Archive for October, 2010

Boost the Value of Your Home with James Hardie Siding

October 21, 2010

Fiber-Cement Siding

Siding is like the skin of your home and has two main functions, aesthetic and protection.  A home with properly installed siding and insulation can save you hundreds of dollars a year on heating and cooling costs.  Siding is the first thing people see when looking at your house and curb appeal is very important when showing your home to prospective buyers. New siding may also help you increase the value of your home and even sell it quicker.  Siding can be a worthwhile investment that can pay off with the right Minnesota siding contractor.

For homeowners that want the look of wood but don’t want the hassles and costs associated with it, fiber-cement siding may be a satisfactory alternative.  This product is available from several manufacturers in a variety of textures that are said to provide the appearance of wood.  Fiber-cement siding should be more durable than wood — it is termite-resistant, water-resistant, non-combustible, and warranted to last 50 years.

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.  The planks come in 5¼” to 12″ widths and 5/16″ and 7/16″ thickness.

The cost of fiber cement siding is more than vinyl and less than stucco and wood siding, making it an affordable and durable product.   Because it is not susceptible to rot and infestation, fiber cement siding offers a long lasting alternative to typical exterior wall cladding.

The installed costs of fiber-cement are reported to be less than traditional masonry or synthetic stucco, equal to or less than hardboard siding, and more than vinyl siding.  Fiber-cement siding products are recognized as exterior cladding by the International Code Council (ICC) Evaluation Service.  Information on Evaluation Service Legacy Reports can be obtained by contacting ICC at their web site (


Some manufacturers warrant the siding for up to 50 years.


Manufacturers emphasize that fiber-cement siding is appropriate for hot and humid climates because it is resistant to rot, fungus, and termite infestation.  They also state that it has excellent weathering characteristics, strength, and impact resistance.

  • Money magazine singles our HardiePlank® siding as a great value; a smart investment that delivers on durability
  • Smart Money magazine lists James Hardie in Smart Fiscal Sense feature
  • #1 Quality Exterior Lap Siding Product for the past ten years.  Builder magazine 1998-2008
  • James Hardie® siding is featured on over 20 Southern Living, Coastal Living and Sunset magazine Idea Houses.  And on over 30 Houses on ABC’s Extreme Home Makeover.

The Benefits Of Built-up Roofing Systems

October 19, 2010

Built Up Roofing (BUR)

Built Up Roofing (BUR) Systems From A Minnesota Roofing Contractor

  • Superior Water Resistance
    A multi-layered system of reinforcement offers more protection, reducing the risk for leaks, when a single-ply system only offers one chance at preventing a leak.  Also, nothing compares to asphalt when it comes to making a roof water resistant.  Asphalt is the glue that holds a Built-Up Roof together.  It seals and protects the entire roof, delivering up to five times greater water-resistant thickness.
  • Easier Installation
    When working with hot Built-Up Roofs, the multiple plies get fused together using hot-mopped asphalt to create a monolithic barrier.  Every inch is firmly and completely adhered over the entire roof area, without the need for ballast or fasteners.  Single-ply systems require ballast or fasteners because they are generally laid loose.  But ballast (such as stones) increases structural load and can be blown off by strong winds.  Fasteners can also create less stress points and additional opportunities for moisture leakage.
  • System Longevity
    Each ply of a Built-Up Roofing System contains a mat of glass fiber reinforcement while most single-ply systems contain no reinforcement at all.  When multiple plies are combined and positioned between layers of water-resistant asphalt, the result is a longer lasting roof.
  • Easy and economical to maintain.  And if necessary, can be repaired with conventional, time-proven materials, resulting in extended service life.
  • Product and material improvements have enhanced an already high-quality system.

Time tested and proven to be one of the best commercial solutions today, Built-Up Roofing Systems or “BUR” Systems have been around since the mid-1800s.  They should definitely be a strong consideration for your next roof.

Flat Roof Systems

October 12, 2010

Types Of Flat Roof Systems

Flat roof systems are roofs that are built so that they are nearly flat.  They are not completely flat; otherwise water would build up on the roof (called ponding) and would eventually start to get inside the building.  Flat roofs are built with a slight incline.  They are required to have at least a one-eighth-inch difference in height over each foot of the roof.   There are five main types of flat roof systems.

Roll Asphalt
A roll asphalt roof is made of material that is rolled onto the roof over roof felt and nailed down or applied with cold asphalt cement.  It is usually covered with a granular mineral surface, which looks like gravel.  The base material can be organic felt or fiberglass felt that is saturated in asphalt.  This is the cheapest building material, but it usually doesn’t last much beyond 10 years.

Single-ply flat roofs are composed of a single layer of a plastic or rubber-like compound.  Some of the more popular materials used today are thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC), which are both very good at reflecting heat, which saves on cooling costs in the building.  Ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) is also popular because it also cools well when white EPDM is used, and it is easy to install.  Rubberized asphalt is also used.  Single-ply roof systems, depending on the materials, can be self-adhered, applied with hot asphalt or installed by heating the back of the material with a torch.  Warranties for single-ply roofs usually are for 10 to 12 years.

Multiple-ply roof systems are also known as built-up roofs (BUR). These are made by overlapping rolls of felt or mats that are alternated with layers of asphalt.  This is covered by a granular mineral surface, ballast or tile to protect the layers.  These roofs can last 10 to 30 years.

Modified Bitumen
A modified bitumen roof is a multiple-ply roof that is made with modified bituminous membranes, which are made out of a blend of asphalt and a polymer.  This allows the asphalt to take on characteristics of the polymer, which is similar to materials used in single-ply roofs.  The modified bitumen roof is covered in a mineral or gravel surface, or a liquid coating that provides reflectivity.

