Posts Tagged ‘roofing materials’

Roofing Underlayment Options

Posted on: February 9th, 2018 by Lori Smith

Protecting Your Investment

It’s no exaggeration to say that the roofing system is one of the most critical components of a structure. There are a lot of varieties of roofing materials based on maintenance requirements, roof pitch, cost, location, and aesthetics.Options for Roofing Underlayment

An important element in any roof is the underlayment. This refers to the water-resistant layer of protection between the decking (usually OSB) and the final layer of materials used, such as shingles or metal roofing.

The underlayment is there to help prevent age and Mother Nature from causing leaks and water damage. There are a number of different options for underlayment. Here are the three main categories of underlayment:

  1. Black Asphalt-saturated felt
  2. Mechanically attached synthetic underlayment
  3. Self-adhered underlayment

This post goes into a deeper explanation of options for roofing underlayment:

Black Asphalt-saturated Felt

Historically, Roofing felt has traditionally been one of the most common types of underlayment used for residential, steep slope and other applications. It is produced by impregnating paper or in incorporating fiberglass mat with asphalt. This produces a semi water resistant material or membrane that is commonly used in roof construction.  The term “Felt” comes from the historical method of making the base material. Felt is made from recycled paper in large rolls supplied in different thickness in common widths.

Roof Construction

paulbr75 / Pixabay

Self-Adhered Synthetic Roofing Underlayment normally consists of a polyolefin facer combined with a bitumen or butyl combination thereof, a pressure sensitive adhesive, plus a release liner on the very bottom (liner is removed during installation). The adhesive is designed to provide adhesion to the roof deck as well as a waterproof seal around fasteners during the initial installation. During the roofing initial installation, the main purpose for this product category is to provide roofing structures with an enhanced secondary layer of protection for primary roofing materials.

Mechanically Attached Synthetic Roofing Underlayment

Synthetic underlayment is commonly made by coating both sides of a strong inner polyolefin woven or nonwoven membrane with varying layers of polyolefin coatings to produce a water-resistant product.  Each layer constitutes a different contributing feature for optimum performance. Roofing contractors continue to convert in large numbers from felt to synthetic underlayments making this one of the fastest growing segments.

Read more here:  Types of Steep Slope Roofing Underlayment

With a flat roof, the same basic underlayment is used but from there on, the process is quite different from a sloped roof. There are 3 essential classes of flat roofing material:

  • Built-Up Roof – Layers of traditional hot tar and gravel
  • Modified Bitumen – Similar to ice-and-water shield, but impregnated with a mineral-based surface
  • Rubber Membrane – EPDM Rubber Membrane is currently one of the most popular materials for flat roofs

This video shows how torch down modified bitumen is applied to a flat roof:

The cost of a roof is a considerable investment. There are many aspects to examine, such as labor costs, the size and pitch of the roof, materials being removed and new materials being installed, to name a few. The underlayment is also part of the estimate to a new roof as well as roof repair because most roofs have to be stripped down to the decking to check for sagging or rotting wood.

The cost for the underlayment material in Denver for a 1,200 square foot roof with a lower slope can run between $700 and $1,000. This cost is usually figured into the total bid, which depends on a lot of factors, but can range anywhere from $1,200 to $30,000 nationally.

There are sites such as that offer a calculator based on your exact needs. Your best bet is to contact several reputable Denver roof repair or installation contractors to get a quote.

How Asphalt Shingles Are Made

Posted on: October 20th, 2017 by Lori Smith

Pros and Cons of Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are by far and away the most popular type of roofing material. Because they are budget-friendly, lightweight, durable, and come in a variety of styles, four out of five homes in the United States have asphalt shingles.

With any roofing material, there are always some disadvantages in comparison to other options. They can be somewhat fragile, especially in areas where there is a lot of extreme to make asphalt shingles

Depending on how long you plan to stay at the same home, the longevity of an asphalt shingle roof makes them a less appealing investment. This post provides the specifics on their endurance:

As the most common roofing material in the country, most of us are familiar with asphalt roofing and many of its benefits and drawbacks. Since it is often far less expensive than other roofing materials, it is almost expected that it will have a shorter lifespan. Depending on the quality of the shingle, you can expect an asphalt roof to remain in good shape for 15 or 20 years. It is considered a relatively low-maintenance material, but that doesn’t mean that once it is up you can completely forget about it!

See more here:  Ask the Pros: How To Make A Roof Last Longer

How They’re Made

Part of the reason asphalt shingles don’t last as long is because of their composition. They are also known as composite shingles, meaning they are made of a variety of materials that tend to be easily damaged by hail or heat.

