If the time has come to get a new roof for your home, you might like to consider the option of metal roofing. This important improvement project is something most long-time homeowners will eventually have to undertake, and choosing the proper roofing material should not be taken lightly. A functioning roof will protect your home from harsh outdoor elements like rain and snow and ensure its structural integrity.
Asphalt shingles are common, but the one type of covering that is catching the eye of an increasing number of homeowners is metal roofing. “Metal roofing is gaining in popularity,” reports Todd Miller, president of Isaiah Industries in Piqua, OH. It had a 14% market share in 2016, up from 11% the year before, according to FW Dodge. Only asphalt shingles outpace metal in the remodeling market.
In terms of style and utility, metal roofing gives any other material a run for its money, but does it suit your home (and budget)? Take a look at the best and worst things about metal roofing before you commit to it.
Pro: Metal roofing lasts 50 years—or longer
Metal roofs are by far one of the most durable, typically lasting 50 years or more, says Andrew Hecox, owner of Air Capital Roofing and Remodeling in Wichita, KS.
“Rubber and asphalt shingles are fine for 15 to 20 years, but they’ll deteriorate over time, due to weather, wind, heat, insects, and rodents,” says Cedric Stewart, a real estate agent with Keller Williams Capital Properties in Washington, DC. And metal won’t corrode, crack, or catch sparks and ignite into flames from a lightning strike.
“Metal roofing also doesn’t need periodic costly maintenance, like other materials,” says Lonnie Hagen of Accent Roofing and Construction in Dallas.
Con: It’s noisy
The pitter-patter of raindrops may be soothing for some homeowners, but on a metal roof, the noise factor can be a serious drawback. The good news is that there are ways to mitigate the sound—but you’ll have to pony up. Materials can be installed to reduce the drumming effect for an additional fee.
Con: Metal costs more
“Metal roofs can cost three times more than other materials,” says Hagen. According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost of installing asphalt shingles is $3,700, while metal roofing costs around $7,795 to install.
Pro: It’s rather stylish
Not every metal roof has to be boring brown or ho-hum gray. In fact, you have nearly the entire rainbow to choose from. You can also order metal roofing to look like wood shakes, slate, tile, or standard fiberglass shingles, says Miller. “This allows owners to match their home’s architectural style,” he notes.
Con: Extreme weather can damage metal
If you live in a place with extreme weather, you should know that metal roofs are hail-resistant—but a violent storm can still dent them, says Hecox. Your roof will protect your home, but insurance companies may not compensate you for the repair of cosmetic damage, he adds. Aluminum or copper, while stylish, are soft metals that are more likely to experience denting.
And if you’re thinking of installing solar panels, having a metal roof is recommended, says Reba Haas, a real estate agent in Seattle. “Metal is the best material to have underneath panels, because it’s lighter than asphalt construction,” Haas says.
Green builders or eco-friendly homeowners will be happy to know that metal roofs contain anywhere from 25% to 95% of recycled materials and are also 100% recyclable, Hagen says.
Con: It might not fit in
You love the look, but your neighbors … not so much. There are newer home subdivisions and homeowners’ associations (HOA) that don’t allow this type of roof in their communities, so check your HOA’s bylines before you start the project.
Pro: Metal roofing is easy to install
Don’t be alarmed if your contractor does a happy dance when you say you’ve chosen metal roofing. “[It’s] lightweight and comes in panels, which can be cut to exact dimensions—all of which make installation easier than other materials,” says Hecox. And you can sometimes place metal over existing shingles, which cuts down on the costs in time and labor of removing the old roofing, he adds. Metal is also easier to install on a steep pitched roof, again, because the panels are larger than individual shingles, says Haas. That versatility makes it ideal for houses of all shapes and sizes.
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In the near future, your home could be battery operated.
This is especially true if you live in New York, California, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Vermont, Arizona or a growing roster of other states and municipalities experimenting with revamping their electrical grids for the 21st century.
You might not even know your lights are being kept on by the same chemical process that powers your smartphone, since the batteries could be tucked into what looks like a neighborhood junction box, or behind a fence in a substation. But now, thanks to efforts by startups and the utility companies they sell to (and sometimes battle), you might get one right inside your home.
The rise of these home batteries isn’t just a product of our collective obsession with new tech. Their adoption is being driven by a powerful need, says Ravi Manghani, of GTM Research: renewable energy.
Without batteries and other means of energy storage, the ability of utility companies to deliver power could eventually be threatened.
Solar power, especially, tends to generate electricity only at certain times—and it’s rarely in sync with a home’s needs. In some states, such as California and Arizona, there’s an overabundance of solar power in the middle of the day during cool times of the year, then a sudden crash in the evenings, when people get home and energy use spikes.
