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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

What We Do as Professional Roofing Contractors

We don't put on roofs. We install integrated systems and if you haven't caught onto that by now then price is all that matters to you. And if you try to save money it will cost you big time. I'm not talking about roof leaks, higher utility costs, worn out HVAC equipment, respiratory illnesses, and shortened roof life.
I'm shouting about all these costs. When you try to sell your home in 15 years and your blistered thirty year roof doesn't pass inspection or your decking is shot from overheating and humidity, you'll cuss that roofer with only a post office box address or a cell phone in his truck. Oh, how do I hate thee...let me count the ways: Oh, the insulation, the paint, the smell, the money.
Roof leaks cause interior damage but those costs are in the hundreds. Your kids sickness makes you evil. A well placed soffit vent and the removal of that extra out of place low profile that short circuited your attic chimney effect (the broken straw) might have kept your kids well enough to have gotten into UT, but not now buddy. My 7th grade has perfect attendance and I'm a single parent. No mom to ever help out. Thanks be to God for grandparents.
Back on track, we sell roof systems, extended manufacturer's warranties that take out the pro ration and add labor replacement costs, leak warranties from the manufacturer, enhanced wind warranties up to 130 mph, and energy efficiency. We give a lot of bang for your buck that keeps giving for many years. That way you won't have to replace your roof when you sell your home, send your kids to the doctor, paint your home every couple of years, replace your air conditioner, replace your roof decking, pay for college, pay higher utility bills and get a divorce.
Seems like you might pay for a better warranty on your $1000.00 tele or your $2500.00 stereo, or your $25,000.00 car. You can get one for your roof for almost nothing. If you ask we'll probably give it to you. You just need to buy the standard roof accessories instead of the drop down parts the competition uses: upside down and backwards 20 year shingle for a starter on your 30 year roof, 20 year ridge on your class IV lifetime shingle like the janitor did in McKinney, mismatched non venting random and non scientifically installed exhaust vents.
How about those nails they shot right through your shingle. I'll wait while you go outside and check. Really. They went right through the shingle. Want to bet?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Different Types of Roof Leaks

Shake roofs need felt to keep the water out and if a shake splits or blows off the felt interlaced with the shakes will degrade in UV.

Wood shingles, not always cedar because there are cypress and oak too, need only not to have their edges align. In fact, if you lay cedar shingles over felt here in Dallas they will rot.

Concrete tile roofs used to be laid directly over lathe and if one cracked the roof leak was disastrous. Later a therma-ply sheathing was used; we called it denny board. Remember that old aluminum colored cardboard put around homes before house wrap was invented?

Metal roofs leak into the roof and attic because the installers use caulk instead of gravity to keep the water out. If your Gerard or Decra stone coated steel roofing company turns the steel up outside your roof-to-wall nexus, caulks the top and places a covering over it to hide the nastiness... you will pay thousands to repair the damages later.

Flat roofs leak because they are flat and God didn't put it on. In fact God was not a roofer. He was the son of a carpenter. So roofers quit putting His logo on your stuff. The ground moves and the flat roof tears. The nails back out and the roof leaks bad. My favorite is when I went to check on my new flat built up roof that I personally installed in Preston Center for Mr. Lobello. I found a screw driver stuck in the roof. An HVAC guy came over and shouted down from the parking garage that was higher than my leaking roof, "Hey, that's my screwdriver!" I asked if he and I could go visit Mr. Lobello to verify that it was his. He was slightly slower than the rest and Mr. Lobello's office was one floor down. I was saved. The poor slob just wanted to drain the roof, while it was raining, so he wouldn't be electrocuted by the 1,000,000 watt A/C system that cooled the complex. I'm sure by now the government has zapped somebody with his mitochondrial DNA.

Ah, the composition roof leak. The song of drip, drip, drip, ker splat.

Read my previous blog on why composition roofs leak for more info.