However, the thicker the shingles are manufactured, the more durable they become. This video shows the process of how asphalt shingles are made:

Besides the narrator’s mispronunciation of the word “asphalt”, it is a good demonstration of how the process works. As mentioned, the thicker the outer coating, the more durable the shingles. However, I don’t think a lifetime warranty that was mentioned in the video is normal with composite shingles.

Advances In Asphalt Shingles

The history of asphalt shingles goes back to Ancient Babylonia where it was used as a waterproofing liner in canals. As far as roofing, it has been used in the U.S. since 1893, but it came in rolls of long strips of asphalt-coated felt with a finishing layer of finely crushed stone.

Manufacturers are using inorganic materials as a way to create a safer product, as discussed below:

Since the late 1950s, manufacturers have sought to develop inorganic base materials as alternatives to the traditional organic felt. Asphalt ShinglesInorganic bases are desirable because they are more fire resistant than an organic base; furthermore, they absorb less asphalt during the manufacturing process, so the resulting shingles weigh less. Asbestos was used in shingle mats until its related health risks became well known. Improvements in fiber-glass matting have made them the most popular asphalt shingle base material in the industry since the late 1970s.

See the original post here:  How shingle is made

Most building codes today require that asphalt shingles be used on a roof pitch of 4:12 or greater. This is because they are more susceptible to moisture issues such as mold and mildew growth, so the slope allows the water to run off.

No special tools, skills, or prep work is required during the installation, so a typical composition shingles roof can be installed in a matter of days. Since most people aren’t all that comfortable up on a roof, the best bet is to call a contractor for residential and commercial roofing Denver for a free estimate.


Proper Flat Roof Drain Installation

Posted on: August 4th, 2017 by Lori Smith

There are many types of roofing systems, but flat roofs require a unique set of skills and maintenance. They can essentially have a long life span, but only if they are properly managed.

Most people think a flat roof is just that…flat. Actually, they do have a pitch but it is less than 15 degrees, which still allows water to drain away.

Since you don’t want your flat roof to become a swimming pool, there are three main types of drains that are installed:Maintaining a Flat Roof

  • Gutters – The most common drain system used for all types of houses
  • Inner Drains – Many times located toward the center of the roof, they attach to pipes that drain the water down through the building’s roof.
  • Scuppers – Openings in the outer walls along the roof line that allow water to run through the wall via a metal box surrounding the scupper.

If you have a flat roof, you need to have an inspection a couple times a year. Many suggest having one in the fall and again in the spring. Keeping an eye on certain factors will help deter major repairs, as outlined in this post:

Tips on maintenance to avoid flat roof repair


Splitting can be caused by freeze thawing, stress or pressure, water ponding or simply poor workmanship.

PondingInstalling a Flat Roof Drain

Ponding will show as standing pools of water that do no drain or in dry conditions you will notice a concave area with a water mark surrounding it.


Blistering happens when air is trapped between the layers of felt or the felt substrate.

Find the full post here:  Tips on maintenance to avoid flat roof repair

When using an inner drain on a flat roof, if you don’t install it correctly you might end up with even more problems. Water can pool and debris can collect if the drain sits up even slightly higher than the roof.

The substrate is the underlayment to which the waterproofing membrane is applied. You have to make sure that there is a depression around the drain to promote water flow.

This video shows how you can manage proper drain installation:

Proper flat roof drain installation is an important factor for any commercial or residential structure. Choosing to have a flat roof in an area that gets a lot of torrential downpours isn’t a great plan, but the drainage system will overcome much of the lack of slope.

When you have your roof inspected and it’s time to update your current drain, the cost is always a worry for most folks. You would think that your insurance would help pay for such expenses, as it protects the asset from further damages.

However, the way insurance works doesn’t always make sense, as noted in this post:

Homeowners Insurance – Understanding Water DamageStorm Damage to a Roof

A homeowners policy covers water damage, but with significant exclusions and limitations. Typically a policy will pay for sudden and accidental water damage from inside water sources but will not pay for losses caused by water that finds its way into your home from the outside.

Read the rest of the post here:  Homeowners Insurance – Understanding Water Damage 

So, if you aren’t sure if you can afford the cost of fixing your roof and the drainage system, be sure to check with your insurance company first to see what is covered.


Features of Stone Coated Metal Roofing

Posted on: April 7th, 2017 by Lori Smith

Metal roofing has become very popular because of its durability and low maintenance. Even though the initial cost is higher than traditional asphalt roofs, you should never have to replace it. Metal roofs are also energy efficient and eco-friendly.

