How Can Roofing Cool Down your House or Building?

What does cool down your house have to do with roofing? Summer is here. It’s hot in Woodland Hills, Pasadena and most local cities. The beach towns like Santa Monica and Malibu might be cooler but can you cool your home with your roofing? There are a few ways to help control the temperatures inside your house, and yes, chief among these is via your roof.

If you have a flat roof, assuming it’s a smooth surface (and not a gravel roof) – you can paint it with white elastomeric roof paints that reflect the sun. This isn’t rocket science and certainly can be a DIY project but it is hard work and, surprisingly, it’s easy to get it wrong and waste a ton of money – the paint is not cheap.

Having done a few hundred of these I have found a few things that can help you produce a job well done, whether you do it yourself or hire a professional roofer, like J and J Roofing, my company.

First of all, the roof doesn’t necessarily have to be washed but it does need to be clean and the cleaner, the better. For example, if you recently had rains, your roof is probably pretty clean and if you brush out any sediment (from puddles) and use a blower, you should be fine, otherwise, hose it down and let it dry until at least the next day.

It takes two coats and I use a roller with a thick nap which holds more paint.  There’s no real technique here, just try to be even with it and if you see a wavy pattern, you’re probably trying to lay down too much. Do not try to do this with one coat of paint, no matter who tells you different.

First of all, every single manufacturer recommends two coats and I have found through much experience it’s absolutely necessary. One coat is just not thick enough. Nor can you really lay
one coat down, properly, thick enough.  I have tried, believe me. You’ll just end up with a wavy coat that attracts dirt.

Generally, you want to figure on using at least two gallons per square (a square being 10×10 feet, and is how roofing products are often measured). I personally recommend about 2.2 – 2.5 gallons per square. You really can tell the difference and at three gallons, it will last a very, very long time (10 years or more).  So for example, on a 1500 square foot roof, I would lay down about 1.5 gallons per 100 square feet, on the first pass.  Then use the balance, about 0.8 gallons per 100 square foot, on the second pass the following day (or, several days if it’s not hot and dry out).  So, in total, I’d use around 35 gallons. It comes in 5 gallon pails.

There are quite a few brands of the paint and your best bet is to go to an actual roofing supply yard. We use Burbank Roofing Supply, for example. You don’t necessarily have to buy the most expensive one or the most reflective one – they are all pretty close in terms of the ability to reflect the sun. I would say you’d get an overall better job by buying a less expensive product, and using more of it, than using less of a superior product.  My favorite brands are Sunshield (by United Coatings), Tropical, and APOC (APOC usually is the most expensive).

 

In the years that follow, try to keep it clean, and hose it down a couple times just before and during the summer. Of course, if it gets dirty it tends to lessen its ability to reflect the sun.
Matt Glass is one of the owners of J and J Roofing a Los Angeles Roofing Contractor. He enjoys sharing his roofing knowledge with anyone who wants to know… J and J Roofing services most of Southern California from homes in Woodland Hills, Pasadena to beach cities like Santa Monica and Malibu.

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How to Choose a Roofer Whether you are in Pasadena, Malibu or the San Fernando Valley

J and J Roofing, servicing Pasadena as well as Malibu and all of the San Fernando Valley, is known for their premiere work as a roofer. Here, one of the owners, Matt Glass, explains how to find a roofer that you can trust – for cost, quality and service.

This is the second in our series about this important factor of choosing a roofer for your home. Remember you only need a roof every 30 years or so, so you must choose your roofer wisely. At J and J Roofing we have been fixing and replacing roofs for over 20 years.

jandjroofing in Los Angeles

Choosing a roofer should be done the same as choosing any other sort of contractor, but I have given you a few ideas here and in my last blog.  The most important thing I want to emphasize is to do your homework and do not choose a roofer that you are not certain you want to work with.

Getting very definite references about your new roofer is the best way to decide. There are a few other points. Some would say experience.  Well, you can ask a roofer how much experience he has but aren’t many ways for you to verify it and I doubt any roofer is going to say “well I just got started.”   It is fine if the company has been in business for 20 years, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the guy you’re dealing with has been.  Maybe he was selling used cars three weeks ago.

