Welcome back, Houston: summer is here. No one knows the true oppression of the heat quite like we do (we share the same latitude as the Sahara Desert, for pete’s sake!) On average the temperature in July is 92°F, and that only goes up once August hits, so what are we to do? We might have our lemonade, our air conditioning, maybe a nice cold beer… but what else is there to save us from these crazy heat patterns?
Got your attention? Good. Us folks at Elite American Roofing & Restoration are here to talk about cool roofing systems and just what they can do for you, either this particularly hot summer or in the years to come.
I’d imagine you have questions; you should. After all, what all can cool roofing really do for you? For long time residents in Houston, you’ve probably lived through some particularly treacherous summer heat systems so it might seem pointless. Is it really that effective? Are there options for you? Is the cost truly worth it? Let’s dive in…
No Matter Where you are, There are Options for you
The question “is there really anything I can do where I am?” is a valid one. After all, one thing that people in the Houston area slowly accept over time is that the heat will be there. If there was an option to make that better when it came to the materials of our roofs, we would’ve done it by now, right? Maybe it boils down to an “out of sight, out of mind” explanation. Either way, let’s not give up right off the bat: there is something for you!
Let’s start with some definitions: low-slope roofs and steep-slope roofs. Low-slope roofs are the styles of roof that you’ll typically find in non-residential areas. This includes the industrial sector, school buildings, business areas, and so on. Steep-slope roofs are what you find dominate more in the residential sector. Of course, the options are going to differ between those two. With the vast sea of options, we’ll delve into a few of the most popular:
- Roof coatings – It might seem obvious what this implies, but consider these as paint-like coatings that help reflect ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun. On top of this, some can also aid in protecting from water damage. Outside of being available in a large array of different materials to suit your environment, this method can also be applied to low-slope and steep-slope roofs.
- Single-ply Membranes – Single-ply membrane technology comes in two main variances (each with their own pros and cons): EPDM (Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer) and Thermoplastic. This style of roofing is well known for its durability and weatherproof qualities and is far more prevalent in the commercial industry.
- Shingle roofs – It goes without saying that as far as the residential market goes, shingle roofs are the juggernaut of the roofing industry. As a highly-affordable cool roofing method, it is to be expected to have the drawback of durability as well as a fairly low solar reflective index (SRI) of around 30%. While this seems to be an unfortunate trade, there are a fair amount of options to help including (but not limited to) specially made cool asphalt shingles to provide better UV reflection.
- Metal roofs – Obviously, metal roofing will be higher in cost than shingle roofs. However, this is more than made up for by a much higher SRI (around 70%). On top of that, metal roofing has shown to be far more durable and – bonus points – fully recyclable by the end of its lifetime.
Are There any Environmental Benefits?
It might not be on the forefront of everyone’s mind, but there is something to say about a system that promotes the environment instead of harming it. But how much help can cool roofing be for the environment?
- The “Urban Heat Island” is a thermal effect which states that condensed urban areas are naturally much warmer than surrounding suburban and rural areas. Given the reflective nature of the materials, cool roofing systems can assist in reducing the temperature in the nearby area.
- Reducing the need for energy use during “peak hours”, which can help with the overall usage in the neighborhood.
- By reducing use of AC units, we reduce a myriad of emissions such as carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and mercury. This alone can be huge for the overall environment!
Is There a Financial Drawback, then?
Obviously, with the vast amount of options, it’s hard to really pinpoint the pricing of a cool roof for your house, business, or establishment. However, with such a need for reprieve in the Houston area, it’s even harder to say that it’s not worth it to consider cool roofing. Off the top of my head, a couple of monetary perks include:
- Extended Durability: With the higher quality comes the lower rate of repairs and the terrible costs that come with that.
- Reduced Energy Bills: Sources say that homeowners can save anywhere from
7-15% over time. The larger the site of installation, the more that number means!
Any more questions? Don’t worry, there’s bound to be at some point, and that’s
what we’re here for at Elite American Roofing & Restoration: the information to answer your questions and the tools to help take care of you. Whether you’re starting from scratch or just thinking a littler cooler for next summer, Elite has you covered.