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What's on your house?

Roofing question

Svensksmith
post 3.Jul.2012, 06:35 PM
Post #1
Joined: 28.Jul.2011

I recently finished tearing off and replacing the roof on the back side of my 17 year old house. In Sweden, my house had a tile roof which was quite easy to repair. If a tile cracked, I gingerly climbed up and lifted off the old tile and replaced it with a new one. No tools required save a ladder. Most tile roofs last anywheres from 50 to 100 years.

Here in America, the vast majority of roofs are constructed of asphalt shingles which are nailed down to the roof sheathing in courses. To replace it you have to pry off the old roof with a potato fork, pull out all the nails and cart the whole mess off to the dump. Then nail down some roofing felt and the shingles on top of that. Beotch of a job on a hot day. Most asphalt shingle roofs last around 20 years. Very wasteful. The only redeeming feature is that the asphalt shingle roof is cheap and the shingles can easily be cut to accomadate all the crazy angles on those disgusting McMansions that so many Americans seem to prefer.

My question is this: why the difference? Why are most of the roofs in Sweden (and in the other parts of Europe that I have seen) constructed of tile or metal whereas most roofs in America are not? Is it because the Swedes are so ecologically minded that they want to reduce landfill waste? Or because the homes are smaller and therefore cheaper to roof? Or is it due to the fact that most mortgages take 50 years to pay off and therefore the homes are built better? Any opinions on this weighty matter?
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SOIS.COM
post 3.Jul.2012, 07:12 PM
Post #2
Joined: 25.May.2012

Investors who finance real estate development projects in the US look for a very short time period for a return on investment..sometimes as little as 1 year.

In Europe its long term with 50 years not being unheard of.

If an investor is looking at a 50 year horizon they look at the components of the project in terms of sunk costs and maintenance over those 50 years. A tile roof is a better long term investment.

Also, the cost of labor in Sweden for roofers is much higher than in the US (a fair share of roofing contractors employ immigrant labor in the US which costs less than either domestic or immigrant labor in Sweden) hence, better to do it once than twice or three times.

During the real estate boom I visited Gallup, New Mexico. The place gets very hot as its basically in the desert. I talked to some builders there and the insulation standards they use do not differ much from a house on the coast in California or Florida. Cannot imagine what their electricity bills must be! So, not only is the roof more expensive in the long run but the cost power the house is higher due to insulation factors.

America truly has developed into a disposable society and with their utterly high dependence on fossil fuels will wake up to another crisis down the road..that is, what is the value of a city powered 80% by fossil fuels when those fossil fuels no longer exist or are 5 to 6 times the price as of today?

As a comparison my family produces about 20% of the Co2 living in Sweden as we did living in America and some of that Co2 production is based off of renewable resources in Sweden. Our earnings have not changed much and our health has improved markedly. It means we are more competitive living in Sweden than in the US because we consume less to produce the same amount. Oddly enough, the savings from bicycling and walking show the overall GDP of Sweden to be less and Americans as "wealthier" because they are spending money to drive their cars to the gym and to the park to walk their dog...that's stupidity in my book not wealth.

My only gripe about Sweden is the society is not moving fast enough away from dependency on fossil fuels to be prepared for a peak oil crisis within 10 to 20 years. On the other hand, Sweden is much better prepared than most other countries I know of, yet, not much solace when people can't fuel their cars. The most important task for Sweden is to ensure they can compete globally in a fossil free or limited world and if 1 country can do it it's Sweden...no one is better at industrializing production.., in this case sustainability, you have even industrialized and scaled the construction industry which is unheard of in most countries. Sorry, a bit long winded but tile roofs are a sign of a society that wishes to be sustainable asphalt shingles are made from oil which is an utter waste of the resource. Probably one of the only greener alternatives to tile is an actual green roof in the tradition of the Vikings and is still frequently seen today and making a strong comeback in Northern Europe. Another way to put it is, Scandinavians have been leading the development of green roofing for a millennium...maybe not completely accurate but its close enough.
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byke
post 3.Jul.2012, 07:23 PM
Post #3
Location: Europe
Joined: 28.Oct.2008

Would an asphalt shingle roof even work in Sweden given the climate in winter ?
Especially given the high energy taxes.

