So what are you looking for in a roof? You want protection from the elements, of course; that's been a necessity throughout history. But these days, you're probably looking for energy efficiency as well.
Why is this important? Well, you don't have to be a tree hugger or drive a Prius to want to save some money. And there's no better way to save money on your energy bills than installing an efficient roof.
The right roof will keep the sun from baking your home. Since heat rises, the right roof can also keep the warm air inside your home from escaping during the wintertime. And while energy efficient roofs might cost more than other types of roofs, you'll recoup the extra costs with prolonged roof lives and lower energy bills.
Let's make one thing clear: a cool roof isn't necessarily the homecoming queen. It's a roof that will help keep your home cool by reflecting much of the light that hits it.
Cool roofs work much like a white t-shirt on a hot day. The light-colored surface of the roof reflects most of the incoming light and heat, which would otherwise be absorbed by darker colored roofs.
The reflective properties of cool roofs make them up to 100 degrees cooler than darker roofs can be. Since the roof is absorbing less energy than it otherwise would be, it helps cut down on the urban heat island effect. This effect occurs when absorbed heat is trapped in building structures (such as roofs), causing them to emit energy and warm their surrounding environment.
Cool roofs are typically white, since that hue reflects incoming light the best. (This is why a snow-covered mountain is so blindingly bright on a clear winter day.) However, some sloped versions can come in different colors.
Many flat or low-sloped roofs can be treated with a cool roof primer for energy efficiency. But don't expect to save money on your energy bills if you put a primer on many metal roofs. These roofs tend to have low emissivity, which means that infrared energy from inside your home will be trapped in the roof.
Yes, literally green. We're talking adding plants or a garden to your roof, in order to reap some energy efficient benefits.
Greenery will help shade and insulate your roof. Plants can protect the roof surface from direct exposure to the elements the same way that a layer of fur protects a dog. This protection can help minimize the urban heat island effect around your home.
Plants can also absorb lots of rainwater during a storm. This will actually relieve pressure on your roof, while minimizing the risk of a leak or cracks in the surface.
So what's the drawback? For one thing, it's expensive to add landscaping to a roof. Plus, a green roof must be flat and easily accessible for you to be able to water the plants and maintain the landscaping. After all, dead plants don't provide many energy efficient benefits.
Cool roofs and green roofs are great. But what it your home has a sloped roof?
Chances are, most of us have these types of roofs, and reading about flat roof options doesn't help us. But have no fear! There are ways to keep these roofs from sucking the money out of your wallet as well.
One of the easiest ways to "coolify" your sloped roof is to install light-colored concrete tiles. These tiles contain pigments that can reflect up to 70 percent of incoming solar energy. Better yet, heat from inside your home won't get trapped in the roof as it rises.
While the traditional cool roofs we talked about earlier are more energy efficient than sloped cool roofs, both types of roofs will save you lots of dinero on your energy bills. And who wouldn't want to save money?
If you're looking for a new roof, turn to Sooner State Home Improvements. We've been installing roofs across Oklahoma since 1987. Let us work with you! Request a free consultation today!