energy can be different than your neighbors. On average, 1500 square foot home typically needs between 15 and 20 solar panels. This isn’t a standard rule, just an average.  Your home may need more. Your home may need less. Your solar panel roofing expert will review this with you during the initial interview. 

What is the lifespan of a solar panel?

Solar panel roofing has been manufactured since the 1980s, and the ones that are still installed, are still powering up homes! So, you can expect your solar panel roofing, aka photovoltaic panels, to power your home for over 25 years! 

worker installing solar panels on a roof

At The End of the Month, Dollar for Dollar

Can you claim solar panels on your taxes? As we mentioned earlier, yes, there are tax credits to be taken when you have solar panel roofing installed! Some local government entities will give you tax credit and the federal government will give you a 26% reduction in your federal taxes with the ITC (investment tax credit). This is referred to as the federal solar tax credit and is available to commercial property owners and homeowners! 

What are the most common roofing systems?

close-up of an asphalt shingle roofing system

The Importance of a Good Roof

Here in the Knoxville, Tennessee area, we experience blistering, hot summers with the sun baking everything, followed by cold, frigid winters with snow piled up everywhere.  These various weather conditions make the roofing systems on homes and structures more important than ever. 

With so many choices in roofing systems available today, it makes a homeowner ask, “Which roof system should I choose for residential roofing?”. And that question can lead to many others, which we’re going to answer some of those today, starting with what are the different types of roofing systems?

Today, there are so many choices in roofing systems for a home, here are the most common and popular choices: 

Asphalt Shingle Roofing Systems

Without a doubt, asphalt shingles are the most common roofing systems in the country. It’s an economical way to top your home that is easy to install, comes in a range of colors and styles, can withstand the blistering hot and frigid cold weather, and will last up to 20 years or longer. The different grades of asphalt shingles available, some can last up to 30 years. 

Ceramic Tile Roofing Systems

Of all the roofing systems available, this one gives a home character with the long-lasting durability of 70 years. Fade and fire-resistant, this roofing material is not the best where the weather fluctuates though, or where there are high wind conditions.  

Slate Roofing Systems

Give your home a sophisticated and upscale look with slate roofing systems. A fire-resistant, rot-resistant, all-natural look that can last 100 years or longer. Available in multitudes of colors and styles but also at a high cost, which makes it one of the least chosen types of roofing systems. 

Wood Shakes and Cedar Shingle Roofing Systems

Cedar shake roofing systems are reliable in any climate, especially in hot and sunny climates because of their resistance to UV rays. They are durable in harsh weather like hurricanes and thunderstorms and provide natural energy-saving quality.   Upgrade for fire-resistant coating is available.  

Wood shake shingle roofing system is an eco-friendly choice, making them the environmental choice of all roofing systems. A lifespan of 30 years or longer, is another attraction. 

Metal Roofing Systems

Metal roofing systems have proven their value because they are a viable choice because of the benefits of metal roofing systems offer like lightweight, low maintenance, UV reflective, and environmentally friendly. The installation of a metal roofing system can be tricky and should only be done by a contractor with metal roofing experience. 

What is the most commonly used residential roofing material?

But the most common of all roofing systems is asphalt shingles. The least expensive yet durable material comes ins three different types: 

  • 3-tab asphalt shingles
  • Dimensional shingles
  • Luxury shingles

With proper installation and attic ventilation, asphalt shingle roofing materials will give you a lifespan of up to 25 years. 

What is the longest-lasting roofing material?

The material for the longest-lasting roofing systems is clay, concrete, or slate tiles. Each of these is an all-natural material and last longer than other natural material like wood shakes. However, while they are stated for long life, they are not as durable as other roofing systems. 

What type of roof will last the longest?

Slate roofing systems are referred to as the “forever roof” and a trip through Europe can prove that to be fac. Clay and slate are the most common materials on homes across Europe and have been there for 100s of years, even 1000s. Slate is the roofing material that can stand up to the elements and withstand the times.

What type of roof reflects the most heat?

Metal roofing systems are an excellent reflective roofing material, especially when coated with white paint, over 60% of the sun’s energy is reflected away from the house. Ideal where the climates are hot, this roofing material is more expensive than asphalt, but provides a longer lifespan. 

What is the most expensive roofing system?

