How Much Does A Standing Seam Metal Roof Cost?

steel-roofing

Many homeowners are ditching traditional asphalt in favor of a more durable and eco-friendly alternative: metal roofing. Quality metal roofing can last a lifetime with little to no maintenance, staying strong against harsh weather, rust, and temperature fluctuations. The products involved are often manufactured from recycled materials, and can be recycled when you remove them from your roof.

But the high quality of this premium alternative doesn’t come cheap, which can complicate the decision for many homeowners. There is also a range of metal roofing types and prices that can further complicate selection. If you’re at a loss for where to start, check out the most common type of metal roofing: standing seam. The following breakdown and price guide will help you make the right choice for your home and budget.

What is a Standing Seam Metal Roof?

As the name suggests, this type of roofing has distinct vertical seams where the metal panels connect to one another under raised fasteners. The panels are usually 12 to 19 inches wide. The seams are typically the most vulnerable parts of a roof, and since standing seam roofs lack horizontal seams and include protective fasteners over the vertical ones, they are less vulnerable than even metal shingles.

There are a few types of standing seam roof materials, including:

Galvanized steel (G-90 steel): This zinc-coated steel is the most common material used for standing seam roofing. The steel is strong and provides durability, while the zinc coating protects against corrosion.

Painted aluminum: Aluminum is the most affordable standing seam material. It may dent more easily than steel, but it offers quality corrosion resistance and can be painted in a variety of colors, which can allow for a more congruent aesthetic on any type of home.

 Galvalume steel: With a corrosion-resistant coating of zinc aluminum alloy, this type is as tough as steel and as resistant to corrosion as aluminum. It tends to be the most expensive type of standing seam roofing material.

Copper and zinc are also on the table but, due to the premium cost of these materials, they are not as common as steel or aluminum.

Red metal roof

How Much Does it Cost?

You’ll need to consider a few factors in order to determine the cost for a standing seam metal roof, including the following.

Materials: The average cost of standing seam metal roofing is $400 to $650 per roofing square (100 square feet). Call several suppliers in your area to get an idea of the cost of the material you’re interested in.

Installation: Most residential standing seam roofs are field-locked systems, which require a special seam locking tool and an experienced professional. Installation costs vary depending on where you live and the number of specialists there are in your area. You may also need to tear off your current roof in order to install a new metal roof, which requires a tear-off and disposal fee. In some cases, you may be able to install a metal roof over an existing asphalt roof and save money. Call installers in your area for quotes, but expect to pay at least a few thousand dollars for labor as a reference.

Roof area: To measure your roof area, you must first calculate the pitch, which is determined by how much the roof rises (vertical) for every foot it runs (horizontal). Use this roofing calculator to establish a ballpark estimate. Your roof area determines the amount of materials you will need and the labor that will be required. But you must also take the character of your roof into consideration. Steep slopes and unique characteristics may require special attention, which will cost you more when it comes to installation.

Total installed metal roofing costs can range from $125 to $1000 or more per square foot, so you will need to consider the factors above before attempting to establish a dependable estimate for your home.

Other Factors to Consider

If your home has good insulation and an efficient HVAC system, a metal roof can increase energy efficiency by reflecting the sun’s heat and cutting down cooling costs. Prospective homebuyers are interested in energy efficient features, and the aesthetic of standing seam roofs are also rising in popularity; therefore, installing a metal roof can also increase your home’s value. You may feel that it’s a bold design choice, but it’s certainly a sought-after one.

Metal roofing comes with many pluses, but it is also expensive and requires a highly qualified installer. Make sure to perform in-depth research and consider all advantages and disadvantages before committing to a standing seam metal roof, and leave room in your budget for additional equipment costs.

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5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Investing in Home Solar

Stylish solar panels

Minimizing your carbon footprint, increasing your home’s value, reducing your energy bill—there are countless reasons to make the switch to solar energy. And even though with increased rebates, you can recoup nearly your entire solar investment, purchasing solar panels still requires a considerable up-front cost. Before you make the switch to a solar-powered home, here are five important questions to ask yourself.

