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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 1: LOOK FOR THE LEAK

  • 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.

Slate Roof Repair Vs. Replacement

Close-up of deep gray slate roof shingles.

What You Should Know About Slate Roofs

Slate roofs grace many older homes of grandeur architectural style in Tennessee. Potential homeowners considering such a home may be concerned with the maintenance and upkeep of such roofing, and for good reason. A slate roof is almost a piece of art, and there is more to the care of one than there is with an asphalt shingle roof. That being said, here are some things to keep in mind if you’re considering a slate roof in Louisville and Chattanooga, TN. 

What is a slate roof?

Slate roof tiles have been used for centuries, and are often referred to as the 100-year roof. This long lasting natural product is made with durable materials that are fireproof and waterproof. Slate roof tiles are made from metamorphic rocks that come from volcanic ash and clay that create sedimentary rock. 

There are no two identical pieces on a slate roof because there are no two identical pieces of slate itself. For example, a hematite mineral produces purple tones while a chlorite mineral produces green. This mixed with carbon tones of black and gray, and the presence of iron compounds in primarily fine-grained pyrite, gives us the “weathering” appeal that makes a slate roof a piece of unique beauty and art. Along with the various tones of brown and buff, a slate roof is a one-of-a-kind masterpiece. 

Why is slate used for roofing?

Slate roof benefits are what make a slate roof the gold standard in roofing. This all-natural product is created naturally from volcanic ash and clay, which is what makes metamorphosed sedimentary rock a reliable material. Homebuyers who have done their homework, will pay top dollar for the home with a slate roof. So what makes a slate roof so appealing and attractive to a homeowner? Read on ….. 

1. The Century Mark and Beyond

A slate roof will last almost into infinity, especially with expert slate roof contractors providing professional installation, routine maintenance, and meticulous upkeep, upwards of 150 years or longer.  With a roofing material cut from extracted natural stone that has been a part of the earth for millions of years, you’ll have a roof that is virtually indestructible.  Without worry of constant roof repairs that an asphalt or flat roof may have, the only repairs will be due to heavy objects falling on the roof, like a tree limb during a storm. 

2. Stunningly Attractive Beauty

Three words describe a pristine slate roof: Stunning. Attractive. Beautiful. Those are the hallmarks of a slate roof. Classy, stylish, opulent, and unique are other words that describe slate roofing. In an exclusive suburb, slate roofing is common on most homes, but because there are no two slate stones just alike, each home will have a unique color, style, and texture in various sizes. The experienced  roofing contractor that knows slate roofing will use their penchant for design to install a slate roof that is impressive. Working with the various color selections of black, gray, green, purple, and red, with mixtures of brown and buff, along with a few mottled tiles. The experienced slate roof contractor is an artist in a class all their own. 

3. Withstands the Elements

Slate roofs are fire-resistant and naturally mold-resistant with a low capacity of water absorption. A heavy roofing material that can’t be easily blown off in high winds like other roofing materials. Slate roofs are a money and trouble saving feature for both homeowners and insurance companies. 

4. Eco-friendly

Other roofing materials, like asphalt shingles and flat roofs, will need replacing after several years as they wear out. After that, the old roofing is torn off and those non-biodegradable materials are taken to a landfill and dumped. These roofing materials are known to harm the environment, but a slate roof is all-natural stone that will last a century or longer with no worries of it filling the landfills with harmful and negative by-products. It came from the earth naturally and can be returned to the earth without harming the environment. 

5. Boosted Value

A slate roof isn’t for every style of house. For instance, you wouldn’t pay thousands of dollars to roof a home that is in a moderate neighborhood – there wouldn’t be any ROI. However, in an above moderate, exclusive neighborhood, a slate roof will attract the attention of more potential homebuyers. It is the attention-grabbing you want when trying to get top dollar, not only for the beauty, but it confirms this house is structurally sound. 

How many years does a slate roof last?

At a minimum, you can expect a professionally installed, well-maintained slate roof to last 100 years.  A hard slate can have a lifespan up to 200 years or longer. A homeowner today that has a slate roof installed will most likely never need to replace it in their lifetime. 

Does a slate roof need replacing?

Because a slate roof is designed to last at least 100 years, and even longer, with regular inspection and maintenance, the only replacement that you may ever need is a shingle that has broken or cracked from the elements. 

Are slate roofs better than single ply?