The most expensive roofing material is slate, but you will get well over 100 years of durability and characteristic style.  This incredibly sustainable roofing material is all-natural and gives any home an upgrade. However, it is a heavy material, and an engineering report should be done before installation to assure the structure can withstand the weight. 

home with a standing seam metal roof

Topping Things Off

What is the easiest roofing to install? Asphalt shingles!  The lost cost factored with the ease of installation are two of the main reasons asphalt shingles are a popular choice in roofing systems. Asphalt shingles offer a wide range of colors and styles, are durable materials that can last up to 25 years with proper attic insulation and installation. They come in various mimicking styles like slate and tile, and with the 3 grades of asphalt shingles, you can choose the best of them all and get a lifespan of up to 30 years. 

Are Green Roofs Worth the Investment?

roofer installing asphalt shingle roofing

Choosing a Green Roof

When you own a commercial structure, there are many expenses involved. From the insurance and utilities to the maintenance and taxes.  Some of those things, there isn’t much you can control, but with the maintenance and utilities, and easing your footprint on the environment you do have control over with green roofing.

Is green roofing just solar panels?

No, green roofing is much more detailed than solar panels. However, having solar panels on green roofing is done, and achieves more for the environment. Green roofing is built for growing medium by mixing mineral aggregates and a small amount of organic material. Yes, it is planting a garden, park, or simply just grass on an otherwise flat roof. 

Can you install green roofing on a commercial building?

Green roofing has been practiced in Europe for decades, most of which are still in place. Here in the United States, green roofing is finally becoming more common, usually on commercial structures with flat roofing. 

Can you install green roofing on your home?

Again, Europe is way ahead of Americans with green roofing, as most homes with flat roofing are topped with green roofing.  Here in America, it is slow to gain popularity but has picked up in multi-unit residential structures.  The tenants often take the responsibility for maintenance and upkeep and every resident has the liberty to reap the rewards of green roofing like fruits and vegetables. 

How are green roofs installed?

The layer of vegetation for building green roofing is planted over a waterproofing system. There are three categories of green roofing: 

  • Extensive Green Roofing: The growing medium is shallow, less than six inches, creates a modest roof load with limited diversity in plants, and has a minimum requirement for watering. This type of green roofing is usually not accessible. 
  • Intensive Green Roofing: This also is a deeper medium, several feet that can support a diverse plant selection, with small trees. This is a heavier load on the structure that requires more maintenance and frequent watering. This type of green roofing is typically an accessible area.
  • Semi-Intensive Green Roofing: This green roofing is a combination of the first two and engineering reports and a study of the roof will determine the type of planting based on the annual rainfall, and stormwater requirements.

The anatomy basics for any of these green roofing types will consist of the same basics that include: 

  • Vegetation
  • Growing Medium
  • Filter Membrane
  • Drainage Layer
  • Waterproof Layer
  • Root Repellant Layer
  • A roofing membrane that can support the plantings
  • Thermal Insulation
  • Vapor Control layer
  • And most of all, structure support for the roof

Green roofing can be installed as one large section, integrated for each plant, or with small portable planting beds that are placed together, creating a larger green roofing result. This can be done so that the layers below the planters can be inspected. 

How long does it take to install a green roof?

It depends on the size of the roof surface that is being planted with green roofing materials. A standard residential house can usually be done within one day.  A larger commercial size building can take one to two weeks. 

What are the benefits of green roofing?

There are many benefits to be had with green roofing, including the following four benefits: 

  • Economically: Green roofing is more costly to install but with the increase of R-value, the economics of this endeavor will offset that higher cost. The higher insulation keeps the building cooler in summer, and warmer in winter, and that eases the HVAC workload, equals dual savings: The utilities and the HVAC system last longer. Traditional roofing typically must be replaced within 20 to 25 years. Green roofing is known to last 40 years or longer, saving money by not needing new roofing. 
  • Stormwater Management: Green roofing helps control water retention and stormwater runoff, a big plus in areas of increased urbanization where green space is reduced and replaced with impervious surfaces.
  • IAQ and Urban Heat Island: In a city where the surroundings are higher temperatures, referred to as the urban heat island effect, green roofing reduces that effect by lowering the temperature. Instead of more paved surfaces absorbing heat and releasing back into the surrounding atmosphere, green roofing covers the dark roofing surface and absorbs less heat while utilizing solar radiation to evaporate the heat through the plants. 
  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduced: With green roofing reducing the cooling loads, the greenhouse gas emissions are reduced too due to less HVAC use. 

