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What Is The Most Common Type of Commercial Roof?

view from above of a commercial flat roof covered in a white roof membrane

A Variety of Commercial Roofing Options

Commercial roofing is a specialized field that requires knowledge of many different types of roofing materials and systems. In today’s market, there are numerous commercial roofing systems available. One of the biggest challenges a business owner may face is choosing the right commercial roof for their business. If you are currently seeking commercial roof installation in Omaha, NE, it can be useful to get the help of a roofing expert to decide which option is best for you. However, there are some things to keep in mind that can make it easier to choose the right roofing system.

The Benefits of Flat Roofing Systems

The most common type of roof used in a commercial roof installation is the flat roof. A flat roof is easy to maintain and is less expensive to install than a sloped roof. However, in many cases, a flat roof is more susceptible to water damage and must be regularly inspected to identify possible issues.

One thing to keep in mind is that there are many different types of flat roofs available for commercial buildings. These different types of flat roof systems can be made from a variety of materials, such as asphalt, rubber, and metal. However, roofing membranes stand out as one of the more common types of flat roofs in today’s market. There are various types of roofing membranes used in commercial roof installation, each of them offering its own benefits.

  • EPDM Roofing: EPDM, or “ethylene propylene diene monomer,” is one of the most popular types of membrane roofing available. EPDM roofs are made from a synthetic rubber material that is highly resistant to both heat and cold. This makes them an ideal choice for businesses in locations with extreme weather conditions. In addition, EPDM roofs are also very easy to repair and can last for 20 years or more with proper care.
  • PVC Roofing: PVC, or “polyvinyl chloride,” is another popular type of membrane roofing. PVC roofs are made from a synthetic plastic material that is highly resistant to both heat and cold. Like EPDM roofs, PVC roofs are fairly easy to repair and with the proper maintenance, can last for about 20 years.
  • TPO Roofing: TPO, or “thermoplastic polyolefin,” is a newer type of roofing membrane that has quickly become one of the most popular choices in the commercial roofing market. TPO roofs are made from a synthetic material that is heat welded together to create a seam-free finish. This is something that also makes them a more energy-efficient choice.

Also important to remember about roofing membranes when considering a commercial roof installation is that they come in a variety of colors. This can be helpful when trying to match the roof to the rest of a building’s exterior, and it can even contribute to the energy efficiency of a flat roof. For example, a light-colored roof will reflect sunlight rather than absorb it, helping to keep a building cooler in the summer and lowering potential energy costs.

The Benefits of Metal Roofing Systems

Metal roofing is another popular choice in commercial roof installation. It is commonly used for buildings such as warehouses, office buildings, and retail stores. Metal roofs are known for their durability as well as their resistance to severe weather and even fire. They are also relatively low maintenance and can last for up to 50 years or even more with proper care. This is something that makes them a great investment for many business owners.

There are many different types of metal roofing available, each with its own set of benefits. For example, copper roofs are known for their beauty and longevity, while aluminum roofing is a more budget-friendly option. Steel roofing is also a popular choice, as it provides excellent durability and resistance to fire when compared to many other choices.

Choosing the Right Roof For Your Business

Now that you know more about some of the most common types of commercial roofs, you can begin to narrow down your choices and make a decision about which option is best for your business. There are many factors to take into account that can help you make a decision about which option is the right roof for your needs.

One thing to bear in mind is the climate in which your business is located. If you are located in an area with extreme weather conditions, you will want to make sure that you choose a roofing system that can withstand those conditions. For example, if you live in an area that experiences a lot of snowfall, you will want to make sure that your roof can support the weight of that snow. This is one of the factors that makes especially durable roofing important for business owners in this area.

Another thing to remember is the type of business that you have. If you have a business that produces a lot of noise, you will want to make sure that your roof can help to reduce that noise. This is something that can be especially important for businesses such as nightclubs or music venues. Some options you may want to consider are well-insulated types of roofing such as metal roofing or PVC roofing.

It is also important to take into account the aesthetic of your business when choosing a roofing system. This is something that can be especially important for businesses such as restaurants or retail stores. You will want to make sure that your roof compliments the rest of your building’s exterior. This can help to create a more cohesive look for your business and can even help to attract customers.

commercial flat roof covered in pebbles

Scheduling a Roof Installation

When you are ready to make a decision about which roofing system is best for your business, you will want to consult with a professional roofing contractor. They will be able to assess your needs and help you choose the right roof for your business. A roofer such as HOMETOWN ROOFING can also provide you with a free estimate for the cost of installation. This can help you to make an informed decision when seeking commercial roof installation in Omaha, NE.

Can A Metal Roof Withstand Hail?

close-up of rain falling on a metal roof

How Well Does Metal Roofing Hold Up?

