Need a new roof? There are options
By Katie Scarvey
Although the roofing industry has been affected by the slump in new construction in recent years, homeowners must maintain their investments ó which means that roofs will always need to be replaced.
Historically, perhaps 70-75 percent of demand for roofing products has come from re-roofing projects. In 2010, re-roofing accounted for 82 percent of product demand.
Homeowners who are looking to re-roof a home will want to consider not just the up-front cost but how the roof is going to hold up over time and how a particular kind of roof can affect energy costs.
Metal roofs, for example, will likely cost somewhat more initially but can save the homeowner money over time.
Because shingle roofs are still somewhat cheaper on average, most homeowner will choose shingles, and increasingly, they are opting for architectural shingles instead of traditional three-tab shingles.
Architectural shingles are made with a heavier base mat with multiple layers of material adhering to it. These shingles have a layered or three-dimensional look, compared to the three-tab shingle, which is thinner and flatter.
Architectural shingles then, are more substantial and weightier than the standard three-tab shingles. Theyíre less likely to warp and have better wind resistance.
Aesthetically, architectural shingles have a more pleasing texture than regular three-tab shingles.
The good news for those who want to go with architectural shingles is that manufacturers have been providing better warranties of late.
Wes Graham, of Graham Roofing, says that most of the large architectural shingle manufacturers have bumped their warranties from 30 years to 50 years.
ěSome are starting to offer a warranty that covers labor, tear-off and everything for the entire 50 years, including felt, material (and) shingle capping,î he said.
Graham believes the new warranties will probably help phase out the traditional three-tab shingles. Currently, they do about 65 percent architectural shingles versus 35 percent three-tab shingles.
Shingle prices have been rising recently, Graham says, and thatís because they contain petroleum products.
ěAny time gas goes up, the asphalt prices go up,î he says.
An architectural shingle roof for an average-sized home might cost $3,500-$5,000, Graham says.
Despite a weak economy, the roofing business has been steady, Graham says.
ěWe havenít seen a drop in business, but we donít do new construction. We do all residential re-roofing. Weíre not really tied into new construction.î
Graham Roofing consists of Wes and his father, Wilson Graham, plus a four-man crew. They havenít had to lay off any workers, Wes says.
Although architectural shingles are a popular choice, more and more homeowners are looking into metal roofing, realizing that investing more up front can pay off in the long run.
The most expensive choice is standing seam roofing, in which no bolts are visible. Many commercial buildings have standing seam roofs, which boast long life and durability.
Many homeowners who want metal opt for less expensive metal panels that still provide a long-lasting roof that can increase a homeís resale value.
Sam and Robin Bannister have lived in their Fulton Heights home for two and a half years. In January, while doing some remodeling, they decided to replace their old shingle roof with a new metal roof installed by contractor Kirby Sells.
ěWe felt like it was a good investment,î Sam said, noting that they expect to trim their heating and cooling costs with their new roof, which came with a 50-year warranty.
ěWe love it,î he said, noting that theyíve had a lot of people stopping in front of their Mitchell Avenue home to check it out. ěItís a plain, crisp roof.î
Christopher Sellars owns C&J Roofing, a small business, and he has been installing more metal roofs than shingle recently, he says.
Sellars was installing a metal roof this week at a home on Old Mocksville Road.
He uses a product made by Spencer Steel Supply Co., which is owned by Union Corrugating Co., out of Fayetteville.
Eric Blankenship, the general manager of Spencer Steel, says that there are more and more applications of metal roofing going to the residential market.
A decently maintained metal roof might last as long as two or three shingled roofs, Blankenship says, and often, homeowners can see a break on their insurance if they get a metal roof, which is more resistant to wind and hail damage than a regular shingle roof.
One boon to consumers is that the company has been offering a wide variety of colors ó a dozen and a half or so ó over the past five or 10 years. The finishes are a durable baked-on enamel, Blankenship says.
Most of the available colors for Union Corrugatedís MasterRib panels are Energy Star certified, which can save a homeowner up to 40 percent in cooling costs. Consumers can get tax credits for purchasing Energy Star products, Blankenship says.
The most popular colors throughout the company ó and perhaps throughout the industry ó are evergreen, terra cotta and white, he says.
Some types of metal shingle systems can be applied over an existing roof, which means you wonít have to tear off shingles or provide additional support.
Although thatís sometimes used as a selling point, Sellars doesnít recommend it. Heíd much rather tear the existing shingles off so that the metal will be easier to lay.
Metal ěsells itself,î he says, when you consider the benefits.
Because most metal roofing materials come in sections or sheets, they can be installed more quickly.
Metal roofs are also fire-resistant, although if a metal roof has been applied over shingles, they will not be as fire-resistant.
Myra Tannehill and her husband Dean Hamilton recently had a metal roof installed on their 1870s farmhouse.
ěWood shingles are really more appropriate, but we wanted metal for looks and durability,î Tannehill said.
ěThe metal roof goes with the farm-house style, and we know it will last for years.î