Thursday, September 19, 2013

Metal Roofing Prices to Install a Metal Roof


In this guide, will will cover the history of residential metal roofing, environmental considerations and compare metal roofing vs. shingles, with the side by side comparisons for steel shingle roofs, aluminum standing-seam roofing, zinc, and copper roofs.

Historical Background

Believe it or not, there was a time when residential metal roofing was pretty much unheard of in the United States. Then came along the metal roof of Monticello, which was commissioned by our third president, Thomas Jefferson who was inspired during his stay in Paris where many roofs were covered with zinc, which is not only beautiful, but also long lasting building material. Thus, inspired by the idea of a long lasting and durable roof made of metal, Thomas Jefferson further developed Monticello roof design, and that was how metal roofing became a new statement of high-end, residential architecture. Although, several other people followed the suit, metal roofing didn't really take off in America (until recently) the way it did Europe.

Monticello Metal Roof

Of course, there were many residential hand crafted tin roof systems installed in the 19th century. Some of them are still standing today. The problem with tin roofing is that it either requires special coating, or needs to be repainted every now and then to prevent rusting. In Europe, where primary metal roofing material was zinc it was not a problem because zinc roofs can last well over 100 years with no maintenance required. The long and short of it is that with the exception of corrugated metal roofs used in of agricultural and industrial buildings, residential metal roofing never really took off in America until the end of 20th century, when it became highly regarded for its energy efficiency, longevity, durability, green building compatibility and environmental considerations.

Zinc Roofs in France

Nowadays, metal roofing is by far the fastest growing residential roofing product in America. Metal roofing has gained a lot of awareness and credibility due to its superb reliability, great looks, energy savings, and architectural appeal.

Metal roofing vs. Asphalt shingles

Although, asphalt shingle roofs remain the dominant roofing product in America, metal roofing has been steadily gaining market share becoming popular with the homeowners who want an energy efficient, environmentally friendly or green, and long lasting roofing system. From the environmental perspective, metal roofing is a far superior material because it's made of metal, which makes it fully recyclable. Asphalt shingles, on the other hand, are a petroleum based product that cannot be effectively recycled, nor can they last long enough to justify its detrimental affects on the environment. Our landfills are filled with asphalt shingles, but the situation is starting to improve slowly as metal roofing is becoming more prominent.

Metal roofing Materials and Systems

There are two metal roofing systems options that homeowners can choose; standing seam metal roofing, and metal shingles roofs. With standing-seam homeowners can attain the modern look and style for their home. Although standing-seam metal roofs look modern, they have been used in Europe for well over a century. Another option is metal shingles roofing, which offers a traditional look that where accustomed to. If this traditional in a sense that metal shingles resemble the look asphalt shingles, which may work well for the historical homes, and for anybody who wants more with "traditional" look for their home.

Cedar Shakes and Metal Tiles, Yes they are real, and they are made from metal!

There's also an option of metal shakes, which can work great for somebody who wants to upgrade their roof to a style that resembles traditional cedar shake roofing. The difference of course, is that with metal shakes there is no problem associated with rotting, cracking, chipping and splitting associated with cedar shakes.

For someone who wants to emulate the look of Spanish tiles, there are stone coated steel metal roofing tiles that weigh a fraction of the weight of clay tiles.

Metal roofing prices

The least expensive metal roofing system is comprised of metal shingles that form a four way inter-locking design and can last well over 50 years providing reliable protection and energy savings. Metal shingles roofs system is the least expensive because it's the easiest system to install.

An average metal shingles roof may range in price from $10,000 to $20,000 for a steel shingle metal roof. The price for the aluminum shingles roof would be slightly higher. Copper shingles roof may range in price anywhere from $15,000 to $35,000.