However, if you can verify it, or you believe the person, then experience is a big deal in roofing.  There are so many products that only experience can give one the broad range of knowledge to properly deal with them.  For example, it’s little consolation that your roofer did a “mechanically” excellent job of replacing 10 broken tiles on your roof and solved your leak problem – but the color he chose is totally wrong.  Don’t laugh, this scenario happens all the time and while the reasons are myriad, the point is that a roofer with a lot of experience will usually avoid these mistakes for you.

Make sure that you verify his license is in force by going to cslb.gov.ca (the .ca represents California so input whatever your state is), ensure he has no complaints, ensure he has a bond, proper workcomp insurance (for ALL his employees, not just him) and you can also verify whether he has liability insurance, if you care.

Liability insurance is a good idea, although not required by law.  Commercial property owners, HOAs and people worth a lot of money with a very valuable property, for instance, should insist upon liability insurance. Note that a contractor with liability insurance will usually cost a little bit more than those who don’t have it, as it is pretty expensive.

Of course, ask your friends, your neighbors, your realtor, doctor and so on if they have recently had a good experience with a roofer What you want to do is, ideally, come across a name that just keeps coming up.  If you’re local supplier recommends Joe Blow Roofing, your doctor or pastor does, his references love him and he’s highly rated on line – you have found a roofer who will probably do a good job and has decent prices but above all who you know will at least take responsibility because he’s got a reputation to keep – a very valuable thing.

If you find a roofer that no one seems to know or talk about, and he’s not very busy, these are not good signs.  If he’s not busy, it suggests a lot.  If no one knows him, he has no rep, he probably has little to lose and when you have a problem with his work, you will likely find the “dreaded” disconnected phone number.  It’s just like walking into a new restaurant you’ve never tried, at 6:30pm, and there’s no one there and it smells like bug spray.  If it looks bad, and it smells bad, walk away.

Your Goal: In essence, your goal is finding a roofing company with an excellent reputation and he will do anything to protect his good rep.  He and his roofers – probably make mistakes.  Not many mistakes, but we all do.  The question is not whether or not you can find the perfect roofer who never does anything wrong, the question is whether or not you can find a roofer who will ensure it all ends up right, and not make you pay for it when things go wrong.

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How to Choose a Los Angeles Roofer

At J and J Roofing (a premier Los Angeles roofer) we have been fixing and replacing roofs for over 20 years. Based out of the Los Feliz and Silverlake area of Los Angeles, our roofing company services the entire LA area. Our family-owned business is operated by John, Mike and me, Matt Glass. Eighty percent of our business comes from customer referrals.

Getting a referral from a friend or business you trust is, bar none, the best way to choose a roofer. But if you had a referral, you probably would not be reading this blog. You would be scheduling an appointment, right now. Other than referrals from friends or a local roofing supplier, like Burbank Roofing, you also should ask your prospective roofer for references in your neighborhood.

Always remember to check his legal rudiments – licensing, insurance, etc. Below, I will go into the details of these points. But most importantly, go with your gut. If you feel that you might not trust the guy, call someone else.

There’s probably not a huge difference in how you choose a roofer versus any other sort of contractor, but here are a few tips.  The overriding doctrine here is to do some homework and find a name that several entities recommend.

Ideally, you will choose your roofer when you have some time, like in the early fall, before all the rains come and you have an “urgent problem”.  You don’t have to hire him then, just keep his name handy or you could have him come out and just inspect your roof – there should be no charge.  In the off season, he won’t be busy and even if it’s a “waste of time” he won’t mind (I don’t).

It gives me an opportunity to make contact with you and hopefully secure you for when you really do need a Los Angeles roofer but even still, you never know – I may find something wrong with your roof that you didn’t even know was there and you’ll be glad to get it fixed, cheap, in the off season, before it leaks, ruins your ceiling and your grand piano!

Get referrals, as many as possible. In fact, ask the roofer for references he can possibly throw at you that lives within 10 miles of you.  If he can’t give you more than three, then it’s not a good sign. And these should be people with phone numbers who have agreed to be a referral.

Call the local roofing supplier.  Ask him for the three best roofers he knows in your area.  It’s not a guarantee, but there’s a good chance that the local supplier is not going anywhere, has a reputation, etc., and is not going to refer you to a bad roofer or some guy who just got started and has no reputation.  He’s likely to refer his three biggest clients which is not a bad thing.  If a roofer is buying a lot of material, it means he is doing a lot of business which means a lot of people choose him over others.  It’s not a guarantee but it’s a start.

