Group of eight large, wooden roof windows or skylights

Many homeowners consider adding roof windows or skylights to their homes to brighten up interior spaces and add value to the home. But these windows should be selected and installed with care to make sure they don’t end up causing costly damage to the home.

Roof windows are stylish and versatile, but they also serve practical purposes. Homeowners may feel that windows are not bringing in enough light to satisfy the occupants’ needs. Many homes have overhangs, trees and bushes or other impediments that block or reduce the natural light entering the home from regular windows. Townhomes and small structures may have fewer windows than desired. Or, existing windows may be oriented away from the sun, limiting their use as a light source. Roof windows provide a perfect solution for these situations when more natural light and openness is desired.

Natural sunlight is good for health, improving circadian rhythms, helping people keep a healthy sleep schedule and can improve mood. Seeing the open sky, day or night, is relaxing and enjoyable to many people. Allowing natural light into the home also helps keeps energy bills down as there is less need for artificial lighting.  Roof windows help the home feel more open, spacious and airy. Roof windows can serve all those purposes while improving the home’s aesthetics and even adding to the resale value of the home.

Once the decision has been made, the homeowner should consider the different kinds and styles of roof windows to find the best fit for their home.

Different Kinds of Roof Windows

Exterior detail of frame building upper story windows and two dormers in blue metal roof

While the terms are used interchangeably, roof windows can be distinguished by different names that call out small differences in how they are situated on the roof and sometimes on function. Different descriptions may include roof windows, skylights and dormers.

Skylights are usually fixed windows that follow the angle of the roof. They serve to funnel light from the roof opening to interior rooms of the house. Most often, they cannot be opened and closed, but they are airtight, used mainly to enhance light inside the home or building.

Roof windows may differ from skylights if they function more like regular windows. They usually can be opened like windows and may sit at a gentle angle (usually no more than 15 degrees pitch) to the roof to allow for a more expansive view. These windows are ideal for upstairs lofts and bedrooms and are often used in narrow rooms, where wall space is restricted.

Dormers are another kind of rooftop window. These roofed structures jut out from the main part of the house, usually at a vertical pitch, parallel to the walls of the home. There are several kinds of dormer windows, many quite decorative. While they are a very traditional style of window found on older homes, they are often also added on to already existing buildings during a renovation to add space to the interior.

Advantages of Roof Windows and Skylights

Empty Room of New Home with Wood Floors Bright Skylight Roof Windows

Skylights and roof windows bring in light and warmth to the interior. One of the disadvantages of stationary skylights in warm climates is that, depending on orientation, the glass may magnify the heat from the sun, making the room hot.

Operable skylights are more expensive, but solve that problem by allowing the window to be opened using a crank. Because skylights are located on the ceiling, they may be accessed with a pole or electronically. They may even be programmed automatically. Automatic skylights may be set to open and close at certain times, and can even detect rain.

Skylights should be UV rated, protecting the inside from solar rays. Thermal protection on quality skylights improves energy efficiency, preventing leakage of heat or air conditioning. The skylight should not allow water leaks from rain and snow on the roof. Leaks can occur with poorly designed skylights or due to poor installation. It’s important to get expert advice when starting a skylight or roof window project and invest in the right solution to avoid even more costly repairs later on.

Roof windows, sometimes called sky windows, are actually windows that open wide and are usually built within reach of people. Unlike most skylights, they usually open at the center and can also be turned around so that all areas are easy to reach and clean. Some manufacturers use the terms roof window and skylight interchangeably, but the most important thing is to find the best style for you.

Skylight and Roof Window Installation

House under construction. Roofing tiles with open skylight

The most important thing to focus on when installing a new roof window or skylight is planning. You want to maintain the structural integrity of your home while incorporating your new fixtures. Cutting rafters, for instance, will weaken the roof structure. Be sure to consult with your roofer who will know your roof’s construction and status. While you may have a location in mind, it’s important for your roofer to consider where new pane can be installed in relation to the rest of the roof system. Also remember to check with your local government as you may need to obtain a building permit to make exterior changes to the home.