A similar roof would cost $12,000 to $25,000 for a standing-seam metal roof. It would cost $25,000 to $50,000 for a copper standing-seam roof. The pricing for a zinc standing-seam roof would be similar to the cost of installing a copper roof.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Safety and Security Benefits of Sash Windows vs. Traditional Windows

Sash windows have been constructed for several hundred of years. The oldest version of this style of windows had weights, cords, and pulleys to operate how the windows were opened and closed. Many Victorian and Georgian estates increased the popularity of sash windows from as early as the 1500's through the 1850's when plate glass become readily available for sash windows. The popularity of sash windows declined after the 18th and 19th century. However, the availability of more stable construction and increased safety measures has caused the market for sash windows to grow exponentially.

Traditional windows offer a simple slide feature to open and close windows. At any moment traditional windows can drop unexpectedly and cause injuries to anyone including children. There are limit stops that can be added to double glazed sash windows. Limit stops are placed on widows to create a boundary for how far the window can be opened. This is an important safety feature to consider for children. Second story or higher bedrooms can utilize this facet to prevent any sort of accident such as a small child falling out of a window. Furthermore, limit stops can provide ventilation without putting any occupants at risk from a wide open window. This is important compared to a traditional window that often needs to be opened much more for circulation that allows extreme weather conditions to enter the home.

Traditional windows can be wedged open or slide easily, causing a breach in security. Sash windows are typically installed with an added safety measure known as cam catches. This is a mechanism that has been used throughout years of development. The catches were easily opened in the past by using a small, slim knife. The catch has been technically improved by becoming a claw cam that has a key locking feature. This characteristic can be used by either left or right handed individuals. Catches can be placed on opposite sides of the window structures to prevent sliding in either direction. Cam catches now have nylon support to prevent wear and tear of metal on metal contact. The inclusion of cam catches is an obvious choice when considering safety during installation.

Another concern plaguing the sash window industry was the tendency for the windows slamming shut accidentally. This was an obvious safety concern that resulted in the production of safety stays. The stays limit the sash from leaning inwards more than 45 degrees. This feature maintains the safety of any person or item that could be damaged by the unexpected closing of the window. The listed safety mechanisms can all be combined and installed for greater safety compared to any other modern window.

Some additional safety features automatically come with the strength in design of sash windows. Crime in the home is reduced because of the strength of sash windows. Designs made of timber are especially difficult for outsiders to break the panes of sash windows. Traditional windows are often single pane and much easier to break through. The choice of sash windows is obvious if safety is the primary concern to be addressed. The market for sash windows continues to grow exponentially because of the modern improvements in design, safety and energy efficiency compared to many traditional windows on the market today.

This post is a courtesy of Bygone Sash Windows, a leading provider of sash windows across the UK. The company offers sash windows in uPVC, engineered softwood, and hardwood.

Friday, October 5, 2012

How to Pick the Right Metal Roofing Color

So, you have decided to give metal roofing a chance in a big way by joining the ranks of many proud homeowners who have successfully installed metal roofing on their homes.

First of all, let me congratulate you for considering this Eco-friendly, and energy efficient roofing product that is built to last. Now, as far as picking the right metal roofing color for your home, I would recommend that you take a look at these color selection considerations:
  • Green - if you are looking for a more conservative, yet fun color for your new metal roof, then a Green Color Metal Roofing system may be a fun and appropriate choice for you. Green is an especially attractive color for people who like a sense of peace, harmony, and want to show that their roof is an Eco-friendly and energy efficient choice that is good for the environment. Below are some examples of Green-Colored Standing Seam Metal Roofs:

The photograph above depicts a standing seam metal roof we have installed in Plymouth, MA. It is a beautiful example of a standing seam metal roof paired with a Cedar Shake-sided house over by the lake, and surrounded by some very beautiful, tall trees in this wonderful gateway where this proud homeowner will be taking his family in the summer. - This roof is a perfect example of how Green color integrates beautifully with the colors of nature. - Notice how the blueish color of the lake and the sky in the background. Here is a page offering more information about standing seam metal roofing system:

  • Various Combinations and Shades of Red Color - Who said that metal roofing is boring could not be further from the truth. With metal roofing, a great plethora of vibrant and playful colors is at your disposal! Depending on the metal roofing system you consider installing, red colors may range/vary greatly in their degree of boldness and redness, which includes the color shades on the bright side of the spectrum such as bright Red to more subtle, darker colors such as sequoia Red. Take a look at the example of a Sequoia Red color on a metal roof depicted in the photograph of my house below:

The photograph of the roof above was taken by myself, after it was installed on my own house. - This is a steel shingles metal roofing system, which you can get from New England Metal Roof -

  • Silver - Fun, respectable, yet subtle. Silver, light-gray, and other metallic colors speak to the very essence of metal. - This may be a great color choice for anybody who is not to shy to tell the world that they have a metal roof protecting their home. See an example of a Silver-colored standing seam metal roof below:

The photograph above provides a beautiful example of what a silver color standing seam metal roof with the Energy-star rated paint finish looks like. Notice how the sun reflects of the roof of the house surrounded by trees. - Lighter colors such as silver are an ideal choice for homeowners wanting the natural look of metal that also reflects solar radiant heat, which adds up to energy savings for the savvy homeowner.

  • Darker Colors - Dark Gray, Brown, Dark Blue, and Black Colored metal roofs are also fun to look at! Take a look at the example of a dark blue-colored steel shingles metal roof with a pattern of natural slate below:

As you can see in the picture above, this darker-colored metal roof with a pattern of natural Vermont Blue slate is an exciting and respectable roof to look at. In fact, it resembles the look of slate so closely that it is almost astonishing! I cannot believe this is not slate! Yet, unlike the natural stone slate roof, this roof is very light-weight, which means that it does not require the reinforcement of your existing roof structure to support the weight that comes with the real slate roof, never mind the expense of it, which would be easily double the cost of a metal roof. - See here for more information: 

What else is good about darker metal roofing colors? Style, Durability, and Longevity of a metal roof! Of course, you have to make certain that you are getting the Energy-star rated metal roof. - Look for the energy star label, as well as for the Cool Roof rating council label that assigns ratings to Energy-star qualified metal roofs.

Do you have a metal roof installed on your home? Are you happy with it? Or, are you considering a metal roof for your home? Share your experience, we would like to hear your story!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Zero Energy Homes & Buildings

There has been an ongoing shift in the past decade towards greener and cleaner methods of doing pretty much everything in our daily lives. Building and construction are no exception to this trend, and in fact this sector of the economy is one place where an increased emphasis on green technology can be felt the most, and over time do the most good for the environment.

The latest push in green engineering is the so-called zero-energy building. This means that the overall on-site production of energy is equal to the building’s consumption of energy, meaning that it consumes zero outside energy from potentially hazardous sources such as coal, or nuclear power. Of course the engineering and building challenges to attain such a thing can be staggering, but the progress made in this area since the end of the century has been rather amazing.

First, you should know that zero energy at the moment is really only an option for new construction, as the technology involved is only cost effective when it is a planned addition from the very start of the design process, although it is technically possible to outfit older existing building to bring them up to code with zero-energy specifications, it is almost always cost prohibitive.

Here are a few of the innovations that building designers have been putting into place to make their buildings zero energy:

Reliance on Solar Power

This is by far one of the most important aspects of zero energy building. Because the sun provides an inexhaustible supply of heat and energy, it is the best environmental resource available for many of the functions of a building that used to rely on outside sources of energy.

There are two types of solar power used in zero energy buildings. The first is active solar power, which simply put is the use of photovoltaic cells arranged in an array to capture radiation from the sun and turn it into usable energy. In fact there are hardly any zero energy buildings that don’t have a formidable solar power generation capability, which obviously has to be scaled in accordance with the size of the structure.

The second type of solar power is passive, which means that the building is designed in such a way as to allow control of the internal temperature by using the heating properties of the sun itself. This can drastically reduce the overall energy consumption of a home, or an office building, and will go a long way in combination with active solar energy to reducing the building’s reliance on outside sources of energy.

The final thing that makes solar energy so critical to designing and building such a structure, is the fact that most governments in the country, local, state and federal offer significant tax incentives to those who incorporate some kind of solar energy into their plans. Not to mention the fact that in many cases the purchase price of the solar panels themselves are highly subsidized.