Is my home a good candidate for solar installation?

Before moving forward with installation, you need to confirm that your home is suitable for solar panels. There are three factors that will determine your home’s solar viability: roof structure, orientation, and shading.

Roof Structure: You need at least 300 to 400 square feet of clear roof space to accommodate the panels—preferably without skylights, pipes, or chimneys in the way.

Orientation: Roofs that face south, southeast, or southwest are the best candidates for solar panels. While some systems can be compatible with west- or east-facing roofs, they won’t produce as much energy. North-facing roofs are typically not feasible options.

Shading: Trees, neighboring homes, and other tall objects shouldn’t block sun exposure on your roof, especially between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., which are peak hours for energy production. Roof shading will impact how much energy your solar array can produce.

Is the weather in my area conducive to solar energy?

Even if your home is a good candidate for solar installation, you also need to know how your climate will affect your energy production. Solar energy relies on the sun for its power: if you live in a cloudy or rainy geographic area, you won’t be able to produce as much energy.

Arizona, Colorado, Hawaii, Nevada, and New Mexico are the sunniest US states, while Alaska, New York, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington are the gloomiest. In comparison, Arizona clocks in 193 clear days each year, whereas Vermont and Washington see only 58.

If you live in an overcast state, you can still benefit from solar, but you may need to install more panels to make up for the dearth of sunlight. Keep in mind that if you live in a cloudier state, you’ll likely use less energy for air conditioning than sunnier states. Minimal solar production could still balance out the costs.

Solar Panel Installation

Which type of solar do I want?

There are several types and styles of solar from which you can choose.

Mounted: The most popular are mounted roof solar panels composed of monocrystalline or polycrystalline silicon. Monocrystalline solar panels have the highest efficiency rates and last the longest, but they are also the most expensive, making polycrystalline a more popular option. Thin film solar cells are also popular for their low cost and portability, but they are not nearly as efficient, and they have a shorter shelf life.

Movable: Movable solar panels, also known as trackers, are an alternative to mounted panels. Although significantly more expensive than mounted panels, trackers can produce more power since they move to “track” the path of the sun. Not all solar companies offer trackers, so you will need to discuss this option with each solar company.

Shingles: Besides panels, there are also solar shingles. While they don’t produce as much energy as panels—and they can be pricey—they are a more discreet option if you don’t like the look of roof panels or aren’t ready to commit to large panels.

How should I pay for my solar panels?

There are three ways to pay for solar panels—cash, loan, or lease.

Cash: Cash is the simplest option. You pay the solar company for the entire cost of your home’s solar system. As solar systems cost anywhere between $15,000 and $45,000, you should calculate installation costs to see if investing this much upfront is a feasible option.

Loan: If you can’t afford to purchase a solar system in cash but still want to take advantage of the tax benefits, you can take out a loan—often with the solar company itself. You can pay a small down payment upfront and a monthly loan repayment fee.

Lease: You can also choose to lease your panels. In this case, the solar company owns the solar panels and you pay for the produced energy. You can save monthly on your energy bill without putting down a large investment, but you won’t be eligible for tax rebates.

What are the solar rebates and energy policies in my state?

The state in which you live affects how much you can save on a solar energy system, how difficult it is to connect to an energy grid, and how you’ll be compensated for the energy produced.

Other than the Federal Residential Renewable Energy Tax Credit, several states offer rewards programs and rebates, including California’s Solar Initiative, Colorado’s Energy Smart Renewable Energy Rebate Program, New York’s Residential Solar Sales Tax Exemption, and Texas’ SMART Source Solar PV Rebate Program.

States also have their own energy policies, including net metering (the compensation you receive for the surplus energy you create) and interconnection (the technical protocols involved in hooking up your solar panels to the grid). Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Oklahoma, and Tennessee received an “F” grade for renewable energy legislation and net metering, whereas California, Massachusetts, Ohio, Oregon, and Utah received “A” ratings.