What to Watch For with Skylights and Roof Windows

Choosing the right product is very important as it will become an integral part of your house for decades to come. It’s important to select a quality skylight that will not leak air or water.  A poor quality skylight or improper installation can lead to heat loss, water leaks, mold, stains and other problems. Before you buy, consult you professional roofer to help you make the right selection of roof window, skylight or dormer design to fit your home. He may also suggest adding additional framing and insulation so your roof and new window remain strong, secure and watertight. A window installer knows a lot about windows but will be less knowledgeable about roofs and their special problems and needs. For the best long term result, get your roofer involved in the process and take his advice to protect the integrity of this most protective part of your house.

Prestige Roofing in Las Vegas Can Help

McDonald Highland Standing Seam 251.jpg

Prestige Roofing has been serving the Las Vegas and southern Nevada area since 1995. We offer full service roofing, including new roofs, maintenance, custom roofs and roof fixtures, including roof windows and skylights. We advise that your annual roof inspection also include your skylights and roof windows so that cracks, leaks or loose components can be caught early and water intrusion into your home prevented.

Adding a roof window or skylight will not only add beauty and value to your home, it will make your home more comfortable and enjoyable for you and your family. For help with a new or existing roof window in Las Vegas and Southern Nevada, contact Prestige Roofing today for a free estimate.

copper designer gutters and downspout on tile roofed home

Whether the roof of your home is made of shingles, tiles, copper or other roofing materials, your roof is your home’s primary defense against weather and the elements that can cause costly damage to your home and what’s inside it. Your roof has a safeguard against water intrusion, your rain gutter system. Installing reliable roof rain gutters and maintaining an adequate drainage system can go a long way toward preserving your roof and other moisture sensitive parts of your home, like walls and foundation.

Roof gutters are mounted along the edge of the roof and provide a direction for rain, melted snow, and other runoff to flow off your roof through a downspout and safely away from the foundation of your home. Specifically, runoff is directed away from your roof, attic, walls, foundation or other areas around your home where collecting water could cause rot, mold and other structural damage.

There are several points to consider when choosing roof gutters for your home. It’s important to consider quality and performance and understand what works best for your type of home and your location. But rain gutters are not just utilitarian anymore. You can also choose styles and materials that not only serve a useful purpose but can also benefit the look of your home.

What Type of Rain Gutters Are Right for your Home?

icon images of different rain gutter types available including round and k-style

Roof rain gutters come in numerous shapes, materials and sizes. Two common designs are ‘K’ style gutters and half round gutters.  While both shapes come in a few different widths that allow for a certain capacity of drainage, the shape of the ‘K’ Style roof gutter will handle a larger capacity of drainage than the same size half round shape rain gutters.

If you’re the DIY type, you’ll need to buy components that comprise all the parts you’ll need, including gutters and downspouts as well as the gaskets that form watertight junctions between them. The gutters come in various sizes, including 4, 5 and 6 inch diameter. You can get matching downspouts in different widths, including 2×3 inches or 3×4 inches. The larger the size the better; it’s worth the minimal difference in price to go with the larger size as wider gutters and downspouts will tend to clog less and thus perform better and be easier to maintain.

What Type of Material Should I Choose for my Roof Gutters?

Tile roofed home with copper rain gutter system showing drainpipe and gutters along the roof line

 

There are several points to consider when choosing the material for your roof rain gutters. The material you choose not only affects the cost of the installation, but also the level of protection the roof gutters provide to your home as well as the look and curb appeal of the home.