Metal roofing is a popular choice for homes and businesses alike, in large part because it is durable as well as long-lasting. Of course, many people want to know just how well metal roofing will hold up when exposed to extreme weather conditions, such as falling hail. Bearing that in mind, how well will a metal roof hold up in a hailstorm? Will you find yourself seeking out roof storm damage repair?

The Dangers of Hailstorms

Hail is one of the most common causes of roof damage, and unfortunately, it can cause serious problems for any type of roofing. Metal roofs are no exception. While metal roofs are generally very tough and resistant to damage, hail can cause dents and other types of damage.

In short, a metal roof is not immune to hail damage, but that doesn’t mean it can’t withstand a hailstorm fairly well. In fact, with proper care and maintenance, your metal roof should be able to withstand most hailstorms with little to no damage. So keeping all of this in mind, it’s always important to remember that no roof is 100% hail-proof, and if you live in an area with particularly large or damaging hailstorms, it’s possible that your metal roof could sustain some damage. However, in most cases, a metal roof will hold up well against hail without the need for roof storm damage repair.

Which Metal Roof is Best?

There are a few different types of metal roofing on the market, so which one is best for you? If you live in an area with severe weather conditions, such as high winds or large hail, then a standing seam metal roof might be the best option. This type of roof is incredibly strong and resistant to damage, due in large part to the way it is constructed.

A standing seam metal roof is built with interlocking panels that are held together by concealed fasteners. This design, which is often known as a snap-lock system, gives the roof added strength and resistance to damage, which is why it’s such a good choice for areas with severe weather conditions. If you’re looking for a metal roof that can withstand hail, as well as various other factors, a standing seam metal roof is a good option to consider.

Another option is a stone-coated steel roof, which is also very strong and durable. This type of roofing is often used in areas with severe weather conditions, as it can withstand high winds and hail quite well. Some other options include aluminum and copper roofing, both of which are also fairly hail-resistant.

Identifying Hail Damage to a Metal Roof

It can be difficult to identify hail damage on a metal roof. One of the biggest problems with hail damage is that it’s often difficult to see. Hail damage doesn’t always leave behind obvious clues and, in some cases, the damage might not be visible at all.

This is why it can be important to have your metal roof inspected after a hailstorm, even if you don’t think there is any damage. A trained professional will be able to spot hail damage that you might not be able to see and identify whether that hail damage may lead to further problems. If you aren’t certain whether your roof needs inspection after a hailstorm, a good rule of thumb to remember is that hail generally will not be able to cause damage until it reaches about an inch in size.

What Problems Can Hail Damage Cause?

While hail damage might not always be visible, that doesn’t mean it can’t cause serious problems for your metal roof. One of the most common problems that hail damage can cause is rust. Rust can form on metal roofs when the metal is damaged, which may allow water and moisture to seep in and cause corrosion. Some other problems that can come up include:

  • Dents: Dents are another common type of hail damage. While they might not seem like a big deal, dents can actually cause problems such as leaks.
  • Fractures or cracks in the metal: While metal roofs are designed to be tough and resistant to damage, hail can cause cracks or fractures in the metal. These cracks can weaken the structure of your roof, make it more susceptible to further damage, and may even lead to leaks.
  • Damage to fasteners: In some cases, hail might damage the fasteners that are holding your metal roof together. This can cause the fasteners to become loose or even fall out, which may lead to further damage to your entire roofing system.

Any of these problems can lead to more serious issues, such as water leaks, so it’s important to have hail damage repaired as soon as possible.

How Long Do Metal Roofs Last?

Metal roofing is a popular choice for homes and businesses alike, due in large part to its durability and longevity. In fact, metal roofs often last twice as long as traditional asphalt roofs. So, how long can you expect your metal roof to last?

Most metal roofs will have a lifespan of at least 40 years, with very few needing roof storm damage repair within that time. Of course, the exact lifespan of your metal roof will depend on a number of factors, such as the type of roofing material used, the climate in which you live, and how well the roof is maintained. With good maintenance, it should be noted that a metal roof can potentially last for upwards of 70 years.

With all that being said, a metal roof is a wise investment that can save you money in the long run even if it may cost a little bit more upfront. Not only are metal roofs more durable than traditional asphalt roofs, but they also require far less maintenance. So, if you’re looking for a roof that will last for many years to come, a metal roof is a good option to consider.

rain flowing down a reddish metal roof

Getting Roof Storm Damage Repair

Even though a metal roof can still be damaged by hail, this damage is not likely to be severe. So long as a homeowner or business owner pays attention to the weather and the condition of their roof and gets roof storm damage repair when needed, their roof should be able to last for a long while. If you find yourself in need of roof storm damage repair in Omaha, NE, our team can help.

