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7 Maintenance Tips to Prevent Major Roof Repairs

By Dez Duran-Lamanilao

The roof is what makes any structure, whether a residential or commercial one, functioning. Aside from enclosing the whole space, it is every building’s first line of defense against the sun, rain, snow, natural calamities, and even fire. With the recent onslaught of hurricanes in the past weeks, one cannot argue against the value of keeping the roof regularly maintained.

While there will always be costs involved when you decide to schedule a roof maintenance, there are ways to make the most out of your budget without sacrificing the protection you need for your home. Here are some tips that will help reduce the dent in your pocket caused by leaking or damaged roofs:

  1. Use high-quality roofing materials. Roofs represent around 5 to 8 percent of capital building costs. Remember though, that they cover 100% of your house and thus should never be taken for granted.

There are many types of roofing materials to choose from, depending on what you are willing to invest in, but be sure to choose roofing with the highest fire rating (Class A):

  • Asphalt roofing – the most popular type; made of fiberglass and relatively easy to install; can last for 30 years or more but are not recommended for places that are prone to high winds.
  • Fake slate roofing – made of various materials such as plastic/polymer, clay, rubber or asphalt; can provide aesthetic value to your home since they look like actual slates, but may be less durable and thus have shorter lifespan.
  • Metal roofing – comes in a range of options: steel, copper, aluminum, and alloy strips; also easy to install and are ultra-light but can be noisy during a rainstorm.
  1. Check for missing or curled shingles and examine flashings, chimneys and roof valleys; look for cracks in vents. Cracks in the walls may also signal cracks in the roofing/flashing. Often these minor issues cause the biggest problems in the end if left unattended.
  2. Keep gutters and downspouts free from leaves and all kinds of debris.
  3. Monitor the most common issues resulting from poor workmanship and poor adhesion such as lifting at laps, cracking, and deterioration.
  4. Watch out for any signs of accumulation in moss. A roof moss can lead to leaks, mold growth and increased collection of debris. Start trimming your trees and getting rid of other organic junk, since they provide the needed nutrients for moss to grow.
  5. Ensure proper ventilation and insulation especially if your house has an attic; this can help in the prevention of leaks.
  6. Perform regular maintenance, including insect or pest control. This is one of the most important aspects of taking care of your roof, and in most cases, also one of the most ignored ones. Neglect is most often the culprit for damaged roofs. Roof inspection and maintenance should happen at least two times yearly, preferably after the roofs have passed through the severest levels of stress.

If you have already determined that you need to have your roof professionally maintained or repaired:

  • Ensure that only qualified personnel maintain your roof. Professional roofers have the expertise you normally will not find otherwise. They can also give the best advice, having been exposed to varying problems related to roofs.
  • Monitor the progress of the repair. Aside from learning the basics of how your roofs are structured and installed, there is an assurance that the work will not be rushed and will be completed according to your expectations.
  • Ask what materials they intend to use and if there are other alternatives. Furthermore, ask them to explain the advantages and disadvantages of each option. Careful decision-making is the key to ensuring that the repair does not happen again soon.
  • Make sure to request for and witness actual roof testing. This involves checking if there are really no more water leaks and examining the durability of the new materials that have been added to the structure.
  • Do not forget to take a set of “before” photos of your roof and update them after every repair or maintenance. Do the same when damages occur. Keep all estimates, invoices and receipts. Doing all this will reduce the hassles normally associated with insurance claims processes.

After the catastrophe caused by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, this might be the best time to schedule an inspection of your roof to ensure that it has not become vulnerable to both internal and external elements. An ounce of pension is always worth a pound of repair.

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Green Roofing for a Sustainable Home

By Dez Duran-Lamanilao

Sustainability has become the popular term to describe practices through which a specific idea or technology can grow without having to drain the resources of an organization, a company or even a nation. It has been the focus of experts in the real estate industry in the past years as well. In fact, a study conducted by Dodge Data & Analytics in partnership with the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), published in the “Green Multifamily and Single Family Homes” 2017 SmartMarket Brief, reveals that green homes continue to gain market share among both single family and multi-family homebuilders. Green building has definitely become a constituted part in residential construction.

A green home expectantly goes hand in hand with green roofing, which refers to the layers of plants that building owners, both residential and commercial, grow on their rooftops. One of the many aspects of green roofing is sustainability. Green roofing can reduce the homeowner’s heating and cooling costs. Architects are continuously innovating designs to come up with sustainable green roofing. Some of the strategies they use include:

  • Using plants that come from the area’s local flora, thus stimulating the habitat of local wildlife
  • Designing a layout that can collect rainwater to help in landscape irrigation
  • Planting a garden that produces herbs and veggies
  • Making use of climate-controlling grasses that best suit the needs of a region to help them deal with climate challenges
  • Integrating the green roof with other natural features such as an aquarium or a man-made rain forest
  • Using a green roofing that is habitable; something that features a soft, grassy bed where one can enjoy the view of nature

While the materials used for sustainable green roofing vary from one manufacturer to another, their goals are similar, to come up with materials that can help conserve resources. They employ the following techniques in the production of sustainable green roofing materials:

  • Recycling of production waste such as plastic, rubber or wood fiber into materials that can reduce carbon emissions and help in the decrease of energy costs
  • Use of roofing granules that can radiate heat better than traditional roofing shingles

There are two common types of green roofing. Intensive roofs usually have deeper soil depths, heavier weight load, and feature more plant options; although their maintenance costs may be higher than extensive green roofs, since maintenance would include more comprehensive fertilization of the plants as well. Extensive green roofs are more common because they are lightweight and only need lower maintenance and irrigation requirements. In the previous blog, we highlighted the benefits of extensive green roofing, which include:

  • Reduced volume of and delayed storm water runoff
  • Energy conservation
  • Increased lifespan of roofing membranes
  • Increased biodiversity
  • Additional space for urban agriculture
  • As a habitat for microorganisms and wildlife
  • Improved aesthetic value
  • Mitigation of air pollution
  • Noise reduction
  • Additional credits in the Leadership in energy and environmental design (LEED) standards

According to the University of Michigan, green roofing installation would cost almost $500,000 for a 21,000-square-foot property, versus $335,000 for a conventional roof in 2006 dollars. This means that the green roof would save around $200,000 almost over its lifetime.

Regarding green roofing maintenance, it will focus on upkeep and observation, particularly during spring and summer seasons. Below are examples of activities that should form part of your regular maintenance schedule:

  • Inspection of vegetation-free zones
  • Removal of debris and other organic waste materials
  • Control of weeds
  • Trimming off spent flowers
  • Checking of irrigation and moisture levels
  • Fertilization

If you are wondering how fast plants may grow, it depends on the method of initial planning. Cell plugs and bulk cuttings may reach full growth after three years while sedum tiles may grow 100% after two years. Clarify the installation method with your roofer first and ask for more information about the possible problems that you might encounter. This way, you can properly plan your green roofing maintenance. Scheduling it earlier may incur additional unnecessary costs and consume valuable time.