Archive for May, 2010

Long Term Savings With A Metal Roof

May 27, 2010

Residential Metal Roofing For Long Term Savings

Have you been thinking about changing the look of your house?  A new metal roof may be just the solution.  Residential metal roofing is great because its lightweight, durable and energy efficient.  Metal roofs come in a variety of styles and materials to coordinate with any architecture as well as personal budget.

These roof materials come in three different metals: steel, aluminum and copper.  The most common is galvanized steel, which is actually coated with aluminum and zinc.  Most roofing contractors offer this roofing material in different grades or thicknesses, and a variety of colors.  Steel roofs are actually the strongest of the three common materials.  It also happens to be the least expensive, meaning you’ll have the lowest roofing estimate if you choose this material.  Aluminum is the lightest of the three metals. It has the longest durability and also happens to be in the mid price range.  The third type of roof used is copper, which tends to be the most expensive and is usually reserved for flashing or entryways.

Metal roofs are one of the longest lasting roofs you can buy, most having 20 to 50 year warranties.  They are very good about sealing out water and shedding snow. They also hold up very well in wind and storms.  Because they are metal, they resist mildew and termites and they dont catch fire.  If you live in an area that is prone to fires, a metal roof on your home can give your home the security of a class A fire rating, which is the highest rating available.  Some states will even give you a lower insurance rate if you have a metal roof.

Metal roofing is a lightweight building material (about 50 to 150 pounds per 4 ft section), as opposed to tile (around 750 pounds per 4 ft section) or concrete (around 900 pounds per 4 ft section).  This will save you money by allowing you to place a new roof over the old one, thus reducing the overall cost of labor.

If you live in a hot or cold climate, metal roofing can save on your energy costs as well.  The metal reflects the heat of the sun, keeping your house cool in the summer and making snow melt faster in the winter.  Metal roofs have a low R insulation value, and when properly installed, they are more efficient than a conventional shingle roof.  You may even qualify for a tax credit with a metal roof because of its energy saving properties.  Consider how much money metal roofing will save you in the long run when deciding if you want to undergo the project.

When you contact your roofing contractor, take advantage of the labor savings involved with metal roofs, since they are relatively easy to install.  The materials come in big sections that go up with little trouble.  They can also come in single sheets for repairing sections.

Metal roofing is a great upgrade to your home; it’s very attractive and will save you money in the long run.  They do have higher up-front costs, but the advantages will outweigh the initial investment.  Also, by saving on energy, these roofs are also good for our environment and these days, that is a big plus.

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What Is HardiPlank Siding?

May 25, 2010

The world of siding today offers homeowners numerous options from which to choose.  From wood to vinyl to stucco to stone, anyone looking to add or replace siding can certainly get overwhelmed by the amount of competing materials involved.  While vinyl might be the most widely-used siding material around, another alternative has been growing in popularity in recent years due to its many benefits – HardiPlank.

HardiPlank is a great choice for homeowners looking to invest in solid household siding.  HardiPlank is a type of fiber-cement siding, as it is comprised of cellulose fibers and cement-like components.  Although it was initially introduced as an alternative to masonite, HardiPlank is actually a far superior material for siding purposes – especially since Masonite has a tendency to rot over time due to sun exposure.

One primary benefit of HardiPlank is that it offers the look of real wood siding, but without all the maintenance.  Unlike wood, which requires extensive upkeep, HardiPlank will not rot or warp over time.  On the other hand, HardiPlank is almost as thick as wood siding, making it appealing for those who find themselves drawn to the aesthetics of wood but turned off by the notion of having to work so hard to preserve it.  An additional visual benefit of HardiPlank is that it is easy to paint, thereby offering homeowners the option of customizing their exteriors according to their individual tastes.

Another advantage of HardiPlank is that it does not attract insects the way that wood does.  In areas where termites are prevalent, the use of HardiPlank can be incredibly helpful in minimizing the risk of termite damage to any given home.

From a safety perspective, HardiPlank is also touted as fire resistant.  While it is not fireproof, it is far less combustible than wood and vinyl siding.  Additionally, HardiPlank is known to be a relatively green material, as no toxic materials are used in its production.  While this particular quality of HardiPlank might not matter to some, those looking to keep their homes as eco-friendly as possible can certainly look towards HardiPlank as a viable siding option.  Finally, HardiPlank is designed in a manner that, when installed correctly, allows it to last.  Homeowners who choose HardiPlank for their siding projects are likely to get a terrific return on this wise investment.

Clearly, there are plenty of good reasons to have HardiPlank siding installed.  The one drawback to this particular material is its cost.  HardiPlank is one of the most expensive siding materials, and its price tag is much higher than that of vinyl or wood.  Although a portion of the upfront expense of HardiPlank can be offset over the years thanks to the material’s durability and low-maintenance requirements, for many homeowners, HardiPlank simply isn’t an option due to its initial cost.  Those do want to go the HardiPlank route should also keep in mind that since it is a fairly new material, not all contractors are aware of how to properly install it.  Therefore, any homeowner who wants this option will need to find a siding contractor who has experience working with HardiPlank.