What Type of Roof is Most Energy Efficient?

home with a traditional asphalt shingle roof

Choosing an Energy-Efficient Roof

A roof is one of the most important parts of a home. Not only does it keep a home weatherproof, but it can also play a role in the energy efficiency of a property. This is because different types of roofs can offer different levels of insulation. If you are considering a new roof installation in Omaha, NE, the energy efficiency of the different types of roofing can assist you in determining which is best for your needs. Call 402-896-3639 and we can lend a hand in choosing the right type of roofing.

Is Asphalt Shingle Roofing Energy-Efficient?

When it comes to energy efficiency, there are three main types of roofs to consider. These are asphalt shingle roofs, flat roofs, and metal roofs. Asphalt shingle roofs are the most common type of roof in the United States. They are also one of the most affordable options. Asphalt shingles are made of a fiberglass mat that is coated with asphalt. They are then topped with ceramic granules. This combination provides a good level of insulation, which can help to keep a home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. This is something that reduces a home’s energy usage as well as its energy costs as an added benefit.

However, an asphalt shingle roof must be kept in good condition to maintain its energy efficiency. The asphalt of this type of roofing will break down over time, which can allow heat and cold to enter the home more easily. As a result, it’s important to inspect an asphalt shingle roof regularly and make repairs as needed. Meanwhile, as an asphalt shingle roof does reach the end of its lifespan, a new roof installation may be needed to maintain a roof’s energy efficiency.

Is Metal Roofing Energy-Efficient?

Metal roofs are growing in popularity because they offer a number of advantages, including energy efficiency. A metal roof can help to reflect heat away from a home. In fact, studies have shown that a metal roof can reflect up to 85% of the sun’s rays away from a building. This can do a lot to help keep a home cooler in the summer months, which in turn can lead to a major reduction in a home’s energy usage.

It should be noted that a metal roof can also help to keep a home warmer in the winter. This is because a metal roof along with the material installed beneath it can be a great insulator, which can help to keep the heat inside a home from escaping. Overall, metal roofing is a great choice in roof installation for those seeking an energy-efficient option.

What Color Roof is Most Energy-Efficient?

When it comes to roofing, many people may not pay much attention to the color of a roof in terms of energy efficiency. The truth is that the color of a roof can play a much larger role in its overall energy efficiency than most people realize. For example, lighter colors tend to reflect more sunlight than darker colors. This means that a lighter-colored roof can do a better job of keeping a home cooler in the summer months.

Meanwhile, if you are looking for a roof that will help to keep your home warmer in the winter, a darker-colored roof is generally a better choice. This is because dark colors tend to absorb more heat than light colors. As a result, a dark-colored roof can help to keep the heat inside your home from escaping.

There are some other things to consider when it comes to the color of your roof and energy efficiency. For example, if you live in an area with a lot of tree cover, a lighter-colored roof may be a better choice. This is because a lighter-colored roof will reflect away sunlight, which can help to prevent leaves and other debris from sticking to the roof and causing it to break down over time.

In the end, there is no one perfect color for a roof in terms of energy efficiency. The best color for your roof will depend on a number of factors, including whether you are looking to reduce energy usage within your home in the summer or the winter months.

Energy-Efficient Roofing for Businesses

While the energy efficiency of a home’s roof can be important, an increasing number of business owners are considering energy efficiency when it comes to roof installation. A wide variety of materials are used in commercial roofing. These materials range from standard choices such as shingles or metal roofing to options unique to commercial roofing such as EPDM, TPO, and PVC membrane roofing.

Each of these materials has its own advantages in terms of energy efficiency. For example, an EPDM roof can reflect up to 95% of the sun’s rays, making it an excellent choice for those looking to keep their business cool in the summer months. Meanwhile, PVC membrane roofing is completely seamless, which can help to prevent heat and energy loss.

No matter what type of commercial roofing you are considering, there is an energy-efficient option available and it can be a wise decision to opt for a more energy-efficient choice. Not only will this help to keep your business cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, but it can also lead to significant savings on your energy bill each month, which is something that any business owner can appreciate.

How Can You Make a Roof More Energy-Efficient?

Those who are interested in a new roof installation will want to consider several factors if they want to make an energy-efficient choice. However, there are still many different things to keep in mind to make the roof over your head more energy-efficient. This includes identifying damage to a roof to prevent heat from sneaking in or escaping a building. Also important is keeping a roof in the best condition possible to stop the heat before it can sneak in or escape.

close-up of a reddish metal roof

Scheduling Service

Are you seeking an energy-efficient roof installation in Omaha, NE or the surrounding area? You can get what you need when you come to us. Just reach out at 402-896-3639.

