The technology behind solar roofing panels has really improved a lot in recent years making them more energy efficient, more affordable, and lot more popular. But before you jump on the solar roofing bandwagon, there are a few things you’ll want to consider first.

Your roof warranty

Your roof is warrantied in two ways. The shingles/tiles themselves come with a manufacturer’s warranty should they fail prematurely through no fault of your own. The roofing company who installed the roof (assuming you went with a professional) most likely insures their work so if the roof fails due to improper installation and the manufacturer doesn’t cover it, the roofing company will. When you install solar panels on top of an existing roof, there’s a good chance it can void either or both warranties. To be safe, put the solar panel installer in contact with the roofing company so you know where you’ll stand with your roof’s warranties after a solar panel installation.

Cost vs. savings

Though the cost of solar roofing has come down, it’s still expensive. Solar installers will tell you that the initial cost up front is worth it when you consider the savings but that’s not necessarily true. Depending on your climate and which way your roof faces, solar may not make good financial sense. Also don’t assume you’ll earn a tax credit since that incentive isn’t always being offered.


Though solar roofing is the only type of roof that generates electricity, there are roofing materials out there like clay tiles or metal that are much more energy efficient than asphalt shingles that can drastically lower your energy bills.

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When John Plaff of Pasco, Florida paid John Iacovino, owner of Ike’s roofing, $8,800 for the roof he installed, he thought everything was squared away. What he didn’t know was that Iacovino never paid the roofing material supplier for the roof materials. As a result, Plaff ended up with a $3,700 lien against his home for the cost of the roof shingles. Plaff wasn’t the only one burned by Ike’s roofing. At least 15 other clients of Iacovino are seeking extortion charges against him and the Pasco Sheriff’s office says that approximately 70 properties have liens against them because Iacovino didn’t pay for the roofing materials. In total, Ike’s roofing owes about $150,000 for building materials to various suppliers in the area.

Iacovino is now behind bars but that does nothing for Plaff and other victims of Ike’s roofing who are not stuck with liens against their properties. Since this can happen to any unsuspecting homeowner, it’s important for people to be very careful about who they hire to do roofing work.

Get several estimates

One of the most important things homeowners can do is get multiple estimates for roofing work. If you only get one estimate and hire the first roofer who agrees to do the job, you have nothing to compare that roofer’s price to. If you get at least 3-4 estimates, then you can spot bids that seem especially low. In the case of Ike’s roofing, Iacovino could afford to bid low since he had no intentions of paying for roofing materials he was going to use. Automatically going with the lowest bid, especially when it’s significantly lower is risky since it’s often a sign that the roofer is cutting corners.

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Winter tends to be the hardest time of the year for your roof. If your roof is going to fail and let water into your home, it’s most likely going to happen during the winter months. The other downside to the winter is that it’s the hardest time to get out and do roof repairs when it’s cold and wet. Roofing experts recommend that homeowners start now to get their roofs ready for winter so that they’re in top shape before the severe weather hits. Here are a few maintenance tasks you should complete before the weather turns cold.

Replace damaged shingles

Over the years, shingles will wear out and become brittle. Some of your shingles may crack, curl, or become warped. Some may even come loose and blow away with a strong wind. Wherever you have damaged or missing shingles, your roof is vulnerable and can let water in. Replace these shingles now rather than waiting until it’s too late.

Examine your roof’s flashing

At the most vulnerable areas of your roof, around the edge and around the chimney, vents, and skylights you’ll have a metal underlayer called flashing. If your flashings have rusted or cracked, water can get through those areas so it’s important to inspect your roof’s flashing before winter hits.

Check the varge and fascia boards

The trim boards at the end of the roof that run from the eaves to the peak are called varge boards. The trim boards behind the rain gutters are called fascia boards. These protect the roof’s edges and keep the roof’s frame protected from moisture. If these boards are pulling loose or rotting, your roof may be compromised.

Repair your rain gutter system

Your rain gutters allow water to get off of your roof after rain or snow. Keep them clear of debris and make sure they’re securely attached to your roof. Watch for any rust or cracks in your system.

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There are a few things worse for your home than a roof that has fallen into disrepair. Your roof is your first line of defense, when it’s compromised, your entire home is put in jeopardy. A damaged roof can lead to costly interior water damage and pest control problems. Here are ten tips to make sure this doesn’t happen to you.

  1. Walk around your roof looking for shingles that have become dislodged or have fallen off completely.
  2. Use a pair of binoculars to look for cracked, curling, or otherwise damaged shingles.
  3. Keep an eye out for darker spots on your roof as this could be algae or mold.
  4. For metal roofs, look for seams that aren’t aligned properly.
  5. Inspect your chimney and the area immediately around it. There should be a tight seal around your chimney.
  6. Check the area where the roof meets the walls of your home. Discoloration or rot in the eaves or fascia are a bad sign.
  7. Make sure there are no holes permitting rodents to get into your attic space.
  8. Look for mold and water damage in your attic space.
  9. Keep your roof clear of debris such as leaves and branches.
  10. Trim back branches that hang over your roof so they don’t scratch it on a windy day.

