Tag Archives: asphalt shingles

A 100×100 Pole Building, Shingles to Steel, and Double-Bubble

This week the Pole Barn Guru answers reader questions about the possibility of a 100′ x 100′ pole building, the consideration of switching from asphalt shingles to steel roofing, and if one can reuse the “double-bubble” when replacing roof steel.

DEAR POLE BARN GURU: Can I build a 100 ft X 100 ft. pole building? JOHN in PENSACOLA?

DEAR JOHN: While 100 foot clearspans can be achieved using post-frame construction, most building uses do not have this sort of requirement. In general, it will be far more cost effective to get your 10,000 square feet with a rectangular footprint of 60 to 80 foot in clearspan width. If you are limited, by property constraints to 100 x 100, but do not necessarily have to have a clearspan, a row or two of strategically placed interior columns can assist in keeping your building investment down.


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I’ve got a question for you finally. I have a house with asphalt shingles at the moment and was thinking about switching to steel. If I were to remove the shingles, would I need to place latticed boards to keep the steel roof off the plywood to provide room for air movement? I’d use whatever underlayment is approved for the steel, but looking at a lot of your posts and comments, it’s got me wondering if I’m better off just going back to asphalt shingles instead and saving a lot of extra work.

I’m curious if in the case of placing the steel on the underlayment could cause some issues with condensation that may or may not make its way down the underlayment and off the roof. Would hate for any condensation to find its way into the plywood and become locked in causing rot. SETH in GRAND FORKS

DEAR SETH: Let’s start by looking at downside of shingles – https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/03/shingle-warranties/ and from Tim Carter https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/10/ask-the-builder/

For condensation to occur on underside of steel roofing, warm, moist air from your attic must be able to come in contact with roofing. Your plywood with an appropriate underlayment provide a thermal break keeping this from happening. You do want to make sure you have adequate eave and ridge ventilation https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/03/adequate-eave-ridge-ventilation/

Here is an actual “how I did it” story for you: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2018/06/how-to-install-a-steel-roof-over-shingles/


DEAR POLE BARN GURU: I’m replacing my screwed down corrugated steel roof because the installer kinked the metal in a few places. Can I use the same double bubble vapor barrier or must i replace the vapor barrier too? It has a few holes in a few places in addition to the staple holes they made when applying it. JAVO in PRINCE FREDERICK

DEAR JAVO: Double bubble or other reflective radiant barriers only work to control condensation when they are 100% air sealed. You would be money ahead to order your replacement panels with an Integral Condensation Control factory applied and throw away your old double bubble. Please read more here: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2020/09/integral-condensation-control-2/

Truss Spacing for Shingled Roofs

Roof truss spacing seems to be a topic with no consensus. Most Americans live in traditional stick framed houses, apartments or condominiums, where roof trusses (if they were utilized, rather than using dimensional lumber rafters) are most typically spaced every two feet.

Reader CHARLIE writes:

“Dear Hansen Pole Buildings, May I ask how far apart was the Truss placement in your “Re-roofing with Shingles” article? 


I’m considering a 24’x 36’ pole barn for a recording studio build but would need asphalt shingle type roof. I’m concerned that a suitable design would need additional rafters to meet the 7 lb/sq ft load requirement.

Most designs I have seen are showing the trusses 4’ OC. 

Respectfully, Charlie”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru writes:
In this particular article roof trusses were actually spaced with a pair every 12 feet – directly aligned with sidewall columns. This style of post frame construction affords several advantages:

Fewer holes to dig. There is nothing more deflating than getting down to digging one or two last column (pole) holes and hitting a rock larger than a Volkswagon Beetle! Minimization of holes to be dug reduces chances of underground surprises.

No need for truss carriers (structural headers) between columns in order to support trusses. Structural failures are almost always due to connection issues. Truss carriers rarely have adequate fasteners from header to columns and trusses themselves are rarely anchored sufficiently to them.

By far my most read article of all time has been on pole barn truss spacing: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2011/06/pole-barn-truss-spacing/.

Asphalt shingles need to be installed over asphalt impregnated paper (felt) or ice and snow shield, most usually over OSB (Oriented Strand Board) or plywood. Weak link of this system is spanning ability of this underlying sheathing.

In order to be within spanning capabilities of common sheathing, dimensional lumber roof purlins, on edge, were joist hung between truss pairs, every two feet.