Jon Alan Wright
Jon Wright Roofing, Siding, and Windows
1915 Peters Rd., Suite 310
Irving, TX 75061
972.251.1818 Office
214.718.3748 Cell
972.554.8090 Fax

Why Composition Roofs Leak

The further east you go in Dallas / Fort Worth the more rain there is, but as you go west into Arlington and Benbrook the wind, hard rain and hail get worse. Lots of rain washes out mortar, as we discussed last week, causing chimneys and window ledges to leak, especially if the bricks are not canted downward. Have you ever noticed the spalled brick beneath a bay window that were laid pretty flat?

Spalling Brick on Window Sill
Spalling Brick on Window Sill

Wind causes roof and siding leaks while long enduring rains reveal the slow roof leaks that usually don't show up.

When you try to ascertain why your roof leaks you need to be a forensic investigator. Ask yourself the following questions:

1) Does the roof leak when the wind blows?
2) Does the roof leak only during long enduring rains or after days of drizzle?
3) Has the same place leaked before?
4) Has the roof been repaired in that spot before?
5) Did the roof leak occur after something was worked on. For instance, the furnace flues, a satellite dish was installed, the siding or windows were repaired or replaced?
6) I won't say "pick up sticks", again.
7) Do you think it's time to repair those missing shingles?
8) Do you see daylight through the roof? (except around flue pipes, that is normal to a degree)
9) When doesn't the roof leak?
10) Does the roof seem to leak only when it's raining but the air conditioner is running? Condensation can be the cause from either the copper line or the pan or pipe carrying the condensation.
11) When the roof is leaking can you find evidence in the attic like water or stained plywood?
12) Is it possible the roof leak is something else like a window if it is coming in below a window on the second story?
13) Does the PVC pipe for the sewer gas and clean out pipes elbow? If they are not sealed properly and the pipe angles level the elbows can leak.
14) Why me? Is it because I went cheap on my roof?
15) Is the roof old and needs to be replaced?
16) Maybe I shouldn't have pocketed that insurance check rather than replacing my roof?
17) The roofer used a nail gun and Jon told you that guns were no good.
18) If the roof leaks in the same place that it did before it was replaced then maybe the leak is not in the roof.

I could go on and on but I won't. You are free to comment and add questions to ask yourself about your roof leak. Otherwise, call an expert to determine why your roof is leaking.

Today's schedule includes two stops in Flower Mound to look at a roof leak and to get my repairman started on fixing three roof leaks and one window leak on one home and correcting the ventilation on the home. The low profiles are on various altitudes and communicating with each other rather than with the soffit vents.
Next I'll go to Providence Village near Pilot Point and Aubrey.
Then it is off for two stops in Carrollton to look at roof leaks. If anything else comes in from North Dallas, Lewisville, or Farmers Branch I'll try to fit them in while making my way through Dallas back to Irving.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Is Roofing an Art or a Science?

Of course, both, but it depends on whether you're talking about the installer, the salesman, the company, or the manufacturer. The Greeks debated the virtue of the beautiful versus the useful until the cows came home or the fat lady sang, depending on which happened first. About dusk it was difficult to tell them apart anyway and after a little Retsina, the mooing could be confused for prose.
In my universe, the installer must concern himself with beauty because the useful has been outlined in his training and work order. He need not understand the nuances of where exhaust vents are to be placed, he must just place them where his bubble map says.
The salesman too need not concern himself with actual placement. His job is to come up with numbers of how many intake and exhaust NFA inches are required. He and the homeowner determine which system of ventilation is to be used with the salesman, better the technician, knowing which are to be discarded from the box of options and which are left on the table. The salesman is the liaison between the homeowner and the manufacturers. His books and samples open the homeowner to the numerous options of color and style (beauty) and weights, warranties, and impact resistance (useful).
Through studies of preferences and buying habits the manufacturers constantly tweak their product line's colors and shapes. They watch their competitors and if another company has a smash hit, the designer knock-offs begin. The knowledgeable sales technician asks the right questions and helps the homeowner wade through his options to find the right look. These guys need to be artist's assistants and mathematicians.
The roofing company provides the training to put on a good long lasting roof that saves energy, if the customer likes saving money through products with high emissivity, reflectivity, and hail and wind resistance.
The manufacturer makes good products that are appealing.
The roofing company chooses the product lines its salesmen/technicians offer based on its history of experiences and then trains its force to design practical systems and look for associated problems. The company also trains its installers on the most up to date methods and demands efficiency from them.
The salesman walks the homeowner through his options based his desires and needs and shows him the systemic options available and most suited by budget and need.
The installer follows his orders and picks up his mess. He must be neat and considerate of the property.
The owner teaches, worries, and studies.
If everybody does their job the roof will compliment the house and the home will be more comfortable. The roof won't leak, the roof will last longer than the neighbors roof of the same quality, and everyone will think the house handsome. A good roof is like a nice haircut. The shape of the head is made nicer by a good artisan.
And if all fails because Chavez sold bad oil and the asphalt is not right, then all is good because the homeowner bought the extended coverage available from all certified contractors.
If your contractor is not certified by a manufacturer then you are out in the cold if problems occur. If you read the warranties you'll find that after five years a roofing product warranty is pretty lame unless you use a certified company and follow the suggestions offered by the technician.
GAF, Certainteed, and Owens Corning have great programs. Be sure and ask if your roofing company has a certification. If it doesn't then you might consider very strongly of choosing another. Tamko makes great products but they don't have a program, I assume, because they don't want the liability of non pro-rated 100% material and labor warranties and prefer the old school pro-rated material only one.
As far as Atlas, Malarky, and Pabco, you are on your own from day one. These manufacturers seem to be completely lacking in any moral fiber. Protect yourself.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Roof Oracle

