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Do Steep Roofs Last Longer?

When homeowners are in the market for a new roof, cost is often at the forefront of their minds. Many people assume that a steep roof will cost more, both in materials and installation. However, there are many advantages to steep-pitch roofs that can save you time and money in the long run. At Interstate Roofing, we want to share our experience with you to help you decide if a steep roof might be the right choice for your home.

What Is a Steep-Pitch Roof?

Contractors will typically refer to your roof’s pitch, or slope, with a set of numbers. The first number represents the vertical rise in inches, and the second refers to horizontal progression in inches. The most common slope is 6/12, which means that, for every foot, the roof rises 6 inches. An 8/12 roof is considered a steep roof, while something like a 4/12 roof is considered a low-pitch roof.

A roof with a steep pitch can make a home look elegant, but of course, as the pitch of the roof increases, material costs also increase. That’s why it’s important to consider the advantages of a steep-pitch roof beyond the initial outlay for extra material, such as whether it is likely to last longer.

Outdoor Grandeur and Indoor Options

From the outside, steep roofs are more visible. They can make a house stand out and look a bit grander and more singular. From the outside, too, there are more options for ornamentation on a steep roof. Roof caps, gables, and other artistic designs are available options on steep roofs but not typically low-pitch roofs. On the inside, the increased height of the roof will provide more attic space. Adding a closed storage area beneath the roof is an easy task for a contractor since the space is already available. The installation costs for this space are relatively inexpensive. If you’ve added enough space to the attic area with a steep roof, you could even convert that space into an office or an extra bedroom.

Energy Costs

You may be wondering, if the attic has more space—won’t the house cost more to heat? Surprisingly, the answer is no. Having a steep roof oftentimes allows for the installation of ventilation within the roofing system, which allows for easy airflow into the eaves and out of the ridge. By creating a constant flow of cooler air above the insulation but below the roofing material, air is allowed to circulate. The circulating air helps prevent ice from forming on the roof in the winter and keeps cooling costs lower in the warm months. Steeper-sloped roofs allow for more effective ventilation than a lower slope roof, due to the additional space.

Less Wear and Tear

Steep roofs offer a lot in terms of longevity. One of the worst roofing hazards is the pooling of water. On lower-slung roofs, water can sometimes collect instead of running directly into the gutters. This is simply the result of gravity. However, it can have devastating consequences over time. Standing water can erode roofing materials and cause decay. Those weak spots then turn into leaks. A leak in your roof is a no-nonsense emergency. A steep roof keeps any moisture moving quickly into the gutter and away from the foundation walls and roofing material.

This is true for snow as well. The well-ventilated roof system mentioned above prevents snow from melting and refreezing on your roofing tiles. Extreme cold and extreme heat are the two major causes of roofing wear and tear, and a well-ventilated roof system helps mitigate those extremes. The pitch of the roof also prevents snow from piling up too high. Have you ever wondered why so many mountain cabins use an A-frame design? The answer is that it’s better overall to have accumulated snow slide off your roof rather than collecting there until the weather changes.

As the increased slope of the steep roof uses gravity and increased airflow to keep your roof from experiencing temperature extremes, that same basic function can keep your roof looking tidy all year. Have you ever looked at your neighborhoods’ roofs after a fall or spring storm? It’s more likely than not that there are piles of debris caught on most of the medium- and low-pitch roofs. Wet leaves, sticks, and anything else caught in the wind can pile up for months if not attended to, making a home look unkempt. Steep-pitch roofs tend to stay cleaner and freer of debris. This is all to say that the increased pitch of a roof helps keep it cleaner, better looking, safer, and less likely to fail over time.

Cost and Maintenance

It’s true that steep-pitch roofs can cost more up front. The steeper the roof, the more material you’ll need. Steep roofs can also limit what material you may use due to weight considerations. Typically, tile and shingles work better than other materials on steep roofs. It’s important to consider, too, that steeper roofs are more difficult to maneuver around. Your contractors will have to work carefully, and the installation may take slightly longer.

Crucially, though, a large part of avoiding catastrophic failures in your roof—things like leaks, missing or torn shingles, cracks, and other dangers—is merely keeping an eye on your roof’s state of health. A steep roof provides a benefit here as well because it’s easier to frequently assess the state of your roof simply because you can see more of it from the ground. Noticing worn and weathered areas and addressing those minor repairs before they get worse can save you money and stress over time.

