During the summer of 2008, we had an addition put on our house. We had a basic ranch style house, and wanted to add about 50% to the living area. However, we wanted to minimize both the disruption to our daily lives, and the demo and construction above the existing living space.
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After kicking around various roofline concepts, and working with our builder and his architect, we settled on a configuration that we were happy with. The new roof would ‘tee' into the existing roof (T). However, this left a slope that was marginal for use of standard shingles. Architectural shingles would work, but I had a concern about ice dams and water damage, since we live in NH, where this is a common problem.
My wife was not very keen on metal roofs, but I felt there were several advantages over shingles. I personally liked the clean look, low maintenance, snow shedding, and fire resistance. As we were driving around, she started noticing all the houses with metal roofs, and the idea started to grow on her.
When we solicited quotes from the various contractors, I requested the quote include metal roofing as an option to architectural shingles. With the contractor that we selected, the difference was only a few hundred dollars, since he proposed installing over the existing shingles on the old part of the house, thus eliminating the removal and disposal charges. So we choose to execute that option.
My builder proposed Fabral Grandrib 3. There are many different colors and styles, even within the Fabral brand. And, depending on the color you select, and when you do your roofing project, there can be an energy tax credit, since the metal roof will reduce heat gain, and thus lower your air conditioning bill (I think tax credit currently covers 2009 and 2010, see: http://www.fabral.com/news.php#article-21). We selected Evergreen for our house so it would blend in more with the trees and foliage. I also like the Caribbean Blue, but my wife vetoed that selection. Color didn't matter so much to me; I now had the metal roof I wanted.
The Grandrib comes in either steel or aluminum, with steel being more commonly used, and probably less expensive. The paint system is called EnduracoteTM 2000, with a 30 year fade and chalk warranty on the color coating. It has a lifetime integrity warranty, and a 10 year warranty on edge rust. This product has an excellent reputation, and a great warranty to back it up.
The installation appeared to go very quickly. The panels are about 36" wide and are continuous from the ridge to the gutter. The panels were easily cut using a jig saw with the proper blade. Each panel overlaps the next at a raised rib, and is screwed down along that raised rib using screws with a rubber washer. Installations of some metal roofs attach only at the top edge (standing seam), and if improperly installed, snow weight can tear out the screw hole and allow a section of roof to slide off. This is a very dangerous situation. With the Grandrib installation, the load is distributed over the entire roof, and this is highly unlikely to happen.
Now, let me share our experience after one winter. First off, when it rains, water does pour off the roof, since it is not slowed down like it would be with asphalt shingles; thus it overshoots our gutters, particularly at the two valleys. We tried to use a deflector at the valley end of the gutter - more on that later. Secondly, this past winter was the worst I've ever experienced for ice dams, and I've lived in NH for 20 years now. We had some early snow followed by the worst ice storm the region had experienced for as long as I could tell. This was followed by additional snow and melting cycles. Ice sickles on some buildings extended almost two stories.
Since this was the first winter after the new addition, I was very apprehensive. I expected to find water pouring in every time the temperature got above freezing. But I have to say, the construction was great, and the metal roof performed as we expected. So we did not end up with any evidence of water inside. I will tell you that we had a fair amount of ice build up at the edge of the roof and on to the gutters, mainly because of the rain deflectors that we added. As a result we had damage to one of the gutters due to weight of the ice. However, this was not the fault of the roofing material.
Also, during the winter, there was a critical point at which the friction holding the snow on the roof was exceeded by the weight of the snow. When this happens, large sheets of snow shed quickly from the roof. You need to be careful to plan for this, which we did, for the most part. If you have plants, structure, or accessories (AC unit or other outside equipment), make sure you consider snow guards (see http://www.glaciersnowguard.com/) . We will be adding some of these this summer in several areas where we still have concern, such as over the front entrance. This holds the snow back and prevents it from sliding off. The down side is the added snow load, but your roof should be designed for the expected snow load in your region of the country. I also think these will help with some of the rainwater run off by taking some of the energy out of the flow, and preventing overshoot.
Overall, we are thrilled with the performance of the Fabral Grandrib 3 roofing. I have no hesitation recommending this to my personal friends, or my friends here on EPINION. Plan your project around your site, using this material, and you should have a roof that will still be reliable even after you've left the house to your children.
(UPDATE 4/4/09) One thing I forgot to mention. A lot of people ask it it's loud when it rains. And to be honest, it's not any louder than the asphalt shingles. When it's raining hard, you hear it anyway. I think the perception that it will be loud comes for people being in an uninsulated shed or building. But with fiberglass insulation and drywall, the noise is significantly attenuated.
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