My next blog will go into more detail on this important process in your home ownership and how to choose a roofer that you can trust. You usually only get a new roof once for your home (unless you live in it for over 30 years.)

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How Long Does a Roof Repair take?

Roof Repair in the Los Angeles area is typically a simple job – which is rarely needed – due to the mellow weather in the area. In the past year there have been a few wind storms through Pasadena, ripping up roofs. But this is the exception, not the rule…

Repairing a typical roof leak can take as little as thirty minutes.  Roof maintenance usually takes at least an hour or so, and can include things such as: re-sealing all vent pipes, cleaning out gutters, removing any debris, clearing away tree branches and checking roof for random penetrations, cracks, damage, etc.

The first thing any homeowner should do is learn how to correctly identify the name for the roofing material they have.  This isn’t terribly difficult and can be done be searching the various terms on the internet and simply matching the photos.

The most common roof type is a composition shingle, known variously as dimensional shingle, 3-tab shingle, comp, shingle, and comp-shingle.  This is your typical, flat, asphalt shingle and the word “composition” refers to the fact that some time ago manufactures introduced fiberglass into the asphalt shingles to make them stiffer, more durable, and fire resistant and hence they are a asphalt-fiberglass composite.

Ordinarily comp shingle roofs need little maintenance and take care of themselves.  The most common problem we find is the need to reseal vent pipes.

If your roof has become damaged and needs repair, with a comp shingle roof it’s usually simple.  If a tree branch managed to work a few shingles loose, repairs can be done within an hour.  It’s good to have an extra bundle of your kind of shingles stored somewhere (in the garage or the shed) so that you always have the correct type and color on hand.  Sometimes shingles are discontinued and in any case, any roofer is going to give you a break if he doesn’t have to go to the supplier to buy material.

If you have a leak on a comp shingle roof and lack the confidence to chase it down, or don’t like going up on your roof, call your local roofing professional and get a quote.  Roofing is one of the few service industries that will still offer free quotes – even on a small repair.  Roofers are interested in building relationships. They want to be your roofer for a long time so even though they may make very little money coming out, doing an estimate, then coming back and doing a repair maybe a week later (all for maybe $250 – 300), they want you to call them every year or two to maintain your roof.

A few roofing companies avoid repairs and are primarily interested in re-roofing.  If you call a company and tell them you want to have a leak fixed and they are not eager to handle it for you, call someone else.  Also note that these companies are usually not too interested in building relationships and it’s best to have a roofer that will be willing to repair your roof.

 

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NEW FLAT ROOF TECHNOLOGY

All the Los Angeles cities have flat roofs, from Silverlake to Beverlywood and Malibu. Flat roofing is an often misunderstood area, perhaps because most people never see a flat roof and always see slanted roofs with tile or shingles.

The two most commonly used and least expensive flat roof types are known as torchdown and hot tar. At J&J Roofing, while we’re always looking for new technology, we do not make our clients guinea pigs.  However, GACO Roof Products, which has been around since the 50s, has a product that we’re warming up to.

The short story is that it’s a method for re-roofing a flat roof without removing it.  The product is silicone based, and they boast that it was used on the Saturn V rocket to shield for re-entry.  They offer a 50-year-warranty and it’s ultra-reflective to boot. Reflective roof coatings are often chosen for the ability to lower energy usage in the home or office building.

Flat Roofing Repair by J and J Roofing

Flat Roofing Repair by Los Angeles Roofer J and J Roofing

This product doesn’t work for every flat roof scenario but will for many and where access is difficult, or for whatever reason a tear off is undesirable (you have open ceilings and debris would fall in, it’s a production studio, noise or dust is a problem, and so on) it can be a good solution.  It is not a cheap product in fact, it’s very expensive however it tends to cost a little less than a traditional tear off and re-roof in some instances so it’s affordable.

Remember that it is essential to have your roof inspected regularly to verify when you will need to replace your roof. J and J Roofing can tell you what approach will be best for you. Call us at 877 7MY ROOF to set up a free estimate.

