Planning (and paying for) a roof repair or replacement can easily feel like a chore rather than an exciting new installation. If you’ve got a roof replacement or repair looming on the horizon, consider some of these ideas to upgrade your roof and maximize its functional and aesthetic potential. These kinds of renovations are not usually very glamorous, but if you plan and budget carefully, you can extend the lifetime of your roof and avoid having to perform more maintenance on it down the line.
Install solar panels
Solar panels are not only good for the environment, requiring less artificially-generated energy, but they’re also great for your wallet! Investing in high-quality solar panels that will last you for years at a time without needing repair or replacement will save you a lot of money on each monthly energy bill and also take you one step closer to living a more sustainable lifestyle. This is a great idea that people in dry, sunny climates such as Arizona or California have been taking advantage of in recent years, but we would definitely recommend them to anyone across the country.
Speaking of conserving energy, newer shingle designs usually come with reflective coatings or granules that deflect the sun’s rays. These shingles don’t turn the sun’s rays into electricity like solar panels, but they’re great for insulation. This means that the shingles will prevent you from having to spend a lot of money on air conditioning during the warmer seasons. Various estimations predict that you can save between 5 and 15% on your air conditioning costs throughout the summer months. Again, the Western and Southern states will probably benefit the most from an investment like this, but it’s worth considering for residents in states with hot summer seasons. It used to be that homeowners were urged to buy light-colored or even white shingles, since darker colors absorb more light and thus more heat, but this color scheme is not always a homeowner’s first choice, so energy-efficient, “cooling” shingles that come in a variety of finishes and tones are a great alternative.
If you’re redoing your whole roof, you might as well consider replacing your gutters, which have roughly the same lifespan as your roof. Recent advances in gutter technology have produced designs that are much lower-maintenance and seamless than typical gutters, which used to only come in white. Now, you have the option of different materials and colors of gutters and downspouts that will complement your roofing, siding, and trim. Gutter systems with curved hoods that jut over a collecting trough leave a tiny space to collect rainwater while preventing the buildup of leaves. Gone are the days of having to worry about clearing out piles of decaying leaves every time your gutter gets clogged.
One major roofing mistake that homeowners make is neglecting their attic ventilation. Plenty of people keep their attics unfinished and only use them for storage, so they don’t bother spending money on a high-quality ventilation system. However, people don’t realize that heat buildup in the attic can spread to other rooms. Ridge vents across the roof are barely noticeable from an aesthetic standpoint and allow air to move around freely underneath the ridge shingles. This venting system allows cooler air from the outside to come into the attic while allowing hotter air to get out. This will make your home more comfortable and save you money on air conditioning costs.
Our friends in sunny areas like Arizona who have been paying attention to cooling methods can mentally check out for a little bit. If you’re in a climate with a significant cold season, ice buildup around the eaves can cause serious damage if it’s not mended every year. Fixing up your flashing will seal the roofing fasteners and prevent water buildup over the eaves. These kinds of preventative measures will be especially helpful if your roof has a lot of other vulnerable areas such as skylights. No more ice dams!
Another great way to save on energy costs (and reduce your carbon footprint!) is so install a hermetically-sealed, airtight chimney cap. Weatherproof chimney caps will prevent the buildup of dust and debris (as well as curious animals) as well as reducing superfluous air circulation, which will help you control the temperature of your home. Many people already have a chimney damper that can be open and closed, but these older designs are not sufficiently airtight. Whether you use your fireplace often or barely at all, an airtight cap that can be opened or closed easily from inside your home might be the perfect upgrade for you.
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