If your home could use a refresher on the siding front and you have some money to spend, then HardiPlank might be the best option for your upcoming siding installation project.  Remember, the exterior of your home is the first thing that people are going to see as they approach your property.  By choosing HardiPlank siding, you’ll be making a smart investment that will offer you a world of benefits for years to come.

Why James Hardie Siding?

May 20, 2010

For 5th year in a row, Re-siding Your Home with James Hardie Fiber Cement Siding is the #1 Return on Investment

The Pros Know

There are many other projects you can tackle, but only re-siding your home with fiber cement gives you the best return on your investment, 5 years in a row.

  • Residing with fiber cement gives a 31% better return than adding a bathroom and costs $61k less to complete
  • Minor kitchen remodel gives you a 10% less return on investment than re-siding with fiber cement
  • Adding a second story addition nets you 23% less return on investment than fiber cement re-siding

Remodeling magazine is the industry’s leading home improvement magazine.  Since 1988, Remodeling magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report has compared construction costs for common remodeling projects with the value they add to a home at resale in the current real estate market.  The results— upscale siding projects using fiber-cement return the highest value at resale.

Projects* 2009 Rank 2008 Rank 2007 Rank 2006 Rank 2005 Rank
Siding Replacement—Fiber Cement 1 1 1 1 1
Siding Replacement—Foam Back Vinyl 6 4 7 9 4
Minor Kitchen Remodel 7 5 4 4 3
Mid Range Bathroom Remodel 14 11 6 4 2
Mid Range Roof Replacement 18 22 22 18 17

Remodeling Magazine has conducted this study since 1988 and is a trusted source among building and construction professionals. 2005 was the first year they evaluated fiber-cement siding replacement, and its debut at the top of the list demonstrates its value to builders and homeowners.

Say goodbye to the days of one-siding-fits-all.  James Hardie now gives you the ability to put the optimum siding on a home regardless of your location.

The HardieZone System is based on the eight individual climatic variables that primarily affect long-term performance of siding.  Using these factors they arrived at ten distinct climatic zones.  Though different, they found common variables in certain regions, allowing them to engineer the HZ5™ product line for zones 1 through 5 and the HZ10™ product line for zones 6 through 10.

Why Should I Consider Hardiplank Fiber Cement For My Home?

May 18, 2010

What is Fiber Cement Siding & Why Should I Consider Hardiplank Fiber Cement For My Home?

For homeowners that want the look of wood but don’t want the hassles and costs associated with it, fiber cement siding is a great alternative.  Many homeowners rely on fiber cement industry leader, James Hardie and their fantastic Hardiplank.  This product is available in a variety of textures that can provide the appearance of wood.  Fiber cement siding is more durable than wood — it is termite-water-wind-snow-sun-hail-warp-shrinkage-rot resistant, non-combustible, and warranted to last 50 years, which you can transfer to subsequent owners.

While fiber cement siding has been in use for over 100 years, research and development continues today.  Fiber cement siding is composed of cement, sand, and cellulose fiber that has been autoclaved (cured with pressurized steam) to increase its strength and dimensional stability.  The fiber is added as reinforcement to prevent cracking.
Fiber cement products are very attractive.  You can choose from a variety of clapboard siding styles that have embossed wood grained texture or smooth finish.  The siding comes in a multitude of widths that permit you to have clapboard exposures ranging from 4 inches up to nearly 11 inches.  You can decide among a smooth, stucco, or vertical rustic groove appearance.  The fiber cement siding can be complemented by numerous weather resistant vinyl trim and ventilation accessories. 

Fiber cement siding planks offer a unique capability. Because of the rigid nature of the product, they can be blind nailed with many of the available sizes.  Each clapboard is nailed approximately 1 inch from the top edge.  The next overlapping piece hides the nails below.  This allows you to produce a siding job free from the polka dot appearance nails cause on many traditional wood sidings.
Because fiber cement siding must be primed and painted, either at the factory or onsite within 90 days of installation, your color options are virtually unlimited.  100 percent water based acrylic paint grips cement fiber products exceptionally well.  The siding planks and stucco panels also accept stains.  Because the cement products do not expand and contract to the extent that wood does, paint rarely peels and blisters and therefore holds paint for several years longer than wood.

Contact a James Hardie Siding Contractor to answer all of your questions.

All About Roof Styles

May 13, 2010

Roof Styles

The roof of a home or building is the main protection from the elements and its type and construction not only establishes the appeal of the home, but the overall style of the structure as well. Fortunately there are many roofing styles to choose from and is usually based on the geographic location, the architectural design and the climate in which the home is built. Some examples include:

