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Does my roof qualify for a Federal Energy Tax Credit?

It is still a great time to increase your home’s energy efficiency, lower your taxes and utility bills and reduce your impact on the environment. The “Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010 (H.R. 4853)” entitles you to an energy tax credit of up to $500 on energy-efficient solar reflective roofing products.

The following are some restrictions of the law as related to roofing:
The value of the new tax credit is set at a maximum of 10% of the cost of all qualified products put into place in 2011 up to a maximum of $500.

If a taxpayer has previously taken a federal tax credit related to energy improvements from 2006-2010 for more than $500, they are not eligible for any new credits.

As a reminder, various states and municipalities continue to introduce and employ various incentives to use energy efficient products. These financial incentives are usually available over and above the Federal Tax Credit. You can review the incentives available in your area by checking the Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency at www.dsireusa.org.
Don’t forget…you have until April 15, 2011 to file for your 2010 tax credit under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This law enabled homeowners to receive up to a $1,500 tax credit on specific energy efficient asphalt roofing products which carry an Energy Star rating and were installed in 2010. 

How do I know if the roof I choose promotes a green environment?

Nature had a great idea. We just made it better.  When it comes to environmental impact, CertainTeed believes in leading by example. To learn more on how CertainTeed Roofing puts ideas into action and GREEN as our goal, click on the link under Helpful Resources.

How do I protect my home against ice dams?

What are the elements of the CertainTeed Integrity Roof System?

A superior roof is stronger than the sum of its parts. A quality roofing system involves the underlayments, shingles, accessory products, and ventilation all working together. Day after day, year after year. At CertainTeed, we call that the Integrity Roof System™. The Integrity Roof System is designed to provide optimum performance -- no matter how bad the weather conditions are.

How do I know if it is time to replace my roof?

Research indicates that the aging process for a roof begins soon after the shingles are installed and progresses rapidly during the initial curing phase of its life cycle. During this stage, granule loss may occur, small blisters may develop, or the shingles may curl slightly at their edges. You may even notice that this curling is more pronounced during cold weather and the shingles may life flat as temperatures rise. The good news, however, is that after this curing stage the shingles enter a long period of slow aging, which lasts for the major portion of the shingle's natural life.

Roof Remodeling 101

For most of us the roof is an afterthought — at least until it starts to leak. In addition to keeping the house dry, the roof contributes greatly to the look of the house, so when building a new house, adding on, or re-roofing, it may pay to consider the options. When it comes to roof remodeling, there are a number of areas homeowners need to be aware of—from selecting a contractor to the actual start of work of the roof remodeling.

How do I find a professional roofing contractor for my roof remodeling?

Not surprisingly, there are a number of pitfalls to which homeowners can fall victim, including evaluating and hiring a contractor without a personal interview, judging estimates on low price only, selecting products without comparison shopping, and not understanding reroofing basics. We suggest reading our brochure Choosing a Professional Roofer which outlines what questions to ask in evaluating a roofing contractor. You’ll find that being prepared and knowing what to expect when reroofing work begins will help ensure your ultimate satisfaction with your new roof.

Selecting a product

There are several areas to look at when choosing a roofing shingle. To begin, you need to measure your roof. Shingles are priced per square; a square is defined as 100 square feet. Asphalt shingles, which consumers use the most, can cost from $50 to $150 per square. Keep in mind that these costs don't always include the expense of removing the old roof or the labor involved in a professional installation.

The manufacturer’s warranty can range from 20 years to lifetime. The length of the warranty is an indicator of performance and value. The contractors’ guarantee is usually for one to five years on the average. It is also important to determine the contractor’s intent to stand behind his workmanship and to service a valid complaint in a reasonable time period.

Some roof slopes can limit the choice of shingles that can be used. The slope of the roof is measured by the rise versus the run, or the number of inches vertically by the number of feet horizontally. Your roofing contractor will determine your roof slope and guide you to what type of shingle will be best for your roof.

Other factors to consider in roof remodeling
Although you will be hiring a professional roofing contractor to reroof your home, you should familiarize yourself with certain aspects of the reroofing process. There are various conditions about your roof that may limit your product choices or affect the cost of your roofing job. Here’s a list of questions and answers that are relevant to the reroofing process.