After addressing these questions and establishing that solar is the right route for you to take, it’s time to hunt for a local solar company that meets your needs. Once your solar panels are in place, enjoy your low power bill and badge of sustainability.

This guest post was written by  by Clair Jones, an alternative energy specialist from SolarPowerAuthority.com.

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How Much Does a Geothermal Heat Pump System Cost?

While outdoor temperatures fluctuate according to the season, the temperature just below the earth’s surface remains stable year-round. A geothermal heat pump capitalizes on this stability by transferring heat between the earth and your house to provide indoor climate control during both cold and warm months. Unlike traditional gas furnaces and forced air systems, a geothermal pump moves heat rather than generating it, making it a more efficient and environmentally-friendly way to heat and cool your home.

how-heat-pumps-work

What Should I Expect to Spend?

Geothermal heating is highly efficient—but it’s also expensive. In addition to the materials, it requires the work of qualified HVAC and excavation specialists trained in geothermal heating installation. Make sure the professionals you hire have plenty of proven experience with this type of system, in order to make your home as efficient as possible and ensure that the benefits will be worth the financial sacrifice.

Here’s a breakdown that illustrates the basic costs of installing a geothermal heat system:

Home energy audit

Before you commit to this project, you should be aware of your home’s energy load and the improvements required in order for a geothermal heat pump to be most effective. If your home is not properly insulated or if the current ductwork will not support a geothermal pump, these are important factors to think about before you start the installation process. A home energy audit will cost you around $300 to $500.

The “indoor” portion

The indoor portion is comprised of the heat pump—which will cost you anywhere from $3,500 to $7,000 depending on the model—and the accompanying ductwork modifications or installation. If you have existing ductwork, the modifications will most likely be small.

The outdoor portion

The outdoor portion is the loop field, which consists of an underground pipe network that transports the heat to and from the earth or water supply to your house. This requires excavation and most likely a per-foot cost of pipe installation. Depending on the work that needs to be done and the whether the installation needs to be horizontal or vertical, this can put the overall cost anywhere from $10,000 to $25,000.

The reason it’s hard to find an exact figure online is that the costs of this project vary depending on several decisions you make, as well as outside factors. The size of your house, the available land, the type of soil, the climate, the usability of current duct work, and the type of pump you choose (some are more efficient than others) affect the overall cost.

geothermal-heat

How Much Will I Save?

Geothermal heat pumps may cost more than traditional energy, but they come with marked benefits. The operating costs are low, and efficiency rating is 400 percent—an incredible leap up from the typical 94 percent efficiency that a gas furnace delivers. This means you will get four units of energy for every unit of traditional energy. And these savings add up. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, you can recoup the cost of installation within two to ten years.

Other than choosing the right installer, the most important decision that affects energy output is purchasing the right pump. When shopping around, look for the Energy Star label, which shows that the product meets certain efficiency criteria. Different models offer different benefits. For example, you can purchase a model with two-speed compressors for better comfort and savings. If you want your heat pump to also heat water, you can add a small exchanger that uses superheated gases from the compressor.

Another factor that may affect your decision is the 30% federal tax rebate, which expires at the end of 2016. There’s only a short time remaining to capitalize on this financial incentive. Also keep in mind that there are financing options that can lighten the upfront load.

As you tally up the costs, keep in mind that geothermal heating systems are low-maintenance in the sense that they are not as susceptible to wear and tear caused by weather as traditional heating units.

How Do I Know if it’s the Right Choice for My Home?

Several unique factors determine the size, type, cost, and payoff of the system. Get in contact with a qualified installer and learn more about how geothermal heating pumps work before you decide if this is the right decision for your home and family.

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How Much Do Egress Windows Cost?

egress-windowsWhen it comes to protecting yourself and your loved ones from the danger of a home fire, egress windows are a life-saving feature, as essential as a fire alarm system. They must be large, close to the floor, and easy to open in order to function as an escape route and point of entry for rescue personnel. 

Building codes may vary slightly based on your location, but all require that an egress window be installed in every bedroom, as well as any basement sleeping room. Even if your basement does not serve as a bedroom, installing an egress window is prudent due to the potential difficulties of exiting a below-ground space in an emergency.