  • Flat Roof- This roof is just as its name suggests, flat.  It might have a slight angle to allow some water runoff, but is not suitable for areas with heavy snowfall.  This type of roof is inexpensive, easy to build and uses few materials.
  • Gable Roof or Pitched Roof- This is a triangular-shaped roof, resembling the letter A.  Depending on the weather conditions of the area, these roofs can have a gradual slope or a very steep slope, allowing for rain and snow to run off easily.  Gable roofs are the most popular roofs in the United States and Europe and can allow for an additional story of space, either for additional rooms, loft or attic, or can allow for larger interior space with cathedral ceilings. These roofs are easy to build and accommodate most houses.  This roof will leave two sides of the house vulnerable to the elements.  If not installed properly, these types of roofs may not hold up as well during strong winds.
  • Salt Box Roof- This roof is similar to the gable roof except that the two sides are not the same size or sloped at the same angle.
  • Cross Gable- A gable roof that has two parts that cross.
  • Hipped- A low pitched roof.  It slopes upward from all sides of the building.  They hold up well in the wind and allow rain and snow to easily run off.  Allows for large eaves on buildings, in areas with a great deal of wind and rain, this might be a good choice.
  • Cross Hipped- Same as hipped but has two parts that cross.
  • Pyramidal- A hipped roof that forms a pyramid shape at the top.
  • Shed- Simple one sided roof, like a flat roof set at an angle to the ground.  Allows for rain and snow to run off.  Shed roofs are the least expensive roofs and are good if your budget is tight.  This roof is highest at one side of the structure and slopes down to the other.  These roofs will bring in a lot of light but have the smallest amount of protection from the elements.  Three sides of the building are exposed to sunlight.  The high side of the roof can get moisture into it.
  • Gambrel- Type of roof typically seen on very large barn shaped buildings.  Shaped similar to a bell and has several faces to make up the roofs surface.  Can be thought of as a flattened gable roof.
  • Mansard- Also called a French Gabled Roof.  This roof has a flat top, where the gabled roof comes to a point and has a unique bell style shape.  This is the focal point of French chateaus style architecture.

There is a wide variety of roofs to choose from.  A professional roofing contractor can help you choose the right roof that will fit the style and weather needs of your home, as well as your budget.

How Did Your Roof Survive This Minnesota Winter?

May 11, 2010

Did Your Roof Survive The Winter?

Winter months can be cruel to your roof, as it is the first line of defense against the high winds, heavy rains, sleet and snow that are typical of our Minnesota winters.  If your roof fails, it can cause great expense, significant damage and wasted time and money.  So when the weather is better, it’s a good idea to perform a quick check-up to insure that your home is protected.

Leaking roof systems can result from several sources.  The most common leak sources include cracks in flashing around the chimney and vents, worn out or missing shingles, or condensation from inadequate attic ventilation.  Here are some suggested warning signals that your roof system may be wasting money and leaving your property vulnerable that you can identify yourself:

  • Ceiling spots – A warning sign that your roof system needs leak repair.
  • Missing shingles – These should be replaced quickly to avoid structural damage to your roof deck and the interior of your home.
  • Cracked flashing – Should always be replaced.
  • Buckled or curled shingles – Indicates old age or a problem with the shingle underlayment (i.e., the felts underneath the shingles).
  • Blistered shingles – Typically occurs due to inadequate roof ventilation or application over a wet deck.
  • Granules in the gutter – If excessive, it may indicate aging shingles that should be replaced.
  • Peeling of interior or exterior paint/wallpaper – A sign of possibly inadequate attic ventilation.
  • Excessive energy bills – Especially air conditioning in the summer, can be a sign of inadequate attic ventilation.

If you have issues with your roof system, consider utilizing the services of a professional roofing contractor.  Most people think roofing is simple, and are therefore willing to hire a “fly-by-night contractor” to perform their roofing services, often at a lower cost.  This is probably why roofing is one of the top reasons for complaint calls to the Better Business Bureau.

What Are My Options If I Decide To Reroof My House In Minnesota?

May 6, 2010

What Are My Options If I Decide To Re-roof?

What are my options if I decide to reroof?  You have two basic options: You can choose a complete roof replacement of the roof system, involving a tear-off of your existing roof system, or re-cover the existing roof system, involving only the installation of a new roof system.  If you have already had one re-cover installed on your original roof system, check with a professional roofing contractor.  In many instances, building code requirements allow no more than one roof system re-cover before a complete replacement is necessary.

More Information On Felt Roofing Underlayment

May 4, 2010

To Felt or not to Felt, That is the Question!

One of the most common mistakes being made today in the installation of asphalt shingles on new or re-roofing work is the practice of not using felt underlayment.  Many thousands of new homes do not have felt beneath the shingles.  This is a HUGE mistake!

Many asphalt shingles that are installed on residential roofs carry a Class A fire rating.  This rating is given to the shingles by independent laboratories.  The ratings are granted only when the shingles are installed as they were tested in laboratory conditions.  The shingles are tested with felt in place under the shingles.  As such, if felt is deleted on your job, the shingles have no fire rating.  This may not seem to you to be a big deal; however, it may be a very big deal to your insurance company.  It may be in your policy that they won’t pay a claim if the shingles are not installed or maintained according to manufacturer’s specifications, etc.  I surely would check into this if I were you.

Remember, shingles rely on gravity to keep water from entering your house.  It is very possible for wind driven rain to get underneath your shingles or to enter along valleys (especially when the valley shingles have been improperly trimmed!)  Without felt, you have no hope of stopping a leak.  With felt, there is a possibility that the water will travel down the felt and not enter your house.

Felt also helps to bridge irregularities in roof decking.  It can make your shingle job look better.