  • Vinyl – The most common roof gutter material option for roof rain gutters is vinyl. Vinyl is not only a durable material, but it is also rust-proof and easy to maintain. This cost-effective option is good for the tightest of budgets and will function well and last in a wide variety of climates and regions.
  • Steel – Steel is a good choice for high quality roof rain gutters that can last in the elements but can also handle falling branches and other debris that can cause structural damage to a roof gutter system. Steel is competitive in cost to other materials when quality and durability is considered and can be worth the added expense in regions or on lots with a lot of tall trees and high winds.
  • Aluminum – Aluminum is a cost-effective choice for your roof rain gutters and comes in several different gauges of thickness. Aluminum is a long-lasting material. Corrosion can be prevented with proper maintenance and it is resistant to rust. Aluminum roof gutters provide an installation option that other materials do not.  They can be installed in sections with joints about every ten feet or you can choose seamless aluminum roof rain gutters. Seamless roof gutters need less maintenance and are less likely to develop leaks because the gutters are put up as one continuous section. There are no joints where debris can accumulate, or where moisture can freeze and cause cracks in colder weather, making this a great choice for colder climates.
  • Copper – A popular choice for beauty and durability is copper roof gutters. Copper gutters, while higher in price, are a good investment in your home as they add beauty, value and plenty of curb appeal. Copper will not rust and is resistant to corrosion. It will develop an attractive copper patina or verdigris over time as it ages. A copper rain gutter system is the perfect accompaniment to a copper roof so that they can complement each other and complete your home’s look. They also complement tile roofs and can provide decades of service. Copper’s strength, durability and classic beauty make this a good choice when design and functionality are both a priority.

When Should I Replace my Roof Rain Gutters?

Close Up Of Man Replacing Roof Rain Guttering On Exterior Of House

Regular inspection and maintenance of your roof gutter system can help them do their job well and last longer.  Rain gutters can last 10 to 50 years depending on materials and with proper maintenance. It’s important to know when your roof rain gutters are failing to get the job done and need replacement before your home suffers costly damage. Regular inspection can help you avoid problems with your rain gutter system.

One of the first things to look for when inspecting your roof rain gutters is sagging.  If the roof gutters are sagging and not following the straight line of your roof, the integrity of the system is compromised, and water will not flow to the downspout. This can cause overflow in the sagging section that can damage walls, window casements and the foundation below. Collecting water will also cause rust, rot or freeze damage depending on the material.  

It is important to check your roof gutter system after storms. Flying debris can cause cracks or leaks and can even knock a section down. It is important to make sure all the components of the roof gutter are intact such as the drip edge.  This small flashing edge helps direct water off the shingles and into the gutters preventing damage to the roof shingles and outer walls and windows of your home.

Poor installation or advanced age may mean loose gaskets, missing hardware or broken parts. A full walk around and inspection once a year will help you spot and stop any problems from leading to system failure in a storm. Be sure to follow the line of gutters and downspouts and inspect and clear any debris out of the inside of the gutters, allowing you to fully inspect them inside and out.

Finally, you want to make sure the roof rain gutters are installed properly and can handle the capacity of drainage for your region and home. While many roof gutters can be installed by a do-it-yourselfer, having your roof rain gutters installed by an experienced pro will assure the job is done properly and add to the life of your roof gutters. Contact Prestige Roofing serving Las Vegas and Southern Nevada for a free inspection of your rain gutter system.

Residential home with copper roof that is showing patina shade of green and brown Las Vegas home

A beautiful copper roof will last many decades and should need only minimal care. Strong and durable, copper has a natural lifecycle that takes it from a shiny copper glow to a rich, distinctive patina, one that is recognizable worldwide as seen in many historic buildings, some hundreds of years old. To achieve that distinguished maturity, most homeowners look forward to or even accelerate the maturation of their copper roof to its ultimate patina. But no matter what stage your copper roof is in, there are still things you should know to help your roof look and perform its very best for a very long time to come.

Copper Roof Patina Formation

The patina color on a copper roof is a sign that the copper is maturing and actually strengthening as it ages. When a copper roof is exposed to moisture and air contaminants, the oxidation process begins. A thin layer begins to form, which is the patina, sometimes called verdigris. As the years go by, the patina will grow thicker and it will change color.  The color may vary, depending on the location of the roof. For example, urban copper roofs may have a bluish patina, due to the copper sulfate that forms from deposits from urban pollution. A copper roof on a building near the coast may have a greenish tint as the salt air forms copper chloride in the patina. It’s important to remember that this is a long, natural process. You can expect it to take even longer if you live in a dry climate that doesn’t get much rain or humidity. Plus, the patina will probably mature unevenly. Different parts of the roof may receive more or less sunlight, and other factors can also give it an uneven appearance. This is normal and eventually the entire roof will take on the same brilliant color. The process itself can be fascinating to follow over the years and can usually be allowed to progress naturally. That does not mean that the roof, like any other roof, should not be monitored for any problems, damage or debris.