Matt Glass is one of the family owners of J and J Roofing who are known throughout Los Angeles as a high-quality yet affordable roofing company servicing all of LA including Beverlywood, Silverlake, Malibu and all places in between.

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How Do High Winds Affect Roofing in Los Angeles?

The recent winds may have affected your roofing in Los Angeles and here’s the skinny on checking it out…

If your roof is older, and you experience wind gusts in the 50+ mph range you can lose shingles and sometimes even tiles.  In addition to this, a surprising amount of debris can collect on flat roofs which can cause drains to clog or other problems.

Sometimes the damage is easy to spot but often there are sections of roof which are difficult to see, especially on a two-story home.

Damage is not limited to older composition shingle roofs.  Sometimes when wind gusts are just right, roof damage can occur where you wouldn’t expect it, even with a newer roof (though this is rare).

And of course the most common source of wind damage is from tree branches either rubbing or falling on a roof.

The trick is, to get your roof inspected and the damage reported before the one year statute of limitations imposed by most insurance companies.  But that’s assuming the damage is major; very often it’s just a shingle or two and is easily and cheaply fixed.

Be sure to check out your roof for any damage after heavy winds or if you want a Los Angeles Roofing Professional to do it, give us a call.  877 7MY-ROOF

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Roofing Value – How a new roof is a good investment, in certain cases

Where do you live? Homes in different parts of the city have different expectations, depending upon the area. One would expect a high end roof in the nicest neighborhoods of Encino,  Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Tarzana and Woodland Hills. Whereas, most roofs in Northridge or North Hollywood are not expected to look expensive.

There are certain circumstances where it’s relatively certain that you will be spending your money wisely if you replace your roof. For example, if you are certain you will sell your home, but not immediately, say, you intend to live there a few more years and your roof is leaking in several spots, worn out and you’re facing a substantial repair bill, you’re probably better off replacing it.

Roof Repair vs New Roof

Opting for a repair may stop the leaks, but if you go to sell in a few years, that money spent on repairs will be effectively lost when the buyer is told the roof needs replacement, which he will.  They will almost certainly get an inspection which states the roof needs replacement, and negotiate new roof costs into equity credit – a reduced price.

Of course, they may not succeed in getting all the credit, every real estate deal is unique, but it’s not going to help you either.  A worn roof does not usually look very nice and therefore it reduces curb appeal and selling a home. In this regard, is much the same as selling anything else – it’s a product in a market and if no one wants your product, if you have few buyers, you may end up with a lower price.

Every situation is unique and there can be circumstances where you can get away with just repairs even when replacement is obviously required.  If it’s a flat roof, it’s not visible, and you can just repair it relatively cheaply to stop the leaks until you sell then you might skip replacement.  You will probably lose something in the sale since this will come up, but perhaps not the entire cost of a new roof and even if you did, you’ve not lost much, especially if you were not in a position to afford it in the first place and were required to get a loan to cover the costs.

If you’re going to live in your home long term then of course it becomes a no brainer, but I am often asked “when to repair, when to replace?”  Not everyone can afford a new roof, which probably averages about $7500.00.  But if 2-3 reputable roofers tell you that your roof has only 3-4 years left, and the repair estimates are equal to roughly 10% or more of the replacement price then should probably just replace it.  There’s little sense in spending so much money to repair a roof that will only last 3 years.

You should just invest that money in the new roof.  You are guaranteed against leaks, you will not have wasted money on repairs and you will never have to spend money on your roof again (most roofs nowadays are guaranteed for 25 to 50 years – far longer than your average person lives in the same residence).  Even if you were required to get a loan to secure the funds for a new roof, it’s possible that over a 3-4 year period, the interest on the loan would roughly equal the repair costs and the advantage here is that you get to live with this new roof during that time period.

Also, it is important to understand that when your roof is in its’ final years of life, it is not uncommon to face repair bills every year and indeed, shingle roofs can be impossible to properly repair in their final years because the shingles become too brittle to fix.

Last but not least, if you’re going to sell your home immediately and you need a new roof, it may be a wash as to whether or not you should replace it.  However, if it leaks all over the place, these are things that you’ll have to disclose so you should consult your real estate agent on this as they are experts in this area.

