Stress of Thermal Cycling

If you live in the Midwest or Northeastern regions of the United States, it’s likely that you’ve encountered very cold, very harsh winter climes in the past. Remember those mornings spent shoveling deep snowdrifts along your driveway or sidewalk? Scraping the ice from your car’s windshield? Shivering as the wind cut right through your down coat? Chances are you’ve dealt with slippery roads, canceled travel plans, school closures and plenty of other challenges caused by nasty winter weather.

Many homeowners have faced extreme weather conditions, battling snowstorms and freezing rain, but few realize that their homes have also had to fight the effects of these unpleasant conditions. The effects of severe weather could negatively impact the performance of your home’s roof.

And it all has to do with thermal cycling.houses

Thermal cycling refers to the phenomenon that causes the expansion and contraction of building components. It’s an ongoing process and corresponds to the changes in seasons. During warm months, the building components in your home expand. During cold months, those same building components contract. This expansion and contraction causes tension in the building components that can lead to damage that requires roof repair or new roofing.

Most building materials expand and contract at different rates. That’s why the stress caused by thermal expansion is intensified when different component materials are installed in layers. The roof is a perfect example of such a structure. In a roof system, major components like ridge vents, roofing shingles, underlayment for moisture resistance and roof-deck protection, and the roof-deck itself are installed in layers. When a layer shifts due to a rise or drop in temperature, all the layers on top of it are forced to shift with it. This can result in damage to your roof.

The damage caused by thermal cycling can put the integrity of your entire roof system at risk. While no one can stop thermal cycling completely, you can limit its effects by ensuring that the temperature and humidity in your home’s attic space are as stable as possible. Having proper attic-space insulation and ventilation can go a long way to combat the harm caused by thermal cycling.

As your home ages, any damage suffered from thermal cycling will become more evident. But serious problems could be lurking where you can’t see them—even in new homes. It’s important to consult an expert—such as a qualified Champion roofing expert, located in any of our offices—in the field. They can help you determine the extent that thermal cycling has affected your roof’s performance and whether your attic space is properly insulated and ventilated.

If an inspection reveals that roof replacement is necessary, ask the following questions when you’re talking to contractors: Who manufactures the roof? Is it a thoroughly tested and proven system, or is it being cobbled together with parts of unknown origin or quality? Are the roofing components made in America? What is the warranty on the roof? Does the warranty cover the roof and its installation? Will the roof be installed by professionals? Who will service the roof? In addition, be sure the contractor inspects your roof-deck thoroughly before any work begins.

You can’t eliminate thermal cycling; it’s as certain as the seasons. But you can be prepared, protect your roof, and ensure that you choose a roofing company that stands behind their products and their people.

Here Comes The Sunroom

Imagine transforming your home into a more spacious, more enjoyable and more luxurious space. Now, imagine building a sunroom addition to your home. There’s a lot of overlap between the two, isn’t there? A sunroom can transform your home by expanding your living space, allowing you to enjoy the best of the outdoors without worrying about weather and increasing your home’s curb appeal and resale value.

Let’s take a look at some of the terminology and features associated with this important investment in home improvement.

Codes protect safety and health. They are essentially rules that specify the minimum acceptable standards of safety for buildings, non-building structures and other constructed objects. For example, building codes in some areas permit the use of shingles with a gabled roof. Another example: An existing, code-compliant deck or slab can be used as the foundation on which a custom sunroom addition is built. Champion’s sunroom designs are built as a system. As a result, the sunrooms aren’t forced together from cookie-cutter parts. They’re naturally integrated as a whole for better strength, longevity and protection. This approach to design and construction facilitates code compliance. In addition, Champion pulls all permits related to the construction of a custom sunroom design.

Comfort 365® Glass
Champion’s exclusive Comfort 365® is a high-performance, energy-efficient glass. It features a special coating that keeps heat inside during the winter and outside during the summer. Comfort 365® Glass also reduces transmission of UV light, which means that the furniture, carpeting, and drapes you may wish to use in your custom sunroom will be protected from premature fading.

This is refers to a particular sunroom design. Gable indicates a dual-sloped roof that supports shingling (where permitted by code) and allows for a higher ceiling and more light. This design blends nicely with most home styles.

This refers to a particular sunroom design. Studio indicates a single, sloped roof. This configuration complements the architectural style of most homes.

Three-Season or All-Season
The primary difference between the three-season sunroom and all-season sunroom addition is the wall thickness, materials and glass. Champion offers a three-season sunroom with nominal 4-inch aluminum walls (Comfort 365® glass is standard) and an all-season sunroom with nominal 6-inch insulated-vinyl walls and ENERGY STAR®-rated, >energy efficient replacement windows and doors using Comfort 365® glass. Both are designed by Champion for maximum comfort and easy, maintenance-free use.

