Boston roofing trends: What you need to know

Boston roofing trends: What you need to know

If you’ve been looking up in the Boston area lately, you may have noticed some roofing trends spreading across the East Coast.

Trend: Heated gutters

If improving the ventilation of your roof to prevent icicle formation isn’t in your budget, consider a heated gutter system. You may have seen—or use yourself—heated cables used on roofs to prevent ice buildup. Heated gutters follow the same principle.

With a cover to help keep leaves and debris out of your gutter, it’s an all-seasons bonus for this investment. You will, however, need to hire a separate electrician to do the wiring for the heating element, says Mark Negron of O’Lyn Roofing Contractors Inc. in Norwood. But the time, energy and worry you’ll save during the winter months could be worth the investment. Large icicles can rip your gutters off, which requires an expensive fix.

Trend: Green roofing

For energy efficiency, some consumers are turning to white roofs, says John Tempesta of Tempco Roofing in South Boston. Since white roofs absorb less heat, they can help keep energy costs down.

Negron says he recommends a Cool Roof, which is ventilated properly and reflects sunlight to reduce summer cooling costs. Right now, Cool Roofs are on the expensive side, but the cost is coming down, due to demand. If you’re looking for a tax credit, ask about sun reflective shingles.

Many Boston-area residents are also installing more skylights and solar tunnels, says Negron. Solar tunnels are a circular skylight tunnel that goes into hallways or rooms without a lot of natural light, making those spaces less dependent on electric lights.

Moving forward, keep an eye out for an influx of photovoltaic (PV) solar panel shingles. Negron says CertainTeed, one of the largest roofing manufacturers, recently announced their line of PV shingles, and he expects a continued growth of interest and installation requests from consumers interested in “going green” and keeping their energy costs low

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A word of warning to the unsuspecting Oregon homeowner having a new shingle roof installed--Oregon's Residential Building Code (since 2004) has required that asphalt shingles be installed using nails. Many roofers are apparently not aware of this requirement, as they continue to use the faster, cheaper staples. Doing so is against the law.

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