For utilities, it’s a headache. The price of electricity on interstate markets can go negative at certain times, forcing them to dump excess electricity or pay others to take it.
“This is not a long-term theoretical issue that might happen—this is now,” says Marc Romito, director of customer technology at Arizona Public Service, the state’s largest electric utility.
There’s something ruggedly individualistic and inherently American about having batteries in your home. They’re good for keeping power going in a disaster, as customers of the two biggest firms by sales volume in this field, Sonnen and Tesla, demonstrated in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. And in combination with rooftop solar panels, they free people from total dependence on the grid—a kind of energy cable-cutting that wonks call “grid defection.
The very real possibility of grid defection is changing the power dynamics between utilities and their customers.
Last week, real-estate developer Mandalay Homes announced a plan to build up to 4,000 ultra energy-efficient homes—including 2,900 in Prescott, Arizona—that will feature 8 kilowatt-hour batteries from German maker Sonnen. It could eventually be the biggest home energy-storage project in the U.S., says Blake Richetta, senior vice president at Sonnen.
The homes, which will come with the Sonnen battery preinstalled, will be part of a Sonnen-managed “virtual power plant for demand response” that could allow the houses to stabilize the grid, lower its carbon footprint and decrease peak load, says Mr. Richetta.
While the Mandalay Homes project is still in the blueprint stage, with only one test home built so far, this kind of radical, battery-enabled rethink of the grid is already happening in Vermont.
In partnership with Tesla Energy, Green Mountain Power is offering 2,000 of its customers the opportunity to have a Tesla Powerwall in their home for $15 a month. The 13.5 kilowatt-hour batteries retail for $5,500, but the utility can afford to put them in homes because they help the company save on other grid infrastructure, says Mary Powell, GMP’s chief executive and president. “Peaker plants,” for instance, are fired up only when the grid is strained to maximum capacity, saving the utility from using one of its most expensive forms of electricity.
GMP also uses batteries from Sonnen, SimpliPhi and Sunverge. Ms. Powell says the larger battle for home battery storage will be over how each of these companies—and dozens of others—differentiates itself, selling different size batteries adapted for different uses in homes, businesses and utilities.
Arizona Public Service’s Mr. Romito says not all of these batteries are created equal—though he wouldn’t name names.
The biggest challenge to home battery storage remains economics. Utilities’ current rate structures don’t charge most homeowners for using excess power, nor do they change the price based on time of day. For the overwhelming majority of homeowners, the payback on a solar power system with battery storage could take decades.
Batteries aren’t the only way to reduce the need for short-order energy, or so-called “demand response,” says Mr. Romito. Smart thermostats, managed by the utility company, can precool homes when solar power is at peak production, reducing load on the grid in the evening.
This cannot only be as useful as batteries in certain cases, it can be more cost effective. Other possibilities include remotely determining when electric vehicles charge and even shifting large industrial loads to different times of year.
In states where electricity is more affordable, it’s still early days for batteries in homes. But Mr. Romito says users and utilities will continue to move toward them with the inexorable addition of more and more renewables to the grid.
Mr. Manghani of GTM Research agrees. His battery storage adoption forecasts track closely with states and regions where renewable energy is being generated.
Falling prices also help. Battery pack prices have decreased, on average, 24% a year since 2010. Cheaper batteries shorten the resulting payback period, which in turn makes renewable energy more attractive to home owners. In 2016, solar grew faster than any other energy source, according to the International Energy Agency.
At the intersection of these and other trends is a simple fact: For the first time since the discovery of fire, the way humans get energy is set to fundamentally change.
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Just as a spate of new housing units comes to market in New York City — the newborn sheen and amenities accompanied by premium rents — a study by the website RentHop offers a look at the relationship between a building’s age and the rents charged.
Among newer buildings, it found, rents decreased as a building’s age increased. The drop was particularly obvious in Battery Park City, where the median-age building was constructed in 1998.
Citywide, however, the median age of buildings is about 90 years, and in most older neighborhoods there was a more complicated relationship between the age of a building and the rent.
Location, not surprisingly, often mattered more. And buildings with historic merit were also sometimes more expensive than newer buildings nearby, as were older buildings with elevators.
Focusing on one-bedroom apartments in Manhattan, in buildings with elevators, RentHop produced a list of neighborhoods in which the greatest age-related discounts can be found.
The information is not guaranteed and a prospective buyer should verify information with the appropriate party. Windermere Stellar and MJ Steen Group assume no liability for any errors in this information.