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You’ve no doubt heard the phrase, “keeping a roof over your head.” In this popular phrase, the roof is symbolic of the entire home. It can be argued that the roof is the most important aspect of the home, the first line of defense between the outdoors and your home. There’s peace-of-mind that comes with having a good, strong roof over your head. On the flip side, having a roof that has fallen into disrepair can create a lot of stress.
The Better Business Bureau has offered some tips for getting the most out of your roof and keeping it in top shape.

Getting the most out of your roof

The expected lifespan of your roof varies widely based on the type of roof and the climate in your area. If you’re like the vast majority of Americans, you have an asphalt shingle roof. Asphalt shingle roofs come in varying grades but in general, you can expect to get about 15 to 20 years out of an asphalt shingle roof. The most important factor in determining the longevity of your roof is how well you take care of it. Homeowners can maximize the lifespan of their roof by following these tips offered by the BBB.

  • Periodically have your roof inspected. Though you can and should keep an eye on your roof yourself, you should also have a professional inspect your roof from time to time.
  • Clear away dead and overhanging branches. Overhanging branches can scratch up your roof and cause premature granule loss. Dead branches and leaves can also accumulate in your rain gutters which can shorten the life of your roof.
  • Take care of little problems before they become big problems. At the first sign of mold or a leak, or any other kind of roof damage, have a roofer come out and perform repairs. It can be a little costly but it’s better than having to replace your roof at ten years instead of 20 years.
  • After a point, it will become cheaper to replace your roof than to keep pouring money into patching up an old roof. Don’t put off replacing your roof when it gets to that point.

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Green roofs are the undisputed king of environment-friendly roofs. The materials are literally living things. They benefit the environment in numerous ways and tell your neighbors how environmentally-conscious you are. Unfortunately they’re also very expensive and difficult to maintain. As a result, it’s an impractical solution for the vast majority of homeowners. If reducing your carbon footprint is important to you but a green roof is out of the question, you may want to consider metal roofing instead.

Metal roofing is energy efficient

Asphalt shingles, the most popular roofing material absorbs heat and makes your AC work harder to keep you cool in the warmer months. Metal roofing is naturally reflective so it makes things easier on your AC.

Metal roofing is 100% recyclable

Though much of the waste generated by an asphalt shingle roof that’s being replaced is recyclable, it often ends up in landfills. Metal roofing, on the other hand, is 100% recyclable and can be turned into new roofing materials. You can explore the possibility of having a roof that’s made from recycled materials and you can bet that your roof, when it is replaced, is recycled again.

Metal roofing helps the environment

In urban areas, the collective effect of so many asphalt roofs can actually raise the ambient temperature in the area by as much as five degrees; this is known as the urban heat island effect and it affects air quality, greenhouse gas emissions, and water quality. If more homeowners used metal roofing instead of asphalt shingles, the consequences of the urban heat island would be greatly reduced and the environment would benefit as a result.

It turns out you don’t need to have a living roof to be environmentally conscious.

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Buying a home is an exciting event. If it’s your first time buying a home, you’re probably especially anxious to sign on the dotted line and get the keys to your new home. But buying a home isn’t a decision you want to rush in. You want to make sure that you’re aware of any potential repairs that the home will need. One of the areas commonly in need of repair is the roof. Depending on the condition of the roof, these repairs can be quite costly. You’ll definitely want to know about any problems with the roof before you inherit those problems.

Questions to ask

When buying a home, ask these questions to find out whether you need to worry about roofing problems:

  • When was the current roof installed? The older it is, the sooner it will need to be repaired or replaced.
  • Is it the original roof? Has it been repaired or replaced? Is the existing roof installed on top of the older roof? If the roof is older but patched up, or if new shingles have been laid on top of old ones, expect to have more problems with your roof down the road.
  • Are there any known leaks? If so, is there any damage in the home resulting from leaks? If the answer is yes, these will need to be repaired immediately.

If you’re really serious about buying a home, you may even want to consider having the roof looked at by a professional roofer who can look for any other roofing problems such as gaps by the chimney or vents, damaged flashing, or damaged rain gutters.

Should you buy?

Of course, if there’s no major issues with the roof, you can feel more confident in buying the home. But if, on the other hand, there are some problems with the roof, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to pass up on the home. Work with the current homeowner to have any roofing problems taken care of or estimate the cost of these repairs and agree on a lower price for the home to compensate you.

