What Type of Roof Do You Want?

Knowing the pros and cons associated with the two most popular types roof types, metal and shingle, is crucial before you begin on a project. Since my clients typically are not as aware of all the intricacies involved with either, I let them know what the advantages and disadvantages are for both, and once they have acquired the information, we all can meet and decide how to proceed.  Now, depending on whom you ask, some builders may prefer certain types of roofing material over another.

At the end of the day, the roof is probably the surface of most importance in your home, even more so than exterior walls. That being said, installing a new roof is a huge task and if done incorrectly, you could find yourself out of thousands of dollars for repairs. Plus, you really need to consider that any roof you invest in has to protect against Mother Nature in the form of possibly hailstorms, blizzards, and torrential rains.


So, why are there so many variables when it comes to materials to use for a roof? There are many reasons for this, but generally speaking, architects, builders, and homeowners all have opposing views on the types of materials they prefer on a roof as they all have different agendas. For example, homeowners are more concerned about the price and only want materials that will last as long a time as possible and functions efficiently. Builders are about those issues as well, but the primary objective for them is the price. With architects, however, the primary concern is aesthetics then functionality.


Of course, if you ask by industry, you are also going to get a different answer. Ask the asphalt industry and they will claim it is easiest to install, find, and maintain, as well as being easy on the eyes. Plus, it is far more affordable than other options. Building contractors and architects, however, claim that asphalt is popular because of its price tag, not the aesthetics, as they would more than likely suggest other options if given the opportunity.


It really depends on the product line, but generally, shingles have warranties attached to them that can last between 20 to as long as 30 years, although builders will tell you this varies greatly depending on the country and the upkeep fees associated with them. Builders prefer asphalt because it is a trusted, tried and true product that has been used for over a century in building homes worldwide. Another reason it is so popular is because homeowners also prefer it and so are comfortable with it being installed in their homes.


In terms of the money matters, asphalt is a more affordable option compared to other materials, which makes it ideal for entry-level housing or production housing. Plus, it is relatively easy to handle and there is no other roofing product that is easier to install. In some instances, asphalt can be installed in a single day by professionals. Even DIYers can use asphalt with ease, but it is advisable to have a professional do it in order to address any warranty issues. Should any problems arise, however, it is also easier to repair if it gets damaged.

Of course, basic asphalt is available for those that are trying to save as much money as possible, but there are also fancier styles that mimic slate or wood shakes. And there are a variety of colors to consider as well to make asphalt look even more aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Additionally, asphalt requires little maintenance and has a fire rating of Class A. Many manufacturers offer that their products meet requirements from Energy Star and qualify by federal standards as a cool roof, which means they are then eligible for tax credits.


For those that are fans of metal roofing, however, you are assured of the lightest material available for a roof, with extended longevity and warranties that can last more than 50 years. With metal roofing, you are afforded more protection against Mother Nature as a metal roof can last for approximately 60 years or longer. This is when spending a bit more money has its benefits.

Ring of Fire

You would be surprised at how often lately that my clients have requested fire pits in their backyards. It seems that people are wanting to spend more time at home entertaining guests and adding a fire pit is an easy way to have a get-together to enjoy the company of friends and family alike. If you are a DIYer and would like to know the process of making a fire pit in your backyard, I have some guidelines to take into consideration should you decide to take the plunge and build your own.


I’ve given instructions on spray-painting your fence, but I would say that this is only a bit more complicated than that and definitely won’t cost an arm and a leg either. You will have to go to your local hardware store and get a few essentials, however.


Purchasing Stones

After you decide how large you want your fire pit to be, then you will have to measure everything and select enough materials that match those dimensions. If you want to save a bit of time, I would suggest investing in palletized stone as it is pre-sorted and cut, with the stones more uniform in shape, size, and quality. You can also have the materials delivered directly to the site to save you even more time.


Preparing the Base


In the center of the fire pit, hammer a rebar piece, then cut a string piece that is half the length of the diameter of the fire pit. Then, make a loop on the string’s end, and next slip it all the way around the rebar. Next, loop the opposite end around a can of spray paint. Then, mark the circle’s circumference. Excavate 6 inches deep the area that is inside the paint.


Marking Footing


Next, cut another piece of string that is the same length as the initial piece minus the fire pit wall’s thickness. Attach string to the spray paint and rebar, marking the second circle inside the first one.


Pouring Footing


Next, you should prepare premixed cement according to the directions written by the manufacturer. The cement should then be spread between the inside and outside circles. The center area should be clear for drainage purposes. Keep adding cement and then level it until it is 1-1/2 inches below grade. Then tap 2-foot rebar pieces into wet cement until it is completely submerged around the footer. Then, wait until it is dry.


Laying First Course of Fire Brick

Once the first course is set into place, move on to the first row of firebrick. A layer of mortar should be trowelled inside the face stone’s edges, press the initial fire brick squarely into place. Next, apply mortar to the end of the next brick and then butt it against the first and press it into the mortar. Then, check for level and remove excess mortar as you are working. Continue this process until the first ring has been laid of firebrick.


Completing the Fire Pit Wall


You will next continue building by alternating layers of firebrick and face stone until you have reached the desired height. Then apply a mortar bed on top of the layer before of fire brick or stone and then set the bricks and stones.


Avoid weakness of the wall by staggering joints between subsequent and previous layers of brick and stone. Any gaps between the stone and fire brick should then be filled with stone scraps and mortar.