When it comes to your family’s safety, expense is no object; but as with any project, you’ll want to know what the costs look like so that you can plan ahead. Whether you are building a new home or looking to update an older home to enhance its safety features, check out the following cost guide to get a good idea of what you’ll be spending.

Bedroom Installations

For egress windows in bedrooms located on the first level or above, this project is fairly straightforward and inexpensive. If you’re looking at energy efficient products, installing an egress window should cost about the same as installing any window: between $400 and $1,000, including labor. Of course, the total costs will depend on how many bedrooms are in your home and whether you want to go above and beyond requirements by installing them in living areas as well.

Basement Installations

When it comes to installing basement egress windows, things get a little more complicated. If you have a sloping yard, you may be able to install your window above-ground, which is not much different from regular window installation. But below-ground applications, on the other hand, require digging into the ground and cutting away your concrete or brick basement wall, which means you have to think about permits and permissions from city utilities. It’s also very important than you hire a contractor with skills and references, because this is no DIY job. If it’s completed improperly, you can encounter moisture problems in your basement or even hit gas or electric lines while excavating.  

Due to the complicated nature of installing this type of egress window, the job will most likely cost you anywhere from $2,000 to $5,000.

If you’re in the midst of a basement renovation or a new home construction, the contractor and permit factors won’t be as big of an issue since they’re already a part of the job.

Keep in mind that a sliding basement door on sloping property can take the place of an egress window as a far as meeting building codes and providing an emergency exit. This is the only circumstance in which you do not specifically need an egress window to use a basement as sleeping quarters. 

DIY Installation Considerations

how-to-measure-windows

As mentioned above, basement egress window installation is a demanding job that requires skill with concrete cutting and awareness of building codes. But there are certain steps you can perform yourself that will save money. For example, once the contractor has marked out the area that will need to be dug, you can save about $500 by digging it yourself. If you do have experience with concrete and want to do the job with your own two hands, you will need to rent a concrete saw, which will cost anywhere from $500 to $1,000. In any case, make sure you get a consultation and the proper permits before beginning any work yourself.

You can easily install bedroom and other above-ground egress windows yourself, same as you might with an ordinary window. Make sure to research your local fire and building codes to ensure you’re choosing the right size and type and window. 

Other Benefits Besides Safety

Besides giving your family a safe exit during emergencies, egress windows can add value to your home. Without a safe exit, your basement cannot officially be used as guest quarters or a bedroom. But once you install an egress window, you can do whatever you want with the space and increase the square footage—and therefore the value—of your home. In addition to the added area, prospective homeowners appreciate up-to-date safety features, as well as the light and ventilation that an egress window can bring to an otherwise dark and stuffy basement bedroom or living area.

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Clever Ways to Hide Cables, Cords, and other Eyesores

For better or worse, technology has become a part of our everyday lives. Our homes are filled with electronics—from televisions, stereos, and game consoles to computers and WIFI routers. While these devices have become staples of modern homes, they pose a major problem when it comes to design. Not only are some of these devices flat-out unattractive, almost all of them come with an abundance of cords and cables that are major eyesores in an otherwise beautiful room. But with these creative ideas for hiding clumsy cords and cables, you won’t have to sacrifice look for function ever again.

Built-in Solutions

When it comes to hiding TV cords and gaming system attachments, the most obvious solution is a custom console or entertainment system that integrates wires into the design from the very beginning. Recessed televisions are becoming increasingly popular as they create a simplistic and uncluttered look by nestling right into the wall. To accommodate things like routers, cable boxes, DVD players, and gaming systems, designers will include a hidden cabinet with wires running right through the walls to connect devices behind the scenes.

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Custom Cabinetry

While custom, built-in solutions are ideal, you can also find great options in pre-made, freestanding entertainment centers. These pieces are designed with back panels and small cutout holes that allow you to feed the wires invisibly through the back of the furniture to connect to the power source while the paneling hides them from view.