Call me Ishmael!

I did it. Normally my chest is not thumped by moi, like that of a Great Ape in an auto-narcissistic thump . I don't even sell my business here. But I wrote the Great American Roofing Novel the day before the last annual hundred year rain. Sure it happens only once in about three years but who can sell newspapers, or whatever the young buy today, if the hundred year rain only happens every hundred years. Nevertheless it was a doosey.
What I'm referring to is the slow leak of the washed out chimney. The callers were in the dozens. Those chimneys haven't leaked in years even though they have been repaired or the roofing around them has been replaced. Yet the same leak returned. There is a madness in reason. It's called logic.
Let's dwell.

The chimney leaked in the same place even though all the other variables around it have changed. That leaves the chimney itself. The chimney is leaking and no matter how much you repair the roof, it will continue in its dance of destruction.
The water is migrating from the surfaces of the masonry, mostly the top or the gaping holes that were caused by 25 years of erosion, into the flue, onto the same place on the sheetrock it did ten years ago, or down the hall. Twenty years ago the deceased previous owner experienced the same occasional wetting. Ouija it it you must.
Put a tarp on the chimney and wait for a rain. The tarp will not influence the water on the roof plane but the magic water on the elevations above the roof will be diverted to the roof. Sans goutte à goutte, or for the more nerdy amongst us, vaccus lacrimo.
I told you. I told you. And if I haven't, well, the tarp on the chimney just might stop the water in the house. This tarpaulin does not stop roof water. it stops jerk-off builder water. He left the home defenseless from normal anticipated wear and tear. He knew it. He is rich.
You are getting poorer.
Around the world homes are built of concrete and roads are built of brick. America is reversed. You think you have a brick home but you do not. It is a veneer. And the chimney is an empty monolith capped with a piece of plywood.
Do you think the Great Wall of China has plywood on top with a mortar mound? Do you think the great buildings of our world use plywood to protect masonry? Imagine the great castles of the world having plywood as the first line of defense against the erosion of time and rain.
This loose amalgam of mortar and broken bricks, cans, bottles and mortar (see previous blogs) may look solid but it is not tightly fitted stones cemented together.
These chimneys are American. Like everything else here they are disposable. Every hundred years all new people but every 25 years all new chimneys unless you builder proof the haphazard amalgam of trash that the craftsmen filled the chimney with while cleaning the job-site.
Who would have thunk? They not dat dumb?
Evil? At least inconsiderate and lackadaisical. No evil. When you get the bill your fairly forgiving and enlightened mind will be bent toward a different arc. Welcome to the human species. The masons have drug you to their plane.
Too bad I couldn't have bet all those people I told that if they didn't get a chimney cap they would be sorry. Too bad we didn't tell everyone with these lousy chimneys to consider a full hip roof chimney cap with bird screen.