Using Energy versus Conserving Energy

One aspect of zero energy building that is the subject of much debate is whether it is preferable to create more energy through alternative means without drastically changing consumption, or whether it is better to drastically reduce consumption, and then fill in the remaining energy needs with alternative sources.

There is really no right answer to this question, as either way the building is still going to be using zero energy produced through environmentally harmful means; however it’s still interesting to look at the arguments on both side of the debate.

The only issue that arises from a drastic decrease in energy usage is that for many businesses, particularly those that have to maintain and service energy intensive equipment for their day to day operations, there is no way they can reduce that usage by more than a token amount, and still operate at their current levels.

However, for a homeowner, reducing overall consumption is likely to be a better option, seeing as how it will end up saving more money in the long term,. further, lifestyle changes that are required are generally not a huge imposition. In fact, simple things such as using lower wattage light bulbs, and remembering to turn off appliances and other devices when they are not in use can go a very long way in bringing your home in line with these zero energy principles.

Monday, April 2, 2012

How to Get a Free Solar Power System for your Home

Guide for Homeowners: How to use Solar Panels and switch out of the grid without incurring high installation costs.

 Are you a homeowner interested in switching to solar energy to power your home, but don't want to take the plunge, thinking the solar system will be too costly, and a hassle to maintain? In reality, you can enjoy all the benefits of solar energy, such as paying less for your electric bills and helping the environment, without paying for the actual installation, metering, maintenance and repairs of the solar system. A number of clean energy service companies around the US, such as SolarCity, now provide a full range of solar energy residential solutions for homeowners, making the switch easy, convenient and without any up-front cost

How does solar power work?

There are 4 basic parts to a solar system:

1. Solar panels. These are made up of of photovoltaic (PV) cells, which convert sunlight into direct current (DC) power. They are installed on the roof, so that they can catch sunlight all day long, until the sun goes down.

2. Inverter. Your home cannot use this DC power directly, so from the solar panels this DC current gets sent to an inverter. This inverter converts it into alternating current (AC) power, which is the standard electrical current used to power homes.

3. Electrical Panel. From the inverter, the AC power travels to to the electrical panel, also known as a breaker box. At this point, this power can be used in your home.

4. Utility Meter. A solar system comes equipped with a special utility meter that constantly measures the amount of electricity that is being produced. Once your home electrical needs have been met, the meter turns backward, and starts counting the excess kilowatts of solar energy that you will sell back to the grid, thereby lowering your monthly utility bill.

Where does the house get power when there is no sun?

When it is cloudy, the solar panels will generate a little less energy than on a bright sunny day. They will not generate any electricity during the night. However, there is no reason for you to worry about not having power, since your solar system is actually interconnected to your local utility grid. This means that you will automatically draw power from the grid whenever your home needs it. This switch from one system to the other is seamless and requires no effort on your part.

What is involved in the installation process of a solar system?

When you call a clean energy service provider to request the switch to solar power, the first step is evaluating the energy needs your home. A solar energy specialist will come in and do a free extensive evaluation of your home's energy needs to determine the size of the solar system that would be most effective in your case. The size of your house directly affects the amount of kilowatts needed to power it, therefore the bigger your house, the greater the number of PV solar panels that will need to be installed.

Once the correct size of a solar system appropriate for your needs is determined, a crew will come in, and install a PV solar power system on your roof. There is no charge for the equipment or the installation. A typical residential roof installation may take about 3-5 days, and will depend on the complexity of your roof and the number of solar panels being installed.

Your solar energy provider will obtain all building permits and design your system to meet all required building codes in your area.

How do I pay for solar electricity?

Different clean energy providers offer a number of payment options for solar energy, and you need to find out the specific terms offered by your local provider. One common option is to pay per KWT of energy that you use. Typically, in this arrangement, you can choose to buy the system after your contract is over, or you can simply extend the contract. Another option is to pay for solar electricity on a monthly basis, the same way you would pay your local electric company. The only difference would be that you would be paying less for cleaner energy. In this arrangement, you may not be able to purchase the system at the end of the contract. Other options may include, prepaying for electricity to lower your monthly bill, or paying a very large amount of money up front, so that you do not have to pay for electricity at all for a certain amount of time.

