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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Frequently Asked Questions

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Can a new roof save on my energy bills?

Yes. Today’s roofs have been engineered to reflect the sun’s rays and are emissive.  An adequate roof assembly with rigid insulation, solar reflection and heat emissive can reduce heating and cooling costs.

How does a flat roof drain water?

Your roof is slightly sloped to allow for the natural drain of water.  Small pools may be present after a snow melt or rainstorm but will evaporate.  However, if there are standing pools after several days it is time to call and have your roof assessed to mitigate potential damages.

Does a flat roof require maintenance?

Yes. We recommend routine checks with the season changes of the roof membrane, flashing, caulking and sealant to make sure they are functioning properly.  Checking your roof after a big storm or change of season is also recommended.

How long does it take to install a new roof?

This depends on the size and scope of your roof.  If there are numerous air conditioning units on the roof or other mechanicals we need to work around.  Also the type of roof you wish to install plays a factor. On our consultation, we can give you a better idea of how long it will take based on your circumstances.

Are permits required to install a flat roof?

Yes. We always check with local building inspectors to make sure we are in compliance.

Can a flat roof be installed in the winter?

Due to the nature of the product and the use of adhesives, primers and cleaners we always revert to the manufacturers’ guidelines on best temperatures to install.  In most cases, these materials should not be allowed to freeze during installation.

What is EPDM?

EPDM is commonly known as a rubber roof. It has been one of the most common flat roofs one installed since the 1980’s.  Resembling an inner tube, this durable material is engineered to resist sun damage. It is relatively light, yet resistant to scuffs, tears, and leaks.  It is also easy to patch. Available in black or light-reflecting white. Today’s low VOC primers and glues work well and are environmentally safe. Many come with ready-made details like internal and external corners, through-roof pipe flashings, cable, and skylight flashings.  These ready-made details are designed to be bonded to the main sheet for a cohesive installation.  

What is TPO?

Introduced in the 1990’s TPO/PVC is a single-ply roofing membrane that chemically bonds ethylene, propylene, and rubber along with other filler materials.  They are available in light gray, white and black. The light gray or white colors are used in flat roofing today because it is cool due to its solar reflective qualities.  When considering a solar panel installation, the TPO/PVC is a great choice because it increases the efficiency of photovoltaic cells. For durability they feature welded seams. If you are looking for an environmentally friendly solution with long term energy savings – this may be the roof for you.

What is the best commercial roofing product?

If you have a flat roof, a TPO or EPDM is a good option.  We can show you and make recommendations for the right roof for your given circumstance.

Can you install a flat roof on my home or rental property?

Yes!  We do large and small projects using excellent products and proper installation techniques.

Can I put a new flat roof on top of the old flat roof?

Usually no. There are many factors that determine if you can put a new roof over an existing flat roof.  One factor is if it is required to remove the old roof by local, state or national building codes. Other considerations are what the condition of the insulation and decking are and also if you have existing water saturation. If there is reason to believe there is water damage to insulation and decking, the old flat roof should be removed to make proper repairs.

What can I use to get rid of the mildew on my roofs exterior?

There are mildew cleaners at home improvement stores that can be applied with a pressure washer.  Follow the manufacturers’ directions. Use caution when using a pressure washer so as not to have it on so high that you damage or blow shingles of the roof.

Why is the proper ventilation of a roof important?

It is important to have a properly ventilated roof to remove the condensation and excess moisture in the attic.  Too much moisture inside the attic may leak inside a home even if the roof shingles and decking are sound. Also, ventilation extends the life of roofs, reduces energy costs, and prevents temperature differences inside one’s home.

What is ridge venting?

A ridge vent is a vent that is installed at the peak of a sloped roof.  Its purpose is to help keep the air inside your attic as close to the outside temperature as possible.  It does that by allowing warm, moist air in your attic to escape. The right combination of ridge vent and continuous flow soffit vents provides proper ventilation.

What is ice and water underlayment?

This is a special, waterproof, rubberized membrane underlayment that is required by Minnesota code. It is placed at the eaves of your roof.  It is different from a roof felting underlayment in that when installed correctly, it creates a waterproof barrier that helps protect against ice and standing water.

What is the function of underlayment?

Also know as “roof felting,” it protects the roof deck from moisture prior to the shingle installation.  It does provide a minimal degree of protection should water get under shingles.

Can I put asphalt shingles on a low slope roof?

A low-slope roof is not a good candidate for asphalt shingles.   An asphalt roof on a low-slope will allow for a greater potential for ice dams as water can be easily trapped

What is the pitch of a roof?

Same as slope. The terms slope and pitch are interchangeable.

How is the slope of a roof measured?

