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The Cool Roof Benefits
Wondering why white roofs are so popular? Is there a difference between a white roof and a cool roof? Can white roofs really save me money? Let State Contractors, LLC help you answer these questions.
White roofs are becoming more and more popular as people are intentionally trying to find better long-term roofing solutions that will save them money and the environment at the same time. They offer the following benefits:
- Lowered energy usage and costs
- Renewable and Sustainable
- Cost savings
- Improved employee comfort
- Business open during installation
- NO costly and timely roof tear-off
- NO landfill fee’s
A white roof is generally described as a roof with a white surface. They are also associated with a “cool roof” because they reflect heat away from the roof, keeping the interior of the building cooler. White roofs absorb only a fraction of what a dark surfaced roof would absorb, drastically cutting down on your air conditioning usage and costs. It is important to note, that cool roofs do not necessarily need to be white in color. A cool roof is any roof with a reflective surface, the most reflective roof surface is, in fact, a white roof, but you can have a reflective grey, sand, teal, etc… colored roof that also provides reflectivity.
A white roof coating system provides an excellent solution to cost savings when you are faced with roof leaks and failures. These systems are applied directly over your existing roof, allowing you to extend your roof life and save 30-50% of the total cost of a traditional roof replacement. The labor for a cool roof system versus a roof replacement is much less and you are able to conduct business as usual, with no noise or odor disruptions and no closures during construction.
Not only do white roof systems cool your building with its ability to reflect the sun’s heat but it also allows you to extend the lifespan of your roof while lowering your maintenance fees. The sun’s heat is the leading cause of damage and deterioration to a roof’s surface. By reflecting the UV rays away, the white surface is protecting and acting as a barrier against the heat – increasing the service life of your roof.
There are several types of cool roofing systems available in the Houston market. The most popular and time–tested is the TPO roof system. The TPO roof system is a single-ply system that allows the new roof system to be installed directly over the existing roof surface. It can also be applied in new construction applications as well, and can be installed on new plywood roof decks or concrete roof decks. Additionally, another great benefit is the TPO roof systems offer warranties up to 20 years covering both labor and materials.
Call State Contractors, LLC for a free evaluation of your roof to see if a cool roof best for you!
In order to maintain a properly functioning roof system, preventative roof maintenance is necessary at least twice a year. It is recommended to complete this roof maintenance checklist before hurricane season starts. This ensures you have ample time to correct any issues that could cause leaks and damage to your building.
- Remove any debris on the rooftop. The roof has many locations that are ideal for gathering debris such as pipes, skylights, pitch pans, HVAC units, etc… It is important to remove any debris such as leaves, trash, branches, rocks, etc… because they trap and hold water, promoting ponded water and early roof deterioration.
- Unclog all drains. Make sure all drainage systems are open and functioning appropriately. It is a good idea to test them by pouring water down each one as a clogged drain causes deterioration, ponded water, and possible leaks.
- Check your gutters. Clear them of debris and anything that would prohibit them from functioning properly.
- Inspect the roof surface for blisters and/or delamination. If you see these, we suggest you call State Contractors, LLC for a professional roof inspection.
- Check the entire roof surface for any deterioration, holes, mechanical abuse areas, defects, and/or separation – pay attention to stains and discoloration of the roof edges and surrounding walls as they are possible indications of a leak – if you experience any of these you should contact State Contractors, LLC.
- Carefully inspect all joints. Make sure joints at wall and equipment base flashings and near pipe penetrations are undamaged, watertight and intact.
- Make sure sealants and caulking are effectively working. We only use high quality roof sealants that are engineered for long-term flexibility, adhesion and weather resistance.
- Maintain Landscaping – Trim back and remove any trees near your roof to avoid excess debris and/or penetrations to your roof surface.
Preventative roof maintenance prolongs the life of your roof, ensures a greater return on investment for your roof system and lowers roof maintenance costs in the future. Just a small amount of time maintaining your roof every six months will prevent the need to perform costly repairs. If you ignore your roof, small, inexpensive concerns become large, costly issues. We advise you check your roof semi-annually – the beginning of Fall and the beginning of Spring are generally ideal times as weather conditions are usually milder. It is also important to inspect your roof immediately after any large storms, high winds, hail or other damage causing conditions occur.
There is no mystery to being a general contractor, though some skills with people, finances, and general good sense are required. For someone who has never done it, a willingness to ask questions, some of which may seem elementary or even silly, is necessary. And a knack for solving problems is certainly helpful. I wouldn’t recommend that a novice act as his or her own contractor if the job is large—say, a new house, a large addition or working on a commercial building—but an interior remodeling of moderate size can be quite manageable.
The best argument for trying to be your own contractor is the payoff. Contractors are, after all, in business to make a profit, so adding 20 or 30 percent to the cost of materials and labor as profit is perfectly reasonable.
If you are your own GC, you don’t have to pay anyone that percentage. On the other hand, there are arguments against being your own contractor. For example, if you aren’t satisfied with the finished product, you can’t complain to your GC that the job isn’t good enough and refuse to make the last payment. You would be talking to yourself because you are the general contractor.That may be the biggest single reason not to be your own GC.
