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IN DEPTH: ROOFING SYSTEMS

Adds LP’s Marsh, “It provides a small incremental cost that most homebuilders can pass along to the homebuyer. Visible products like granite countertops and wood flooring are still the most popular, but there is more attention being given to the home’s performance and to passive-energy savings. Homebuyers want to know how much the home is going to cost to operate, and products like radiant-barrier sheathing help reduce that.”

The incremental cost makes it a strong option, agrees Key. “Builders may pay $2-$3 per sheet more than with OSB, so for about 100 sheets for a roof, that’s not much of an increase compared with the cumulative savings over the life of the home. The math is definitely in the customer’s favor.”

The product works with other parts of the system to achieve energy efficiency, Byrd adds. “It helps create a hybrid insulation system. Using a radiant-barrier panel instead of traditional OSB or plywood in the roofing application helps energy efficiency.”

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It provides one more weapon in the contractor’s building-material and marketing arsenal. “Part of its growing popularity stems from the law of diminishing returns in finding energy efficiency from adding insulation,” says LP’s Marsh. “They’re looking for other options, and radiant-barrier sheathing stands out.”

Ventilation products also are expanding as the systems approach catches on. “Ventilation products often are bought with radiant-barrier sheathing, and that can be a strong add-on,” says LP’s Marsh. “Codes have moved to recommending continuous-ridge and soffit vents. Having the proper amount of ventilation makes the radiant-barrier sheathing function better.”

Adds Metal Sales’ Davidson, “One of the key components in the selection of the venting product is not only if it will provide the needed ventilation but whether it has aesthetic appeal. It needs to be inconspicuous when installed at the ridge or hip detail. It needs to blend into and become part of the ridge/hip flashing detail during installation.”

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Timberstrand-LSL-roof-framing-from-weyerhauserTimberStrand LSL roof framing from Weyerhaeuser is said to provide a long-length, dimensionally stable alternative to sawn lumber for conventionally framed roofs. The 1.5E framing comes in 9 ¼-inch, 11 ¼-inch and TJI joist-compatible depths and can be used for roof rafters and roof joists and beams.

Some believe codes undervalue the need for ventilation. “Codes address ventilation based on square footage,” points out RoyOMartin’s Byrd. “But some attics are very tall, so they really should focus on volume of space. That results in a lot of attics not being properly ventilated.”

Roof framing also is part of the package. “Weyerhaeuser has successfully sold our LSL framing into New England, North-Central and Rocky Mountain areas for several years,” says Gary Schweizer, director of engineering. “It’s stiffer than most solid-sawn lumber and its strength proportions also are better. Builders who use it for floor joists often use it for roof framing because the same sizes can be used, thereby simplifying jobsite orders and reducing waste.”

The framing comes with a premium, he notes, but builders see value. “It provides a true and consistent roof line, so the roof sheathing lays flat and is straight across its length. When you have a discerning customer, this makes a difference.”

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Other accessories also are gaining attention. “We’ve seen some shingle manufacturers now offering a wider ‘nailing strip’ that helps installers work faster with better results,” reports David Delcoma, product marketing manager at MFM Building Products Corp. “We offer a self-adhering, rolled membrane product that installs quickly along the roof edge that works as a starter strip. It contains a sealing strip that adheres and holds the shingle in place to prevent wind-uplift along the roof edge.”

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