Month: March 2009

Metal Roofing Installation – Our Unique Approach

It is no secret that a metal roof, although designed to last a lifetime, is only as good as its installers. Additionally, metal roofing is a completely different animal than asphalt shingle roofs, cedar shake or even slate roofing, and to be able to install a metal roof correctly, you need a professionally trained metal roof mechanic.

Usually when a metal roof is installed by a seasoned roofer, who never worked with at least one of many types of metal roofing, the results are more than sad. The roof begins to leak with the first rain, the roofer’s reputation suffers and a very unhappy customer seeks to resolve the problems with the manufacturer, and files complaints with BBB, Angie’s List and other consumer protection organizations. Fortunately, all of these troubles can be avoided if a professional metal roofer is hired to do the job.

We understand the needs of home and business owners, and their demand for the highest quality of materials and installation. We hand pick the best materials and the most thoroughly thought-out roofing systems, and combine them with our unique installation methods, which in the end, provide you with a true lifetime roofing solution, and unmatched beauty for your home.

Examples of our unique approach to installation of metal roofing:

In the above video clip, you can see how we approach the installation of this residential metal roof in Revere, MA. As with most roofs, attic ventilation is crucial to the longevity of the roof, its wooden substrate and the health of the entire home, including its occupants. There are multiple ways to ventilate the attic space, but the most effective way is to utilize a ridge and soffit ventilation system, where the cold air enters the attic through the soffit vents, located along the eaves of the roof and escapes through the ridge vent.

However, the ridge vent is often the path through which the wind driven water can penetrate the roof, causing slow, but devastating damages to the roof’s framing. Since the amount of water coming through the ridge vent is usually insignificant, homeowners will not notice the leak for many years, at which point the damage has already been done, and repairs can cost thousands of dollars. It is very common that the wooden substrate is completely rotten along the ridge line, and so are the tips of the rafters merging at the peak of the roof.

The solution to ridge vent leaks:

Water-tight ridge vent system

Water-tight ridge vent system

We designed a special way to raise the ridge vent off the roof level by 3/4 of an inch. While insignificant in terms of aesthetics, this bump-out prevents the wind driven water to enter the ridge vent cut-out, while the ventilation still works just as efficiently as it would have otherwise.

Notice, that the custom flashing we use rests on top of a pressure treated 1×4 board. The flashing is inserted into the top lock of the last course of aluminum shingles, which makes it impossible for wind driven water to penetrate the roof. Just as an extra protection measure, we use┬ácommercial grade exterior caulking at the joins of top locks between every shingle.

Is Solar for you? Comprehensive Solar PV System Design Guide

Electricity in the 21st century.

Do you know how your electricity is generated? For a long time I kind of knew, but was too lazy to actually ask my father, who is a physicist, what exactly is going on in the power plant. Now it boggles my mind to live with the fact that in our modern time when an all-inclusive communication and Internet devices (iPhone, BlackBerry, etc.) is smaller than a deck of cards, we still use 19th century technology and basic principles to generate our electricity. Once you actually give this idea a thought, it becomes a shocking notion that our best minds have not been able to design a better way to generate electrical power than to burn coal and natural gas – two most commonly used sources of energy to create electricity.

Just in case you were wondering, coal or gas is BURNED to heat up water, which then becomes hot steam and drives the turbines. This is a basic principle and the actual process is more complicated, but even the “sophisticated” nuclear power plants work in a similar manner.

Note: I did know that electricity can be generated in the old fashioned way, but I actually thought that there was some kind of a mechanism to directly convert energy stored in gas / coal / oil directly “into” electricity, instead of emulating the old steam-engine – oops… It is a shame that our 21st century society is still burning fossil fuels to make the turbine spin.

Aside from the fact that we get our electricity the same way as before WW I, natural gas, oil and especially coal are extremely dirty fuels, emitting dangerous pollutants, which affect our environment in such a drastic way that just a couple of generations from today, our children may not be able to enjoy the outdoors the same way we can today. I won’t even start talking about climate change and global warming. On top of everything mentioned above, humanity is quickly approaching a worldwide energy crisis. Our oil reserves are getting depleted, and if you believe in “Peak Oil” theory, we are about to approach the peak of the curve, which means that oil will continue to become more scarce and prices will keep on rising.

Although coal is very abundant, it is also becoming more expensive to mine, and delivery once again involves burning petroleum based fuels, creating more and more pollution. It is obvious to most intelligent people (except those heavily invested in oil, coal, cars, etc.) that we need a clean, renewable source of energy. Despite what may seem like rhetoric about renewables, I do honestly believe that this is the way we will power our world in the future. However, the renewable energy must be affordable and/or competitive with current sources of energy.

Why Solar?

So what is the answer – what is a modern and clean way to generate electricity? Well, there are a few, and the most popular ones are Wind and Solar. My personal favorite is Solar, and here is why.

Wind Turbines require lots of open space and lots of (you guessed it) wind to work effectively. Although wind is a great source of renewable energy, and unlike solar can work at night, it is not “customizable” or adaptable for the urban environment. There is just not enough space or wind in the city.

Solar, on the other hand, works just as well in city as in the countryside. All you need is southern exposure with none or minimal shading. Solar can be installed on a roof of a skyscraper, on the ground or even on a roof of a car. Solar is also a scalable system, and you can add or remove PV panels and/or inverters at any time. The bottom line is that solar photovoltaic power generation is much more practical, and can be implemented almost anywhere that power is needed. Besides that, both ways of getting “free” electric power from renewable sources are great.