Metal roofing makes it cool to go green

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“Tin roof, rusted!” Who doesn’t smile when they hear that B52s song, “Love Shack?” And many of us still think of tin roofs as the only metal roofs. It’s time to squelch that idea.

That’s because a metal roof is a green roof; in many ways, it’s the simplest way to go green. These metal roofs promote better health, last longer than asphalt and definitely do not require as much care.

Green, green, green
When you replace your asphalt shingles with a new covering of metal, you are most likely using recycled materials. The same metal roof you’re installing will many years later also be recycled. With metal, you can watch your energy bill go down in time. That’s because metal roofing is truly cooler roofing since it doesn’t absorb as much heat from the broiling sun; it’s thinner and won’t act like a fleece blanket holding in heat.

The reflectivity of the metal against the sky reduces what’s called “heat island effect,” which is why cities can be as much as two to eight degrees warmer than the surrounding countryside. You’ll recognize the feeling you get when you drive into the city and suddenly feel hotter than you did around the cool trees on the outskirts of town. The heat effect “cooks” smog, which in turn causes damage to our atmosphere.

Make mine light blue
A galvanized light color finish in blue, green, white or cream works best. Light hues reflect rather than absorb sunshine. The result? A cooler kitchen while you’re cooking and fewer visits to the thermostat, especially if there’s air conditioning ductwork in your attic. The installers will put radiant heat barriers in place, which are thin layers of metal insulation, typically composed of tin foil with a paper backing or a metalized mylar sheeting. This foil material reduces radiant heat transfer into the attic by as much as 95 percent when it’s installed on the underside of your roof. Metal reflects 70 percent of the sun’s energy into the sky, which results in less heat being transferred into or out of your home. Metal roofing can sustain up to 34 percent less heat gain than asphalt shingles.

Plus, rainwater that runs off the roof can be collected because it doesn’t contain toxins from asphalt shingles. Why not use that water for your roses and hydrangeas?

Metal is healthy
We know that water damage and mold growth can cause a variety of health problems. The metal roofing is lead free, and when installed properly, greatly reduces the chance of water seeping in to create rot or mold growth. The steep-sloped roof discourages any standing water, leakage, ice dams or heavy snow buildup that can melt into the crevices. This means less chance of moisture penetration and possible roofing failure.

Peace, love and clean air
Whether you’re a hippie, hipster or just someone who cares about this world we live in, it’s easy to see the attributes of metal roofs. Here’s another kicker: That 100 percent recycled aluminum, copper or steel roof actually means fewer truckloads driving into landfills. It’s an energy saver, too, because it naturally takes less energy to produce than asphalt shingles. This energy efficiency reduces fossil fuel consumption, more important to conserve now than ever to slow global warning.

Metal also has a natural ability to sustain itself against hot summer days and frigid temps, plus golf-ball-sized hail, torrential rain, wild winds and layers of ice. With a life span of over 50 years, it won’t need replacing any time soon. And did I mention it’s fire resistant?

Peaceful, comfortable, birds singing…the way we all want our homes to be. A metal roof encourages this. That’s because the myth that metal roofs are noisy is wrong on many counts. If you’re thinking they sound like your grandfather’s metal barn roof, forget it. Years back, metal roofs were directly installed over rafters and held in place by exposed fasteners. What a racket! Today’s roof comes with a strong sheathing that slides between the metal roof and your existing roof surface. This way, it effectively reduces noises from anything Mother Nature can throw down.

Cleaning is a snap
It is simple to clean your metal roof. Just use soft or low pressure when you wash, with a cleaning solution containing bleach to further prevent algae, mold and mildew. Don’t power wash so water won’t be forced into the seams and hardware, which could in turn cause damage to the underlying areas of the roof. With the way water drains off the roof, the roof will not require care often.

Now that you know the reasons those nice-looking metal roofs are popping up across your neighborhood and city, you can make your move to being green yourself. HLM

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