All About Illinois Roofing Installation
With its mid-continental placement and spanning nearly 400 miles in length, Illinois has a widely varying climate. Most of the state experiences a humid climate with hot summers and cool to cold winters. The southernmost part of the state, from about Carbondale southward, is a little more moderate tending toward a humid subtropical climate with more moderate winters. Most of Illinois is also vulnerable to severe weather. The state averages around 50 days of thunderstorms annually, and experiences an average of 35 tornadoes each year. With such varied and severe weather, the quality of your roof should be one of your top priorities when it comes to building a new home or a renovation.
Why Should You Invest In a New Roof?
In terms of the exciting parts of building a new home or conducting a home renovation, your roofing system probably doesn’t make your top ten list. Items like a new kitchen, or a revamped bathroom with a garden tub, are much more fun to design and use. The truth is though that because of Illinois’ sundry and extreme weather, you need a durable roof to protect your family and the contents of your home, which should make quality roofing your top priority. Here are just a few facts to help get you excited about investing in a new roofing system:
When you’re ready to sell your home, you’ll get a great return on your investment in a new roof. According to the 2015 Cost vs. Value Report, you can expect a 71.6% rate of return on your investment. Select an Energy Star rated roof or install a solar energy system, and you can expect even more, while benefiting from monthly energy savings while you live in the home.
You can improve the aesthetic appeal of your home. A new roof can definitely increase your home’s curb appeal, but advances in technology have made many of the pricier roofing options like slate, tile, or cedar shake more financially accessible through faux versions.
A new roof can make your home more energy efficient, decreasing your monthly energy bills. As much as 40% of your home’s energy is lost due to air infiltration. These leaks can be caused by old, inefficient windows, poor attic insulation, and seams/cracks in your roofing system that allow air to escape, making your HVAC system work twice as hard.
The Department of Energy estimates that 56% of the energy used in your home goes toward heating and cooling, so selecting a roofing system that provides quality thermal insulation will have a big impact on your monthly utility bills.
Certain roofing choices are more eco-friendly, great for those who want to decrease their environmental footprint. Traditional roofing products contribute an estimated 20 billion pounds of waste to U.S. landfills on an annual basis. If you want to divert waste from your local landfill, look for a roofing system that can be applied directly over your existing roof or one that will last the lifetime of your home.
Your new roof will protect your home from the elements. Ideally, you want your roof to be able to stand up to rain, wind, hail, snow, and even fire. Certain types of roofing, like metal roofs, can even decrease your monthly homeowner’s insurance premiums because of their superb resistance to fire.
Sorting Through the Options–What Type of Roofing is Best for You?
When selecting a new roof, you’ll want to ask yourself a few questions. What is your budget? Is making a more eco-friendly or energy efficient choice important to you? What styles of roofing appeal to you and will complement the look of your home? Which type of roofing is strong enough to stand up to your local climate? Here is a quick look at some of most common types of roofing systems to help you get a better understanding of which type of system might best meet your needs:
Tar and Gravel Roofing: Sometimes referred to as Conventional Built Up Roofing or BUR, tar and gravel roofing is one of the simplest types of roofing systems. Tar and gravel roofs work best if you have a flat roof. They are certainly budget-friendly and with proper maintenance, your tar and gravel roof can last up to 30 years. That said, tar and gravel roofing is not normally recommended in areas with lots of snow or rain, so despite their attractive pricing, they may not be a good long-term solution for protecting your home in Illinois.
Shingles: Asphalt shingles are the most popular type of roofing in Illinois. They are budget-friendly, lightweight (making them easy to install), durable, and come in a variety of styles. Asphalt shingles can convincingly emulate the look of more expensive roofing systems like slate, cedar shakes, or even tile. Color choices are also more varied than ever–ranging from pale gray, medium gray and dark gray to beige, reddish and medium brown to dark brown, plus shades of blue and blue green. You can also create a polychromatic look by mixing light and dark tones.
With proper maintenance, your asphalt shingle roof should last 15-30 years. But if making an eco-friendly choice is important to you, you may want to consider investing in a roofing system that will last longer or that can be applied directly over your existing room–preventing large amounts of roofing waste from ending up in your local landfill.
