Archive for the ‘Residential Roofing’ Category

Avoiding Roofing Disasters

December 28, 2010

Avoid Common Mistakes That Could Cost You Thousands!

Exciting and informative, this video gives you the inside scoop on selecting a new roofing system, the right contractor, and best materials to protect your biggest asset – your home.

The result… your ultimate peace of mind!

Learn how to make not only the right choice, but the “safest” choice for your roofing needs. The following educational video is provided by GAF-ELK Roofing Manufacturing. United Roofing and Remodeling Inc. is able to bring you this video because of our Master Elite Certification from GAF-ELK.
The video features Jim Hartz (national TV news correspondent) and JoAnne Liebeler (from Hometime® seen on Public Television).

Because of GAF-Elk’s stringent standards, only the top 3% of all roofing contractors have qualified as Master Elite contractors! Choosing a GAF-Elk Master Elite contractor is your assurance that you’ll be dealing with a quality, reputable, and dependable professional contractor — not some “fly-by-night” contractor that is not available to answer your questions.



Protecting Your Minnesota Home From Ice Dams This Winter

November 9, 2010

Protect Your Home From Ice Dams

What Is An Ice Dam?

Ice dams are formed when heat from inside of a home escapes into the attic and warms the roof decking during the winter.  The heat, combined with the heat from the sun, can melt snow on the roof.  Melting snow on the upper roof and in the valleys runs down toward the eaves as water.  When it reaches the cold eaves and gutters it freezes.  This continuous thaw and re-freezing process creates an ice dam.  The result is water backing up under the roof shingles or behind fascia boards where It can soak through the roof decking or wall sheathing, causing tremendous damage to attics, ceilings, and walls.

Ice Dam Defense
There are 3 ways to defend against the damage ice dams cause.  All 3 work together.

  • Insulation/ Insulation keeps heat from escaping from your home’s living space into your attic.
  • Ventilation/ Ventilation removes the heat and keep the roof deck evenly cool to help prevent snow from melting on the roof.
  • Water-proofing/Water-proofing is laid across the roof before shingles are applied and protects against dams that form on the roof.

With existing roofs, waterproofing underlayment is only an option if you remove the existing shingles or are building a new addition. Either way, increasing the insulation R-value in the attic is always possible, and ventilation can usually be added to your attic quite easily.

An energy efficient roof minimizes problems with ice dams.  Contact a professional roofing contractor to do an in-home evaluation to diagnose the performance of your home and together decide what the best course of action is for your situation.

What Type Of Material Is Best For Your Home Roof Comparisons

September 9, 2010

Are You Thinking About A New Roof?

Wondering what type of material might be best for your home?

There are many types of roofing materials—some of which are brand new with a range of plusses and negatives.  You can re-roof with the same type of roofing material that you currently have or investigate alternatives.  Some materials are environmentally friendly and some are long lasting or low maintenance.  And who doesn’t love low maintenance?

Before making your choice, consider the life-cycle cost of your roofing material.  Some materials, though much more expensive, require less maintenance and have a longer life expectancy than others.  An asphalt composition roof might last just 20 years whereas a metal roof might last more than 50.  Consider both the current and potential value of your home, and its age when calculating whether a roofing material is actually “too expensive.”  It might just be more cost-effective in the long run.

The following table describes some of the roofing choices available.

Roof Type House Style Advantages Disadvantages

Composition (asphalt shingles)

Can be used on any house from contemporary to historic.  False thatched roof with the wrapped roof edge on 1920s Tudor style.