Things to Avoid When You Have a Copper Roof

New copper roof and copper covered gazebo in Las Vegas with new copper shine

Normally, simple debris removal is all that’s needed to keep your roof in good condition. Some homeowners, however, may be tempted to manage the coloration of the roof and want to preserve the “shiny” phase of the copper. This is probably not the best route, as the thin layer of patina actually helps protect the copper beneath it and adds to the life of the copper roof. And, removing the patina can scar or damage the copper. It’s important to avoid harsh chemical cleaners as their use to remove the protective patina opens the possibility the roof will become pitted. Cleaning the roof with any type of soap is not recommended.

Another thing to avoid is using a chemical sealant on the roof. Use of a sealant creates a need for regular monitoring and maintenance and it has to be done meticulously to avoid damage. Missing a spot, uneven application or other mistakes can cause drastic unevenness in the patina and ruin the look of the roof for years until the sealant wears away. Remember, the patina itself is the only sealant that is required to have a beautiful, natural, long-lived copper roof.

If you live in Las Vegas, or any dry environment, you may wish to speed up the patina formation. This is usually best left to professionals as many of the chemicals and products marketed for this purpose can damage your roof. At Prestige we can treat the copper after installation with a safe and effective coating to help begin the aging process so your roof will more quickly form a natural, even patina pattern for the look you want. See below for a gentle, natural way to help the patina formation.

Proper Care for a Copper Roof

selection of roofer nails for installation or repair including copper and steel nails

If properly installed by professionals trained as copper roofing specialists, your copper roof will basically be maintenance free. It’s still important to remove debris that may accumulate over the winter or after a rainstorm, so at least an annual inspection or post-storm inspection is in order. Removing debris will assure there is no damage under the debris from falling branches or other objects and it also allows the patina formation process to proceed evenly across the roof.

Occasionally, if debris has been present for some time, or if the roofer did a poor job of installing your roof (such as using steel nails that may rust instead of copper nails), you may see streaks or stains on the roof and want to remove them. If you are a do-it-yourselfer, here is a simple method you can use to lightly clean your roof. This wash will also help speed up the oxidation process in our dry climate. Be sure to do this when there is no rain in the forecast:

  • Sweep any debris, dust, branches or leaves off the roof with a broom.
  • Create a mixture using equal parts salt and white vinegar. Stir it until the salt is completely dissolved.
  • Apply the mixture evenly over the roof, using a soft-bristled brush.
  • Rinse the salt and vinegar off with a garden hose. Never use a pressure washer on a copper roof, because it can damage the patina.

Remember, a well-designed and properly installed copper roof will not normally have problems. However, if you notice anything that worries you, have your roofer take a look. To preserve the beauty and value of your unique copper roof and avoid unintentional damage, be sure to consult with your roofer before applying any cleaning or other roof treatments.

Prestige Roofing for All Your Roof Maintenance Needs

luxury home with copper fixture over entryway with patina custom designed

A thing of uncommon beauty, a copper roof can last a century or longer. You will enjoy years of beauty and find that your roof requires little maintenance compared to other types of roofs. At Prestige Roofing we are copper roofing experts, so in addition to crafting and installing your roof, we’re ready to take care of any cleaning or maintenance issues that come up. We hope you will get in touch with us for all your roofing needs.

gallery-copper-roofUnderstanding your roof warranty is an important part of getting the best value and peace of mind for your roof investment. Take the time before the project begins to understand your warranty so you will be able to relax and enjoy your new roof knowing you made a good decision with your purchase.

What is a Roof Warranty?

A roof warranty covers the materials and work done on your roofing project. It isn’t insurance, so it won’t cover, for example, storm damage, but it should make sure that your investment in your new roof means a roof that looks and functions like the sales material promised, and that your roof installation was done correctly.

Different Warranties Depending on Type of Roofing Project

When you have roof work done, the roof warranty on your project will vary depending on the type, size and scope of the project and on which manufacturer provides your roofing materials. In general, a full new roof or a reroof will have a longer warranty for materials and workmanship than a limited repair job that does not replace your entire roof.

Whatever the project, before you settle on a final plan, your roofing contractor should explain your warranty to you so that you understand your protection and have a chance to ask questions.

