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Improve Energy Efficiency & Reduce Heat Intrusion

When a home or business owner is considering improving the look of their home, roofing may not be the first thing that comes to mind. In fact, many people consider roof repair to be the more expensive and difficult of the renovations needed to make a property livable. Unfortunately, this could not be further from the truth. Roofing repairs are very affordable when done right. Whether you are planning a major renovation or just an improvement to your current roof, several easy-to-understand tips can help you through the process, saving you both time and money.


First, consider the materials you will need to install your roofing system—several roofing systems, including metal, asphalt shingles, slate, ceramic tiles, and clay tiles. A roofing system is comprised of materials that are used to cover the frame of the house. Some examples of materials include metal flashing, which provides a waterproof barrier against water, snow, wind, and rain; clay tile roofing systems, which are comprised of a thin layer of clay between two layers of asphalt shingles on top of concrete tiles to create a smooth surface; and slate roofing, which is made from a combination of clay, slate, and aluminum tiles and designed to be a natural stone with fine scratches to allow the stones to reflect light and heat.

Depending on your location, you will want to determine the most cost-effective roofing system for your area. Some homeowners opt for metal roofing, which is installed by hot-water flashings. This method is more expensive than clay tiles and asphalt shingles, but it provides better insulation due to its application of thermal mass, which allows more heat to be retained in the attic. Another option is using clay tiles, which are relatively inexpensive and durable but may reduce the value of your home if it suffers from eventual failure. Solar roofing is another option that provides good value for your money because it doesn’t need to be replaced like other roofing systems.

If your home experiences high humidity levels, consider installing a synthetic roof, which is made out of polystyrene foam and expanded polystyrene. It is more expensive than concrete tiles but less expensive than clay tiles. Synthetic roofing systems are designed to hold up better to temperature changes so that they may be a good choice for areas with fluctuating temperatures. A disadvantage of this type of roofing is that they tend to retain heat and becomes hot in the summer and cold in the winter. A roofing company can measure moisture in the air and design a roof system to prevent damage, especially to the exterior.

Roof ventilation is important to regulate heat. An efficient ventilation system prevents heat gain and loss, which increases energy efficiency. It helps keep the roof cavity cooler on hotter days, which keeps cooling costs down. Good ventilation can also reduce moisture buildup in the roof cavity.

In addition to proper roof design, good insulation is necessary to reduce your heating and cooling costs. Insulation is measured by how much heat it can stop from going out through the roof cavity. Good insulation should be installed within the roofing material, such as shingles and tar paper. It’s possible to install insulation directly to the surface of your roof, but this option is not well insulated. Many options are available, including fiberglass battens, metal sheathing, or battens composed of paper if you choose to use insulation directly.

The insulation that you use depends on your climate and the amount of sun your region experiences. In the North American zone, which includes parts of Minnesota, Arizona, and New Mexico, a high R-value (thermal resistance) roofing materials insulation is recommended. R-value refers to the amount of radiant heat loss. Radiant heat loss occurs during summer and winter when the hot air rises while the cold air sinks. You can calculate your roof’s R-value by multiplying the area of your roof with the anticipated temperatures during different seasons.

To reduce heat ingress, consider installing solar panels. Solar panels come in two varieties: passive and active. The former collects energy from the sun, which then powers electric appliances; the latter captures and stores energy produced by your home’s natural ventilation system and converts it to usable electricity. These panels work to absorb solar energy and turn it into heat used in your home. Passive solar panels require little maintenance and rarely need to be replaced, while active solar panels require frequent replacement to avoid solar flares and heavy solar winds.