Commercial break
(If you read previous blogs you'll know that the chimney cap in the picture is installed wrong. Anybody guess why that cap will blow off. $100.00 this month on any roof repair to the first five who will post a correct response. Remember I have to know who you are so make up a screen name and e mail me. An additional $25.00 if you become a follower. I started this blog at Ryan's request to help with our SEO but I've really had fun sharing my roofing life with people. If you've benefited from my experience then I ask that you join. We don't do any monkey business and won't bombard you, so don't worry. Anyway, don't feel pressured. It is not mandatory.)

On the up and up, your sins would be diminished by killing less baby birds with smoke inhalation. Maybe it won't effect your Final Judgment score card but you'll feel a lot better when the baby bats don't screech as they become emphysemiacs. It is I who am the sinner for not warning you that in fifteen years you'll have massive chimney problems. Maybe I did but who remembers.
If you don't fix the deficiencies that the evil builder left lurking in your future, your house will go on riot and it will cost you thousands rather than hundreds.
Fix the minor and the major will not arrive.
This is the real cap or trade.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Slow Rain Versus Hard Rain

Hard rain brings big leaks. Duh? Sometimes. One of Jon Wright's Laws of Roofs is "water takes the path of least resistance. When there are a lot of water molecules trying to go in on direction some of them find it easier to go sideways, or worse, no where. When something is submerged the water thinks it is in a pond. It doesn't matter much if the water is moving. It will still go up or sideways too.
Think about a bath tub. Even if it is draining it can overfill. So can a wide chimney. If it is over two feet wide a cricket is a good consideration.
Then comes the drizzle. Lots of it without sun and heat to evaporate the stuff. The first thing to come to mind is a chimney with an eroded mortar cap. The water starts entering the chimney and becomes suspended in the mortar. Soo it is one drop in and one drop out into the flue or out a cracked or eroded spot that leads to your ceiling.
No, dad.
No dad? Mom.

Sometimes a leak will allow only a little water in per second and it doesn't matter if it is a hard or soft rain. The kicker here is the long rainy days let drop after drop after drop enter and the cumulative effect is a stain.

Before you Kilz that stain try this. Bleach and water. Put down plastic and towels because bleach has divorce written all over it. If you paint the stain it will bleed back through but Kilz is pigmented shellac. But it leaves a bright white spot and you usually have to paint the entire ceiling. If you bleach it out, carefully, with a atomizing bottle or a sponge, in a 50-50 mixture, the stain will usually come out. You may need to repeat a few times. Let it dry before you ruin the sheetrock with a total soaking. If the stain is real dark you might not want to try this. If the stain is only a circle then this will work.

I've seen leaks during hurricanes that would never leak again. Once in the early 1980's a monster hit Dallas and my answering service hated me. Real strong anger. 175 calls for leaks and they took them all. All in a day. Very few would ever leak again. I really hated the free estimate stuff but we created some good will over the next few days.

After two days of steady rain I'd go inspect my attic well and have a pot or two handy.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Roof Slang in Dallas

I've heard many terms for the same thing in the roofing universe but does that surpirse you? One of the first was pookie. That is a common term for flashing cement, that black stuff that spreads everywhere. One of the major manufacturers back in the 1970's was Bird. We loved to let the homeowner hear that we were going to put bird pookie on his roof. Ah, the inevitable.
So here's a street glossary of roofing terms
Plastic cement: pookie, mastic, plastic, bull, goop, chapapote.
Vent pipe cover: stack, jack, plumbing stack, three-n-one, lead boot.
Chimney: chimly, chiminea.
Flat level line between two roof slopes:dead valley, hog valley.
Turbine: whirlybird, rotary.
Steep roof: widowmaker.
Metal edging: drip edge, eave flashing.
Three tab roofing: three-n-one, square butts, 240's (now 195 to 210).
Cut outs on three tabs: keyways, water mark.
Laminated shingles: architectural shingle.
Modified: torch down, mop down, cap sheet.
Built up roof: hot roof, tar and gravel, gravel roof, tar roof.
Ridge shingle: hip and ridge, cap shingles.
Hot tar kettle: tar pot, Cadillac, pato (Spanish for duck because it goes on land, sea, and air with it's pumper).
Roof brackets for steep roof: toe board bracket, hooks, gatos.
Felt: tar paper, black paper.
Installing felt on a roof: dry in, black it in, waterproof.
Roof removal: tear off.
Roof process: strip felt and lay.
Installing new decking on the entire house: redeck.
Making a line with a chalk box: pop a line, chalk line it, plumb line.
Plastic caps: I can't write it down so call me and I'll tell you.
Some terms, like hog valley from the west coast, do not translate to other regions while others, like all the words for plastic cement, may be used more predominately in one area or another, but are understood universally.
West of Fort Worth they use bull, in Dallas they say pookie, and east of Dallas they say mastic. Further east it is plastic.
Dallas roofing slang is changing with Spanish but the old words persevere. The Spanish is just added on when it is funny.