Here are things you should know about roof warranties:

Roofing Materials: Roofing materials carry a warranty from the manufacturer. These warranties will vary by manufacturer, and generally by type of roofing material. Roofing materials warranties, in general, last from 10-30 years, depending on the type of materials. You will get a copy of this warranty with your roofing contract. The roofing manufacturer may also have more information on their website, such as contact information, forms for a claim and so on. You may also be able to purchase full system warranty coverage that includes most or all of your roof components, or buy “lifetime” coverage for extended protection.

Roof Installation: The contractor should follow the manufacturer’s installation specifications exactly so the product will perform as it was designed. The contractor warranty for a new roof or a replacement roof warranties that the work was carried out properly and without defects.

Because our work is top quality, Prestige is able to offer an exceptional warranty on our work to our residential roof installation clients. Generally, on a full new residential roof, our workmanship will usually be warrantied for a period of 5-10 years, depending on the project. (This warranty period may not apply to partial replacements or roof repairs)

Roof Repairs: Roof repairs can involve everything from replacing a few tiles to repairing a major section of your existing roof. Since the scope of work can vary widely, there’s no one warranty that will apply. It will depend on the individual project. Small projects may have no or a 1 year warranty. Most major repair work, however, would probably be warrantied for a longer period, perhaps 2-5 years. Very small projects, like replacing a few missing or broken tiles, may not carry a warranty.

Commercial Roofs: Commercial roofing projects can span many types, from flat roofing, using materials like PVC, TPO or KEE single ply roofing membranes, to tile, metal or other materials. The manufacturer’s warranty will apply to cover the roof materials. Commercial roof installation warranties generally start around 1-2 years, but as with all roofing installations, the warranty will vary depending on the type of roof.

Common Questions People Have about their Roof Warranty

Warranties can differ widely. You will likely have two warranties, one with your manufacturer and one with your roof installer. It’s good to know the major points of each and ask questions for any special situation you may be facing.

Below are answers to some typical questions we get from our customers.

Will the warranty cover every problem?

Warranties generally cover defects in the materials that cause them to malfunction or to age prematurely. The manufacturer may not cover roofing materials that are damaged, for example, by a tree falling on them. Be sure to understand what the warranty covers and doesn’t cover. Always carry the appropriate level of homeowner’s insurance to protect against the costs of accidental damage.

Are there any reasons my warranty would not be valid?

Roofing materials that were installed incorrectly may not be covered. Protect yourself by choosing a qualified, licensed roofer. A professional roofer always follows the installation requirements of the manufacturer to assure that your roof will perform as designed and your warranty will not be voided by shoddy workmanship. If you live in an area subject to extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, be sure you understand any carve-outs or exceptions the manufacturer may have in their warranty coverage.

Is the contractor warranty the same as the manufacturer warranty?

No, the manufacturer’s warranty will be responsible for defective roofing materials that fail during the warranty period, usually due to design or manufacturing flaws. Your contractor warranties that his work is sound and that the roof was installed correctly. During the warranty period, if your roof does not perform as it should (for example, it develops a leak without any apparent external cause of damage), your contractor should repair your roof under the warranty. If he finds the roof materials at fault, the manufacturer would provide replacement materials at no cost. Call your contractor first for any problems so he can help determine the best resolution for any problems.

What if I sell my home?

Most warranties are transferable to a new owner. Be sure to check with your warranty company for any paperwork requirements. There may be a limit on the number of times a warranty can be transferred.

Vintage Las Vegas home restored with CeDUR shake roofing

Roof pitch is the measure of the slant of your roof. It is one of the many important elements of your roof, and there’s good reason to understand its purpose and what it means for the health and safety of the roof over your head.

Not long ago, the local news in Ellisburg, NY reported that a barn roof collapsed and killed some cows during a winter storm. A day later, an elementary school roof collapsed in Montana, but thankfully no injuries were reported. Roof collapse is such a problem in snowy climates that the Massachusetts state government even publishes guidelines on clearing snow in ways that avoid roof collapse. The guidelines mention that “flat and low-pitched roofs — mostly found on industrial buildings but also used in certain home designs — are at the greatest risk of buckling under heavy snow and ice accumulations.” So clearly, roof pitch matters in terms of the integrity of a building and safety. But what is roof pitch, exactly?