When you order a post frame (pole barn) kit from Hansen Pole Buildings with asphalt shingles, we automatically have our engineers design for this added load, as well as reducing deflection criteria so you end up with a nice, smooth roof. We also take into consideration Building Code requirements to account for a future overlaid reroof (even “lifetime” shingles will not last anywhere near a lifetime).

Considering a shingled roof due to how long they are warranted? You might want to read this article first: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/2015/03/shingle-warranties/.

Ask the Builder Shingle Warranties

Ask The Builder

Tim Carter just celebrated his 25th anniversary of his “Ask the Builder” syndicated newspaper column. When I began writing “Ask the Pole Barn Guru”, I was unaware of Tim and his column.

To commemorate this event, Tim penned this article: http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2018/sep/29/ask-the-builder-reflections-on-25-years-writing-ab/.

There are some highlights of Mr. Carter’s I totally agree with and would like to expound upon.

“I’ve seen many good things happen over the past 25 years with respect to building products, and I’ve seed disturbing trends emerge with respect to product longevity and the quality produced by tradespeople who build your new homes and additions, and who install new roofs.

The straw that broke the camel’s back at my house was asphalt shingles. My 30-year-warranty asphalt shingles started to go bad in just 10 years, and I had to replace them a few years later. I was so upset I wrote an expose book, “Roofing Ripoff,” that explains why your roof and mine are falling apart long before they should – and, most importantly, how to avoid premature shingle failure. It’s my opinion that ethics seem to be in short supply, or missing, in the boardrooms of certain manufacturers.

Perhaps the most disturbing trend of all is workmanship quality. One could write a book on all the possible causes, but first and foremost is the removal of the incentive in high school for young people to choose a trade as a rewarding career path. That’s a grave mistake, in my opinion, and you and millions of others are paying for it by dealing with more and more inept, uninspired tradespeople, who seemingly are the new normal.

If I could wave a magic wand right now, I’d make two things happen. I’d bring back and expand all of the vocational school programs. Home building, as well as all trades, would be encouraged as a career as early as grade school.

I’d also make ethics a mandatory course in high school and college, and a core topic at all business schools. The quest for higher and higher profits seems to put far too much pressure on the ethical aspects of business.”

For $19.95, you can own Tim’s book (https://www.amazon.com/Roofing-Ripoff-Asphalt-Shingles-Falling-ebook/dp/B06Y4XWLB2).

Being realistic, roofing manufacturer’s write their warranties to protect themselves, not consumers. Most roof shingle warranties come with some sort of prorated terms. For instance, many warranties will feature a labor and materials replacement cost for first year or some short term up to five and sometimes 10 years. Terms vary but often cover the price of new shingles and a fixed labor rate per 100 square feet of shingles. However, most of them hardly ever cover cost of removing damaged shingles, disposal, fasteners, flashing, vents or other miscellaneous roofing materials.

After the initial period, warranty typically only covers a prorated cost of shingles based upon roof age. So it’s very possible to end up with a roof only five years old with a defective shingle where replacement cost might be $5,000 and you only qualify for $500 based upon warranty.

Real kicker, labor runs 60% to 80% of a roofing job and not shingle cost. Furthermore, most roofing contractors are only going to warranty their workmanship and not labor associated with a manufacturer’s defect.

Considering shingles for your new post frame building? Stop and think twice. Steel roofing will be most affordable and more durable.

When I was in school, my Dad being a builder was cool with my friends – because building contractors then had a reputation for doing quality workmanship. In today’s world, over half of all contractors did not graduate high school. If you are lucky enough to hire a “good one” all-to-often workmanship provided was just enough to get by.

Sadly, it appears fewer and fewer new post frame building clients are willing to attempt doing their own work – even though doing it themselves will most often result in a far better end result. When it’s YOUR building, you care enough to do things carefully and “right”.


What Thickness OSB to use Under Shingles

What Thickness OSB to Use Under Shingles

Reader JOSH in POST FALLS writes:

“My pole building is going to have asphalt shingles. I know how much you dislike shingles vs a metal roof, but the garage needs to match the house. My question is what thickness of OSB should I use? I saw 7/16″ in Appendix VI in your guide, but wasn’t sure if that was adequate in my case. My trusses are 10′ OC and purlins are 2′ OC with a 50# snow load. I’ve seen a lot of random chit chat on forums about roof sag and such, but none of the posters seems to have any substance to back up their “guesses” about what is really adequate. Looking forward to hearing your expertise on the subject.”

