WHAT DO WE KNOW ABOUT LIVING IN SANTA FE AND WHY DOES THE AVERAGE HOME HERE SEEM TO TAKE A BIGGER BEATING THAN IN OTHER LOCATIONS OF THE COUNTRY WHERE I'VE PREVIOUSLY LIVED?
• First, Santa Fe style homes have flat roofs.
• We live at high elevation in Northern New Mexico; the average elevation of Santa Fe is 7,500 ft. As such, we experience higher levels of UV radiation from the sun than being at sea level.
• We live in the high desert. We are subject to day/night as well as seasonal temperature extremes.
• We also receive our fair share of rain and snow.
For all these reasons, a home’s exterior deteriorates faster here than in other parts of the country.
WHAT KIND OF ROOF SHOULD I BUY?
There is no right answer. First, your budget and timing must be taken into consideration. Roof types can vary greatly in both price and longevity.
Another consideration that affects price is the current condition of the existing roof as well as what’s under that roof (What did he just say?). It is not uncommon in Santa Fe to tear off a roof only to find a pre-existing roof underneath. In fact, it’s not uncommon to find a 100 year old adobe with half a dozen roofs on it, a foot thick! Current code in Santa Fe allows for a maximum of two roofs on a dwelling. Refer to 2009 New Mexico Administrative Code, 126.96.36.199, CHAPTER 9 ROOF ASSEMBLIES: E. Section R907.3.
Higher-end roofs also come with advantages in terms of energy efficiency. For instance, Gaco roofs (in white) come with a five star energy rating. Foam roofs provide insulation given their thickness, and improve the roof’s R factor. Every inch of foam provides an R-8 increase in a roof’s insulation effectiveness.
At SFS&R, it is our job to provide each client with the best solution to fully address one’s needs.
WHAT'S THE BEST PRODUCT?
There is no single product that is considered the “best”. We use some truly fine products. Gaco roofs come with a five star energy rating and a 50-year life expectancy. The Modified Bitumen roofs by Certainteed and GAF are the most popular roof systems in Northern Mexico, and come with a 20-year life expectancy. Foam roofs provide great natural insulation characteristics. Metal roofs look fantastic. We will do our best to help you determine the best solution that meets your needs.
WHAT ARE ASPECTS OF A GOOD ROOF?
Any good roof in Santa Fe starts with one key factor – slope! Slope is the natural drainage path of water. Slope provides the gravity to keep water running off your roof.
Canales are, of course, the outlets through which water drains from the roof to the ground. Are your canales in good shape, or are they deteriorated? A rotted canale will divert water into the walls. Is the canale opening higher than the level of the roof? If so, this will prevent water from running off the roof properly.
A good roof should not experience signs of prolonged ponding. Ponding is water that sits on a low spot of a roof for long periods of time without either draining or evaporating. Ponding will cause the immediate area of roof underneath the water to deteriorate faster than the surrounding area. The rule of thumb is that ponding water should not sit in excess of 48 hours.
The key to any good roof is excellent drainage.
WHAT'S THE DEAL WITH PUMICE?
Pumice was used as a cost-effective fill material to provide slope and moderate insulation to roofs. The problem with pumice is that once it gets wet, it basically holds moisture indefinitely. This property of pumice can lead to leaks and mold. Pumice will only dry when exposed to light. For this reason, the use of pumice as a roofing material was outlawed in the 2009 New Mexico Administrative Code, 188.8.131.52 Chapter 9 Roof Assemblies: E. Section R907.3 (4). A pumice roof must be removed before a new roof can be installed.
DO YOU INSTALL TPO ROOFS?
Thermoplastic polyolefin, “TPO”, is a single membrane solution that comes in various thicknesses. Given it’s white and tan colors, TPO generally comes with an Energy Star rating, and is particularly popular for its cooling effects in warm climates. For general purposes, TPO is ordered is ordered in six foot and ten foot width rolls. It is often specified for larger commercial roofs given the application size in which it is ordered. Given its high quality and energy saving characteristics, TPO is now becoming a popular choice for residential projects. TPO is a fantastic choice for Santa Fe homeowners seeking out another “green” option for roofing!
TPO is a twenty-to-fifty year solution. SFS&R currently prefers Carlisle and GAF brands for their quality, reputation, and how well they back their products.
DO YOU INSTALL TAR AND GRAVEL ROOFS?
Old tar and gravel roofs in Santa Fe are fantastic and can last 30 years, or more. New tar and gravel is not as great. The reason for this is that the petroleum distillates currently used in tar are of a lesser quality than what was used in the past. For this reason, we recommend other solutions. Tar and Gravel is also not as environmentally friendly as other solutions.
Tar and Gravel can sometimes be referred to as “built-up”.
DO YOU INSTALL "BRAI" ROOFS?