How a Roof Turbine Works (or doesn't)

What an oxymoron:wind turbine. That is exactly what it isn't:wind driven.

Here's the dynamic. Cut a hole in your roof and the hot air rises(if you have intake)but rain gets in. So you put a cap over the hole which slows the escaping air but keeps the fierce Dallas storm out.

You want more air to escape so you put on a turbines whose cap size has been effectively reduced to the small plate all the fins have been spot welded to. I know because one of my winter jobs, when roofing was slow, was to build turbines for Mr. Vernon Johnson at Coolcrafters in Arlington Texas on South Peycos Drive.

The escaping hot attic air makes the turbine spin even on still days. Of course "even" but especially on still days. That is because a wind spun turbine won't let the air out as fast, if at all.

You don't believe me so I'm going to prove it to like Aristotle proved to me the world was flat.

Imagine that we live on a large planet like Jupiter and the gravity is so dense the air is as thick as water. If the flowing water above your roof is spinning the turbine then the hot water in your underwater attic cannot get out as fast because of the pressure of the flow of water over the roof.

This makes sense and the fluid dynamics are the same. The hot air's escape is impeded by the wind spinning the fins rather than rising air spinning the fins.

Other attic ventilation systems like vent ridge and low profile vents have a better "down wind" side because the turbine makes air flow around it, it being elevated and spinning, thereby making airplanes fly.

Did I skip something? Oh yeah, that Italian dude who predicted that F-16's would lift off the ground when they got moving fast because of the vacuum caused by the shape of the wing, was proven right. The Wright Brothers knew it and started a roofing company in Irving over a hundred years ago. Their roofs flew and flew.
Here's what Wikipedia says about his theory:

In fluid dynamics, Bernoulli's principle states that for an inviscid flow, an increase in the speed of the fluid occurs simultaneously with a decrease in pressure or a decrease in the fluid's potential energy.[1][2] Bernoulli's principle is named after the Dutch-Swiss mathematician Daniel Bernoulli who published his principle in his book Hydrodynamica in 1738.[3]

Bernoulli's principle can be applied to various types of fluid flow, resulting in what is loosely denoted as Bernoulli's equation. In fact, there are different forms of the Bernoulli equation for different types of flow. The simple form of Bernoulli's principle is valid for incompressible flows (e.g. most liquid flows) and also for compressible flows (e.g. gases) moving at low Mach numbers. More advanced forms may in some cases be applied to compressible flows at higher Mach numbers (see the derivations of the Bernoulli equation).

Bernoulli's principle can be derived from the principle of conservation of energy. This states that in a steady flow the sum of all forms of mechanical energy in a fluid along a streamline is the same at all points on that streamline. This requires that the sum of kinetic energy and potential energy remain constant. If the fluid is flowing out of a reservoir the sum of all forms of energy is the same on all streamlines because in a reservoir the energy per unit mass (the sum of pressure and gravitational potential ρ g h) is the same everywhere.[4]

Fluid particles are subject only to pressure and their own weight. If a fluid is flowing horizontally and along a section of a streamline, where the speed increases it can only be because the fluid on that section has moved from a region of higher pressure to a region of lower pressure; and if its speed decreases, it can only be because it has moved from a region of lower pressure to a region of higher pressure. Consequently, within a fluid flowing horizontally, the highest speed occurs where the pressure is lowest, and the lowest speed occurs where the pressure is highest.