When considering slate roof vs flat roofing, or any other type of roofing, yes, slate roofing is the better choice. Slate  is a durable, all-natural material, excellent for roofing. It typically comes with a 50-year limited warranty with a wind resistant warranty for up to 130mph.  

Close-up of multi-colored slate roof shingles.

In Closing  – Why is Slate So Expensive?

The biggest downside to slate roofing is the cost – without a doubt, it is the most expensive material for roofing. This is partly because it requires specially trained contractors to install and repair. With pricing reaching $2,000 per square foot, it is often referred to as the Rolls Royce of roofing. If you’re interested in learning more or getting your own slate roof in Louisville and Chattanooga, TN, reach out to the Burell Built Roofing, LLC team by calling 865-238-2628 today.

Why Is a Metal Roof More Expensive?

grey metal roofing

Is it cheaper to get a metal roof or shingles?

Not too many years ago, who would believe it if somebody said, “Metal roofs will be on homes one day.”?  Seems  an oddity maybe, but the time has arrived, and a metal roof looks awesome on a home of any size and style. 

So, when it comes to the cost of installing an asphalt shingle roof or a metal roof, no, the metal roof is more expensive. In recent years, more homeowners have discovered that a metal roof is better for several reason, one being the resale value. 

If you’re like most homeowners, you have gotten tired of the constant need for asphalt shingle repair or replacement, and wonder if there is a better options. Yes, and the growing popularity confirms that metal roofing is taking rooftops of America!  

As many as 12% of all homeowners doing a remodel have discovered that while a metal roof is more expensive to install, the investment pays off when the home is placed on the market. Considering the life expectancy of an asphalt shingle roof averaging 12 to 15 years, consider you’ll need to replace them and that includes the tear-off. 

As inflation continues, a new asphalt shingle roof will cost a little over $9,100 to install and in 15 years, a new roof with tear off the old one will cost  over $13,000. A metal roof could last you 50 years or longer! Chances are you’ll never need to re-roof your home again going with a metal roof. 

What are the pros and cons of a metal roof?

Other than the cost factor we just reviewed, there are several other pros to having a metal roof installed. Take a look: 

  • Control The Maintenance Costs of Your Home: A metal roofs won’t degrade the way asphalt shingles do. No more out-of-pocket or make-the-time for maintenance chores and repairs. 
  • Wind Resistant: A metal roof comes in panels that are interlocked, making it wind resistant. Other roofing materials are simply overlapped and depend on gravity to hold it in place. 
  • Light Weight: Metal roofing is lightweight, and when the structure moves, as they will, metal roofs won’t damage as other roofing materials do. A metal roof is the lowest weight available for residential roofing. It even be installed on top of the existing shingles if building codes allow which eliminates adding to the landfills.
  • Energy Efficient: With reflective coatings applied and integrated thermal breaks, a metal roof can reduce your cooling expense in the summer by up to 20% or more.
  • Fire Resistant: A metal roof is resistant to the wind and that makes is resistant to flying embers and sparks from a fire. 
  • Adaptable: Metal roofing can be adapted to any architectural design, and made to look alike slate, tile, or wood shakes. Low or steep roof pitches, a metal roof is a well-suited material for arched or rounded roofs.
  • Problem Solving: With matching metal flashing, a metal roof will surpass other roofing materials on eliminating failures. Flashing will last longer than any adhesive or sealant used on other roofing materials. 
  • Beauty that Is Recyclable: A metal roof will provide a lasting beauty with distinction and when it comes to replacing it years later, it can be recycled.  Most metal roofs installed are from recycled metal, but the beauty it gives a home will never show it. 

Does a metal roof need to be vented?

Yes, a metal roof should have adequate venting just like asphalt or any other type of roofing materials. Proper ventilation ensures the energy efficiency that a metal roof can provide and when effectively ventilated, you have less energy waste. 

Does a metal roof affect insurance?

Yes, because of the fire-resistance and wind-resistance that a metal roof provides, insurance companies love them.  Every homeowner’s insurance policy will differ, but on the average, they have been known to reduce the cost of a policy as little as 5% and as much as 35%. 

metal roof with an outcropping

Is a metal roof worth it?

The information provided here support that a metal roof is it worth it because of the savings overall on maintenance and energy expenses. Yes, that initial cost is higher, but you get a ROI each month on a lower utility bills. 

What about a metal roof is rusting, how can that be prevented? You can choose a galvanized metal, paint the roof. with a high quality metal paint or have a coating that is 80% zinc applied at the time of installation.  