The slope of the roof is measured by the vertical rise of the roof to the horizontal run.  It is expressed as a fraction. For example, a 6:12 roof slope means the roof rises 6 inches for every 12 inches of horizontal roof span. 

Should I overlay new shingles over my existing roof or tear off existing shingles first?

Although code does allow for an overlay of one layer of existing asphalt roof shingles, in many cases, we do not recommend it.  With a tear off of old materials, we can look for any structural damage that may have occurred due to storm damage, or age or both. If there are any defects in the roof deck like rotting, this would be revealed during tear off.  Also, starting with a clean deck, with fresh underlayments, results in a smoother finished roof system.

That being said, there is a stone coated steel shingle that does work well with an overlay because of the design of the panel. (Click here for more info)

Do I need a new roof?

If your roof has been properly installed, ventilated and periodically inspected it should last around 20 plus years, give or take.  If you see curled or cupped shingles, cracked shingles, exposed nails, worn off granules, holes, missing shingles, leaks in your roof, or storm damage it is time to plan for a new roof.

Do I need to ground metal shingles? Is my home vulnerable to lightning strikes?

Typically, a lightning strike the highest object around and rarely is that the tip of the house.  Grounding of metal roofing is usually not required by most major building codes. However, some local building codes may require it.  Do check with local building codes before starting your installation. And of course, metal roofs can be grounded by a lightening protection specialist at your request.

Can a metal roof be installed over my existing shingles?

That depends on the style of metal roof that you choose; standing seam, stone coated steel or enhanced steel.  Each of these has their own characteristics and some are better for “over asphalt” installations. Also, if you suspect you have some structural damage to your roof, a complete tear off may be best so that these areas can be inspected and repaired before your new metal roof is installed.

How long will my metal roof system last?

Metal roofs are designed to withstand the extreme cold of Minnesota and Wisconsin winters and the blistering heat of the summertime. Most carry a lifetime warranty.

Can a metal roof lower my energy costs?

Metal roofs reflect solar rays minimizing heat build-up on your roof and absorption into your attic.  With proper ventilation and insulation, a metal roof homeowner will notice a difference in their cooling costs.

Can steel roofs be installed in the winter?

Yes. Unlike asphalt shingles which must be installed at a specific outside temperature.

Will my metal roof rust?

The steel roofing materials used on residential homes today are different than what used in agricultural applications.  It is galvanized differently with protective barriers on both sides of the panel and that protects against rust. In addition, residential metal roofing products are pre-finished at the factory using specially engineered, oven-baked paint applications.  These provide long lasting deterioration protection and beauty.

Can a metal roof be damaged by wind?

Metal roofs are made of steel and designed to be installed to withstand high wind storms. Most come with a wind protection warranty rated to 120 MPH winds, some even higher. Many are approved by insurance companies so that homeowners insurance premiums may be reduced.

Can a metal roof be damaged by hail?

It is unlikely but yes, Metal roofs are covered with a Class 4 hail protection warranty –the best possible.  Many of which are approved by many insurance companies so that homeowners insurance premiums may be reduced.

What is the return on investment?

On average homeowners who invest in a metal roof will increase the home’s resale value.  Add in savings from reduction in homeowners insurance and cooling costs, overall durability (never have to replace again)  it is a good investment.

How much does a metal roof cost compared to asphalt roofs?

Initially a metal roof may cost more depending on the type of asphalt shingle you compare it to.  A steel roof will never need to be replaced in your lifetime, lasting 40-80 years (depending on metal type) when compared to asphalt roofs which last about 17-20 years in our climate. If you have hail, wind or storm damage asphalt shingles are more likely to damage when compared to a metal roof. Therefore over a life-time,  a metal roof is less expensive.  

Can I walk on my metal roof?

Yes, but like with any roof care should always be taken.

Is a metal roof noisy?

This is probably the #1 question we as metal roof installers get.  Perhaps you remember standing under a barn, shed or outbuiliding during a rainstorm. In these structures, the steel roof panels are secured directly to the rafters.  There is no sound barrier so it sounded loud when it rained. On a home, townhome or heated commercial facility, the steel panels are fastened to an underlayment, then decking, with insulation under that and a sheet rock ceiling which absorbs and muffles sound.

In addition, and this too helps muffle sound, some metal roofs can be installed over an asphalt roof.  Considering the layer of shingles, roof deck, attic air space, rafters, the insulation, and sheetrock ceiling, individuals who have metal roof say what they hear when it rains is the rain on their skylights and soft metals (gutters), not their metal roof.

What are reasons to replace my windows?

Comfort – no more drafts.

Reduce condensation.

Safety – better locking systems.

They just look nice.

Resale value – make a good selling point when selling your home.

Transferable Warranties.

Cleaning.  Want easy in cleaning.

Resist fading of carpet and furniture.

