Los Angeles Roof Buying Guide
A brand new roof for your home is a big investment. This major home improvement can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $25,000 depending on the size of your home and the materials being used. When you are investing that much money into a project, it is important to carefully research the wide variety of roofing options available on the market. Each type of roofing materials has it’s own unique benefits, limitations and price variations. There is also the task of hiring a reliable contractor and understanding how the climate where you live and city permit regulations and building codes should influence the choices you make.
Knowing When to Replace Your Roof
Most roofs can be expected to last between 20 and 25 years. The most obvious indication that it is time to replace your roof is age—if your roof is any older than 25 years it is probably time to make the investment. In addition to age, pay attention to buckling of your roof, large leaks, curling or missing shingles, or daylight shining through the roof boards in your attic. Any of these roofing problems could be serious enough to warrant a complete roof replacement.
Understanding the Cool Roofs Ordinance in Los Angeles, CA
If your home is located in Los Angeles, the Cool Roofs Ordinance will heavily influence the type of materials you use and who you hire to install your roof. As part of the California Energy Code, the city of Los Angeles requires all residents who are buying new roofs or replacing the roof of their home to comply with the requirements of the Cool Roofs Ordinance.
Cools Roofs are constructed from materials that reflect 80 percent of solar radiation compared to the 20 percent of solar radiation reflected by conventional roofing materials. When these products are used, the surface of the roof may be as much as 50 percent cooler than other roofs and the temperature inside of the home drops by several degrees as well. Since cool roofs decrease the temperature of your home without the use of your air conditioner, you can expect to experience significant utility savings and to consume less energy after the installation of your roof. These roofs are also associated with lower risks for heat related deaths.
In California, there are numerous roofing material manufacturers offering cool roof products. To simplify the process of shopping for the right products for your Los Angeles home, Cool California has created a resource for searching for qualifying products. Available products are sorted by product type, color, slope of the roof, the type of standards they meet, and the rebates available with the products.
Qualifying for Roofing Rebates in Los Angeles
Through the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power, homeowners may be able to qualify for rebates for installation of Cool Roof qualified roofs. To qualify for the rebate, homeowners must obtain the proper permit through the city government and meet certain Solar Reflectance Index guidelines. A 3 Year Solar Reflectance Index indicates how much solar radiation an individual roof can reflect.
- For a rebate of $0.20 per square foot, newly installed roofs with a low slope should have a 3 year Solar Reflectance Index of 75 or more and newly installed roofs with a steep slope should have a 3 year Solar Reflectance Index of 16 or more.
- For a rebate of $0.30 per square foot, newly installed roofs with a low slope should have a 3 year Solar Reflectance Index of 85 or more and roofs with a steep slope should have a 3 year Solar Reflectance Index of 35 or more.
Before purchasing materials and products for your new roof, it is best to begin by checking that your selected items qualify for the Cool Roof Rebate. Once you have confirmed eligibility, you can move forward with purchase and installation of your roof. After installation, complete the Consumer Rebate Program Application provided by the Los Angeles Department of Water & Power and submit it along with a copy of your home improvement contract and your final approved building and safety permit.
Los Angeles Permit and Licensing Requirements
Following Cool Roof guidelines will provide you the guidance you need for selecting roof materials and products that are most appropriate for the climate in Los Angeles. In addition to considering the climate, there are permit and licensing requirements to consider. Since each city’s government has the authority to create permit regulations and building codes unique to their city, you will need to apply for your permit through the City of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety
Unless you have the skills and knowledge needed to install a roof yourself, you will need to hire a reliable contractor who meets state licensing requirements. In California, all contractors making major home improvements, including roof installation, are required to apply for a general builder’s license through California Department of Consumer Affairs. Contractors with employees are also required to carry workers’ compensation insurance to cover the cost of medical bills or missed work time if an employee is injured while working on your roof.
Maintaining the Life of Your Roof
If you have chosen high quality, energy efficient materials, you can expect your roof to last for twenty or more years. As a homeowner, there are actions you can take to extend the life of your roof. Inspect your roof for damage at least once a year and following any extreme weather. If you notice water is pooling on your roof or if your roof has begun to leak, having it repaired immediately will prevent further damage to your roof and home. By using energy efficient materials on your roof and taking the necessary steps to maintain it’s integrity, you can increase the value of your home and decrease monthly utility costs through improved energy efficiency.