Is it a leak or is it condensation?

window covered in condensation

You wake up in the morning and you notice a wet spot on your ceiling. It wasn’t there before and you can’t recall if there was any rain or snow lately. Why would there be a wet spot on the ceiling? Is there ice that is slowly melting or is it something else going on?

What is condensation?

If you remember from elementary science classes, there are three forms of matter; gas, liquid, and solid. We see water in these three forms all the time: water in a glass is a liquid, ice is a solid, and water vapor exists in our air all the time as a gas. The only difference in the water in these states is how hot or cold it is. That’s why ice is cold and water bubbles when you boil it.

With all that in mind, condensation happens when warm, wet air meets a cold surface. The cold surface cools down the air around it, changing the water from a gas to a liquid, which is the water droplets we see.

Is it dangerous?

Condensation that isn’t rectified could cause frost in your attic. This frost will melt into your insulation and wood where mold and mildew can grow. If it goes all the way through the wood and drywall, you can even see stains on your walls and ceiling. If it continues, it could even cause warping of drywall and wood as well!

So is it a leak or condensation?

If you want to know if the water on your ceiling is condensation, try going down this list:

  • What room is it in? Condensation is very common in rooms where water is used the most, such as bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms.
  • What is the weather like? If you see water on your ceiling or windows, but it is not raining, it is likely it is condensation.
  • What is the water on? If the water seems to be coming through a vent or window, it is possibly condensation. Water will condense onto cool surfaces like metal and glass due to how little heat they hold.
  • What time of year is it? Condensation happens the most in winter when it is very cold and dry outside. It is possible in the summer as well, but we see it the most in winter.
  • Do you have a humidifier? Many companies sell whole-house humidifiers to help with dry air during the winter. They are adjustable and many homeowners forget to change the setting on these throughout the year.

How do you prevent condensation?

Once you’ve determined you have condensation, taking care of it isn’t too difficult. You just have to reduce the humidity in your home. You can do this by ensuring the vents in your kitchen and bathrooms are properly hooked up and turned on when water sources are in use. If you do not have vents, you can also crack open a window to allow wet air to get out. You could also buy a dehumidifier to pull water out of the air.

If you have a whole-house humidifier, it is suggested that you turn it down in the winter. Below is a chart of suggested settings based on the temperature outside:

If following these tips to try reducing the amount of humidity in your home doesn’t work, you should give us a call and we can help you find out if it is a leak instead! We can crawl into your attic or onto your roof to find the source of a stain or drip and help remedy the situation.

2022 Popular Roof Colors

home with a roof covered in question marks

When you get a new roof, there are a ton of decisions you have to make. You have to decide on a material, a brand, a style, and if you would like impact-resistant shingles. The most exciting choice you get to make is what color your roof is though! Let’s take a look at the most popular colors.

Most Popular Color: Weathered Wood

Weathered wood is by far the most popular color for roofs. In fact, it is what is put on almost every new construction. Most homeowner associations that have codes on what kind of roof you can have will also require the roof to be a weathered wood color. This specific color is popular for a reason – it matches any color house! It has a good resale value because future homeowners can repaint or reside the house without worrying if the roof will match. Every manufacturer has a version of weathered wood as well, which makes it easy to get everything you want in a shingle!

Other General Use Colors

Want to be different but not completely off the wall? Try a black roof! They look sharp on almost every home. Pair a black shingle with white trim for a look that stands out against the crowd. Every manufacturer has at least one black shingle, and some have a warm black and a cooler black. Several people here at Hometown Roofing have black roofs because we love how they look!

If you have a bolder color home, such as blue or bright red brick, you could also consider gray shingles. There are several shades, so you can make it lighter or darker as needed. There are very light gray shingles that could help with energy efficiency as well, which you can read up on in this post we did last year!

Special Use Colors

If you want to stand out and add a special look to your home, look no further than red, green, and blue. These basic colors can really make a home look special when used correctly. That’s because red roofs look amazing on white or cream homes, green brings out the color of red brick, and blue pops on white or gray homes. Many times these shingles will also be cut into different shapes as well.

They are used very rarely though. Because these colors are not the normal blacks, grays, and browns, some people think they could lower your home value. Some manufacturers aren’t even making them at the moment due to the supply shortages we have been having. Some companies will make you sign off on your decision to use them as well!

Hanging Christmas Lights the Right Way

man hanging holiday lights

‘Tis the season for Christmas decorations, and we have seen our fair share of DIY light hanging projects that have permanently damaged shingles. But is there a safer and easier way to hang them? We talked to Outdoor Dreamscaping about how they hang up lights and wanted to share what they told us with you!