Operation: Old hardware is past it’s prime, broken.

What is a full-replacement window?

Here, the complete window assembly is removed down to the studs. It is a more time intensive process than retrofit, but there are times when there is a necessity to do this; i.e. when you expect to find other damage to the wall studs, etc.

What is a retrofit window?

These windows are installed on top of the original window frame. The installation is quick and easy compared to a full-replacement window because the old frame is left in place.

What is the difference between triple pane and double pane windows?

Triple pane windows have a better thermal performance than double pane windows. This helps lower heat and cooling costs. However, triple panes are more expensive and have a considerable amount of weight to them.

What are Clear IG windows?

Two panes of clear insulated glass.

What is SHGC, or Solar Heat Gain Coefficient?

A high coefficient (up to 1.00) means high solar heat gain. The smaller the number, the better the window is at preventing solar heat gain. Solar heat gain is the amount of solar radiation that enters your home through a window or door.

What is air infiltration?

It’s the amount of air that leaks into your home from the outside. The lower the air leakage rate on a window means there is less air exchanged between the outside and inside of your window.

What are Krypton filled windows?

Krypton is an odorless, colorless gas like Argon, but is heavier. It is also more expensive to produce. Krypton-filled windows have a higher U-Factor for better efficiency than Argon-filled windows, but are also more expensive.

What are Argon filled windows?

Argon is an odorless, colorless gas in the airspace between panels of insulating glass to increase the thermal insulating performance. This can improve the insulating qualities (U-Factor) of the window.

What is Low E?

It is a coating on the glass that blocks radiation wave lengths, improving the thermal performance of the insulating glass. Reflecting heat from the sun keeps the building cooler in the summer, and reflecting heat back inside keeps it warmer in the winter.

What is R-Value?

It is the resistance a material has to heat transference. The higher the R-Value, the better the insulating capability. 

What is U-Value or U Factor?

It is the rate of heat transfer that results from a temperature difference across a window or the rate that your window loses heat. The smaller the U-Factor, the less heat transfer between the inside and outside due to a temperature difference. This is especially important during the heating season because of the vast temperature differences inside and outside – especially in Minnesota.

What are common ways windows lose heat?
  1. Radiation. This is the movement of heat as infrared energy passes through glass.
  2. Air Leakage. The passage of heated air through and around cracks and weather stripping.
  3. Conduction. The direct transfer of heat through the window to the outside.
  4. Convection. When air gives up its heat to cooler glass, the cooled air moves to the floor. The movement sucks new warmer air toward the glass that is in turn cooled, and moves to the floor, creating a draft.
Can windows be installed in the winter?

In as little as a day, we can replace old, drafty windows. To reduce discomfort, during our window installation, only one window is removed at a time.  The new window has been prepped prior to insertion, immediately placed and sealed, minimizing heat loss.

How can I prepare my home for a siding installation?

Trim back any landscaping foliage that is touching your home. Remove fragile items hanging or on shelves inside your home as screwing and/or nailing can cause vibrations that may disturb these items. Also, plan for a space in your yard or driveway to place a dumpster.

Can I make my home more energy efficient with siding?

Yes! Rigid foam insulation can be installed that can add a R2 to R4 which helps with thermal bridging and minimizing drafts.  Also, adding to a vinyl siding installation gives the panel more rigidity.

What kind of design options do I have for my siding project?

There are great new color choices and different patterns that can add a splash of “Wow!”  There are shingles with a wood-appearance, trendy board and batten or a scalloped edge you may consider for your gables.  You may also want to consider panelized stone veneers.

Can siding be installed over my existing siding?

In some cases, yes.  But we usually recommend a full tear off of the old siding so that we can properly inspect the sheathing and housewrap. Failure to do so could result in problems down the line.

Is it expensive to replace my vinyl siding?

It depends on what your budget is and what you want to replace it with.  Today, vinyl siding is the most affordable siding. They are much better than the vinyl siding of 30-40 years ago as technology has improved color retention.  There are however, other types of siding like steel or engineered wood that cost more when compared to vinyl siding, but have long lasting benefits.

What are the most common types of siding?

Vinyl siding is very popular but other types you may want to consider are engineered wood and steel siding.

What causes the buckling and sagging I have seen on homes with vinyl siding?

Improper installation.  We are a Mastic Preferred Vinyl Siding installer and we are also certified by the Vinyl Siding Institute.

Does siding require maintenance?

Most siding products today require little or no maintenance with the exception of wood.  But most never need to be painted. In most siding applications, should a panel be compromised it can be easily replaced.  To maintain a fresh appearance it can be lightly pressure washed.

What is the lifespan of siding?

This depends on the type of siding that you choose.  Some have 50 year warranties. Also depends on whether or not a storm hits your area and again, the type of siding you have.

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