See, I told you so. Don't confuse him with his evil cousin Venturi, who squeezed air into small pipes and made it hurry.

That's why, when those storms blow in from Lewisville and north Carrollton into Irving and Dallas, turbines start to fly.

So if you want turbines, go get a real job. They are about the least effective form of roof ventilation you can buy for your attic. The only thing worse is a roof exhaust vent without matching intake vents.

That behind the times roofer who wants to add a turbine on the lower ridge on the back of the house is your attics worst enemy and he is going to cost you a lot of money.

Attic ventilation is my mantra and passion. If it isn't your roofing company's passion then he shouldn't be your roofer.

Why the Electric Companies Don't want Net Metering

They act so green. They are saving the planet. They are liars. Electric providers like Stream Energy, aka Ignite Ponzi scheme, and Reliant, only care about profits. They love it when you take a tax credit for solar energy and then pump trillions of photoelectric power back into the grid for free.
Who gets to sell this surplus that nobody had to make? Who gets the tax revenue? Where does it go? I'll tell you:it passes through meters and people are charged for it. That is why these fat cats don't want net metering. They'd rather let the planet burn up and everybody starve than give up one nickle that they've successfully stolen from people with good intentions, those who wish to save the planet.
You take your tax credit, 30% of the material cost with no limit, and put up photovoltaic cells or wind turbines and then proceed to make somebody else rich on your investment.
Just how much energy do you use when you're away at work during the day trying to make up for the rest of the expense for this system? The answer is very little. You turn out the lights and turn up the thermostat and they get their pockets lined.
The ideal situation would be to get the tax credit and then get reimbursed for the photons your roof harvests every day while you're at work. It's a wonderful thing to help Mother Earth by using less fossil fuel but it's a very wonderful thing to save your family money too.
Let's just forget this one time tax credit and let ordinary Americans share in the glory of keeping us strong and independent of foreign energy sources and keeping America beautiful. If we don't we'll have to change the lyrics to "God Bless America" and "America the Beautiful."
Besides, did you know that the discovery of oil and the subsequent pumping of boat loads of money into unenlightened lands makes them go insane. Then they start getting megalomaniacal with nuclear arms and the sabers start to rattle. Is that what we want? People who hate us with more money than they can spend who would love nothing more than to see us suffer and then die.
Think Chavez, Gaddify, I'mmadinthehead, and then think of what they'd do if they could. I rank Reliant and Stream Energy right up there with these three brutes because what they are doing is so Un-Americam.
They're stealing from you, your family, America, and the Earth, in that order, as the electrons find their way to their pockets.
At least remove the taxes from the bill for the investment you made to fulfill your desire to do good. All you get is a slap on the back, an attaboy, but no kisses or better yet, a slice of the pie you are cooking, a piece of the cake, crumbs, anything. We're dying out here.
If our President was serious about his desire to create green jobs, all he'd have to do is make the electric companies pay you for what is yours rather than let the fat cats steal it.
Have you heard the cries of these billionaires when someone suggests letting you get credit for your investment? Have you seen the money flow into the coffers of politicians who'll vote against one of the only truly fair and just concepts that shouldn't even be up for production?
I propose that all who have solar panels take one further step and turn off their equipment when they are away from home. It'll cost you a little but the rich won't get richer by theft.
I have no problem with ingenuity, good decisions, talent, and subsequent wealth, but this is a nationwide crime being committed and everyone is asleep. We need to save up those electrons and give them back all at once while they're sitting in their chairs.
We teach our children that this is not a finder's keepers world. The wallet you find is not yours and extracting the money from it is a crime and a sin. At least I thought so.
So when Jon Wright Roofing puts solar panels on your roof in Dallas you just give away the electricity unless you sign up with a company like Green Mountain, a little higher than the others, who will share the booty with you.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Tomorrow's Roof: Glass