If you hire someone to do the job for you and then something goes wrong, it probably won’t be your problem because GCs are paid to solve problems and get the job done. When you hire a general contractor, you are paying for his experience, competence, ability to anticipate problems, and, more than anything, for his willingness to assume final responsibility for the whole job. And he’ll get the permits, do the scheduling, and handle disputes between subs and suppliers.
So if you opt to do the GC’s job, you’ll have some sleepless nights. Should major problems arise, you won’t have the same simple recourse to call your lawyer and tell him, “Sue the damn GC, it’s his fault.” Acting as your own contractor does not mean buckling on a tool belt and swinging a hammer all day.
GC’s make money by executing each job simply and efficiently so they can move on to the next job. Changes along the way and variations from the usual that make a job last longer can be the cause of irritation and uncooperativeness from a GC. Thus, if you are very detail conscious and plan to be looking over everybody’s shoulder anyway, it may make sense for you to be your own GC.
According to a 1996 survey conducted by the Consumers Union, roughly half of the reader respondents used a GC to oversee their renovations. The degree of satisfaction was roughly the same for those who did and those who didn’t. Perhaps the average Consumer Reports reader is more careful and savvy than the average person … but perhaps you are, too.
Now let’s talk about the key elements of the job.
This will be your responsibility, and it’s a crucial one, since these are the ladies and gentlemen who will actually remodel your house or building for you. They’re the carpenters, plumbers, electricians, and other trades-people who translate the plans into your living spaces. As with any manager, the key skill is finding the right personnel.
The most important player will probably be your carpenter. He’s the person who will shape the structure that defines the spaces. He builds the framework that will be the matrix for the electrical wiring, piping, vents, phone lines, and insulation. He’ll return after all that has been roughed in and cover it with finished surfaces. The carpenter is the pivotal player and should be hired first.
The carpenter will be your primary sub, so ask him for help in finding an electrician, plumber, or mason. And don’t worry too much about cronyism here. Most carpenters can be counted on to recommend people they like to work with but few will recommend subs who don’t know their jobs. They know the guys who mess up the schedule, and who do sloppy work and make trouble for everybody else. They don’t want those headaches any more than you do.
To find carpenters or subcontractors, ask friends and neighbors. The Yellow Pages or on-line ranking sites are good sources, too. Another option is to visit job sites in nearby residential areas. Walk right in and ask for the head carpenter, plumbing contractor, or the electrician. The chances are excellent that you’ll come away with a business card, a phone number, or possibly an appointment. You may even get an estimate on your job if you have the plans with you and the boss has an hour to kill.
Another good source of subs is supply houses. Ask at plumbing, electrical, or tile shops that deal with the trades. You should get a couple of names. Ask other subs for the names of the tradesmen they respect and with whom they’ve worked. Check each sub’s references (customers, suppliers, banks, and others). Get several subs to estimate on the big jobs and at least two on the small ones. Do your homework on the people you are hiring before you hire them. When it comes to dealing with subs, keep in mind that most of them bid a lot of jobs and some take on virtually every one they are offered. The bad news is that you, as a one-time customer, may get a place toward the bottom of their priority list, well below the GC’s who are going to be building many houses in the future and therefore may be continuing customers for the subs’ services.
You need to steel yourself for the frustrations and scheduling hassles but, on the other hand, you’re not taking on the world all alone. Your subs will also be key allies in getting your job done. They are there not only to get your house built, but to help you do it. Many states and municipalities require that general contractors be licensed and properly insured before they can legally hang out a shingle identifying themselves as GCs. However, no such requirements exist for the homeowner acting as his own GC.
When you act as your own GC, you’ll need a builder’s risk or fire policy. In most states, prices tend to vary only slightly from company to company because they are usually closely regulated, but check with the insurance agent who handles your homeowner’s policy to determine the paperwork required and the cost. You will want to arrange for the insurance to be effective the moment the building materials arrive or the first worker sets foot on the site, whichever is earlier. If you have a construction loan, the bank will probably insist you have a valid insurance binder on hand at the time you close on the loan. When the work is finished, you can then amend the policy once again to standard homeowner’s coverage.
As GC, you’re the person with the “buck-stops-here” sign on his desk. The decisions, large and small, are yours to make. There’ll be professionals around to help answer questions and advise but, finally, yours is the voice of authority.
So ask yourself whether you have:
No, it isn’t a full-time job. You probably won’t need to spend more than two hours a day during construction. Yet you must be on call for surprises and emergencies. Is your workplace close enough to your home and is your schedule flexible enough that you can make the trek to the job site during working hours? How about at lunch hours? Are you accessible by phone most of the time?
Don’t take on the job of general contractor on a whim. You probably won’t be able to hand it off to someone else partway through without costing yourself most of the money (or more) you were hoping to save.