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In-Wall Power Cords and Cables

Of course, a TV console or entertainment center isn’t the best option if you have a wall-mounted television or speaker system. In these cases, the most efficient way to handle the problem of unappealing cords and wires is to actually thread them through the wall. You can find affordable kits with step-by-step instructions for how to do this at home, but the basic principle is to create a small hole behind your television, wall-mounted speaker, or light fixture, and a second hole at the bottom of the wall where the device needs to connect to a power source. Simply thread the wires through the wall and hide the outlet at the bottom behind a piece of furniture.

via Amazon

via Amazon

Bundle Cords Together

If you aren’t able to take the built-in route, then the first step to managing cords and cables is to make sure they are taking up as little space as possible. By bundling them together, you can immediately minimize the chaotic appearance of wires sticking out in every direction. A cord sleeve is a specialized product designed to consolidate cables by wrapping them in a tube of foam or fabric. Another simple option is to bind them together using plain black twist ties or binder clips.

Red cable ties

Secure Cords Against Solid Objects

Once you’ve got all of your wires in one place, you can use tape, glue, staples, or hooks to secure them to solid objects like the wall, the back or underside of a piece of a furniture, the leg of a desk or table, or even the floor. This will keep your cords from getting tangled together or hanging loosely in plain view.

Clever Camouflage

Maybe you’re looking for an even simpler solution for disguising your unattractive electronics. Wireless routers are one of the ugliest devices around, but they often need to be out in the open in order to work effectively. Try laying your router inside a decorative box, then incorporating the box as part of your décor. You can even cut a small hole for the router’s antenna to poke out through if necessary. Add a stack of books, a picture frame, or other knickknacks to distract attention from what’s inside.

You can also use stylish boxes or baskets to hold your cable box or power strips. Keep your cords bundled together and tuck the entire thing into the box or basket on the floor or bottom shelf of your entertainment system. If you’re using a box with a top, cut holes in the back large enough to thread the cords through.

Most computers come with a small army of peripherals, each with their own set of connections. Attaching small wire baskets to the underside of an open desk provides a place to tuck those easily-tangled cords where they are out of sight, but still convenient to access if necessary.

Hide cable cords

Incorporating technology into your everyday life means incorporating it into your home design as well. Thankfully, embracing technology doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to a house full of offensive cords and ugly black boxes. We hope these ideas will inspire you with creative ways to manage technology in your home, whether through quick and easy disguises for your electronics or through long-term design solutions.

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Sierra Club Response to Rooftop Solar Net Energy Metering Decision

Ruling will facilitate more rooftop solar power in California SAN FRANCISCO – Today, the California Public Utilities Commission voted to retain net energy metering, preserving a critical policy for the growth of rooftop solar power.  The decision requires new solar owners to enroll on time-of-use rates, a change that will encourage Californians to take up …

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Solar Rooftop and Tesla Powerpack Battery Duo

Sprig Electric Pioneers A One, Two Solar Punch In Silicon Valley, To Dramatically Reduce Energy Costs Sprig Electric is now among the first electrical contractors in the nation to pair Tesla’s Powerpack battery with a 350 kW commercial rooftop photovoltaic (PV) system to optimize energy savings. The pairing, installed by Sprig Electric at their corporate headquarters …

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How Solar Panels Work

SaveOnEnergy.com

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Solar Power To Reduce Energy Expenses

Solar Power the Choice of Boonsboro, Maryland to Reduce Energy Expenses   Empower Energies and RER Energy Group Announce Construction of a 936.5 kilowatt Solar  Array to Generate Low Cost, Renewable Energy for the Town of Boonsboro FREDERICK, MD – December 17, 2015 – Empower Energies, a leading clean energy project solutions company, announced the construction of a 936.5 …

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Solar panels floating on water are a beautiful solution to two problems

We can save land and water by building floating solar panels   Singapore, a country half the size of Los Angeles, is home to 5.4 million people. This makes the island city-state one of the most densely populated countries in the world, with roughly 7,500 people packed into each square kilometre. When almost your entire …

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