Asphalt is a great roofing product but its days are numbered. All types of synthetic rubber, concrete, and plastic have come and gone. That leaves metal and believe it or not, glass. Glass can be shaped, made harder and given colors that no other material can beat.
The Chinese have 5000 year old porcelain on copper so I think we could come up with a 50 year product. Skylights with tempered glass, solar panels that are somewhat hail resistant, and sun rooms have been around for awhile.
There's a lot of glass to recycle and a lot of sand to to turn into glass. Factor in the chemistry advances and I think we will be living in glass houses.
Otherwise we may burrow down and let the earth be our walls and the landscape be our roof but mankind still needs lots of light.
I copied this from

Nanotechnology threatens some radical changes to the way we live – indeed, it threatens to change some of our fundamental belief systems. Anyone with a rudimentary understanding of physics will tell you that putting a clear roof on our dwellings allowing full spectrum, natural light, will result in a disastrously inefficient energy monster. But nanotechnology can offer glass and polycarbonate remarkable new properties as this story illustrates. We’ve written about the world’s lightest substance before ...but now some of aerogel’s other properties are beginning to find commercial application and by filling polycarbonate or glass with nanogel, the clear substances retain their light transmission qualities while delivering outstanding thermal insulation.

The first to market with the new nanogel-filled polycarbonate is Centerpoint, which sells a roofing structure designed to allow penetration of natural, filtered daylight into living areas without the energy loss and higher heating and cooling costs of glass roofing inserts. The company chose GE's Lexan Thermoclear multiwall sheet for the new pre-assembled roofing system based on its outstanding performance properties: excellent light transmission; the ability to withstand wind loads of up to 140 mph; superior UV resistance and impact strength; light weight and design flexibility vs. glass; and exceptional sound and energy insulation. The secret to the system though is the use of Cabot's Nanogel translucent aerogel, a lightweight, nanoporous insulation material. The Lexan Thermoclear multiwall sheet is filled with Nanogel, enabling the system’s to deliver outstanding thermal insulation and light transmission

The translucent roofing system is also an excellent candidate for roof domes, skylights, walkways, conservatories, and other building applications where it is desirable to admit high levels of light while keeping excess heat to a minimum.

Centerpoint's patent-pending roofing structure is designed to allow penetration of natural, filtered daylight into living areas without the energy loss and higher heating and cooling costs of glass roofing inserts. The company selected GE's Lexan Thermoclear multiwall sheet for the new pre-assembled roofing system based on its outstanding performance properties: excellent light transmission; the ability to withstand wind loads of up to 140 mph; superior UV resistance and impact strength; light weight and design flexibility vs. glass; and exceptional sound and energy insulation.

"Centerpoint's translucent roofing system gives residential developers a high-end product to differentiate their homes and communities in the increasingly competitive new-construction segment," said Centerpoint’s President, Kendall Sayers. "GE provided tremendous support in helping us identify a material candidate for our roofing system. Its Lexan Thermoclear sheet not only delivers outstanding performance but also enhances the beauty of the home environment."

Consumers purchasing new homes are increasingly requesting floor plans that include more natural light, both to improve aesthetics and to reduce energy needed for interior lighting. However, intensive use of glass glazing can cause harsh lighting effects and lead to interior heat buildup from penetration of near-infrared radiation, especially in hot and/or sunny locales. Centerpoint's new roofing system addresses these concerns by using the GE and Cabot materials to filter and diffuse natural daylight entering home living areas, eliminating shadows and glare, and raising energy efficiency by a factor of five compared to glass panels. The system also provides sound-dampening qualities for a quieter environment.

GE will supply a gray metallic/white tinted version of Lexan Thermoclear multiwall sheet in a custom-designed 25mm that will come with a 10-year limited written warranty. This configuration will be filled with Cabot's Nanogel translucent aerogel, a lightweight, nanoporous insulation material that delivers outstanding thermal insulation and light transmission. The End

Now here it comes, the old dark neighborhoods next to the light modern homes. Homer won't be able to wander around in his underwear anymore. Or will he?
My bet is on a lot of glass and a lot less asphalt with a lot of metal in between.
Look at the high rises in downtown Dallas and Las Colinas as well as the North Central and Dallas Tollway corridors then look in your neighbors back yard. There are lots of glass add-on alrady throughout Irving, Richardson, Plano, and Arlington. I don't think there are any in Bedford though. We haven't fixed any leaky ones there yet.