First-Class Finishing Touches:
FLOORING ROOFING ACCESSORIES
It’s easy to get caught up in how your new log home will “look.” Everybody does, and for good reason — aesthetics are important. But what’s even more vital is how well your home will function, and your roof is a large part of its performance.
Though your roof makes up at least a third of your home’s curb appeal, it isn’t just something pretty to look at. At its core, your roof protects you from the elements, whether it’s rain, snow, blazing heat, debris, etc. You need the best roof you can afford, designed and covered to fit your home’s location.
A key element of a roof ’s performance is its pitch. As a builder, I recommend incorporating as much pitch as possible, while keeping in line with the home’s overall design. A mantra in the log home industry is nothing less than a 3/12 pitch, meaning that the roof rises 3 feet for every 12-foot span. Personally, I advise my clients to double that to a 6/12 pitch (including porch coverings and gables), because it will shed fallen leaves, snow and rain more effectively and give the home a better aesthetic value with a negligible cost increase.
Having a hard time visualizing it? Think of it this way: If a 6-foot-tall man holds a 12-foot-long stick so it’s at head level on one end and slopes it to the ground at the other, the angle that’s created is a 6/12 pitch.
If you’re planning a ranch-style log home, don’t fear that a 6/12 will be too steep. It will still give you that long, low profile. Once you increase the pitch to an 8/12 or 12/12 ratio, that’s when it starts looking “peaked,” and you get more of the log-cottage vibe.
Once you decide how to raise the roof, so to speak, it’s time to choose how you’ll top it off. There are nearly as many ways to cover your roof as there are log home styles. Here are a few of the main players:
Asphalt: A three-tab shingle is the most basic asphalt shingle you can buy. There is no dimension to it. Once installed, your roof surface will appear totally flat.
Though not fancy, the three-tab shingle serves its purpose just as well as its embellished cousin, the architectural shingle. These dimensional asphalt shingles are thicker than
three-tab and try to emulate the look of a shake-style roof.
Both types come in a variety of color options, but the three-tab shingle has the lowest price point — it’s the entry-level shingle. An architectural shingle can cost 20 to 40 percent more than the three-tab.
Asphalt shingles come in “year” ratings, from 15 years to lifetime. Keeping your roof in tip-top shape will extend its lifespan.
Metal: The key to buying a metal roof is to keep its gauge in mind: The lower the number, the stronger the material. The most common (and economical) are 26- and 29-gauge roofs. Density will improve function, especially if you’re building in an area where falling limbs, pinecones or acorns could visibly dent it. Dents won’t hinder its performance, but they certainly will mar the look of it.
Speaking of look, there are two primary styles of metal roofs: ribbed (corrugated) and standing seam. The latter is constructed of interlocking metal panels that run from the ridge of the roof to the eave and are fastened to the roof with hidden or exposed anchors that are located on the raised portion of the panel. (Exposed anchors are less expensive). Ribbed roofing costs less than standing-seam, but lends a distinctly “farmhouse” look to a home.
Because they hold up well to frigid New England winters, the hot summers of the South and even salt-spray from coastal locales, metal roofs are a popular choice for log homes across the country.
If asphalt and metal don’t appeal to you, consider these alternatives:
Coated metal: This is a metal shingle that has an asphalt or stone coating on it. It gives a dimensional look that’s longer lasting than a typical shingle roof.
Cedar shake: Popular in the Northeast, individual split-cedar planks are affixed to the underlayment, but they are more maintenance-intensive than other options. You’ve got to pay attention to them, especially in areas where there is significant moisture.
Slate: One of the most expensive roofing options out there. Not only is the material pricey, you need to ensure your roof-truss system is reinforced to handle the weight, which adds to the cost of your structure. On the flip side, slate is one of the longest lasting, most maintenancefree options on the market.
Regardless of what you choose, just remember that no matter how good-looking it is, you won’t be happy with your roof unless it works. Do your research, trust your design/ build team to guide you, and you’ll have a top-notch roof over your head.
Dan Mitchell owns Eagle CDI in Tennessee and has built close to 100 log homes in his 30-year career. He is the 2017 President of the Greater Knoxville HBA.
Think a black roof will make your home hotter? Think again. Roof color has nothing to do with interior temperature. Adequate, quality insulation is the key to keeping your home comfortable, summer or winter.
ABOVE: To get the best performance from your roof, Dan recommends a minimum pitch of 6/12. A steeper 10/12 pitch gives this home a cottage vibe. Cedarshake shingles reinforce the look.