  • inexpensive
  • ranges from low-cost 3-tab shingle to architectural shingles with extra durability and style
  • many colors, types, and manufacturers
  • suitable for most residential applications
  • easy to repair
  • fire resistant
  • relatively short life-span (15–30 years)
  • scars easily when hot
  • subject to mildew and moss
  • environmentally unfriendly
Wood shingles or shakes

Bungalows, ranch, contemporary, cottage, historic

  • natural look weathering to a soft grey
  • offers some insulation value
  • blends in with the environment
  • easy to repair or replace
  • long lasting if maintained (30–50 years)
  • expensive
  • usually requires professional installation
  • high maintenance
  • tends to rot, split, mold, and mildew
  • poor fire rating unless pressure treated
Metal (steel, aluminum, tin, copper)

Bungalows, ranch, contemporary, cottage, historic (virtually all)

  • available in different looks including cedar shingles, slate, or standing seam
  • many colors
  • light weight
  • durable
  • long life span (at least 50 years)
  • low maintenance
  • can be installed over existing roofs
  • excellent performance in high wind, hail and rain
  • environmentally friendly
  • may be difficult to install
  • can be expensive
  • may need periodic painting
Tile (concrete, clay)

Mediterranean, Italian, French Eclectic, Spanish Eclectic, Beaux Arts, Mission, and Prairie. May also be attractive on some contemporary or ranch style homes.

  • non-combustible
  • many colors and styles
  • attractive
  • fireproof
  • easy to maintain
  • extremely durable when maintained
  • expensive
  • heavy
  • used primarily in new buildings because of weight and structural requirements
  • installation and repairs can be tricky
  • fragile; walking on roof may break tiles

Colonial, French, Italianate, Exotic Revivals, Chateauesque, Beaux Arts

  • beautiful, distinctive appearance
  • fireproof
  • long life span
  • low maintenance
  • very expensive
  • requires specialized installation
  • heavy
  • fragile
  • high maintenance
Concrete (fiber reinforced)

Virtually any style of home

  • many colors and styles including shakes, tile, and stone
  • relatively lightweight
  • fire and insect resistant; meet many of the more restrictive fire codes
  • low maintenance
  • extremely durable
  • resource efficient
  • can be expensive
  • uneven quality among products
Hot mopped asphalt with decorative stone

Flat roofed California-style modern

  • inexpensive
  • easy to repair
  • stinks
  • health risk to installers
  • fumes promote smog
Engineered rubber/plastic

Virtually any style of home

  • about 1/3 the weight of slate
  • long lasting (30–50 years)
  • cost effective
  • attractive
  • available in a large range of styles and colors with more appearing constantly
  • made of reclaimed materials
  • new to market

Flat to moderately sloped roofs.

  • Environmentally friendly; filters rainwater through a roof system of vegetation and soil
  • Low maintenance; can extend the life of the roof membrane substantially
  • Provides insulation to even out climate variations; in particular, keeps houses cooler in summer
  • Attractive
  • initially expensive
  • unconventional in US, though used more than 30 years in Europe

Think about your choices , then call your local roofing contractor to help you make the best decision for home and budget.

Single-Ply PVC Roofing Membranes

July 6, 2010

GAF EverGuard PVC thermoplastic single-ply membrane systems have been engineered to provide superior long-term performance and enhanced durability.  Strong, flexible, EverGuard PVC membrane is suitable for use in all types of single-ply systems: Mechanically Attached, Ballast Applied, Fully Adhered.

Compared to typical single-ply EPDM, PVC and TPO membranes, GAF EverGuard PVC roofing membrane provides the benefits of all three materials in a single membrane: low installed cost, heat welded seams, white reflective color and tear/puncture resistance.

A custom prefabricated, reinforced, thermoplastic single-ply roofing system that is ideal for any commercial, industrial, or residential (flat or low-sloped) application.  Industry-leading standard commercial warranty has no exclusions for ponding water or consequential damages.  White membrane is highly energy-efficient, reflecting up to 87 percent of the sun’s energy, reducing the energy needed to air-condition a building & saving building owners money.  Extremely durable & easily installed by authorized contractors without disruption to daily operations, the roofing system is also leak-proof, energy-efficient, chemical & fire resistant, resistant to high winds, and virtually maintenance-free.

Because of GAF-Elk’s stringent standards, only the top 3% of all roofing contractors have qualified as Master Elite contractors! Choosing a GAF-Elk Master Elite contractor is your assurance that you’ll be dealing with a quality, reputable, and dependable professional contractor — not some “fly-by-nighter.”

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.