Materials To Hang The Lights

The list of materials to hang up your Christmas lights is surprisingly short. You will only need your lights of choice, a ladder, and light hanging clips.

The trickiest thing to find on this list is the clips. They aren’t something you can find at Home Depot or Target. You will have to search for a store that specializes in lights. Outdoor Dreamscaping gets their clips from Brite Ideas, an outlet chain that will also ship around the country. They come in many varieties, but the ones we used were All-in-One Clips that could be clipped onto gutters or shingles.

Notice that this list doesn’t mention nails, staples, or a hammer. Anything that would penetrate your shingles will cause permanent damage and could void your warranties! We highly suggest you do NOT use any of these items.

How To Hang The Lights

In addition to being safer for your shingles, the clips are incredibly easy to use. Keep in mind that these instructions work for asphalt shingles, and may not on other materials!

Using the light clips is way easier than you would think. If you are putting them on the edge of your gutters, you just clip them on and that’s it! The pressure and friction from the clip will hold your lights in place. If you are putting it up the side of your shingles, it’s a tad more tricky. 

Your shingles are held down with a combination of adhesive and nails. You need to find the gaps between the adhesive and nails and push the bottom of the clip under the shingle. The top of the clip will still lay on top of the roof so your lights can be attached. It holds the same way they would with gutters, using friction and pressure to keep the lights from moving.

Things to Avoid

We hear many stories of nightmare DIY hanging jobs. From stapling shingles to putting holes in gutters, we’ve heard it all! Here are some things to avoid and why.

  • Stapling the lights to your roof. We have mentioned this a few times because it seems to be the most common DIY technique. This is really rough on shingles because they aren’t meant to be stapled anywhere other than the strip designed for installation. Putting holes through any other part of the shingle could weaken the shingle, and could void your manufacturer’s warranty!
  • Nailing lights to the roof. This is just like stapling light but even worse! This will leave large holes in not only the shingle but all of the water protection to the home as well. If done really carelessly, it could even go through the decking and soffit of the home!
  • Gluing lights to roof and gutters.  We haven’t seen this very often, but it does happen. This could pull the granules off of your shingles, which accelerates the aging process of the shingles, leading to early failure. Glues could even interact with materials in the shingles and cause bigger issues!

Got any questions? Just give us a call!

What Is An Ice Dam and How Do You Prevent Them?

ice dam and icicles along a roof

To homeowners in snowy, cold-winter climates, ice dams are a familiar sight. To the uninitiated, ice dams can be somewhat mysterious. An ice dam is a mass of ice that gathers along the lower edge of a roofline where it overhangs the edge of the home.

Ice dams are more than just an interesting phenomenon. Severe ice dams can weigh many hundreds of pounds. This can compromise the structure of the roof eaves. Ice dams can also cause meltwater to back up under the shingles, where it can flow down and ruin ceiling and wall surfaces. This can cause serious damage to your roof, gutters, paint, insulation, interior drywall, and other surfaces.

So why would one house be burdened with huge blocks of ice thickly covering the roof eaves, while adjacent homes have only a bright cap of snow over the shingles with no signs of ice at all? The answer can usually be found in the attic. 

Ice dams begin when the snow melts on a warmer part of a roof. Then the water flows down to the colder eave overhang, where it refreezes. There, the ice will accumulate. It forms a blockage that prevents additional snowmelt from flowing off the roof. The ice now begins to back up under the roof shingles, where it melts again.

This will soak the roof sheathing and begin leaking into the attic. Then it soaks the insulation, rendering it much less effective. It now may leak through the ceiling drywall below and into your living space. Large ice dams can also be very heavy and can damage gutters. They even present a safety hazard to people below.

Preventing Ice Dams

Preventing ice dams is really easy. If the air in the attic or against the bottom of the roof deck remains cold, it can never melt the snow lying on top of the roof, eliminating the water necessary for ice dams. Preventing ice dams can be done through a combination of:

  • Ventilation under the roof deck, which keeps colder outside air circulating through the attic and prevents it from warming above the freezing point so it can melt snow on the roof.
  • Insulation in the ceiling below the attic, which will prevent warm air from rising up into the attic space to melt snow on the roof.
  • Blocking any heat sources that may be contributing to high temperatures in the attic.

Houses with good attic ventilation generally do not experience ice dams. By circulating cool outside air in the attic space, the roof surface remains below freezing and cannot melt the snow on the roof. Although it’s contrary to what many people believe, a cold attic actually means no ice dams!

