. . . are a great value IF incorporated into a well designed shingle roof system.
Shingle roofs dominate nationally but in Miami are not considered ideal. They simply do not hold up well in the summer heat or, more specifically, to solar radiation. That is unless they include some specific features – a well designed ventilation system, light colored shingles for reflectivity and dimensional shingles for durability and wind resistance. A good ventilation system will lower temperatures in the attic. This helps prevent the roof shingles from “cooking”, cools the building’s interior, lowers electric bills and reduces the load on the AC system.
Shingle Roofs Can Be Efficient and Durable
For shingle roofs, all roofs for that matter, white or light colors are recommended. They are more reflective and, therefore, most energy efficient and durable. Darker shingles absorb the sun’s rays which speeds up the aging process and heats up the inside of the structure. For design purposes, white roof shingles are also versatile given that white is a neutral color. They match almost any home’s color scheme.
As mentioned, the roof must be have sufficient ventilation to be practical and durable. An effective ventilation system must first include an intake feature at the eaves – soffit vents. Given hot air rises, it should also have an exhaust mechanism near the peak. This can include turbine ventilators, power ventilators, ridge vents or gable vents. The system shouldn’t feature more than one of these exhaust methods.
Turbine ventilators perform well but do not hold up under hurricane conditions. They can be capped if you don’t mind doing that but . . .
Gable vents are best, in this roofer’s opinion. They are not actually part of the roof so are least likely to ever sustain damage. When placed as high as possible – hot air rises – they perform very well. Put a fan on one vent blowing out, pulling cool air in from the other(s) and you have attic ventilation on steroids. The downside is, if you are not fortunate enough to have them already on your home, a retrofit installation could be costly.
Power vents are a close second only due to their susceptibility to major hurricanes. They can be directly wired or solar powered and controlled by thermostat.
Important! As the caption for the gable vent suggests, do not use more than one of these exhaust systems on the same roof section. That would be a redundancy that could cause rain to actually be pulled into the vent, causing a leak.
These photos feature GAF Timberline dimensional shingle roofs with ridge vents, an excellent system and probably the best combination of performance and value available.
Dimensional Shingles Are Best
Dimensional shingles are superior to 3-tabs with their increased thickness, durability and wind resistance at a relatively low additional cost. In closing, shingle roofs in Miami can be a practical and energy efficient alternative when these proven “cool roof” principles are applied.
Related Content – 3-tabs or dimensional?
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