I suspect that while it can be claimed swedish roofs are better for the environment, I suspect it is more so a by-product of a design needed to handle the weather elements in combination with other local factors (heating costs etc).
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Gamla Hälsingebock
post 3.Jul.2012, 09:45 PM
Post #4
Joined: 21.Dec.2006

There is a new(?)product available for roofing, it is a spray foam application that dries hard...you can walk on it and it has insulating properties...I know for sure it can be applied to a flat roof and also has possibilities for slanted ones.

It is a definite labor saver and I think the initial cost might seem high...because it's just foam, etc..It seems worthwhile to look into when considering a new roof covering
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entry
post 3.Jul.2012, 10:44 PM
Post #5
Location: Västra Götaland
Joined: 1.Jul.2007

Well, I have asphalt shingles on my house in Vermont. The winter temperatures and weather there are much more severe than here in the Gothenburg or the Stockholm area. I do not know if a tile roof would shed heavy snow as easily as shingles or how well tiles would deal with ice dams. It does however boggle my mind that out west in snow country back in the states where they do not plow but resurface the built up snow(much like you would a dirt road) and you can literally trip over a stop sign poking out of the snow that they would build residences with flat roofs...

If I had the extra money I would go for a copper or metal standing seam roof back home in the states. The tiles here in Sweden seem to work very well from what I have seen.

What kinds of roofing material do they use in Norrland?
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Bender B Rodriquez
post 3.Jul.2012, 11:30 PM
Post #6
Joined: 25.Mar.2006

QUOTE (byke @ 3.Jul.2012, 08:23 PM) *
Would an asphalt shingle roof even work in Sweden given the climate in winter ?Especially given the high energy taxes.I suspect that while it can be claimed swedish roofs are ... (show full quote)

Asphalt shingles would work fine in Sweden too, but as previously mentioned it will not last as long. Tile roofs generally have an asphalt paper layer underneath the tiles to prevent moisture.

From an energy perspective the roofing material does not matter since it is not the roof material that insulates, it is the insulation. If you look at new houses the insulation is usually a 20-30 cm thick layer off glass wool, i.e. from inside out a typical Swedish roof is composed of wood - glass wool - wood - asphalt paper - ceramic tiles. Here is how it looks from the inside: http://www.byggla.se/EPiServerCommunity/Mo...14200_82525.jpg
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Svensksmith
post 4.Jul.2012, 12:23 AM
Post #7
Joined: 28.Jul.2011

Gamla, do you have any info on the new spray-on roofing? I've thought for years that a roof made out of the same material that is sprayed on pick-up truck beds (ex. Rhino Liner or Line-X)would make an excellent roof and be very easily applied and very long lasting.

If I had the money, entry, I would go for the standing seam metal roof as well. Maybe on my next house...
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skogsbo
post 4.Jul.2012, 07:11 AM
Post #8
Joined: 20.Sep.2011

QUOTE (SOIS.COM @ 3.Jul.2012, 07:12 PM) *
Investors who finance real estate development projects in the US look for a very short time period for a return on investment..sometimes as little as 1 year. In Europe its lon ... (show full quote)

Most houses in Sweden with tile, either older kiln fired clay based or newer concrete based tiles, weren't build by construction companies. Many were roofed in the early part of the 20th century when such things didn't exist, others independantly. Now newer houses are built with them, partly to match but also because they are practical, harder wearing and remain maintenance free for decades, regardless of the finance package, this just makes sense. Generally on older houses (100-150+ years) under the tiles there are the older wooden shingles.

QUOTE (SOIS.COM @ 3.Jul.2012, 07:12 PM) *
Also, the cost of labor in Sweden for roofers is much higher than in the US (a fair share of roofing contractors employ immigrant labor in the US which costs less than either ... (show full quote)

Irrelevant and not a factor, as these style of kiln fired tiles are used all over Europe, not just Scandanavia. Anyone who has clay (or similar) and a fire, can make these.

QUOTE (SOIS.COM @ 3.Jul.2012, 07:12 PM) *
America truly has developed into a disposable society and with their utterly high dependence on fossil fuels will wake up to another crisis down the road..that is, what is the ... (show full quote)

This I can agree on.