Porch Enclosure
If you already have a patio or porch cover, Champion can work with you to use the structure, rather than tear it down and rebuild the enclosure entirely. Our porch enclosures and patio enclosures provide similar benefits and as high a quality of materials as our traditional sunroom additions. They’re just built within an existing structure.

Screen Room
The difference between a sunroom and a screen room is simple: glass. A screen room is enclosed by Champion’s nominal 2-inch thick screens to protect you from insects and other pests, allowing you to enjoy the fresh air without committing to a fully enclosed sunroom design.

Often used as a component of sunroom design and manufacturing, Vinyl has excellent insulating capabilities. It’s easy to clean, naturally insect resistant and maintenance-free.

These are just a few basic terms to orient you in the world of sunroom additions, patio enclosures and the like. Now that you know the basics, visit Champion’s website to learn more about how a custom Champion sunroom can help you get even more value and enjoyment from your home.

Demystifying “Ice Dams”

Maybe you’ve heard of them‚ and you’ve definitely seen them — Ice Dams: a dangerous barrier of ice that forms at the edge of a roof during cold-weather conditions and prevents proper drainage during the season’s thaw. Ice dams can cause significant damage to both the interior and exterior of your home‚ and can create large icicles that are a serious safety hazard to you and your family.icedam

Late winter and early spring is your home’s highest risk for experiencing this issue. As the day’s temperatures reach above freezing and evening temperatures drop back below freezing‚ your roof will thaw‚ refreeze‚ thaw‚ again and again — until the roof is cleared. The potential for water flow being obstructed by a blockade of ice is where the problem begins. This process will be exacerbated by a poor performing home or roof.

Ice dams are also potentially a costly threat to your roof’s integrity. They prevent water from flowing to the gutters‚ and when that happens‚ the water has to go somewhere. It can then infiltrate the seams in the roofing shingles and‚ ultimately‚ refreeze. This makes the shingles susceptible to buckling‚ cracking‚ or tearing. And if the water trapped by the ice dam reaches the nail line in the shingles‚ not much can prevent it from getting into the house.

Poor Ventilation Is Often To Blame

Some believe that ice dams are indicative of a poorly insulated attic space or roof. While insulation can play a part in the formation of ice dams‚ the problem most often stems from inadequate ventilation in the attic space. Your home’s roof absorbs energy from the sun and transfers that energy into to the attic space. Proper ventilation allows that heat to escape effectively. In turn‚ frozen water on the roof melts from the top down‚ as it should‚ and flows from the top down to the gutters.

Poor ventilation‚ on the other hand‚ traps heat in the attic space. The unventilated heat causes the frozen water on the roof to melt away‚ up to the point on the roof line where the hot attic space stops. From there‚ the melted water is once again exposed to frigid temperatures and refreezes. The resulting ice dam blocks the flow of any melted water that flows after the dam forms‚ and the dam grows as it’s fed by the melting snow above it‚ but will limit itself to the portions of the roof that have an average temperature below 32 degrees. The water above‚ then‚ backs ups behind the ice dam and remains a liquid.

Check out some of the houses in your neighborhood. The ones with snowy roofs have properly ventilated attics. Conversely‚ a roof without snow on it has excessive heat trapped in the attic space beneath it.

Damage To Your Home‚ And Potentially Your Health

Visible and invisible damage can result from ice dams, <a href=”; title=”Roof Replacement”>requiring roof repair or even new roofing</a>. An obvious sign of damage is staining on ceilings‚ at the corners of walls and ceilings‚ or at drywall seams. The stains will continue to grow as long as water can penetrate the roof’s surface and flow into your home. Hidden damage may come in the form of a wall cavity full of insulation that doesn’t function properly because it is saturated with moisture. It could also be mold growth in wall cavities caused by water entering your home.

As an ice dam gets bigger‚ you have more water trapped in a threshold area where water can enter the roof. In addition‚ an ice dam can get so large that its weight can affect your roof’s stability.

What Should You Do?

Thorough‚ professional roof inspections can help you determine whether your roof has been damaged by ice dams. Be proactive—not all insurance carriers cover damage caused by ice dams.

While nothing can completely stop the formation of ice dams‚ some solutions help minimize their impact and the troubles they bring. For example‚ a properly installed‚ premium leak barrier that’s designed for the roof and its pitch will prevent nails in the roof from becoming inlets for melted water.

Better still‚ a comprehensive‚ custom-designed roofing system that includes top-quality components and is tailored specifically to your home will offer you maximum protection from the elements from the start. Consult a roofing company with professional contractors—like Champion—to get an expert roof estimate and determine how best to protect your home. When you combine all that with a properly ventilated attic space‚ you’ll have a powerful arsenal to fight ice dams.


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