  • Ridge Vents: Where the spaces between rafters are insulated, you can create a continuous airflow from the soffit to the peak of the roof. A soffit-and-ridge vent system usually requires insulation baffles installed on the lower side of the roof, above the exterior walls. The baffles hold back the insulation by 1 to 2 inches, creating a channel for air to flow freely past the insulation. Without them, thick insulation can block the air coming in through the soffit vents, eliminating airflow. These insulation baffles must be combined with a ridge vent that allows air to flow up through the baffles on a continuous path to outdoor air.
  • Other Ventilation: If a soffit-and-ridge system is not feasible or desirable, ventilation can be provided with soffit or gable vents for intake air and several conventional roof vents for exhaust air. As a general guideline, ventilation systems should provide 1 square foot of net free ventilation per 150 square feet of attic floor space. Net-free ventilation is the total area of openings in a vent, minus all screening or other obstructions.

Adequate ventilation of the rafter spaces against the roof deck, or of the attic itself, will keep the roof deck cool enough that it won’t melt the snow on the roof. This prevents roof dams before they can get started.

Preventing Ice Dams by Insulating

The next best method to lower temperatures against the roof deck is by insulating the ceiling in living spaces below the attic or against the inside surface of the roof. If you have an open attic, this means insulating the floor of the attic. If you have a finished second story in which a finished ceiling is directly against the roof, this means insulating the rafter spaces (in combination with ventilation baffles). These methods of insulating will prevent heat from rising up to the roof deck and heating it to a point where it can melt snow on the roof.

Sealing air channels from the living space below the attic is just as important as the insulation itself. Gaps around plumbing pipes and around chimneys can be a significant source of heat flow into the attic from the spaces below. Seal these gaps as part of the overall insulation strategy.

The benefit of a comprehensive insulation effort is that it not only helps prevent ice dams, but it also reduces energy costs. But be aware that insulation alone rarely is enough to prevent all ice dams. It needs to be done in conjunction with improved ventilation.

Preventing Ice Dams by Eliminating Attic Heat Sources

It’s also possible that you have heat sources in your attic that you’re not aware of. Most commonly this occurs when can lights extend up into the floor of the attic. These can radiate a surprising amount of heat into the attic—enough to heat up the air well above the freezing point, especially where ventilation is poor. Replacing these old light fixtures with modern recessed lights that can be fully insulated will help reduce the amount of heat radiated into your attic.

Other possible sources of heat include uninsulated HVAC ductwork, vents from clothes dryers, or improperly vented bathroom or kitchen exhaust fans. All of these heat sources can be wrapped in fiberglass insulation to reduce the thermal transfer of heat into the attic space.

Preventing Ice Dams With Electric Heat Cable

Improving ventilation and reducing heat sources against the inside roof surface are the best ways to prevent ice dams. However, if these methods aren’t practical, then it is possible to install electric heat cable along the edge of the roofline and gutters.

When looped in a zig-zag pattern along the edge of the roof, heat cable will prevent the melting water from cooling enough to freeze when it reaches the eaves. Instead of freezing, the meltwater flows harmlessly to the ground.

Heat cable is rather unattractive on a roof, but it does serve to prevent ice dams when installed properly. But be aware that mixing water and electricity always comes with risks. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s directions precisely, and maintain the heat cable properly to ensure that it remains safe.

Battling Ice Dams

Preventive efforts are best conducted during the spring, summer, or fall, but there are also several options for battling them during the cold months:

  • Keep gutters clean. Get rid of all those fall leaves before the snow comes. Make sure your downspouts are functioning properly. Melted snow has nowhere to go if the gutters are clogged.
  • Use a roof rake after heavy snowfalls: Ice dams appear quickly after a heavy snow because of the insulating properties of snow. Using a long-handled roof rake to remove the snow from at least at lower 4 feet of roof edge can help prevent ice dams from forming. This is the only safe way to remove snow from a roof; never get onto a roof to remove snow in the winter. Make sure to use light pressure to avoid scraping the shingles too hard.
  • Use calcium chloride or an ice-melt product: If you have an ice dam forming, you can apply calcium chloride or a similar product to the ice. (Forget any advice you may have heard about putting salt in pantyhose; it does not work very well, takes a lot more salt, and results in the pantyhose ripping apart).
  • Chip off the ice: Although climbing onto the roof is never advised, you may be able to chip away some of the ice by hand if you can reach the eaves with an extension ladder. It is usually not necessary to remove the entire ice dam! Opening up a channel may be enough to allow additional meltwater to flow off the roof. You will have to do this several times though. The ice will quickly build up again and block the channel you have cut. A chisel, ice pick, or small hatchet are the best tools for this work but don’t attempt it if the ice dam is too high to reach safely.
  • Hire a professional: When ice dam buildup is too much for you to handle, the solution is to call in some help. Professionals are insured and will remove your ice dam using special equipment such as a high-temperature/low-pressure steamer to melt the ice and snow from your roof. This service may cost a few hundred dollars. Do not hire a contractor that uses a high-pressure power washer with a steam box, which can damage shingles. If you’re looking for a contractor you can rely on, give the team at Hometown a call.