All right, now let’s really talk. You will have to be a manager. That means you will need to be tough at times with your subs. Yet you can’t interfere with their work. It’s a fine line. Do you have enough patience, critical distance, and savvy that you can both let the pros do the work they know how to do better than you yet know instinctively when to step in?
Roofing is an expensive investment. Ongoing roof maintenance or repairs can be a hassle. Additionally, since roofing is so costly, it often does not stay at top-of-mind for many building owners. But a roof will have problems at some point, and when those issues do arise, catching the damage early can help you avoid pricier roof repairs or even roof replacement. Doing so can also help keep your roof warranty going strong. From that standpoint, it can be helpful to know some common problems your commercial roof will likely face. Naturally, some roofs will have problems that are proper to their type of roofing system. For instance, a metal roof can have costly, ongoing battles with rust. Flat roofs will be at greater risk to damage from ponding water than low slope roofs. But all roofs have some issues that they will experience in common.
No. 1: Leaks & Moisture
Leaks and moisture. All commercial roofs are prone to the damaging effects of leaks or moisture infiltration. In fact, if even a small roof leak is left alone, it could lead to much bigger problems that could be avoided if the leak were addressed. Roof leaks can spring up from many causes. These can include a roofing system not being properly installed, poor adhesion, an appropriate moisture barrier not being properly installed under certain kinds of roofing such as modified bitumen roofing, or moisture seeping under a roof surface. Aside from water falling into a building space, roof leaks or moisture infiltration under a roof surface can lead to rotting, mold, or other problems depending on the underlying material composition.
No. 2: Wear & Tear
All industry experts agree on the importance of having your roof regularly inspected and regular maintenance performed. Like other valuable things that experience wear-and-tear over time, a roof will have fewer problems if early-stage damage, problems, or signs of trouble are headed off quickly. A regular roof maintenance program will keep your roofing problems at bay and be a strong preventative against big roofing issues or needs making an unwelcome appearance.
No. 3: Standing Water
Also known as “Ponding water”. This problem is a common headache on virtually all commercial flat roofs. It is also noticeable sometimes on sloped roofs that have flatter slope configurations around their perimeter or that “flatten out” in certain areas. Ponding water can be a sign of deeper trouble: debris build-up on a roof, improper drainage from HVAC units or gutters, or overall poor-quality configuration design. Over time, as water gathers into an existing pool of water on a roof, the pool of water exerts stronger and stronger pressure on the roof surface. If left untended, the pooling water’s pressure can be strong enough where the roof surface is compromised and water infiltrates into the roofing components below. Other factors, such as thermal shock and heavier precipitation, can speed up a roof’s decay or exert more powerful, downward pressure on the roof surface, making it more likely for water to infiltrate and do its damage.
No. 4: Thermal Weathering
Roof shrinkage and cracking. For virtually all roof types, thermal shock can be one of the most common roofing problems over time. Roofs such as EPDM rubber roofs can be at greater risk than other roof types, though. Thermal shock refers to the deteriorating effects of the sun’s powerful, harmful UV rays upon a roof over time. In temperature extremes, the sun becomes even more extensive in how much it affects a roof. The sun’s energy causes the roof to expand in hotter periods, and causes the roof to contract once it starts to cool down. A roof that has a dark-colored surface will also absorb heat from the sun than its lighter-colored counterparts, which further contributes to deterioration. In time, thanks to the sun’s influence, a roof can experience shrinkage, cracking, surface crazing, loosened roof flashing, and even more exposed seams, depending on the roof’s type.
No. 5: Surface Erosion
Various forms of surface erosion or breakdown. Some common instances of surface erosion or breakdown include blistering, splitting, ridging, and other conditions. They can lead to other problems such as accelerated roof aging or breakdown if left unheeded. In many cases, roof surface erosion or breakdown can be pinned down to roof weathering that has been caused by outdoor extremes. However, on roofs that are made up of sheet products, poor installation or workmanship can lead to these problems or others such as roof wrinkles or fish mouthing.
No. 6: Effects following Disaster
Roof blow-offs, punctures, or wind uplift. When a commercial roof is poorly installed or gets poor servicing, it becomes at risk for blow-offs, billowing, puncturing, wind up-lift, or other forms of severe roof damage often caused by powerful storms or outdoor hazards. Roofs that are made of sheet products or can be at risk for exposed seams or open laps can be strong candidates for this sort of damage. If a roof experiences partial blow-off or tearing, it can be at greater risk for moisture penetration and then resulting, damaging leaks.
No. 7: Poor Installation
Poor product installation or workmanship. Naturally, one of the most common roofing issues is not tied necessarily to the roof’s performance itself, but how a contractor installed the roof or serviced it. Poor installation, roof installation in less-than-ideal climate or temperature conditions, use of wrong products for a particular roof type, and other contractor-related issues are just a few ways of how shoddy contracting work can be blamed. Poor contractor performance can lead to accelerated roof aging, premature roof wear, roof leaks, rapid roof deterioration, or more immediate roof failure. Making sure a qualified, reliable contractor works on your roof is essential.