How often does a green roof need maintenance?

The required maintenance for green roofing depends on the climate and the plantings. Below are some guidelines for an extensive amount of green roofing: 

  • Watering: Green roofing systems are typically installed with drought-resistant varieties that won’t require a built-in irrigation system. During prolonged drought, extensive green roofing should be watered every 10 to 15 days with less than half an inch of water if the temperatures are 85 degrees and above. 
  • Weeding: This should be done every two to four weeks, catching the weed prior to the flowering and dropping seed. 
  • Fertilizing: This should be every year for the first 5 years then have the soil tested to determine the amount, frequency, and type of fertilizing going forward. 

Does a green roof still require guttering? 

 Because green roofing is typically installed on a flat roof, there should already be drains in place.  The green roofing, however, will utilize the water by having its own drainage installed. 

solar panels on top of a tile roof

In Conclusion

One final question – are there any drawbacks to installing a green roof? There are two major drawbacks to green roofing: the initial cost of installing and the required engineering inspection before the installation. However, the benefits however far outweigh these drawbacks which is just a part of why it can be a great investment.

What is considered an emergency roof repair?

two men holding buckets under a leaking roof

What’s classed as an emergency repair?

Chattanooga, Tennessee has the most beautiful summer landscape and weather. Those are probably just a few reasons why the area has become a vacation destination. But all that beautiful weather can also be treacherous on rooftops, unknowingly leaving behind damaged roofs. Then when the winter comes along, homeowners in this area are scrambling for emergency roof repair help. 

Is a roof leak an emergency?

An emergency roof repair is when the elements and the leak can cause further damage the home, making it inhabitable or safe. An emergency roof repair provides protection for the interior of the home until a permanent solution can be completed.

An example of an emergency roof leak would be a roof profusely leaking in one or more areas, or part of the caves in or collapses entirely. Another example is when there is roof damage caused by a storm damages the roof, leaving the interior exposed and the structure weakened. Other reasons that a roof leak is considered an emergency may be any of the following: 

  • Missing Shingles: If there is a large area or several missing shingles, it may be considered needing emergency roof repair. When there are several shingles damaged or missing, it leaves the roof and the home vulnerable to more damage, including the personal belongings inside the home.  
  • Rotted Roof Deck: A rotted roof deck can be considered in need of emergency roof repair. A rotted roof deck will allow moisture to build up in the attic, creating a structural hazard to the home.
  • Exposed Interior: It can be a few missing shingles, or the total roof has collapsed inside the house, the answer to the question is if the roof repair can wait or is there danger of the home suffering more damage immediately? 

Can you repair a roof from the inside, and what materials are needed to repair a roof?

A temporary emergency roof repair can be done from the inside, saving the interior from more damage or harm until the actual roof itself can be addressed. You’ll need two buckets, two plastic tarps, a sheet of plywood, waterproof caulk, and roofing tar. The following steps will guide you through creating a temporary inside emergency roof repair: 


  • Step One:  Find the leak, which requires getting into the attic. Roof leaks are rarely coming straight down from where the leak originates. You’ll need to follow the water dripping/running to where it is coming from. Using a flashlight will help because it will reflect on the water. If the rain has stopped, look for wet insulation and under decking, then look up above those wet areas. Once you have located the actual leaking area, circle it with chalk so you can find easier later.

If it is still raining, you’ll need to lay a tarp on the leak, and place a bucket on the tarp to catch the rain. Remove any wet insulation, this will need to be replaced now that it is compromised. 

In the living quarters of your home, where the leak is coming through, place a tarp on the floor and another bucket on the tarp. Using a nail or screwdriver, poke a hole in the bulging area of the ceiling. This will allow any built up water to drain and relieve the pressure off the ceiling. 

Now, you’ll need to wait for the rain to stop and the area to dry out before you go to the next step. This will be the time to call a roofing contractor. 

  • Step Two: With the leaking area identified, take a sheet of plywood, and cut it down so that it is just a little bigger than the leaking area and waterproof caulk. Go back to the attic and spread the caulk along the edges of the plywood then press it against the roof decking over the leak. Insert nails or screws along the outer edges of the plywood to hold it in place. The spread roofing tar along the outer edges for extra sealant. 

Can you repair part of a roof?