Are there other payment options?

SolarCity gives customers the option to purchase their systems and installation,

Do I have to pay for maintenance, repairs and insurance?

As a homeowner you can enjoy all the benefits of solar energy without paying for maintenance and repairs. The company constantly monitors your solar system's performance and if something goes wrong, a service crew will be dispatched to get your solar system back online right away. Since the company owns the equipment, it is also responsible for any repairs that need to be done, such as replacing an inverter. Typically, the company would also offer free insurance coverage that protects the system against theft or damage.

What are my savings?

If you choose the option of paying for solar energy without buying the system, you will enjoy monthly savings on your electric bill. Depending on the amount of energy your panels produce and regulations of your local utility company, you may be able to save as much as 50% on your monthly bill. You will also save by locking in this lower monthly rate for the term of your contract. By comparison, conventional utility companies raise the price for electricity every year about about 5-7%.

In case you decide to purchase a solar system, depending on federal and state rebates you get, you may be able to recoup your financial investment in 5-10 years. In the process you will enjoy lower energy bills, and once the system is paid off, you will actually earn money for selling your excess energy back to the grid.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What to Expect During a Home Remodeling

Home remodeling refers to the process of reconstructing a home, giving it a make-over, or implementing improvements, repairs and fixes. From redesigning and upgrading your old kitchen and bathroom, building an addition, to re-landscaping a backyard, home renovations can be fun and exciting, but when poorly planned, they can drain your resources, especially if tasks are carried out in an inefficient way. Thus, adequate planning and funding is essential right from the start.

Home Remodeling Basics

Put into writing the remodeling tasks that need to be fulfilled. Detail the aspects that will help in the proper accomplishment of the tasks. For guidance, refer to related house plans and remodeling sketches. Discuss the prospects with a trusted remodeling contractor.

Tips and Ideas

Kitchen Flooring - Instead of the usual linoleum, or other such floor coverings, consider installing floor tiles in you kitchen. These are less complicated to clean up and, depending on the quality, and can last longer. Tiles are also versatile and are available in different designs, sizes, and shapes. For better results, hire a skilled handyman to install new tiles.

Home Insulation & Energy Efficiency - Properly insulate your walls and attic space to help save energy and to minimize heating and air conditioning expenses. Seal leaky areas using climate stripping, and install new insulation to bring it up to the level required by the local building code. Consider getting a programmable thermostat to make your home's energy use more efficient.

Bathrooms - Ensure proper ventilation in you bathroom to avoid mold and mildew growth, and damages to walls and ceilings. One way to do this is by installing heat lamps along with an air vent to minimize moisture in the area. For flooring, appropriate options include ceramic tiles or sheet vinyl. Adding in a frameless shower glass can make the area look modern and appealing.

Bedrooms - Different rooms can get different colors and designs to achieve a unique look for each of them. Make sure to obtain matching fabrics for use in every room. Bed sheets, bedspreads, mattresses, pillowcases, blankets, carpets, curtains as well as images and other striking accessories should have complementing shades to give a harmonizing appearance.

Kitchen Remodel - A well designed kitchen makes preparing food easier and more fun. If space permits, consider adding a small kitchen island at the center, or along the side with lots of open space in your kitchen. This will make for a better use of space, and create and can create a comfortable cooking/dining area in your kitchen.

There is virtually a limitless number of creative and fun home remodeling ideas that can come handy for your own project, but getting the basics including careful design and planning work done before any renovation tasks are started, can help you get things in order in less time, and on a budget. The tips and ideas above can provide you with a starting reference point for your own project.

Obtaining financing - Arrange funds needed for the remodeling project. One of the best options is to use a home equity line of credit. This type of loan product offers financing to borrowers looking for a Loan for home improvement purposes.

Permits, Drawings and Plans - Your home remodeling contractor should provide 3D plans that you can visualize before committing to any particular design. Once home remodeling plan has been agreed upon, your contractor will have to obtain any necessary permits from your local building inspector.

