Saturday, January 23, 2021


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Home Improvement Tips


Greetings everyone and Happy New Year to those who celebrate by the Gregorian calendar. For those of you who celebrated earlier or will celebrate later, depending on your faiths, I wish you a Happy New Year! 

This week I will go over roofing materials and how to get the most long-term life from your roof. In our area roofing work typically stops or slows way down at this time of year, but with the warmer temperature it continues at times.

There are many different materials on the market today, but not all are suited for South Dakota.

Types of roofing materials

Three Tab Shingles: These are the most common type of roofing here in our area. They are made of tar-soaked material and then covered with sand. In most cases they offer a 15- or 30-year warranty on materials and offer medium to medium high fire protection from embers from any nearby fire. These roofs require a tar paper underlayment or waterproof membrane or a combination of both depending on the slope.

Architectural Shingles: These look a little like three tab shingles but are not the same. They are made of a base material that is more rigid and the exterior coating is more uniform. The coatings are cut and layered in a different manner. These shingles can offer up to a 60-year warranty when installed by a licensed contractor. These roofs require the same prep work as tab roofs.

Cedar Shingles: These are self-explanatory as they are made of cut cedar trees. I do not recommend them in any application anymore due to their fire danger and they are not a responsible choice in terms of the environment at all.

Metal Roofing: When done right metal roofing is a great choice. It can last as long as 80 years when properly installed and maintained. When installed with a membrane underneath and channels for carrying away condensation these roofs can be almost indestructible. The key is the prep work. Metal roofs of any kind will weep underneath and that moisture must have a way out. 

It is best to remove the old roof first and not lay over with ribs. This allows you to inspect your entire roof and replace any damaged materials before installing your new investment.

Specialized Solar Shingles: These are an awesome product, but beware as not all are the same or rated for all areas. These are singles that are solar panels that will allow you to go off-grid entirely or at least partially. The price is still higher than other materials, but it’s also more than just a roof.

In my opinion this roof type is not a DIY project as of yet due to cost and warranty requirements. In most cases they be installed by a contractor who specializes in off-grid installation of products of that kind. I can see the price coming way down in 1 to 3 years.

Composite Tiles: This product is not offered as much here in South Dakota but is great because the roof is designed to last as long as the house. This is roofing made from aircraft- and spacecraft-grade materials. The cost is lower than solar shingles but more than architectural shingles. They are designed to hold up against 250 mph tornado winds and thrown objects and are 100% fire proof. Some insurance companies offer discounts as high as 25% when installed and verified by a licensed contractor.

No matter what roofing materials you use, always avoid shortcuts and make sure you use the proper materials for slopes, valleys and ice damage prevention.

Gutters: Not everyone has gutters here due to our overall drier climate but they are a good decision and a must if you have a basement. Gutters and water moving systems move water off the roof and away from your home keeping your slab, foundation or basement dry.

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