Just remember that the homeowner’s main concern is to sell the home. Often, homeowners go with the lowest bid when it comes to fixing the roof since they don’t have to live under it. It might be a good idea to work with the homeowner in selecting a roofing contractor with plenty of experience and a good reputation in the community.

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New homeowners learn quickly how important it is to stay on top of home maintenance tasks if they want to keep their home in good shape. One of the key aspects of the home that needs to be well-maintained is the roof. Anyone who has had a roof leak go unchecked can tell you how disastrous it can be. When a roof leak gets out of hand, it doesn’t take long to cost you thousands of dollars. It can lead to rot in your ceilings and walls and can damage your property inside your home. Roofing experts stress that now is the best time to inspect your roof before the weather turns cold.

When to inspect your roof

Most roofers suggest inspecting your roof at least once a year, and preferably twice. You should definitely be inspecting your roof in the late summer or early fall to make sure it’s in good shape for the upcoming harsh winter weather. Winter tends to be the hardest time of the year for your roof so if it’s not up to the task of protecting your home, the winter will take a serious toll on your home. If you’re inspecting twice a year, then the second time would be just after the winter to see how it held up. You may need to inspect multiple times per year if you experience especially harsh weather; it’s good to inspect your roof after a major storm in case there’s damage and you need to file a claim with your insurance company.

What to look for

There are five key areas you’ll want to check when inspecting your roof.

  • The shingles themselves. First check the roof shingles. You’re looking for any cracked, warped, loose, or missing shingles. Other issues might include moss, mold, or water that is pooling up on your roof’s surface or debris that is accumulating.
  • The flashing. Flashing is a metal underlayer. Watch for rust, cracks, or dents in the flashing as that can lead to water getting inside your home.
  • The roof overhang. If paint is peeling on the underside of your roof overhang, that’s a sign that there is moisture there and needs to be looked at by a professional.
  • Rain gutters. Your rain gutters should be kept clear of debris such as leaves, branches, dirt, and dislodged shingles. If you notice colored granules from your aging shingles, it’s a sign your roof needs replacing soon.
  • The attic. Finally, you should check the underside of your roof by heading into the attic space and looking for any signs of water damage there.

How to do it safely

The safest course of action is to have a licensed roofing contractor and perform the inspection. If you want to do it yourself however, make sure you inspect the roof on a day where the weather is good (no rain, snow, or strong winds). Use a sturdy ladder and make sure it’s on level ground. Wear rubber-soled shoes with good tread so you have traction when walking on the roof. Most importantly, don’t work alone. Have a buddy to steady the ladder and to be there just in case there’s an emergency.

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What is thatch roofing?

I was in the Caribbean and noticed huts or houses with what looked like big leaves of some kind as roofing. I remember watching a beautiful young woman with little children walking out of her hut-home. I was surprised that people lived in homes with roofs made of leaves. So I did some research. Thatch roofing is roofing made from natural reeds, leaves and grass that is dried the overlapped to form a waterproof roof. Thatch roofing is actually more common in other countries than in The U.S. for everyday homes. However, thatch roofing is beautiful and is used in resorts and vacation destinations, in and out of the U.S. in theme parks, tiki huts, cabanas, restaurants and zoos.

Raffia palm leaves

Raffia palm leaves is what I believe is saw in the Caribbean. These leaves are commonly used for roofing in Nigeria, Africa and Madagascar as well as Central America and South America.

Water reed

Water reed is used in Ireland and Turkey. This is the most durable thatched roofing material. Water reed can last 60 years. Some rivers produce an abundance of water reed but runoff from farm fertilizers in the past decades has decreased the amount of water reed naturally produced.

Wheat straw

Wheat straw is used most commonly in England, France and other parts of Europe. If wheat is growing locally, wheat straw is used for the roofing.

Rice straw

A traditional Korean roof is a rice straw roof also known as a Neowa shingle roof. Other areas of Eastern Asia also use rice straw roofs. Mountain villages have a hard time getting any other roofing material to them so they will use rice straw which is actually made of the bark that is very thick of 200 year old red pine trees. Heavy logs are put on the roofs to keep them from blowing away in wind storms.


Seagrass roofs are common in coastal areas, especially Scotland. It has a life span of 60 years and is made of local seagrass that is dried and interwoven and is waterproof and insulates. It is stronger and more durable than wheat grass and is extremely plentiful in some areas making it very cost affective.

Rye straw

Rye straw roofs were common in Eastern Europe. Rye was plentiful, being the main agricultural crop. After removing the grain for flour, the good straw was used as a roof. It was cheap, long lasting and insulted well. Tall, thin straw was tied into bundles and used as roofing.

Elephant grass

Elephant is hardy and stronger than it looks but sways in the breeze creating a soft look.

Tahiti Thatch

Just as it sound, Tahiti Thatch is used in Tahiti generally and looks like palm tree fronds. It is durable, thick and yet rustic giving it a rugged look.

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