Los Angeles roofer, Matt Glass, is co-owner of J and J Roofing. In this blog series he shares his years of roofing information he has from roofing homes in all Los Angeles areas including Altadena, Sherman Oaks, Burbank, Studio City, Tarzana, Woodland Hills, Northridge, Pasadena, Encino, Los Feliz and Silverlake.

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Does a New Roof Affect the Value of My House?

Different areas of Los Angeles have different roofing standards – for example Burbank and Glendale, where in certain areas the entire neighborhood has Slate roofing or Spanish tile.

As a roofing contractor I do a great deal of inspections and reports for real estate agents and people who are making offers on homes. The function of the report is, of course, to determine the condition of the roof but the objective of this is usually for the buyer to negotiate funds for fixing items in the house which need replacement.

An example of a bad roofing tiles in Glendale.

If you’re not selling or buying a home (you’re just a normal homeowner intent on staying put) and want to replace your roof to increase your home’s value, it is doubtful you’d accomplish very much (say, versus an updated kitchen). But if your roof is leaking and visibly worn out, it’s a moot issue because a the investment in the purchase of a new roof will certainly keep your home from decreasing in value. Additionally, you will avoid further repair costs to your existing roof as well as any possible costs of repairing damage inside the home caused by your leaky roof.

New roof replacement with a premium roof?

If you replace your ordinary roof with a premium roof, such as a tile, you probably will increase the value of your home because if nothing else you’ve improved it’s curb appeal (unless you have odd tastes and install something that few people would like). But there are limits here and it’s hard to say if you’ll retrieve the additional cost you spent on this premium product. If you live in a slum and install a super expensive slate roof on your home that is out of accord with the rest of the neighborhood, it’s pretty certain that you will not increase the value of the home to the extent that you’d recover the additional costs incurred from that roof over say, an ordinary roof.

Conversely, you can devalue your home with your roof choice. If you currently have a nice Spanish tile on your home and you replace it with a composition shingle to save a few thousand, you will likely reduce the curb appeal and the value of your home. Especially if Spanish tile is the typical roof on your street.

There are certain areas of Glendale and Burbank, for example, where roofing with a nice Spanish tile or Slate roofing is the norm. That is not the neighborhood where you should conserve a few thousand dollars with a low-price shingle.

Los Angeles roofer, Matt Glass, is co-owner of J and J Roofing. In this blog series he shares his years of roofing information he has from roofing homes in all Los Angeles areas including Northridge, Pasadena, Sherman Oaks, Burbank, Studio City, Tarzana, Woodland Hills, Encino, Los Feliz and Silverlake for all roofing needs.

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(More About) How Long Will My Slate or Tile Roof Last?

In my last blog I was discussing this prevalent question about the longevity of a new tile or slate roof. Below you will see a picture of a new Spanish tile roof such that is sold at Burbank Roofing Supply, where contractors buy our materials.

Slate is a natural product. Some manufacturer’s make a smooth surfaced “slate” look (versus a rougher shake look) but it is just concrete or sometimes other man-made materials. Slate is completely different in look and feel and cost to a man-made slate imitation product.

Slate will be similar to one piece tile. (See my last blog.)  Many people believe that slate will always remain leak free longer than interlocking one piece tile and this is not, strictly speaking, true.  In fact, I can argue it’s the other way around.

The reason slate roofs have been observed to last 100 years or more, probably has more to do with a combination of simple factors that aren’t immediately obvious: slate roofs are usually steep and steep roofs last longer.

 

New Slate Roof Burbank Roofing

New Slate Roof

If you’re putting slate on, which is extremely expensive, you’re more than likely going to select the superior underlayment system of the time, a high quality crew (if for no other reason than low-quality crews usually avoid slate or have no idea how to do it) and a good contractor.

But all things being equal, the interlocking one piece tile will usually prevent more water from entering a system, on its own, than slate will.  If you don’t believe me then get 10 pieces of one piece tile, and 10 pieces of slate, nail them properly on a piece of plywood and hit it with a hose.  Take them off and see which one let more water through.

I’ve taken apart plenty of circa 1920s one piece tile roofs that had no felt under them, but I’ve never taken apart a slate with no felt under it.  It can be done under the right conditions but I doubt anyone would try it!

Because slate is natural stone, the slate itself will outlast manmade concrete tiles without question but we’re talking about how long the system will remain watertight.