Yes, we do! We use Certainteed Modified Bitumen. Certainteed provides a 20 year life expectancy on the material. “Mod Bit” roofs are quite a popular solution for Santa Fe; they’re rugged and reliable. Other roofers in Santa Fe might shy away from this type of roof primarily because they don’t want to carry the required liability insurance. A Mod Bit roof can also referred to as a “torch-down” roof.
I'VE HEARD GOOD AND BAD THINGS ABOUT FOAM ROOFS.
We know you have! Here’s a way to think about foam roofs : Foam 1.0, installed on homes ten-to-fifteen years ago; and Foam 2.0, roof installed within recent years.
Foam 1.0 is basically “open cell” vertical wall insulation material. As an insulator, it lacks the properties and strength required for use on a roof; open cell foam retains moisture indefinitely. Further, top coatings to the foam were water resistant rather than waterproof. The combination of open cell foam technology and non-waterproof sealants lead to some truly hellish conditions for homeowners and their roofs. The foam would simply retain and leak enormous amounts of water into the home. In some cases, the results were disastrous.
Today’s roofing foam is designed specifically for roofing specifications. Roof foam is made of closed cell material. It’s denser, and does not hold water. Further, the sealant coat should always be 100% waterproof. A foam roof installed properly with dense closed-cell roof foam material and a 100% waterproof top coating is an excellent solution! This roof enjoys a five star energy rating and provides enhanced insulation characteristics.
Homeowners may also benefit from multiple tax credits.
Today’s foam roof can be a great option for the homeowner. While it’s true there are some horror stories from the past decade, today’s foam roof can truly be an option worth consideration for the knowledgeable homeowner.
RE-ROOF OR MAINTAIN?
The question to re-roof need not always be a question of finances. A ten-year old roof in moderate condition with remaining life of 50% or less should benefit from a one-time maintenance or a maintenance agreement. SFS&R maintenance agreements will extract every ounce of life from the existing roof, ensuring that the homeowner receives maximum value from what roof they have left.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD THE ROOF BE CHECKED?
At the bare minimum, a roof should be checked at least once a year. In fact, we offer programs that get our licensed professionals on your roof as frequently as every six months.
WHAT ARE SIGNS OF WEAR?
Typical signs of wear:
• Exposed tar with no gravel cover
• Mesh visible through tar on parapets
• Cracks visible in parapets
• Seams in roofing material that have separated on roof deck or vertical flashing (where the roof meets the parapet)
• Wrinkles in vertical flashing
• Bubbles in the roof deck or vertical flashing – out-gassing due to poor roof ventilation
• Separations between sealant and base materials
STUCCO - SYNTHETIC VS. TRADITIONAL?
Both solutions are good. It all depends on what meets the client’s needs. Generally speaking, synthetic stucco provides consistent color and wear over time. When first introduced, synthetic stucco was also touted as providing longer life than traditional stucco.
Traditional stucco tends to show more color variation – when initially applied, and over time when exposed to the elements. Thanks to advances in technology and materials, traditional stucco now lasts almost as long as synthetic stucco.
WHAT SHOULD WE DO ABOUT OUR PARAPETS?
Parapets are a critical area for the home from both a roof and stucco perspective. Cracked parapets can leak water into the home, potentially causing damage in the walls, throughout the building frame, and to the exterior stucco as well. Depending on how the parapet was built, repairs may be required with stucco and/or roof repair material.
AT WHAT POINT SHOULD CRACKING IN MY STUCCO BE A CONCERN?
Anytime a crack becomes thicker than the width of a credit card, you should consider having a professional examine the stucco. The most common areas of cracking are at the parapets and around windows. Many contractors use substandard quality products or techniques that allow deterioration to develop prematurely.
WHAT'S SPECIAL ABOUT OUR STUCCO PROCESS?
At SFS&R, we do stucco one way –the right way! First, it starts with our people. Our stucco foreman, Ruperto Reyes, is a master craftsman who has been performing stucco work for decades. Ruperto’s stucco jobs are more a work of art than an activity. He maintains relentless attention to detail with his crews.
Unlike many of our competitors, we take a more qualitative approach to stucco work, especially regarding areas of significant deterioration such as the parapets. We employ a technique called “wrapping.” In addition to conventional “patching” of an affected area (which is all most competitors do), we embed a fiberglass mesh within multiple layers of waterproof cementitious base or scratch coats to permanently address a badly affected area. Then, we apply multiple layers of primer and color coats. This process is costly, and so generally specified in a judicious manner as so not to increase the project cost needlessly.
Although we use a number of quality brands such a Total Wall and El Rey (traditional stucco made in Albuquerque), we most often use Sto as our preferred brand of synthetic stucco. Sto is manufactured to industrial standards, and is 100% waterproof. Other brands such as Dryvit, while fine alternatives, are not generally 100% waterproof, and are geared for consumer use as they can be purchased at big box stores.
Our stucco process is generally suited to higher end Las Campanas homes and marquee structures like The Inn Of The Anasazi.
While admittedly we are not the low price leader on stucco, you get what you pay for with SFS&R. Our stucco work can easily last twenty to thirty years.