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.

Is It Always Necessary To Tear Off Existing Shingles Before Reroofing?

April 20, 2010

Is it always necessary to tear off existing shingles before reroofing?  If they are torn off, who is responsible for the disposal of the old shingles?

There are two options available for re-roofing installations.  One would be to tear off the old roof before applying the new one (tear off).  The second would be to lay new shingles over the existing roof (lay over).  While the second choice is the less expensive of the two options, it is not necessarily always the best choice.

There are advantages to tearing off the old roof before installing a new one.  For example:

• If there are any defects in the roof deck, they will be revealed when the roof is torn off.

These defects should be repaired before applying the new roof.

• If condensation problems exist in the attic, they too will be revealed when the roof is torn off.

Properly designed attic ventilation can then be installed in order to help eliminate such problems.

• When the old roof is torn off, waterproofing shingle underlayment can be installed before applying the new roof.  This will help protect against leaks created by cyclical ice damage and wind-driven rain.

• Tearing off the old roof and starting with a clean deck before reroofing may result in a smoother finished roof system.

Although there is added cost to these advantages, each lessens the likelihood that the validity of the manufacturer’s shingle warranty will be impaired.  If the old roof is torn off, your contractor should be responsible for the cleanup and disposal of the old shingles, but make sure your contract states this clearly.

If you do plan to re-roof over existing shingles, first check if your local building codes limit the number of roof layers that can be applied to a residence in your area.  Your roofing contractor will know the pertinent code requirements.

Selecting A Roofing Product Part Part 3 What Does The UL Fire Resistance Rating For A Shingle Mean?

April 15, 2010

What does the UL fire resistance rating for a shingle mean?

The Underwriters Laboratories Inc. (UL) ratings signify that the shingles were manufactured to pass a certain set of standards to qualify as fire resistant.  Organic shingles carry a UL Class C fire resistance rating.  Fiber glass shingles carry a UL Class A fire resistance rating.  Either is appropriate for residential applications.   Some local building codes may have ordinances specifying a certain UL Class for your residential area.  Your roofing contractor or local building codes officer can tell you what the requirements are for your particular area.

A Look At Some Of The New Roofing Shingle Options For Your Minnesota Home

March 30, 2010

Roofing Shingle Options For Your Minnesota Home

The sky is the limit when it comes to types of roofing shingles, roof styles and materials for designing a distinctive roof for your home.  Traditional asphalt-shingled roofs continue to be the most popular in the United States, but many other new roof styles and types are gaining popularity.  Here are some general tips and factors to consider when deciding what roofing shingles and roof styles will be best for your home:

  • Consider the life-cycle cost of the roofing material you are thinking about: Some roofing shingle materials are very expensive but require less maintenance and have a longer life expectancy than others.  For example, asphalt roofs will generally last 20 years while more pricey roofs, like metal ones, will last about 50 years with low maintenance.
  • Consider the current and potential value of your home and think about how long you plan to stay in your home.
  • Consider your roof’s age when calculating whether certain roofing shingle materials would be too costly of an option.

Asphalt Shingles are currently the most common roofing shingles used in the United States; they come with the most options and choices.  These roofing shingles are relatively inexpensive when compared to other options, but they generally require the most maintenance.

Concrete Roof Tiles have some really fantastic advantages over other types of roofing shingles, such as long warranties and natural noise insulation.  The contemporary finished look of concrete roof tiles makes a trendy, polished statement.

Wood Shingles and Shake Roofing are becoming roofing shingles of the past.  With too many risks, including flammability, these roofs will soon be part of our history.

Eco-Shake Roofing is affordable and great for the environment, plus it lasts long and requires no maintenance.

Rubber Roofing is commonly installed on flat roofs, where water may sit.  Rubber roofs are known for their simple installation.

Metal Roofing is one of the strongest roofing materials available and often comes with a 50-year warranty.  Metal roof styles are vast, so you will have a great selection to choose from.

When it’s time to think about roofing your home, contact a local roofing contractor who can help educate you on the best roofing shingles and roof style choices in your area.