Mike the Pole Barn Guru writes:

Deflection is the dictate here – the IBC (International Building Code) allows for maximum deflection of a shingled roof to be l/180 for live plus dead loads or l/240 for live loads only. Keep in mind, these are the maximum allowable deflections – which means under a full design load you can expect to see a deflection (sag) between the purlins of over 1/8″. Of course these loads will only be experienced with a roof covered with snow, which means you are not able to see the sag.

The tables in the Code itself do not cover your live load, so a trip to the TECO® OSB Design and Application Guide tables is necessary. You need to find a sheathing with a span rating of at least 32/16, which means either 15/32″ or 1/2″ thick OSB. With this thickness any deflection under dead loads only (the weight of materials only) should prove to be imperceptible.

For the curious – 7/16” OSB has a span rating of 24/16 and with supports every 24 inches is good for a roof live load of 40 psf (pounds per square foot) with a 10 psf dead load. The thickness required by Josh’s circumstances are good for roof snow loads of up to 70 psf (again spanning 24”). For heavier loads – a 40/20 rated panel (19/32” or 5/8”) will support a 130 psf live load and 48/24 rated panels (23/32” or ¾”) are good to175 psf!

If deflection (sag) is a concern, there is really only one time to decide to err on the side of conservatism and go with a thicker panel – before you make the investment!


Shingle Warranties

Personally I would never put a roof on any building I own other than steel. Here is my take: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2012/01/steel-roofing-2/

Some folks have the mistaken idea shingled roofs are a better solution in the event of extreme hail events. Here is the truth: https://www.hansenpolebuildings.com/blog/2013/04/metal-roofing/

For those who are still not convinced and seriously still think shingles are the answer, here are the roof shingle warranties facts:

Twenty some years ago asphalt roofing manufacturers typically offered 15 or 20 years limited warranties. These same products are now available in 25, 30, 35 and 40 years and even limited lifetime!

Few shingle vendors, roofers or consumers read the fine print and even fewer of them understand the fine print. A limited warranty: does not meet federal minimums! Some manufacturers’ warranties are voided by the application of coatings, sealants, moss or stain removers and similar products which are designed to help extend shingle life. In most cases, the roofing does not qualify for coverage under the warranties!

Full Warranty against Limited Warranty

Recycled ShinglesFull shingle warranties provide coverage to anyone who owns the structure during the warranty period, it is free of any charge, and gives a replacement of full refund if the product cannot be repaired. A registration card is not required to have been mailed in and it does not limit the duration of any implied warranties.

In a limited warranty, the duration of implied warranties is limited. Coverage is often limited only to original purchasers. Service comes with charges and costs which may include return of the product or removing and reinstalling. The consumer does not have the choice between replacement or full refund if unable to be repaired. Building owners may be required to perform duties as a prerequisite for receiving service.

Asphalt shingle warranties are conditional, limited and pre-rated. In layperson’s terms, the replacement value of the shingles, in the event of a successful claim, is usually based upon replacement cost without labor. And, the replacement value is pro-rated so it decreases over the warranted shingle life!

Pro-Rated Warranties

Most shingles come with pro-rated warranty coverage. As mentioned above – this coverage decreases in value over time. When the shingles fail, the building owner sees only a small fraction of the cost of replacement.

The reality is – pro-rated shingle warranties give a false hope as to how long the roofing will actually perform as imagined!

Who’s Lifetime?

Lifetime shingle warranties often refer to the lifetime of the product’s availability in the market, not the lifetime of the building or the building’s owner! If a shingle is discontinued, the warranty may become totally void within just a few years after the product is offered to the public.

When it comes to shingles a “lifetime warranty” sounds great as a marketing tool, but may have little or no value!

Still not convinced? This lady does a pretty thorough explanation of warranties from several popular manufacturers’ products: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2mkBAnmwWPU

And one person in my life whose opinion I value greatly…is my wife’s. Here is where I will let her tell her own story:

From my lovely bride – Judy:

After I’d had a double wide mobile home for about twenty years, several shingles had blown off over the course of time, had been replaced, only to have more blow off. It was time to replace the roof shingles, or so I thought. Mike kept talking to me about “steeling it”… putting down 2×4’s and with steel roofing on the top of them.

