Agreed that roofs like that are wonderful for energy efficiency. But
aside from the obviously higher cost, I see a couple of problems- design
limitations for anything other than a typical shoebox ranch, much more
difficult to repair since it is harder to make the top surface walkable,
and the likely show stopper of a massive dead space for things to take
up residence in. Screens at the edges don't last forever. I do see a
hillbilly version of that down south, and in the photos from our field
offices over in the sandbox (usually applied to trailers). Plant
telephone poles on either side of structure, and add a second
non-connected roof a foot or three over the real roof, as a sun shade.
I think we could accomplish about as much at a lower cost, by mandating
passive solar design and super-insulation on any houses built with
federal loan programs.
The screens at the edges isn't an issue unless you feel that soffit
vent screening just decomposes with time. It's the same
construction. As far as the walkability, it's essentially the same
construction as skip sheathing on a slate, shake or tile roof. Same
with metal roofing that is supported by battens. People who don't
know what they are doing shouldn't be on a roof in the first place.
They might fall and get hurt, or worse - damage your roof.
I agree with the many-pronged approach, but I think you might be
thinking of something different when I refer to a cold roof. Slate,
shakes and tile roofs should all be installed on battens anyway, so
you're already halfway there. If you have a continuous air space
above the insulation in the rafter bays, that's technically a cold
There are already large parts of the country where concrete tile roofs
are the norm. Having space under the roofing material to allow it to
dry out is a big benefit for shake and slate roofs. I won't go into
my thatch roofing sermon, but you should check out the insulation
benefits and longevity of thatch roofs. Those old timers weren't
spendthrifts and they knew how to build. A few centuries of
experience tends to do that. ;)
on 5/29/2009 10:27 PM (ET) The Daring Dufas wrote the following:
Or some type of shingles, or covering panels, that could be flipped over
in the different seasons. White on one side and black on the other.
Similar to those flip cards that the fans use at sporting events.
Maybe a white roll down cover, like a window shade?
I'll think of some more stupid solutions after I have a couple of beers
On Fri, 29 May 2009 10:47:20 -0700, against all advice, something
When I hammered on a new roof, the roofer told me that I ought
not go for too light of a color. He said that the shingles would
not warm up properly in the sun and would fail to seal or
something. I followed his advice, and selected a nice dark
I just had the house painted, and took the roof color into
consideration when I selected a color for the house. I won't be
changing the color of my roof any time soon, TYVM.
Don\'t worry about people stealing an idea. If it\'s original, you will
have to ram it down their throats.
I don't know how I forgot this one.
I used to live on the same street (the poor section) that the owners
of the two big department stores in Indianapolis lived on. Blocks and
L. S. Ayres. Each had beautiful fancy homes, non-modern
architecture, on wooded lots, one overlooking the White River.
One, Block I think it was, or his son built a more modern but still
fancy home for his son next door. They put a brown shingled roof on
After about 6 months, they replaced that roof with a white shingled
(I didn't really live in the poor section, except by comparison. There
was no *poor* section, just middle income, where it was flat and
probably had been farm land. But the Blocks and the Ayres lived in
the rich section. They might have been the only families who did.)
Speaking of white, one of the astronauts from the last trip called
Click and Clack this morning for advice on how to remove bolts (no
kidding), and while talking, he mentioned that in haste to get back in
the space shuttle, someone's helmet hit an antenna and broke off the
They were able to make another cover from something they had with
them, and now it works better than it had, because the new one is
WHITE and it doesn't get as hot.
Look around your neighborhood. Do you see any white roofs? Probably not.
White is not used as a roof color, even though it would be swell as a heat
reflector. It's not used because it gets dirty. When it gets dirty it looks
In Rome - and the Vatican - where they have a lot of marble statues, they
have never-ending crews that come around and pressure wash the art work,
removing the soot that collects from vehicle exhausts. And the not-soot that
collects from the pigeons.
I'm fortunate in that the south and east sides of my house are not visible
to people who keep track of ugly roofs. I've been toying with the idea of
painting them white. If I do, I'll let you know the result.
In Las Vegas, I was amazed that circa 40s - 50s roofs had white quartz
rock. Any size from egg to tennis ball. Must be heavy up there or
they have good lumber.
In the Mojave desert they had an good understanding of the heat, I
In southern Indiana when I was a kid, flat roof contemporaries and
'flying wing' California moderns with shallow roofs were quite popular.
No membrane roofs back then, so hot-mop all the way. Top layer was
always marble chips, for weather resistance, muting sound of rain, and
keeping roof cool. On a post'n'beam T&G roof back then, only insulation
was a couple inches of some sort of fiber stuff, looked like thick
Celotex. Not energy efficient, even by the lax standards of the day-
the snow melt always gave the roofs a good workout, and skylights had to
be up on a curb to keep them from leaking. There is a reason flat or
near-flat roofs fell out of popularity up north- they are an upkeep
Had a white roof on my Camping trailer (Caravan to the Brits and
Euros). It stayed white most of one year. Was grey for mabee another
year and a half after which it became closer to charcoal coloured.
Bleaching it made it white again for, you guessed it - about another
on 5/30/2009 7:49 PM (ET) HeyBub wrote the following:
I hate to admit it, but I did a redneck thing two years ago.
I have a 20 x 20 "4 Seasons" sunroom on the back of my house. The back
of my house faces SW. When I had the thing built 5 years ago, I had them
put a black asphalt shingle roof on it because my house roof is black.
In the Summer heat, the interior of the Sunroom was about 10 to 15
degrees hotter than outside. i.e., if it was 90 F out, it was 100
inside. I don't have AC in the sunroom. I was going to have a light
colored roof put on it, but I wanted to see what difference it would
make in the temps before I spent 100s of $ for it.
In the Spring of 2007, I went to HD and picked up a 5 gallon bucket of
Henry Solarflex 287 SF White roof coating. It is not really
recommended for asphalt shingles, but I was just going to test what
difference the white roof would make in the interior temps.
I rolled just one coat on the roof. It didn't look bad, and even if it
did, it was hidden from the street.
It made a hell of a difference. The temps inside the room were no higher
than the outside temps, and we even left the doors between the room and
house open so some AC got in there.
It's still painted white. I just may leave it like that. We can't see it
from the ground anyway. The roof coating is supposedly mildew resistant
and it isn't dirty looking.
Granted, it's colder in the room in the Winter since the Sun isn't
warming the roof like it used to do. But we have a propane fireplace in
there to warm it up if we are going to use the room. Holiday dinners for
the extended family, etc.
'If it's stupid and it works, it ain't stupid'.
What did you have to lose? You were going to trash the black shingles
anyway, so no big loss if the coating trashed them. I'd keep an eye on
the roof a couple times a year, like when you are up there cleaning
gutters, but unless you see them curling or otherwise self-destructing,
I'd say you found a cheap work-around.
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