Using upgraded rubber-modified felts will increase the life of the roof, particularly with a double layer.  There are other felts, particularly new synthetics which are not time tested.  I use them sometimes, under the right circumstances and I think they will hold up but they are not for every situation.  I don’t use synthetics under two-piece tile, at least, not by themselves.

My go-to choice most often is a double layer of rubberized 35 lb. or a torch-down roofing membrane.  I stopped using the non-rubber modified felts ages ago.  Since a double 35 lb. would only cost about $1500 more than a single 30 lb. or even a double 30 lb., it seems a small price to pay to ensure a very long lasting roof that you may never have to redo again.

AltaDena roofer, Matt Glass, is co-owner of J and J Roofing, offering roofing contractor services in all areas including Burbank, Studio City, Tarzana, Woodland Hills, Encino, Northridge, Pasadena, Sherman Oaks, Los Feliz and Silverlake for all roofing needs.

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How Long Will My New Slate Tile Roof Last?

While there are many homes throughout Southern California with tile and slate roofs, I was recently in Pasadena when a client asked me “How long will my roof last?”  I decided that I should answer this roofing question thoroughly. My home in Altadena has a tile roof, as well.

Slate tile roof underlayment

First, one must understand that in addition to slate or tile, a “felt” is installed on this type of new roof. A “felt” is a fiber mat impregnated with asphalt and is used beneath roofing materials to provide protection for the wood deck the roofing materials are placed on.  Tile or slate roofing is a watershed and a decorative roof covering. The actual waterproofing is provided by the underlayment, or felt installed underneath the tile.

I must say that there are so many variables with slate and tile roofing, that the answer is quite broad. I’ve seen a slate or tile roof last 23 years and would not be surprised if a few might last one hundred years. On the average I would say that what I’ve seen here in the SoCal area is maybe around 28 years.

This is largely due to the inferior felts available in the 80s to 90s as well as the low-quality roofer using a single felt, since that time.  A good tile roof can and should last longer than that.  Any tile roof I install should be expected to last 45 to 90 years.  I always use high-quality felts, and double them up. If you’re going to spend that much money on a roof, you should not have to buy a new roof again in your lifetime.

A tile is manufactured while slate is natural stone. There are many kinds of tile, but in principle, there really are just two types; one-piece, and two-piece. One piece tile is usually concrete, sometimes lightweight concrete, and they interlock.  They are called one-piece because it only takes one piece of tile connecting to the next to make the “system”.

Two-piece tile is your traditional Spanish tile, and it is called two-piece because in order for it to work as a system, two pieces must be involved (even though the pieces are fundamentally the same).  Each tile is shaped the same but some are flipped upside down and made as “pans” – the channels between the tile rows – down which the rain will flow to the gutter.

It’s important to understand that with tile the felt underneath should be thought of as the principle barrier against rain.  Whereas, for composite shingles and flat roofing, it is not, it serves a different purpose, either as a vapor barrier, or in the case of flat, a vapor barrier and a suitable surface to melt your tar to.

Back in the day, one piece tile was sometimes installed without felt and, it worked, if you knew what you were doing you could make a one piece interlocking tile system not leak without the use of any felt.  But with a two-piece system (Spanish tile), you must have the felt and it must be good felt and a double layer.  All tile and slate nowadays is installed with felt, normally one is used and better roofers use two layers.

Since the felt is perhaps the single most important factor, I will suggest some roof life expectancies based on the types of felts that are widely available and used.  This is a rough guideline and, naturally, will vary depending upon your situation:

•    30 lb. felt: 15 to 20 years
•    30 lb. felt x 2 layer: 20 to 30 years
•    35 lb. rubber modified felt: 20 to 25 years
•    35 lb. rubber modified felt x 2 layer: 35 to 75 years
•    105 lb. flame applied smooth torch (rubber): 50-plus years, under the right conditions, could last over 100 years.

You can expect the lower numbers with two-piece tile, as it won’t last as long.

The bottom line is that because we used a double felt on his new roof – that owner in Pasadena can expect to have his roof last well past his stay in his home.

AltaDena roofer, Matt Glass, is co-owner of J and J Roofing, also servicing all areas including Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Woodland Hills, Pasadena, Tarzana, Burbank, Encino, Northridge,  Los Feliz and Silverlake for all roofing needs.

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