Spring Home Improvement 2014

Take it to the top

By From page SHI13 | April 16, 2014

Replacing a roof can be a necessary and expensive project, but a new roof is like a new hairdo — it can make all the difference. Rather than replacing it with the same brown composite shingle you’ve had for 25 years, take advantage of the many options available to you and rethink the style of your home.

Roofing colors now come in a wide variety, from sage green and deep, rich browns to elegant gray, smoky plum and muted teal. Whether you’re planning to live in your home for many years, or prepare it for sale, don’t forget the top of your home when it comes to updating.

“Ours is a fast-paced, hectic world that doesn’t allow a great deal of time for relaxation,” said national color expert, Kate Smith, author of “Fresh Color Schemes for Your Home” and “Fresh Exterior Home Colors.”  “When we approach our homes we should immediately feel an inviting sense of welcome. The colors we select for our home exteriors make that first impression on our mental selves each day and encourage us to relax. This is one reason why the calming shades of blue have become so popular on home exteriors.”

Start at the top and work your way down with cohesive colors said Smith. Go for a bold color choice on the roof and keep the exterior colors neutral. Some colors accent brick, stucco and stone houses equally well and homeowners can add a pop of warm color on the front door or a deep color for the shutters to make a stand-out impression.

Some roofing companies have found that the opposite approach works for their customers: “I sell a lot of black or heather blend roofs, ” said Ed Bell of Bell Roofing Company in Cameron Park. ” People want to be able to change out the color of their home and still have it harmonize with the roof.”

Bell said one current trend for roofing, whether it be new construction or roof replacement is meeting the requirements of a “cool roof.”  California Building Standards Code,Title 24, which goes into effect July 1 of this year, requires an uptick in energy efficiency standards. Cool roof technologies like highly reflective shingles or coatings, higher value attic insulation of R-38, radiant barriers and solar-ready roofs are methods of meeting the new standards designed to reduce energy bills, improve indoor comfort and decrease roof temperatures. All this could extend the life of the roof.

When thinking about replacing a roof, you might consider adding solar. A new “smart roof” with reflective materials and the right solar system could really reduce energy costs said Luke Miller, president of Solar Hut, LLC. “We just worked with a roofing contractor to put a solar system on a bar tile roof in El Dorado Hills. The tile is a gorgeous color and, with the custom architecturally designed solar, that roof is like a story book.”

Such a roof is more expensive, but Miller said Solar Hut designs and installs solar systems that range from customized and architecturally designed to simple quick balance systems and everything in between.

“We  pay attention to aesthetics and the new systems are really nice,” said Miller. “We work with roofing contractors and have a roofing contractor on staff, but we only do solar.”

Miller said Solar Hut does solar for both new and retro-fit homes, but, because few new homes are being built in El Dorado County, most are retro-fit. “There is still a 30 percent federal tax credit for adding solar until 2016, ” said Miller. “We also offer financing so that the owner receives the whole tax credit, not a bank.”

Today’s roofing choices add energy efficiency, comfort and beauty and can make all the difference to the look of your home.

Wendy Schultz

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