It will depend on how much damage there is and what part of the roof is damaged. A professional roofing contractor will inspect the entire roof, including inside your home and the attic, then advise possible solutions. If they feel the entire roof is compromised, they will recommend a complete roof replacement. Then the insurance adjuster will inspect the roof in the same or similar manner the roofing contractor and advise their findings and decision. 

How much does a roof leak repair cost?

A single story home with a small roof leak can usually be repaired for $200 or less. The bigger and more severe the damage, the more the repair will cost. Typically the cost can range from $500 and $1,500, with the average around $800 for and asphalt shingle roof with minor to moderate leaking. This would include patching the roof and replacing the damaged or missing shingles.  

Can I repair my roof myself?

If you don’t have any fear of heights and have the ladder, yes, a DIY homeowner could do their own emergency roof repair or permanent roof repair on an asphalt shingled roof. There are multitudes of videos online to walk you through the process. It is recommended to have another person helping you and always wear a safety belt when up on the roof. 

Is it better to repair or replace a roof?

There are several factors to be considered when determining if an emergency roof repair, a permanent roof repair, or if a complete new roof is needed:  

1. Age

Depending on the existing roofing material and how old the roof is a factor to consider. An asphalt shingled roof 10 years old or older that has suffered storm damage should be replaced.  

2. Leaks

A leaking roof is often an indication that a new roof is needed. If there are any of the following, this is just the start of what will become a bigger issue sooner than later: 

  • Mildew and mold
  • Rotting framing, joists, and roof sheathing
  • Damaged ceilings and walls
  • Wet or destroyed attic insulation

3. Damage 

Hiring a local roofing contractor that has a reputation of reliable, they will inspect the extent of the roof damage and help you decide the best route to take. They will consider the aesthetic damage and structural damage in this decision process:

  • Aesthetic damage shown by old and worn roofing material, algae, moss, and dark streaks on the roof. 
  • Structural damage shown by shingles that are cupped or curled, missing granules or bald shingles, shingles that are bent, broken, cracked, or dented. Rusted metal roofing materials.  

4. Geographical 

If your home is located in region that is susceptible to strong weather elements like hailstorms, high winds, hurricanes, or tornadoes, replacing the missing shingles may not be enough. Any existing hail damage will typically require completely new roof because it is now compromised. 

5. Cost

A big concern for any homeowner is the cost of a new roof, so if an emergency roof repair can be a permanent fix for cheaper, that is the usual preference. A roofing contractor will give you the options they see along with the cost of each. Another factor that is considered is your homeowner’s insurance. What will they pay, your deductible, and if there is a mortgage holder on the property. 

young couple calling a roofer to deal with a leak

Final Thoughts 

So, you’re probably wondering just who do I call if my roof collapses? The first thing you need to do is get everyone out and to a safe place, including yourself. Then call 9-1-1 because there is danger amid a structure where the roof has collapsed. 

A collapsed roof will affect the entire structure, starting with the roof frame connected to the walls. With this under stress, everything else within the structure is compromised and under stress. Until it has been examined and inspected by law enforcement and/or an engineer, and your homeowner’s insurance adjuster, the house should remain vacant.  At this point, any emergency roof repair isn’t going to be sufficient.

What counts as a roofing emergency?

large hole in a home's ceiling

Dealing With Roofing Emergencies

The weather in Tennessee can change at the drop of a pen. It will go from a clear, beautiful day where you can see the mountaintops forever to a rainy day where you can only see the front of your car. Then, of course, there is the snow that can cover those beautiful mountaintops. Anywhere between the rain and the snow, there is an increase in emergency roofing services

So, when it comes to calling for emergency roofing services, what is considered an emergency roof repair? Well, a missing shingle or shingle out of place is not going to qualify for emergency roofing services. Is a leaking ceiling an emergency? Yes – and some leaks are more of an emergency than others. But a leaking roof calls for a need for emergency roofing services, even if it’s only a small leak. 

Why Roofing Issues Can’t Be Ignored

If a tree has landed on top of your house, that is undeniably a roof leak. But it is those small leaks that too many people will put to the side and deal with later that can cause a lot of problems. Water is the enemy of a house. Even the smallest leaking roof is causing damage and the longer you let that leak go, the more damage will happen. So, no matter how small the leak may seem, it constitutes the need for emergency roofing services – maybe not as quick as a tree coming through the roof, but still an emergency. 