The rare occasion where a homeowner claims their metal roof is leaking is typically due to installation error.  Over time though, a metal roof will work loose a screw and if it goes unaddressed, a leak could occur. This is why a roofing inspection is recommended annually by a professional to catch those issues before they start leaking. Call 865-238-2628 today for your metal roofing installation in Louisville and Chattanooga, TN.

How does a green roof work?

deck on a roof

Are green roofs expensive?

Is your commercial building needing a new roof but you’re not sure what type of roofing material to have installed?  Take a look at going with a green roof!  Green eco roofing will help your building with insulation, which will keep your building cooler or warmer as needed without putting more strain on the HVAC system.

Bilbo Baggins from Lord of the Rings had the right idea maybe. Bilbo lived in a house that was built inside a hill and the roof was covered with flowers and grass.  Today, we call that a green roof. 

A recent article discussed this topic and how the popularity of having a green roof among homeowners and commercial structure owners. A green roof can be planting a garden of grass, succulents, or other combinations of local plants. Or a green roof of vegetables that the occupants can harvest and enjoy. 

A green roof will be more expensive with initial install than a traditional black membrane roof. By using plants that are natural to the region for your green roof, that will help keep costs down considerably. The Environment Protection Agency estimates the cost of a green roof installation will be approximately $10 per square or he extensive style and $25 per square foot for the intensive style. The annual maintenance cost for extensive or intensive green roof can be as much as $1.50 per square foot. 

Do green roofs provide insulation?

A green roof provides extra layers that serve as insulation that decreases the heat that passes into the building. This reduces the cooling load, which lightens the electricity use, lowering your bill. There are several other  green roofing benefits to be enjoyed as well: 

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduced

By reducing the cooling load, this reduces the greenhouse gas emissions associated with HVAC equipment and the fossil fuel used to create the electricity. The photosynthesis is increased with each plant or tree that is planted on a green roof which reduces the carbon dioxide that surrounding industries, mechanical systems, and vehicles produces.  The overall oxygen production is increased. 

Roof Life Extended 

A green roof will increase the original roof’s life expectancy with extra layer of protection of the UV rays and extreme temperatures common in the Tennessee area during the summers. With this extra protection, less maintenance is needed, another money saving feature of a green roof. With proper green roof maintenance you can expect to double the life of the roof.

Urban Amenities Provided

With a green roof, urban green space is increased, providing a space of  comfort and enjoyment for the employees and visitors in the building. An aesthetic, pleasing view and environment where you can hold meetings or simply a relaxing atmosphere. A green roof also provides birds and insects a refuge when their natural habitat was destroyed by urban development. 

Why are green roofs eco friendly?

Green roofing solutions contribute to the sustainability efforts by conserving energy with building insulation and mitigating the gain of thermal heat. This reduces the need for cooling and heating.  

How long does a green roof last?

With proper maintenance and upkeep of a green roof, you can expect a 40 year lifespan. Over that over years, you will save as much as $200,000 with roof repairs and energy costs. The design of the green roof and the geographic location and surrounding will have an effect on those economic benefits and can vary from building to building. 

rooftop view from a green roof

How do you maintain a green roof?

Whether you choose between green roofs intensive vs extensive, there is a need to choose a strategy that will require your facilities team dedication to gain a green thumb and provide the maintenance and upkeep.  No matter which way you go with extensive or intensive, a roof garden will need some level of maintenance. There will be a need to apply fertilizer 3 to 4 times a year, pull weeds, and if you choose a vegetable growing green roof, you’ll need somebody that will harvest the production. 

Proper maintenance is a must to protect the investment and ensures that the green roof system achieves the original intention. Whether the intended purpose is for aesthetics, stormwater management, or thermal performance, maintenance will be required. 

Start your green roof organization by creating a maintenance plan and familiarize each member of the green roof team with the plan. The plan should include: 

  • A site map
  • Green roof type
  • Planting schedule
  • Irrigation controls
  • Routine inspections of the plant health, the moisture level, and the drainage

Keep a logbook of each time the green roof is fertilized, watered, and weeded. Keep records of the harvest acquired that includes what was harvested, how much, the date/time/temperature. 

A green roof is more than just being a part of the “green” lifestyle. It can also be great benefit to the building owner and occupants too, especially when everyone works together to make it happen. Call 865-238-2628 today for your green roof installation in Louisville and Chattanooga, TN.

Should You Insulate Between Roof Rafters?

Rafter Insulation

How effective is roof insulation?