Do You Need 5″ Gutters or 6″ Gutters?

worker installing gutters on home

Gutters have to catch all the water draining off of your roof and divert it away from your home. Sometimes your gutters aren’t able to keep up with the water being shed from the roof. This often leaves homeowners wondering if upgrading to a bigger gutter is the answer to their watery issues. The answer depends on a few factors; How much water in going into the gutter, how fast the water is going into the gutter, and how much installation would cost.

What Sizes Do Gutters Come In?

Gutters come in several sizes. The current standard for gutter sizes in our area is 5″. Older homes may be equipped with 4″ or even 3″ gutters, however. There are larger sizes ranging from 6″ to even 8″ as well. In this article we will focus on 5″ and 6″. They are the most common in our area. We should also touch on how gutters are measured. They are measured by how wide the top of the gutter is. The gutters are then made to be as comparatively deep as the other sizes. For example, a 5″ gutter would be 3.5″ deep while a 6″ gutter would be 4.5″ deep.

Factors in Choosing a Size for Your Gutters

How much water coming off the roof is easy to determine. It is based on how big the roof is and how much rain we are receiving. Obviously, areas that get torrential downpours will want to have a bigger gutter. That is why 5″ gutters are popular and standard in our area – we get lots of rain compared to other areas where 3″ or 4″ is common.

How fast it is moving is based on the slope (or pitch) or the roof and what the roof is made of. Materials that get really slippery when wet, such as wood, slate, and composite roofs like CeDur, will cause water to move really quickly off of a roof. By having a wider gutter, you lessen the risk of water shooting off the edge of the roof and not getting in the gutters at all. If you have a steep roof, the fast could be travelling so fast, the gutters simply act as a ramp to launch the water out as well! A larger gutter will slow the water down more.

The final factor is the cost. 6″ gutters will cost you 33% more on average per linear foot for the gutter alone! This adds up quickly, especially on larger homes where these gutters could be necessary.

A Note on Gutter Systems

Downspouts are just as important as gutters when it comes to helping water leave the roof. If the downspout is too thin, the water could back up and cause the gutters to overflow. They can also clog with debris from trees, making drainage even more difficult. Hometown Roofing now only uses 3×4″ downspouts on all homes, regardless of if a home is equipped with 5″ or 6″ gutters. We believe this upgrade will help every gutter system work more efficiently.

How your system drains is just as important as the size. For example, if you have an entire house trying to drain to a single downspout, even the largest gutters could struggle to keep water in during a storm. It’s very important that whenever you make a change to your roof that you have your gutter system looked at to make sure it will still work efficiently.

The Final Verdict

Since so many factors go into whether you may need larger gutters, it is always a good idea to have a professional evaluate your current gutter solution. Sometimes changing where a downspout is or even just the slant of one area can make a huge difference. Check out our gutter page to see how we can help you, and give us a call for more info.

What is an Energy-Efficient Roof?

white house with energy-efficient roof

A non-reflective rooftop is one of the hottest places out there during the heat of summer. That heat penetrates roofs and warms up attics and top floors, even with good insulation. This forces air conditioners to work overtime just to keep up. The key to avoiding this expensive problem is to replace or treat those roofs with reflective, cool roofing materials.

Replacing an existing roof is often costly, but a new cool roof may pay for itself over time. This is especially true if your current roof is your home’s biggest energy efficiency weak spot. Don’t worry if you’re not financially prepared for such a big job! You may be able to achieve similar results by applying energy-efficient roof coatings at a fraction of the cost.

ENERGY STAR Roofing

Homeowners have a helping hand in choosing energy-efficient roofing materials thanks to the federal ENERGY STAR program. The same ENERGY STAR labels you see on the most efficient appliances also apply to shingles, roofing panels, energy-efficient roof coatings, and other related materials.

The roofing materials that have earned the ENERGY STAR label have a high degree of solar reflectance. This means that they reflect more of the sun’s heat than other materials. These materials can lower the surface temperature of a roof by as much as 50 F! That can reduce peak demand on air conditioners by up to 15 percent.

Roof Color and Energy Efficiency

You might assume that a lighter-colored roof is always better than a darker roof. However, the reality isn’t quite as straightforward. While lighter colors are inherently more heat reflective, roofing materials have a much larger impact on roofing energy efficiency. A darker ENERGY STAR-rated roof will usually outperform a lighter roof that isn’t designed with efficiency in mind.

You also need to think about your climate. Lighter roofs can be a clear choice in the warmest climates. Homes in cooler climates are often better suited by a darker roof that can absorb a little free heat from the sun during winter.