Final Tips: When remodeling your home, there will often be unexpected occurrences that may not have been addressed during the planning stage. The key is to stick to the plan and if there are needed changes, ask for advice from the remodeler who helped you during the preparation process.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Why Cool Roofs?

Perhaps, you have not really given much thought as to what color your current roof is (light or dark), or what material/composition it is made out of...

Why should you even care whether or not your roof is cool?

Here is one compelling reason: Your traditional roof is likely costing you way more money than you care to know to cool your home, or office building, especially if you live in a warmer climate. Think about it this way: in the summer time, we wear light color clothes because they keep us cooler. Lighter clothes reflect, rather than absorb the heat of the sun. Apply the same basic principle to your roof, and it will become easily apparent how having a cool roof can really benefit you.

What is a cool roof?

A cool roof is made of materials that have a high degree of solar reflectance, and thermal emissivity. That means it is able to reflect a lot of the sun's light that a conventional roof would absorb, heating up the building. "Coolness" is measured by two properties, solar reflectance and thermal emittance.  Both properties are measured from 0 to 1 and the higher the value, the "cooler" the roof. Cool roofs have been gaining popularity since they have first been pioneered in the early 70's, because of the energy savings, and long term environmental benefits they offer.

What are the problems with dark color roofs?

When the weather is warm, a conventional roof is the hottest place in the building and can be well over 50 degrees hotter than the temperature outside (it is not uncommon for the temperature on a conventional roof to get as high as 150 degrees F). So if you don't have air conditioning, a lot of the discomfort you may feel, is actually coming from the roof.

If a building with a standard darker roof is air conditioned, the cost for comfort is much higher, in order to counteract all that heat pouring inside the building from above. Insulation slows the transfer of heat from the inside, but does not eliminate it. Researchers have measured energy savings of up to 10-15 % for homes with cool roof coatings. If a standard dark roof reaches 150 degrees or more, a cool roof can actually reduce the temperature a lot. A cool roof may only be 5 to 10 degrees warmer than the temperature outside on a hot sunny day.

Benefits of Cool Roofs

Cool roofs are greatly beneficial to the environment in ways that we as consumers do not immediately think of. In fact, researchers who pioneered cool roof technology in the 1970's were motivated primarily by the the potential environmental benefits to the cities where they would be used, rather than the energy savings alone. Simply put, a cool roof helps mitigate the phenomenon known as the urban heat island.

 Image Source:

What is the Urban Heat Island Effect?

The temperature in developed urban areas tends to be 2-5 degrees warmer than surrounding areas. Roofs and pavements comprise over 60% of urban surfaces in some U.S. cities. Both pavements and rooftops of the buildings absorb a lot of heat from the sun, which creates significant problems for the building owners, energy producers, and city dwellers;

Unlike the rural areas, where naturally occuring vegetation reflects much of the solar radiant heat back into space, the rooftops and asphalt pavement in urban areas absorb much of the solar heat, and then radiate it back into the surrounding environment.

The rooftops allow solar heat penetrate inside the building, which not only increases the building's cooling energy requirements, but also creates enormous energy demands during peak hours.

Further, urban heat islands are associated with increased pollution and cooling costs, negative health effects, and even decreased workplace productivity because of the impact of poor air quality. As it turns out, ozone or smog is extremely temperature dependent.

For example, in Los Angeles, when the average daily temperature is 72 or below, there is ozone in the air, but there are no smog episodes. When it goes up to 92 degrees, you have 100 percent likelihood of smog episodes. When you have an urban heat island, you are artificially increasing that temperature through man-made means, and the negative results for the environment and for public health are significant. While the urban heat island effect is most severe in warmer climates, cities in the north of the country are also affected by this phenomenon, and therefore can greatly benefit from wide-spread installation of cool roofs in place of the existing ones.

What are some of the types of cool roofs that can be used on buildings in Urban Areas?

Cool flat roofs such as PVC roofing, can be used on any flat, or a low slope roof top, while metal roofs can be installed on top of steeper roofs.

Look for Official Cool Roof Ratings:

Cool Roof Rating Council is an official body that assigns ratings to cool roof systems.