QUOTE (SOIS.COM @ 3.Jul.2012, 07:12 PM) *
My only gripe about Sweden is the society is not moving fast enough away from dependency on fossil fuels to be prepared for a peak oil crisis within 10 to 20 years.

Sweden is one of the least dependant in Europe and it has been their policy to remove fossil fuel dependancy for a decade or so. It is considered the greenest in Europe(vaxjo - greenest city), so your concern might need to land elsewhere. Peak Oil, nice phrase that people throw around, what they should say is 'cheap oil', there is masses of oil out there, it will just cost more to extract and refine, but there is no shortage of volume. I can give you the details of companies that are on the brink of finding truly huge new oil finds, in new countries like Cuba or the Bahamas if you are interested.

QUOTE (SOIS.COM @ 3.Jul.2012, 07:12 PM) *
Probably one of the only greener alternatives to tile is an actual green roof in the tradition of the Vikings and is still frequently seen today and making a strong comeback i ... (show full quote)

Green roofs look green, but there is still considerable understructure on a new modern one. Old ones, used birch bark as water proofing layer on top of wooden tiles/shingles. New ones have a solid base, then a water proof membrane (or DPM), a moisture retaining layer on top, followed by your actaul soil matter. You can go traditional the amount of time and manpower required is considerable.

QUOTE (Gamla Hälsingebock @ 3.Jul.2012, 09:45 PM) *
There is a new(?)product available for roofing, it is a spray foam application that dries hard...you can walk on it and it has insulating properties...I know for sure it can b ... (show full quote)

Be cautious. There are several companies trying to market stuf like this to spray under kiln fired or cement tiles, either to add insulation or to hold old roofs in place. They have many faults though, they prevent the loft space and wood breathing, creating damp and rot. They also make it impossible to carry out minor repairs as even broken tiles or slates are held in place.
An entire roof out of this, not sure, but you need to consider ventilation, it's critical. The only reason many old houses are standing today is because they are or were drafty and had open fires drawing air through them! With peoples' move to fit double or triple glazed windows, insulate every door frame, cram lofts full of insulation, installing central heating systems... it is possible that many older wooden houses will start to suffer.. no one will notice until 20 or 30 years from now.
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Bender B Rodriquez
post 4.Jul.2012, 08:45 AM
Post #9
Joined: 25.Mar.2006

QUOTE (skogsbo @ 4.Jul.2012, 08:11 AM) *
An entire roof out of this, not sure, but you need to consider ventilation, it's critical. The only reason many old houses are standing today is because they are or were d ... (show full quote)

This is well known and taken into account in new houses. Also, triple glazed windows have been standard for the last 30 years.
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skogsbo
post 4.Jul.2012, 10:55 AM
Post #10
Joined: 20.Sep.2011

yes, but it is only now that people are retro-fitting these types of windows in old wood framed houses, summer houses etc. Yes, newer house all the extractor fans, ventilated walls etc.

Although there is an era of houses in Sweden built between the 50s and 70s with 2/3 submerged basement floors, that have damp issues, because they weren't tanked properly or fitted with decent a decent DPM, because it was before their time. Many of these have saunas, water pump, wet & wash rooms in to add to their problems.
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sometimesinsweden
post 4.Jul.2012, 11:07 AM
Post #11
Joined: 15.Jun.2012

QUOTE (Bender B Rodriquez @ 4.Jul.2012, 08:45 AM) *
This is well known and taken into account in new houses. Also, triple glazed windows have been standard for the last 30 years.

Yes - modern air-tight houses that are triple-glazed, and don't even have a letter box to prevent wastage, have two pipes running through them, one which brings in fresh air and another which removes stale air and moisture. The latest designs actually produce energy that can be sold back to the utility companies to provide an income - I helped build a 4-bedder in Derbyshire a few years back that 'earned' around £2k a year.

Regarding air-proofing and fitting triple-glazing to older Swedish wooden houses - I've not seen a full-on job before, but I'm assuming you'd have to fit ventilation pipes or after a couple of months of regular usage, it would start to rot inside.
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Gordy
post 4.Jul.2012, 11:09 AM
Post #12
Location: Skåne
Joined: 1.Oct.2005

QUOTE (SOIS.COM @ 3.Jul.2012, 08:12 PM) *
Also, the cost of labor in Sweden for roofers is much higher than in the US (a fair share of roofing contractors employ immigrant labor in the US which costs less than either ... (show full quote)

You can sing that!