Tile Roof: Clay tiles are Class A fire rated and do not burn. Their durability, ease of maintenance, and low thermal conductivity have made clay tiles one of the most popular roofing materials for nearly two centuries. While it’s most common to find clay tile roofing in Florida or California, they can work with almost any design scheme. Because of the relatively high cost of clay tiles, it has become common to substitute concrete for clay tile roofing. Although concrete tiles do not retain the same color or quality as clay tile roofing, they do present a viable cheaper and lighter alternative.
Foam Roofing: Primarily used on commercial buildings, foam roofing is gaining popularity among Illinois homeowners because of its durability and ability to stand up to the elements. When sprayed on a roof deck, foam provides possibly the best water resistance and thermal insulation of all roofing products because it is seamless, leaving no joints for rainwater to leak through to your interior or for air conditioning to escape from your home. Foam roofs are also much lighter than traditional roofing systems like asphalt, putting less stress on the frame of your home–very helpful when your roof is covered in a heavy coat of snow.
Metal Roofing: Like foam, metal roofing is making the transition from more industrial buildings to residential structures. Popular among homeowners for its energy efficiency, durability, and unique aesthetic appeal, metal roofing is also one of the most effective means of protecting your home from the elements. Metal roofs are resistant to cracking, shrinking, eroding, and are strong enough to withstand Illinois’ extreme weather conditions including heavy snow, hail, and fires.
Metal roofing systems vary widely in terms of cost, with tin and aluminum roofs being more budget friendly, while you’ll pay a premium for steel or copper. If you are interested in making an eco-friendly choice for your home, metal roofing is one of the best ways to go. It can be installed directly over your existing roof–saving you the labor cost of a tear off and preventing tons of roofing waste from going to your local landfill. Additionally, metal roofing is made from 30-60% recycled material and is 100% recyclable. A metal roof can also increase your return on investment (discussed above) from 71.6% to 85.9%.
Rubber Roofing: Rubber roofing is budget-friendly, durable, eco-friendly, and available in a variety of colors and designs. Rubber has a distinct advantage over traditional shingles as it is resistant to rotting, cracking, mold, discoloration, denting, and moisture absorption–most manufacturers provide at least a thirty-year warranty. Made of affordable recycled materials, an eco-friendly rubber roof can also help you save on your energy bill, as rubber is well-known for its insulating capabilities.
Slate Roofing: If slate roofing is within your budget, it is a great option as it will last the lifetime of your home–up to 100 years, and creates an absolutely stunning look typically reserved for grand government and university buildings. Slate is naturally resistant to fire, protecting your home from many common sources of home fires including fireworks, wildfires, and adjacent house fires. Slate is also strong enough to stand up to Illinois’ dramatic climate shifts, and immune to the pests, mold, and rot that can destroy other roofing systems.
Consider Installing Solar Panels on Your Roof
Whichever roofing system you choose, you should consider installing a solar energy system as well. Solar panels are increasing in popularity throughout Illinois thanks to the statewide adoption of a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). Illinois’ RPS mandates that 10% of the state’s energy come from renewable energy by 2015, increasing to 25% by 2025. While Illinois is a leader in the wind power industry, the RPS requires that 6% of that state’s energy come specifically from solar power. In an effort to comply with this standard, there are federal, state, and local incentives available to make solar technology more financially accessible and attractive to homeowners.
Rebates and Incentives in Illinois
Illinois offers a rebate for all customers of investor-owned utilities, ComEd and Ameren. The rebate offers $1,500/kW back on solar systems, up to 25% of project costs, or $10,000, whichever is less. Additionally, the IRS has extended tax credits for solar thermal and solar electric systems (PV). Both are eligible for a 30% uncapped Federal Tax Credit.. Illinois also offers a property tax incentive to encourage solar power use. When you register your solar system with the chief county assessment officer your solar equipment will be valued at no more than the value that would be given to a conventional energy system. Work with a licensed installer to maximize incentives and get your solar technology system for the best price available.