Is a hole in the roof an emergency?

Absolutely! If you can see outside through your roof, you need emergency roofing services ASAP, especially if it is raining or snowing, or you’re experiencing any kind of unpleasant weather. Hailstorms and high winds are not a time to have a roof open to the elements, not to mention the critters and insects that get into your home. 

What do you do in a roofing emergency?

When you have an emergency roof leak, who to call is important to know ahead of time. Yes, you’ll want to call your insurance company, but the first call needs to be an emergency roofing services contractor. They can repair your roof – the insurance can’t. The contractor will perform an emergency roof inspection and determine the extent of the damage and what needs to be done. 

Unless there is widespread damage in your area needing emergency roofing services, they can usually be there within an hour if your roof is gone. If it is a smaller leak, it may be 24 hours. Once you have contacted emergency roofing services, then contact your insurance company. They will send an adjuster out to inspect the roof and determine if it is a valid homeowner’s insurance claim. 

In the meantime, while you’re waiting on emergency roofing services to arrive, if it is pouring down rain or other elements are entering your home, you should know how to make emergency roof repairs and have materials on hand. Just like band-aids and peroxide for emergency human cuts, you should have these materials on hand in case your home has an emergency leak.

A few items you should have on hand for an emergency roof leak are: 

  • A bucket
  • An emergency roof tarp
  • An emergency roof sealer
  • 2 x 4 boards
  • 4×8 plywood
  • Galvanized roofing nails

When you have a roof leak, you want to stop the water from coming in as quickly as possible. You also need to move anything out of the way of the leak like furniture and electronics. Place towels under the leak and place a bucket on the towel.

Then, with a nail or screwdriver, poke a hole in the ceiling if it is bulging. This will allow any built up water to run out to relieve the stress. Watch the bucket and empty it every so often so it doesn’t overflow. Next, on the roof, stretch the roof tarp out and nail the 2×4 boards on top of the tarp around the hole. Use the roof sealer to seal the edges of the tarp. 

If the hole is small enough, you can place any extra roofing shingles over the hole, nail into place and then apply the roofing sealant around the edges of the shingles.

On the inside, with everything out of the way that could be damaged by the rain, take a piece of plywood, and spread roofing sealant around the board so that it will fit flat to the ceiling. After that, nail the board in place. 

This won’t look aesthetically pleasing, but your homeowner’s insurance should cover having the ceiling, walls, and flooring repaired as well as the roof itself. Keep in mind that insurance policies are not all the same, so it is better now to know what is covered before you need it. 

woman holding a bucket under a roof leak and calling for emergency roofing services

A Few Words of Advice

When your insurance adjuster schedules their appointment with you, try to have the emergency roofing services representative present. They are on your side and will point out any issues that the adjuster may overlook. While adjusters are trained on roofing matters, they are protecting the company’s money.

What is the difference between wood shingles and shakes?

close-up of wooden shingles

A Range of Roofing Materials

There are many types of roofing materials, from asphalt shingles to ceramic tiles, and metal roofing to cedar shake roofing. Each type of roofing includes many different types within them, like wood roofing materials.

Within the category of wood roofing, there is wood shake roofing and wood shingle roofing, and that it what we’re going to discuss today. Let’s start by defining: what is a wood shake roof? Wood cedar shake roofing, the more popular wood choice, is made of a wood roofing material that is produced by a wooden log being split into thin rectangles. Typically one side is sawn, and the other side is hand split, making a thicker wood roofing material than often found with wood shingles. 

Where the main difference between wood shake vs wood shingle is defined in the manufacturing, it should also be noted that wood shingles are made from a log of wood, but both sides are sawn, making them thinner at the butt end compared to standard wood cedar shake roofing material. Both wood shingles and wood shakes are a wedge shape and are individually affixed to the roofing deck. 

How long do cedar shake roofs last?

A basic new roof is an investment, but when you go with a cedar shake roofing, the investment is higher, and a homeowner will expect to get as long of lifespan as possible. Ideally, a homeowner hopes to only have to go through a new roof expense once, or perhaps twice at the most. 

As long as a cedar shake roofing is installed correctly by the roofing contractor, and the homeowner keeps proper maintenance and upkeep, 30 years is the average life span. Depending on the quality of the materials used and factors such as the climate and environment conditions, some cedar shake roofing has been known to last 50 years. 