1.)  Do I need to obtain a permit to install a new roof on my home?
Some local ordinances require permits be obtained prior to the start of roofing work in both new and some reroofing jobs, depending on the locale. If a permit is required, discuss with your contractor who will obtain it and how it will be obtained.

2.)  Is it always necessary to tear off existing shingles before reroofing? If they are torn off, who is responsible for the disposal of the old shingles?
There are two options available for reroofing installations. One would be to tear off the old roof before applying the new one (tear off). The second would be to lay new shingles over the existing roof (lay over). While the second choice is the less expensive of the two options, it is not necessarily always the best choice.

There are advantages to tearing off the old roof before installing a new one. For example:
If there are any defects in the roof deck, they will be revealed when the roof is torn off. These defects should be repaired before applying the new roof.

If condensation problems exist in the attic, they too will be revealed when the roof is torn off. Properly designed attic ventilation can then be installed in order to help eliminate such problems.

When the old roof is torn off, waterproofing shingle underlayment can be installed before applying the new roof. This will help protect against leaks created by cyclical ice damage and wind-driven rain.
Tearing off the old roof and starting with a clean deck before reroofing may result in a smoother finished roof system.

Although there is added cost to these advantages, each lessens the likelihood that the validity of the manufacturer’s shingle warranty will be impaired. If the old roof is torn off, your contractor should be responsible for the cleanup and disposal of the old shingles, but make sure your contract states this clearly.

3.)  Why is it said that a roof should breathe? How can you determine if the roof is properly ventilated?
When contractors say a roof should breathe, they are usually referring to the ventilation system beneath the roof deck. Most shingle warranties require ventilation. An effective ventilation system will help: 

Reduce attic heat buildup
Reduce attic moisture and condensation
Prevent weather infiltration, i.e., drifting snow, wind-driven rain
Prevent ice dam build-up 

4.)  What function does shingle underlayment serve?
 Some local building codes and UL standards require that a shingle underlayment (also known as roofing felt) be installed. Also, some manufacturers offer a special water proofing underlayment product (such as CertainTeed’s WinterGuard) which prevents leaks caused by water backup from ice dams—a common condition in many winter snow areas. Protection against ice dams can be obtained by using a waterproofing shingle underlayment at the eaves or lower edges of the roof, in addition to installing adequate ventilation and proper insulation in the attic floor.

Solar Reflective Coatings

A roof is a building's first line of defense in controlling energy consumption. A solar reflective coating is a roof surface coating that lowers the surface temperatures of the roof dramatically, resulting in greater comfort inside the building and less demand on air conditioning equipment, resulting in lower energy costs. These solar reflective coatings are typically a white roof coating consisting of a polymeric binder blended with pigments and other additives or silver containing asphalt, pigment flakes and pure aluminum resulting in a silver reflective coating. Solar reflecting coatings provide two main benefits: 1) protection of roof membranes, for longer roof life cycles; and 2) reflectivity of solar radiation (amount of solar energy that is reflected away from a surface), for lowering of air conditioning costs.

White roofs reflect the sun’s heat and black roofs soak it in.
That’s the key advantage offered by a white solar reflective roof surface. Testing conducted on a sunny day at 100°F ambient temperature shows that the surface temperature of a roof topped with a black membrane can reach 180°F while a gravel roof can be as hot as 145°F. A roof with a solar reflective coating will reflect the sun’s heat, staying significantly cooler at 90°F, contributing to a cooler indoor environment and reducing peak cooling demand up to 15 percent. As "green" building standards (such as California’s Title 24 requirements) become more prevalent, products that contribute to reduced environmental impact become more necessary.

Solar reflectance isn't the only property to look for in a roofing material. It should also have a high infrared emittance (the amount of absorbed heat energy that is radiated from a surface) to help the roof shed heat by re-radiation.

Solar reflective coatings can either be applied to the roofing membrane at the factory, such as CertainTeed’s CoolStar line of solar reflective roof membranes, or after the roof is applied to the building, such as CertainTeed’s FlintCoat –A 300, FlintCoat –A Plus and FlintCoat –W. The advantage of a factory pre-coated roof surface is that it allows for a hassle-free, one-step field application. Once the roof system is applied, the job is complete. This one-step installation helps reduce labor costs because there are no costly time delays for application of multiple coats. Applying the roof solar reflective coatings after the roof system is complete is typically accomplished with the use of a roller, brush or with conventional airless spray equipment and the coating dries to a tough, flexible elastic film.