Flat-seamed Metal
Flat-seamed metal roofs are made out of small sheets of metal that are soldered together.  The sheets are usually designed to look like tile or shingles.  The most common metals used for roofs today are copper, lead-coated copper or stainless steel. Metal roofs are light and reflect heat well, but are more expensive.

The Prestige & Elegance Of A Slate Roof

October 7, 2010

Add A Touch Of Elegance To Your Home With A Slate Roof

Slate is a tried and true roofing material for building a beautiful and very long lasting roof for any structure.  The 100 year life expectancy is no projection—it is the result of “field application”.

As one of the premier roofing materials, slate roofs have a history of adding prestige and elegance to many homes.

Not only has slate been revered for its appearance, it is also highly recommended due to the fact that slate roofs are extremely durable and weather resistant.

Remember, it is important to regularly check your slate roofs for any signs of damage, wear, or tear.   If any of the slate needs to be repaired, it is recommended that you have a professional roofing contractor fix those immediately.  When slate becomes brittle, it can easily be replaced.  In fact, when slate is properly maintained, it has a life span of nearly 100 years.

  • One of the things to consider about using slate is the fact that it is very expensive. So, if you choose to install a slate roof or if your home already has slate boards, it is important that you invest the money, time, and care in maintenance and repair.  A good preventative roofing maintenance plan is the best way to ensure that your slate roof remains durable and strong.
  • Since slate is expensive, it is not recommended that homeowners attempt to work on slate roofs themselves.  It is important to have the roof inspected regularly and to be on the lookout for any signs of deterioration.  Some of these include loose nails, deterioration of nails and slate boards that are slipping.
  • When hiring a roofing contractor to install or repair slate roofing, it is very important to hire a roofer that has proven experience working with slate.  There are many roofing contractors who specialize in slate roofing, and it is best to use an experienced roofer due to the high cost of slate.  You should also make sure that your roofing contractor checks the condition of the wood under the slate and makes certain that it is solid.
  • Often times, slate will withstand extreme conditions without damage, but the underlying wood may begin to deteriorate.   This will need to be repaired if it is found to be damaged.  Because the expense associated with slate roofing is high, you will find that you should only use qualified and experienced roofing professionals to ensure that your slate roof is maintained to increase its longevity.

Slate is one of the oldest and most durable roofing materials.  It is also one of the most beautiful.  Slate roofs have crowned landmark buildings for centuries, and some of these roofs have lasted hundreds of years.

But there are disadvantages to slate roofs.  They are expensive and difficult to install.  They are also heavy, and the building must be designed to support the extra weight.  This involves higher costs in new construction projects and rules out slate as an option in most re-roofing situations.

However, GAF Materials Corporation provides contractors and homeowners with an option to use genuine slate at a fraction of the cost and less installed weight with its TruSlate Roofing System.

Talk to a reliable Minnesota roofing contractor for more information about a new roofing system for your home.

Outstanding Beauty Of A Slate Roof

October 5, 2010

A Slate Roof For Outstanding Longevity & Natural Beauty

Why use slate?

Slate roofing can be applied to any permanent structure. The intrinsic beauty of slate will enhance any building from schools to homes, as well as commercial and government structures.  Slate’s extended life expectancy and durability creates a low cost of ownership.

Slate also provides these benefits:

Natural material

• Fireproof

• Waterproof

• Permanent

• Insulating factor saves energy

• Resists climactic change

• Impervious to fungi and mold

Slate contributes to design elegance through:


• Thickness

• Surface texture

• Overall roof texture

Guaranteed to last one hundred years!

Slate Grades

Slate is “graded” according to the uniformity in thickness that each piece exhibits.  Since slate is a natural product, the more demanding the physical specification, the more the demanding production requirements.  Therefore, a slate’s grade has great bearing on the availability and overall cost of the material.

Important facts about slate…

Slate is a tried and true material for building a beautiful and very long lasting roof for any structure.  The 100 year life expectancy is no projection—it is the result of “field application”. There are thousands of slate roofs still in service today installed in the 1800’s!  With such a long history, many terms describing the material have been coined and over the years, and some have evolved into misinterpretation.  For example, a common misconception associated with the nomenclature of describing slate occurs when the terms weathering and fading are erroneously interchanged.  Here’s the clarification:

Nomenclature of Blue Black & Black Slates


The term fading refers to certain slates, that after prolonged exposure to the elements, exhibit a chalk-ashen residue on the exposed surface of the slate.  The chalk-ashen residue is the result of a chemical reaction and the associated release of calcium from the body of the slate.  This release weakens the structure integrity of slate and is detrimental to the slate’s life expectancy.  The term is most often used in conjunction with the Blue Black or Black slates of Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Non-fading or Unfading

The term refers to certain slates that after a prolonged exposure to the elements do not produce the chalk-ashen residue.  Non-fading or Unfading slates usually have greatly extended life expectancies over those slates prone to calcium release.

Classification of Colored Slate

Colored slate does not fade, but it will experience varying degrees of color change.  This weathering of slate is due to the oxidation over time of minerals embedded in the slate.  Depending on mineral content, the weathering process slowly changes the slate color.  The color change is often a movement toward buff, brown, gray or tan.  This surface oxidation is not detrimental to the slate’s structural integrity and does not shorten the life of a roof.

Colored slates are classified in three types.  This classification is based upon the degree of color change  over time:


The term refers to slates that will exhibit the largest number of individual pieces that will transform from the original color to an earth tone.


The term refers to slates that exhibit the least amount of color change.


The term refers to roofing slates that are manufactured from slate that has varying mineral content.

Some of these slates will undergo a color change while others remain their original shade.  The percentage of semi-weathering slates that will experience color change is variable depending upon the location in the quarry from which the slate was extracted.

If you would like more information, contact a Minnesota roofing contractor that is experienced in slate roof installation.