An upgrade from plain corrugated metal is stone coated metal roofing. Not only is it even more sturdy than the galvanized version, but it can provide a very classy look, imitating materials such as ceramic tile, shake, and even asphalt shingles. Because of its resistance to Mother Nature and very little maintenance, it can actually increase the value of your home.

The following post describes more about this type of roofing material:

2017 Stone Coated Steel Roofing Average Costs & Materials

Stone coated steel roofing is made from metal or steel. It is more durable, yet still retains the natural beauty of traditional roofing. After production, stone chips are laid over the metal, which is then attached to the steel piece with acrylic film. Stone coated steel roofs are ideal for homeowners who want the durability of steel roofing but like the look of asphalt shingle. It is lightweight, strong and easily installed. There’s no need for battens with steel roofing, and the metal shingles lock together. This is especially helpful against climates with heavy wind and rain.

Read more here:  2017 Stone Coated Steel Roofing Average Costs & Materials

This type of roofing dates back more than 50 years. It was initially developed in United Kingdom to protect corrugated steel roofs from harsh climates. The combination of the metal and the stone coating create a very durable material, many times having a 50 year warranty.

It is interesting to watch how it is manufactured. Each metal section is covered with glued, blasted with sand, coated with an acrylic film, and then heat dried.

The following video shows the complete process:

Even though there are a few disadvantages to this material, the positive features of stone coated metal roofing far outweigh the negatives. The upfront expense is one of the downsides. As I mentioned, it is cost effective in the long term, but in the beginning you will pay a premium price.

Although the panels overlap, they don’t interlock, which could cause problems in high winds. However, they have been tested and withstood winds of over 100 mph. Another problem is that the rock/sand coating can vary in color, causing slight discrepancies. Other than the potential for the exposed fasteners to rust, the stone coated roof is a great option.

The following post discusses some of the bonuses:

Stone-Coated Steel Roofs Cost, Benefits, Pros & Cons – What’s all the Fuss? – Roofing Calculator – Estimate your Roofing Costs –

Unlike other roofing materials, a stone – coated steel roof offers superior durability: it will not break, curl, split, crack, warp, or absorb water. The interlocking design of the roof panels, makes it resistant to heavy rain, freeze/thaw cycles, snow and wind uplift. A stone-coated steel roofing system has been successfully tested against wind speeds over 120 MPH, and 8.8 inches of rain per hour. The durability of a stone-coated steel roof will remain consistent overtime, offering superior protection for many decades to come.

Read the full post here:  Stone-Coated Steel Roofs Cost, Benefits, Pros & Cons – What’s all the Fuss? – Roofing Calculator – Estimate your Roofing Costs –

The fact that these sand-covered sheets of metal can be installed over existing asphalt shingles saves time and money. They are also lightweight, easily recycled, and they are fire resistant, which insurance companies love.

Roofing Underlayment for Waterproofing

Posted on: December 30th, 2016 by Lori Smith

An average roof lasts around 25 years depending on the type of roofing material you use. If you have an older home or live in an area with harsh weather, you are going to need to replace the shingles and underlayment at some point. It is a costly undertaking, so you want to be sure and call a reputable roofing contractor that uses proper materials to best manage your investment.

Everyone has to work within their own budget, but usually insurance will cover the majority of replacing your roof, especially if it is damaged by unpreventable reasons. You don’t want to have leaks that threaten the integrity of your structure, but you do have options for protecting your home.

After you have sheeted the roof deck, the next step is apply underlayment. This is a method for waterproofing your covering before you install shingles that traditionally came in rolls of what is referred to as felt or tar paper. There are also synthetic options that are more lightweight and stronger, but also more expensive.

This article provides a description of roofing underlayment for waterproofing:

Applying Underlayment – How to Install Shingles – Roofing. DIY Advice

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Before applying roofing, cover the sheathing with roofing felt, also often called “tar paper.” Do not use felt as a temporary protection against rain: If it gets wet it will wrinkle, making it harder to shingle. If you need to temporarily protect a roof, cover it with plastic sheeting or a tarp.

Most local codes call for using 30-pound felt. Some roofers prefer to attach felt underlayment with 1-inch roofing nails or special nails with plastic washers, but most codes allow staples, which are easier to drive. For the lower portion of the roof — especially the part that overhangs the eaves and is susceptible to ice dams — it is a good idea to apply self-stick waterproof shingle underlayment (WSU), also called ice guard.