A steep-slope roof, once installed, provides a lot of self-regulating maintenance. For this reason alone, they tend to last longer than lower-pitch roofs. If you’d like to discuss the benefits of a steep roof, please contact us at any time or you can take a look through our portfolio of steep residential roofs. Interstate Roofing is here to answer any questions you may have.

Are Composition Shingles Energy-Efficient?

Everyone wants to cut down on their energy consumption. If you make a habit of turning off lights when you’re not in a room, run your air conditioning sparingly, and resist the urge to just soak in the shower, you’re likely already making some progress. When you’re a homeowner, you know that every choice you make has an impact on the energy efficiency of your household. If you’re looking for more areas to save, we can suggest something you may have forgotten: your roofing. While it might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re looking for ways to cut back on household energy consumption, your roofing actually has a major impact on how much you spend.

We get plenty of people asking us about what kinds of materials might fit their energy needs. Due to the wide usage of composition shingles, many people are curious if they are in fact efficient. The short answer is: yes! There are plenty of composition shingles designed with energy efficiency in mind, and many of them even meet the specifications to earn an ENERGY STAR® rating. If you’re thinking about installing composition shingles on your roof, or already have them and want to learn more, we have your back. As your local roofing experts, we’re happy to help bridge the informational gap. Here are some of the factors that make composition shingles energy-efficient, along with the benefits that come after.

Heat and Cold Resistance

The most important thing your roof can do to be more energy-efficient is to better insulate your house. The better the insulation on your house, the less energy you’ll need to spend in order to keep it within your ideal temperature range. At the end of the day, it’s a battle on many fronts. If you want to keep your home operating at maximum efficiency, you’ll need to ensure your walls have modern insulation material and your windows and doors are properly sealed to prevent air from leaking in or out of the house. It’s not just up to the roof to keep the elements out of your home, but it makes a significant impact on how much you spend on your energy bill.

In order to best insulate your house, your roof needs to prevent heat exchange from the interior of the house to the exterior. Preventing heat exchange is a problem year-round, as you’ll need to worry about the cold getting in during the winter just as much as the heat getting in during the summer. Many modern composition shingles are manufactured with this in mind, giving them the properties needed to be effectively heat-resistant. Particularly, those that have earned an ENERGY STAR® rating are a great option.

The Color Makes a Difference

The physical material your roofing is made from is a factor when it comes to energy efficiency, but did you know that the color can make a difference as well? Part of the reason that composition shingles are so popular is that there’s a huge variety of colors and styles, allowing homeowners to emulate other kinds of roofing without having to deal with the hassle or cost that they might entail. Some styles are more energy-efficient than others, however, and it’s worthwhile to consider how your aesthetic choice might have an effect on your energy consumption.

The long and short of it is that darker colors make for less energy-efficient shingles, while lighter ones are more efficient. The reason for this is simple, it ties back to the principle of sunlight refraction. Darker colors absorb most of the sunlight that hits them, converting the solar energy into heat. If you’ve ever walked down the street on a summer day and suddenly understood the phrase, “It’s so hot, you could cook an egg on the sidewalk,” you’re already familiar with the concept.

Unfortunately, not everyone considers this when deciding what they want for their roofing. If you go with a lighter color design, you’ll be able to increase your energy efficiency by increasing the reflectivity of your roof. Keeping the worst of the summer sun out of your home will allow your home air conditioner to work a little easier, meaning you won’t need as much energy to maintain your indoor climate.

Government Rebates

A more energy-efficient home has a direct impact on your wallet, in more ways than one. The first place you’ll feel it is, not surprisingly, in your energy bill. If you’re using less energy, you’re drawing less power from the grid. If you’re drawing less power from the grid, there’s less to be billed for. In addition to the savings on your future bills, the federal government offers tax credits to individuals who invest in making their homes more energy-efficient. If you’re worried about any additional sticker price on more energy-efficient composition shingles, don’t be. The tax credits offered can cover up to 10 percent of the cost of new roofing materials.

The goal of these credits is to incentivize more homeowners to update and utilize housing materials and appliances that meet energy requirements to drive down energy usage nationwide. This goes hand in hand with the ENERGY STAR® ratings, as a rating is aimed at helping people earn these tax credits. Many of the composition shingles on the market can meet the standards needed to qualify for both the rating and the tax credit.

So, are composition shingles energy efficient? Yes, they can be. Like so many other things, it comes down to your choice. If you want to use composition shingles for your roof, but also want to cut back on your energy usage, you just need to shop around for the right kind. Still curious about how to make your roofing more energy-efficient? Give us a call. Our expert roofers will be able to answer any questions you might have.