No matter what type of roofing material you ultimately choose, you’re likely to find a variety of colors within that range. It’s usually best to choose your material first and your color later.

What Roofing Material is Most Energy Efficient?

Asphalt shingles are the most commonly used roofing material due to their low cost and ease of installation. Unfortunately, asphalt shingles are great at absorbing heat and poor at reflecting it, even when they’re lighter in color.

Many of the energy-saving roofing systems that qualify for the ENERGY STAR label are made from metal. This is because it’s highly reflective, even though metal gets very hot in the sun. Most of that heat is redirected away from the home below. Metal roofs can be designed as a series of panels or as more traditional-looking shingles. They’re also relatively easy to install.

Another good choice for energy-efficient roofing is a tile roof. Tiles can be made from slate, clay, or concrete, the latter of which is exceptionally durable. Many tile roofing materials are pre-treated to maximize heat reflectivity. These types of roofs are also easy to treat with reflective coatings after they’ve been installed.

What About Non-Shingle Options?

Coatings can be applied to a range of roofing materials. However, they work least well with asphalt roofs. Most coatings also change the color or physical appearance of the roof, and the most reflective coatings may not be a good aesthetic match for your home’s exterior colors. There are also pigmented coatings though! They may be less effective than their white counterparts, but they still add a reflectivity boost to any roof.

Finally, you could always consider a green roof if you have a flat roof. Not a roof that is painted green, but rather a rooftop garden. Designing and installing one of these properly is often a major undertaking and expense. However, it’s not only energy-efficient, but it also creates a whimsical environment in a previously unused space. It can even be used to feed your family!

Insulate for Added Energy Efficiency

An energy-efficient roof makes a huge difference, but it can’t do all the work. If the insulation in your attic is not up to snuff, you’re still likely to have a problem. Installing attic fans and rafters can also encourage air circulation in a way that will bring down temperatures beneath your roof. You should think of upgrading your attic if you’re considering energy efficiency upgrades for your roof.

Don’t let a dark asphalt roof absorb heat into your home summer after summer. Start thinking about your new roof today, and choose energy-efficient roofing materials to help it pay for itself. We can help you out. Just give us a call.

What is the Best Gutter Cover?

One of the less glamorous parts of owning a home is that you will have to clean out your gutters to keep them working as intended. It only gets worse if you have trees that lose leaves or drop seed pods! However, we can make the process easier with a gutter cover. There are many types to choose from, with different strengths and weaknesses. Let’s dive in:

gutter helmet style covers

1. Gutter Helmet

Gutter helmet, or reverse curve or surface tension gutter guards, are designed to move rainwater down. They also cause leaves and other debris to drop down to the ground rather than collect in your gutters. Unfortunately, most of these guards lift up roof shingles, which could void your roof warranty. They don’t work as effectively as they should because clogs can form when debris builds up in the opening. You might also have a pest problem if bees or wasps get through the opening and build nests in your gutters.

gutters with bottle brush guards

2. Bottle Brush Guards

Inexpensive “bottle brush” guards such as GutterBrush are made of heavy-duty bristles. When inserted inside the gutter, the bristles are supposed to prevent leaves and debris from accumulating. In reality, many users have found that leaves simply build up behind the projecting bristles or become stuck on the bristles themselves, defeating the purpose of installing gutter guards in the first place.

gutters with foam gutter guards

3. Foam Gutter Guards

Made from porous polyurethane, this guard inserts directly into the gutter and a common brand is GutterStuff. While the foam allows water to flow slowly through the gutter, users report the foam begins to deteriorate and become brittle after only two years of use. The foam also allows shingle granules to pass through and collect at the bottom of the gutter. In fact, we have a video up on our Facebook page showing why we don’t like foam gutter guards!

gutters with perforated gutter guards

4. Perforated Gutter Guards

Perforated metal guards fit under shingles and cover the gutter. This type of cover is effective at keeping out leaves, but not needles, pods, and seeds. As small debris becomes stuck in the perforations and covers the trough created by the gutter guard, water is increasingly likely to overflow because it can’t get through to the gutter below. We use a brand called GutterRx in this style.

micro mesh gutter guards

5. Micro Mesh Gutter Guards

Super-fine mesh screens were designed to eliminate the problems with perforated metal covers. Micro mesh gutter guards have tiny holes that are barely visible to the naked eye. These guards, which are typically made of stainless steel, allow water through while keeping debris out. Consumer Reports named these as the best type of gutter protection and they offer a permanent solution to clogged gutters. Micro mesh gutter guards are an ideal option if you want a maintenance-free system to protect your gutters.

If you’ve got any questions, just give us a call.