Because the shake for wood cedar shake roofing materials is naturally made, there isn’t a manufacturer warranty. That’s why you’ll want to find a roofing contractor that is experienced in cedar shake roofing installation and who offers a warranty on their work. It is that warranty that will be your best chance that the workmanship is of a quality level. 

What is the life expectancy of a wood shake roof?

The most common wood shake roof material in the United States is western red cedar shake roofing. It is available in abundance and has proven to be the most weather-resistant of all wood shake roofing. The other species of wood that are used, but not as commonly, are: 

  • California redwood
  • Cypress
  • Atlantic white cedar

Like cedar shake roofing, other types of wood are natural, so you’re depending more on the quality of the installation than the wood itself for lifespan. The average can be between 20 years and 40 years with expert installation and proper wood shake care by the homeowner. 

Are wood shake roofs safe?

Wood is a natural material, making it a flammable material and a fire hazard. However, it should be noted a fire retardant chemical is usually applied to cedar shake roofing and other types of wood roofing. The fire retardant chemical treatment on a cedar shake roofing or any type of wood roofing needs to be re-applied every 3 to 5 years by a professional. 

How do you repair a cedar shake roof?

A cedar shake roofing isn’t going to be any different than other types of wood roofing. When wet, it will swell, and when the weather is dry, it will contract. After years of swelling and contracting, even with preservation treatment it will still do this from time to time, and the cedar shakes weaken and the felt lining that is installed below them will deteriorate. 

The deteriorated felt, referred to as underlayment, is less resistant to leaking at that point, and with cracked, cupped, missing, and worn cedar shake roofing materials, the roof becomes susceptible to leaking altogether. 

Since OSB or plywood decking isn’t a water-tight barrier on its own, that leaking roof will begin showing on the ceiling inside your home. By then, it has come to the point that a professional repair is recommended. However, as a DIY homeowner, if you choose to try this yourself, the following steps will get you through the process.

Find the Source

As with the type of roofing, finding the source of the leak is a must. You need to start inside the attic during the day. With a flashlight in hand but turned off, inspect the roof from the underside for a pinhole of daylight. With the flashlight on, look for moisture or water stains on the roof’s underside or on the rafters. Because water flows or rolls downhill, follow the water stain to find the highest point, you’ll find the leak source there. 

Mark the area, measuring from the closest outside wall so you have an idea where it is when you get on the roof. Now, take the next step toward repairing your cedar shake roofing leak.

Up On the Rooftop

With safety gear on and an extension ladder firmly planted on the ground, take the measurement you have from inside the attic and add the measurement of the overhang This should get you at or close to the leak source and you can begin the actual repairing of your cedar shake roofing. Now follow these steps to make your cedar shake roof leak repair:

Place a flat wooden block just below the area of the cedar shake roofing to be repaired. This will protect the lower shakes from damage. With a 16-inch pry bar, pry the lower edge of a cedar shake to the side of the leaking area. With pressure against the block you installed, cut the roofing nails under the shake, then repeat this process on the other side of the leak. 

While wearing work gloves, with pliers, fold the opposite corners of a piece of sheet metal. Crimp each corner securely so they won’t catch under the shake and slide under both shakes you cut the nails under. Make sure it is completely over the leak and the lower edge of the metal is even with the lower edges of the shakes. 

Using five-penny cedar wood roofing nails and a hammer secure the shakes and metal shingle evenly spaced. The nails should be installed between the outer edges of the shingles’ exposed portions. 

Testing Your Work

With your equipment and materials collected, and safe on the ground, it is time to test your cedar shake roofing repair. Climb up the ladder and have somebody hold the garden hose as you spray over the area you repaired. Have a spotter inside the attic and house to watch for leaks. If you don’t see any water after 10 minutes, then your repair is done. If there is any leaking, this can often be patched with roofing caulk, usually around the nails. 

older gray wood shake roof

Topping Off Your Repair

What are the wood shake benefits that make them worth having? Cedar shake roofing is one of the oldest roofing materials and one of the most reliable. However, it isn’t as easily available as it once was, and that has made it more expensive.

The architectural appeal it gives a home is the biggest attraction and benefit. The natural color and rich dimensions along with the unique texture give any home a curb appeal that is beyond stunning. If you’re ready to learn more about wood shakes and cedar shake roofing, reach out to us at 865-238-2628.