The cost of labour in the building trade here in Sweden is ridiculous, confirmed by the fact that the government has to give home owners tax breaks in order to help with the cost and support the sector.

If the Government were to withdraw the ROT-avdrag the sector would be on it's knees, but instead we have the Government providing artificial supports to sustain uncompetitive prices.

I'm building a new house at the moment (because it is a new build rather than a renovation I can't claim the tax break) and am in touch with someone building a very similar house in Ireland so I can compare prices directly.

On average labour costs here are 2 to 3 times higher than in Ireland and sometimes almost x4. That is comparing prices with all taxes paid no black money (cash deals).

The labour for tiling the roof is approx. 3 times the Irish cost, plastering and electrical work are approx. double the Irish cost and plumbing is over 3 times the cost.

Even the Polish lads who do lots of summer work here have cottoned on and are pricing themselves at about 80% of the cost of local labour and are laughing all the way to the bank.
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Gamla Hälsingebock
post 4.Jul.2012, 11:50 AM
Post #13
Joined: 21.Dec.2006

QUOTE (Svensksmith @ 4.Jul.2012, 12:23 AM) *
Gamla, do you have any info on the new spray-on roofing? I've thought for years that a roof made out of the same material that is sprayed on pick-up truck beds (ex. Rhino ... (show full quote)

Hey Svensksmith!

As requested:...http://www.sprayfoam.com/vmps/videolisting.cfm?vdoid=170

GH
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skogsbo
post 4.Jul.2012, 11:59 AM
Post #14
Joined: 20.Sep.2011

QUOTE (sometimesinsweden @ 4.Jul.2012, 11:07 AM) *
Regarding air-proofing and fitting triple-glazing to older Swedish wooden houses - I've not seen a full-on job before, but I'm assuming you'd have to fit ventilati ... (show full quote)

I don't think heat & moisture recovery systems are that common here (yet). The key is to leave the wall breathable, there are various tar paper and asphalt boards which can block wind and allow moisture to travel in the other direction. Plus the standard 12mm air gap between layers. Sensible folk don't fit any of the foil coated or polystyrene insulation in walls or roofs, etc. or anything which cause a great blockage of air circulating.

Windows we will leave a original & a little draughty, but we will enhance our walls as currently we only have wood walls, no insulation and no wind paper. We've add moisture sensitive and timer controlled extractor fans to bathroom and another to the kichen (once it's started). Plus the fireplaces won't be blocked up, even if not used. In order to preserve the wood, we just have to tolerate a bit of heat loss.

QUOTE (Gordy @ 4.Jul.2012, 11:09 AM) *
The labour for tiling the roof is approx. 3 times the Irish cost, plastering and electrical work are approx. double the Irish cost and plumbing is over 3 times the cost.

You are comparing chalk and cheese building economies though, but the bottom fell out the Irish market years ago and they would work for any price right now, as there just isn't the demand. Getting good skilled trades folk in Sweden is tough, but I know one who charged as little as kr220 an hour, sadly this is cheap and I was working for him, so that's all I got too!
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sometimesinsweden
post 4.Jul.2012, 12:09 PM
Post #15
Joined: 15.Jun.2012

QUOTE (skogsbo @ 4.Jul.2012, 11:59 AM) *
I don't think heat & moisture recovery systems are that common here (yet). The key is to leave the wall breathable, there are various tar paper and asphalt boards whic ... (show full quote)

I actually find full-sealed houses a bit claustrophobic, a bit like an artificial space capsule detached from the environment, if that makes any sense - think it's to do with growing up in the UK where draughty houses are commonplace, so in no rush to change our windows in the summer house either.

Insulated the roof with recycled newspaper padding that was brought over from Germany which seems to have been working for 3 years. To be honest, we've been in it when temperatures have been below -20 and when the wood boiler and heater is pumping out, I've had to open the windows to get cold air in as the temperature gauge isn't exactly scientific, so in no rush to put in anymore insulation!
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