The winters can get bitterly cold here in Tennessee, and the summers can get blistering hot. This means the cooling and heating system in your home has to work hard to keep your home comfortable. One of the best things you can do to help that is with roof insulation

Roof insulation isn’t the only part of keeping your home cool and warm as needed though. Roof insulation and ventilation in the attic are needed to make sure that the roof insulation does it work. Okay, so just how effective is roof insulation?

Energy costs are a concern for everyone unless you’re vastly wealthy, but even at that, do you really want to make the energy companies richer (unless that is part of your vast wealth)? Utilities are a big chunk of everyone’s budget, so you do what you can to minimize that hit and avoiding energy loss is one of the best ways to conserve the energy and save money. There are several benefits to roof insulation: 

  • Energy Efficiency Equals Cost-Efficiency: There is approximately 30% of the heat in your home going through the roof right now, and that is blowing money through the roof too. With a professional roof insulation job, you’ll keep that heat in the house where it’s needed and save money over time too.
  • Additional Protection: Roof insulation will prevent damage from ice dams and moisture build up over time. In the long run, this is another money saver.
  • Lessen Carbon Footprint: Professional installation with efficient insulation will reduce the CO2 emissions, lessening your carbon footprint.
  • Prevents Mold Growth: Roof insulation is a great tool in preventing mold from forming because it manages the moisture and temperature.

What thickness should roof insulation be?        

For keeping your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter, the higher the R-Value, the better the insulation performance. Remember, you’re not only insulating the attic for temperature purposes, but you also need your roof insulation to stop condensation too. 

If you think that your home may be one of the 90% of under-insulated homes in the United States, then a simple inspection can confirm that for you. Go to the attic and inspect the current roof insulation’s condition then calculate the level in place now. 

Depending on where you are in the country will determine the proper amount of roof insulation and for Tennessee, the ideal recommendation is 3 to 4 inches of R-38 to R-60. The older the home, the more insulation is needed to meet the recommendations set by the U.S. Department of Energy. Yes, the thicker the insulation, the more it will cost, but the more it will save you too. 

Can you insulate against a roof?

You should insulate the ceiling first for a few reasons: 

  • Keeping the living space temperature regulated.
  • Preventing loss of cooled or heated air saves money.
  • Preventing moisture damage.
  • Insulating the ceiling easier, the insulating roof makes the job faster.

However, if the attic is a living space in your home, spare bedroom, or home office, then you’d want roof insulation first. This means you will insulate above and below the rafters along the roof slope.  

Which will provide you the most energy-saving though: Ceiling insulation or roof insulation? A home with a finished attic or roof insulation is better for energy savings. There is less chance of air duct leaks or moisture from ice dams and frost. 

Yet, another viewpoint when it comes to insulating the ceiling, one advantage is this can be a weekend DIY job, saving money on professional labor. You can choose a loose-fill type of insulation or roll batts, even insulation boards, and even the highest R-Value is an energy saver. 

Do you need an air gap for insulation?

Yes, an air gap for insulation is a must in order to get the benefits of emitting heat, or a reflectivity quality, meaning the air gap provides radiant heat. Without an air gap, radiant heat will not exist, because it has been eliminated by closing off the gap. 

The typical recommended air gap is between half-inch and three-fourth inch, although a bigger gap will work well by promoting ventilation on the foil, keeping the air dry, and the temps lower in the air. 

Roof Insulation

Closing Words 

If you’re looking for ways to keep your home comfortable and your energy bills reasonable, then consider getting quotes on roof insulation or wall insulation, or both from Burell Built Roofing, LLC by calling 865-238-2628. They each will keep the cool air inside during the summer and the warmed air inside during the winter. So, what is the best insulation for roofs?

The most common roof insulation used is fiberglass batting installed between the attic rafters. Today though, experts in the field have discovered that  fiberglass insulation compresses, thus losing its  R-value. At that point, it isn’t stopping air leaks anymore. We have better solutions today: 

  • Spray foam: Referred to as SPF, this Spray Polyurethane Foam is applied between attic rafters and provides air and moisture barrier with a high R-value. 
  • Rigid foam: Rigid foam insulation comes in panels or sheets in various thicknesses. As an attic roof insulation, it is installed between attic rafters or beneath the attic rafters, and in some cases, both. Rigid foam insulation provides an air and moisture barrier too with an R-value rating. 

The type of roof insulation you choose should be based on the climate where you live, the age of your house, and while budget is a concern, remember what the ROI will be over time.