Roof Pitch Defined

Roof pitch is one of the most visible aspects of a roof. It’s the measure of the steepness of a roof, or its slope. Roof pitch is expressed as a ratio of the roof’s vertical rise to its horizontal span, or “run.” In the United States, roof pitch is typically measured in inches and expressed as a ratio. The higher the first number (rise) in the ratio, the steeper the roof. The second number is the horizontal area measured, usually measured as a standard 12 inches (one foot of roof). So a roof pitch of 10:12, as seen below, means for every 12 horizontal inches of roof, the roof rises 10 inches. This is a steep slope roof.

graphic representation of roof pitch measuring 10:12 pencil drawing

For the curious or do-it-yourselfers, Wikihow has a good explanation on how to measure the pitch of your roof in easy to follow steps. Just use common ladder and roof safety rules, or, if you have one, you can take the measurements from inside your attic.

drawing of measuring roof pitch with a ruler and a level on a house rooftop

Why is Roof Pitch Important?

sown covered chalet with a steep roof pitch

Roof pitch is mainly intended to allow run-off of rain and snow. Most of the time, areas where higher levels of snow or rainfall are common prefer to build roofs with steeper pitch. Well-built roofs are designed to prevent pooling of water or accumulation of snow, as over time, these can cause roof damage, from mold and leaks to cracks, or even collapse. Many states, particularly northern states where snowfall is a normal occurrence, include minimum pitch levels in their building codes. This insurance carrier gives some general guidelines on calculating safe snow load for homeowners dealing with a surprise heavy snowfall that some areas have experienced in the last few years.

Common Types of Roof Pitch

Picture of the Ridges roofs illustrating different types of roofing and roof pitch

While categories of roof pitch are not strictly defined, typically they may be grouped as follows:

  • Flat – No roof is truly flat, since they are at least slightly angled in order to allow for drainage of water, and thus flat roofs are those that have a pitch (in inches) of only ½ :12 to 1:12.
  • Low-slope – 1:12 to 4:12. Low-slope roofs require special techniques and materials to prevent leaks. Flat and low-slope roofs are easily to walk on, but are much less efficient at allowing the run-off of rain and snow.
  • Medium-slope – 4:12 to 9:12, which are often mathematically reduced and expressed as 1:3 and 3:4. Roofs with pitches of 6:12 are the most common. A nice balance between water and snow run-off and ease of access.
  • Steep-slope – Any pitch above 9:12. These roofs may require extra fasteners, and these steeper roofs are very challenging to walk on.

reclaimed french tile roof with very steep pitch and gables and tile roof fixture in Las Vegas

Many homes are built with a steep pitch because the angled shapes are attractive to the eye. Building a high pitched roof costs a little more as the vertical angle means the roof span is longer and more materials are required to build it.  A high pitch roof may also require more skilled labor to build and maintain. Decorative additions like gables or eaves will add more cost, but these also add to the interest and charm of the roof.

Generally, though, in areas with no more than light snows, a fairly low pitched roof does the job and fits well with popular styles like ranch homes and most homes in the Southwest. Some materials are more appropriate for a low pitch, such as metal or concrete roofing, while tile and shingles, which are layered to shed precipitation, work best on moderate to high pitch roofing.

Of course, climate is a key factor in selecting the roof pitch for your home. If you live in a heavy snow zone, you’ll want a higher pitch roof to protect from snow loads being trapped on your roof. Here in Southern Nevada, while our homes don’t require high slopes, our seasonal and intense monsoon rains justify having enough roof pitch to make sure that water can be shed quickly from your roof. Your roofer can go over all your options if you are re-roofing or designing a new home.

Prestige Roofing Can Answer Your Roofing Questions

Customers in Southern Nevada, Utah and Arizona can rely on Prestige Roofing in North Las Vegas for professional advice and installation of quality roofs. We are not only licensed roofers but TRI (Tile Roofing Institute) Certified Installers as well. Whatever your roofing needs, don’t hesitate to call the professionals at Prestige Roofing.