Original blog posted here:  Applying Underlayment – How to Install Shingles – Roofing. DIY Advice

Managing the moisture in your attic with ventilation is a big part controlling condensation which can lead to buckled or damaged roof sheathing. With synthetic breathable underlayment, there are some experts that feel it helps your attic breathe, but others feel it is unnecessary. This video boasts the benefits of breathable roofing underlayment:

What is the different in cost of synthetic vs felt underlayment? Synthetic is significantly higher in cost, but is said to hold up better as well as being easier to install. There are ways to check online reviews for felt vs synthetic, so do some research yourself before contacting a roofing contractor in your area. They will likely have a preference, but you are wise to educate yourself in case they are just trying to sell you higher priced materials.

This is a review from an online buying guide and review site to help make the decision easier:

REVIEW: Best Roof Underlayments – Roof Underlayment Reviews – Synthetic Underlayment vs Felt

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The cost per square foot goes from $.10 up to about $.40. FelTex is the one that was recommended by my roofer, although we didn’t go with it. FelTex is a woven polypropylene fabric that features a waterproof backing. One roofer mentioned online that he couldn’t get the FelTex to take a chalk line.

Synthetic underlayments are good if you plan on leaving the roof with just roofing paper for a few months – not sure why you would do that. Also, they are perfect for homeowners who may not check their roofing shingles that often and need to know that the roofing paper can hold up when perhaps the shingles have failed.

The long term durability is not totally proven amongst roofers, eventhough the manufacturers assure us that they will last longer than the felt option. More videos and resources are here on our Roof Underlayment Resource Page.

Read the full post here:  REVIEW: Best Roof Underlayments – Roof Underlayment Reviews – Synthetic Underlayment vs Felt


Benefits of Using Ceramic Roof Tiles

Posted on: October 29th, 2016 by Lori Smith

There are so many options for roofing materials, so it is imperative to do your research on the best alternative for your location, style, and budget. One of the most durable choices is ceramic roof tiles. However, there are negatives for installing clay roofing tiles too.

This article from Home Owner Ideas goes over the benefits of using ceramic roof tiles:

The Pros and Cons of Terracotta Roofing Tiles for Your Home | Home Owner Ideas

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Terracotta clay roof tiles are attractive, impermeable and durable. Terracotta is a natural material, made from clay that is fired at a high temperature until it vitrifies or fuses. Vitrification creates a hard, waterproof surface that withstands rain, snow, cycles of freezing and thawing and wears well in coastal areas with salt air. They are fireproof, last up to 100 years or more and are almost maintenance-free. Because they are made from clay, terracotta tiles are easy to recycle and do not harm the environment.

Clay roof tiles are traditionally red, which is a moderately reflective color. Light-colored roofs, also called cool roofs, have higher reflectance and emissivity than dark-colored roofs. More than 90 percent of the roofs in the United States are of dark-colored materials which are low-reflectance and can reach temperatures of 150 to 190 degrees F. Cool roofs stay cooler, sometimes as much as 70 degrees cooler than a dark-colored roof, resulting in lower energy costs and more comfortable building interiors.

With the interest in saving energy and using more environmentally sustainable building techniques, manufacturers have developed fired clay tiles that achieve higher reflectivity and emissivity indices. These tiles, available in many colors including the traditional red-orange terracotta, achieve cool roof values. Several manufacturers produce clay tiles that meet Energy Star specifications.

The original post here:  The Pros and Cons of Terracotta Roofing Tiles for Your Home | Home Owner Ideas

Laying out a roof with clay or concrete tiles can be tricky. If you haven’t done roofing before, you have to think ahead or your roof will not look symmetrical. This video gives a very good step by step process:

You might wonder what the negative points to using these sturdy tiles would be. Even though there are many benefits of using ceramic roof tiles, there are some disadvantages as well. The cost is the paramount issue, but not just the price of the tiles.  The need for reinforced roof trusses is also part of the expense.

This article by Home Advisor describes a few of the downfalls:

Tile Roofing – general info, tips, & local contractors

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Obviously, the biggest drawback is its initial installation cost. When compared to asphalt shingles or even basic metal roofing, tile roofs can cost several times as much to put up. They are, however, similar in price to slate roofing–the only other kind of material that can hold up as long or surpass the life expectancy of tile. Additionally, tile roofs (and slate roofs, as well) are not only heavy, but brittle. Not only might they require added structural reinforcement to install, but when a problem does occur, they can be difficult to work on since the individual tiles can break under the weight of a worker.

See the full post here:  Tile Roofing – general info, tips, & local contractors

With all of the roofing materials available, there are many things to think about before making your choice. You might want to get the input of a roofing contractor to help with the decision making process. They would have the experience of working with all types of materials.