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“Green” renovation much easier than homeowners might think

Some people looking to renovate their homes are leery of words like “green,” “salvaged,” and “recycled” because they wonder if the material can be as high of quality as those that have been manufactured. Cathy Hobbs, a LEED AP-certified interior designer, wanted to assure homeowners that yes, the workmanship is just as good. And a well-furnished and designed home can easily incorporate green aspects without anyone being able to tell the difference.

Buy natural goods

One way to go green, Hobbs suggested, is by “buying products such as upholstery, textiles, and rugs made of natural fibers that have not been treated with chemicals.” Often these will be in nude or natural colors, but if you’re a fan of color, see if you can find a place on the label where it says whether plant or mineral-based dyes have been used. Choose local manufacturers Another way to go green without necessarily changing your purchasing decisions is just by choosing local makers or getting lumber from local harvesters. Doing so means less carbon emissions have been used to transport those items to your home and you can feel good that you have supported local industry. Patronize sustainable companies There are also many manufacturers who have chosen more sustainable means of creating their goods. Do some research into the brands you’re considering buying from and try to support those who have proven themselves environmentally-friendly. Hobbs said, “There are several nationally respected certifying entities that certify green products. Among them, Green guard Certification . . . and Green Seal.” These companies do the research for you and only certify manufacturers who consent to create green products and have periodic factory visits.

Make simple changes There are even simpler ways to go green, however. Some things we already know but neglect to do—like turning off lights when you leave a room or unplugging unused or only periodically used appliances. You can conserve water by switching to low flow plumbing fixtures and installing LED light bulbs.

These small things don’t seem very meaningful when looked at individually, but even one person or one family trying to be green adds up over time. Don’t ever dismiss environmental friendliness thinking it’s too hard or costly. It can be as simple as a single light bulb.

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Why asphalt shingles fail

If you’re like most homeowners, your roof consists of asphalt shingles. They’re by far the most popular roofing material in America. They’re the least expensive material to manufacture and they’re the easiest to install. Despite their low cost, however, they’re still quite durable, lasting around 20-30 years depending on the type of asphalt shingle and how well maintained they are. That said, asphalt shingles won’t last as long as most other roofing materials. Asphalt shingles will eventually fail, and sometimes they’ll fail prematurely. In order to understand why this happens, you have to have an understanding of how asphalt shingles are made.

How are asphalt shingles made?

Asphalt shingles are primarily made with three components. The first is the mat usually made from fiberglass. Next is the asphalt, and finally, the ceramic granules which provide the shingles with their color. The granules are also what protects your roof from the elements. The asphalt that is used to make roof shingles can come in various grades. What many homeowners don’t realize is that some manufacturers cut production costs by using a lower grade asphalt. Shingles made with lower quality asphalt are sure to fail sooner than higher quality roofing shingles.

Factors that determine lifespan

The lifespan of asphalt shingle roofs can vary widely. Thirty years is an excellent lifespan for an asphalt shingle roof. Most likely, your roof will need to be replaced sooner. Asphalt shingle roofs fail for a number of reasons. First, unlike other roofing materials, asphalt shingles expand and contract as temperatures fluctuate. On a very hot summer day, your shingles can reach temperatures of 150 degrees. A sudden thunderstorm can cause the temperature of your shingles to drop 100 degrees in a very short period of time. As your shingles expand and contract, they will become brittle and eventually crack. Over time, wind, rain, and debris will also cause your shingles to lose their granules. Without the granules, your roof won’t last much longer. Granule loss is unavoidable but you shouldn’t see granule loss in the first decade or so, especially if you’re careful to not allow any tree branches to hang over your roof where they can scratch across your shingles.

What to do when your asphalt shingles fail

If you notice signs that your roof is failing prematurely, you should check on the manufacturer’s warranty. If failure is the result of defects in the shingles themselves, you may be able to save some money on getting your roof replaced. If failure of the shingles is the result of extreme weather, your insurance company may cover the cost of a new roof. If you haven’t maintained your shingles properly, you’ll probably be responsible for the cost of a new roof.

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Tags: roofing, roofing tips, asphalt shingle roofs, roofing materials, roof maintenance, roof damage

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