Quite frankly if you want to know the truth – the biggest thing holding me back was my mind-set! I had lived in a rural area of the country where shingle roofs were the standard. In fact, I’m not sure other than for commercial buildings, I had ever seen anything other than cedar shakes or asphalt shingles on a residential building.

But here we were, selling pole buildings with the majority of them roofed with steel. I had become a true believer in steel being the “best” roofing choice – for any building. I finally gave in about 5 years ago as my roof started to leak from missing shingles, and my son who then lived in the home, started to complain loudly! I hesitantly agreed to steel roofing over the shingles, and I was amazed at how beautiful it looked! Not only that, there is now a maintenance free roof on my son’s home. Ok, my husband was right – just don’t ever tell him that! Judy

Steel Shingles

Like the durability of steel roofing, but not the look of standing seam or through screwed steel? Look no further.

Steel ShinglesSteel shingles are manufactured to provide a unique look in a durable, energy-efficient, recyclable roofing product. Believe it or not, there are consumers out there who want all steel has to offer, but don’t want the standing seam look. A variety of steel shingle profiles provide pole building owners a myriad of options.

Steel shingles offer the look of other roofing products — everything from asphalt and composition shingles to clay and concrete tile to wood shakes. The big difference is the steel shingles are fireproof, durable, lightweight and attractive. Only metal can boast all of those attributes.

Because of the visual options steel shingles now offer, metal is becoming accepted in places metal roofing would never be considered before. Even many challenging HOAs (Home Owners Associations) are allowing steel shingles.

Steel roofing shingles offer long lasting protection against many weather conditions. During the 1930s, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Government Resettlement Administration constructed the Cahaba Homestead Village or as it was locally called the “Slagheap Village” in the area directly west of downtown Cahaba, Alabama. Each of these homes was leased by the federal government until being sold to private landowners in 1947. Most still have those original, now 80-year-old, steel shingles!

They are environmentally friendly as they are mainly made from recycled material, and they can be recycled after use as well. Installed over an existing roof keeps old roofing material from going into a landfill. Besides this, many types of coated steel shingles afford energy savings as well since the coating will reflect the sun’s rays and help keep your post frame building cooler.

Steel shingles are available in a wide variety of styles and colors to suit nearly everyone’s needs and tastes. As the roofing color does not have to appear metallic, they will not obviously even look like they are steel.

While the cost of steel shingles is slightly more than asphalt, building owners are often surprised at how small the price difference actually is. Installed properly, steel shingles should be the last roof a pole building owner should ever have to consider.

Roof Replacement – Steel Roofing

Roof Replacement – Steel Roofing

Insured thunderstorm losses are much higher than they have ever been, and there is no sign they will return to lower levels any time soon.  Moreover, the current state of the insurance industry—from the focus on heavy marketing to standard replacement cost coverage on roofs—exacerbates these losses, creating a real “roof problem.”

Insured thunderstorm wind and hail losses topped $27 billion in 2011 and $14 billion in 2012, whereas in the early 2000s, they hovered around $5 billion. This increased cost of thunderstorms boils down to five factors: an increased number of severe thunderstorms, aging buildings, an increased cost of roof replacements, replacement cost coverage for roofs, and opportunistic weather chasers.

While it is difficult to get a handle on the number of thunderstorms each year in the U.S., it seems fairly clear the number of severe storms has gone up.  A recent study shows inflation-adjusted annual losses due to severe thunderstorms have doubled since 1970!

The median age of pole buildings in the U.S. is steadily increasing.  This means in many parts of the country, the majority of pole buildings still have their original roof, which makes them particularly susceptible to damage for two reasons: Older roofs are more likely to fail in storms than newer roofs, and older roofs are more likely to be built with less resilient materials than newer roofs (as newer materials did not exist and/or were not generally in use).

The price of roof replacements has been increasing for at least two reasons: The cost of asphalt shingles has outpaced inflation for several years now, and building codes and roofing best practices have resulted in more time and materials requirements in a typical roof replacement.  The most extreme and perhaps industrydefining state is Florida, which adopted an extremely strict building code after Hurricane Andrew, and which has the most expensive roofs in the U.S.

Most building owners’ insurance policies provide replacement cost coverage on roof damage due to a thunderstorm.  As the number of severe storms has increased, roofs have aged, and the cost of roof replacement has increased, carriers have felt the pain of replacing roofs at a cost which can take more than a ten-year payback period.

Finally, “storm chasers”—businesses which go door-to-door in areas hit by storms (both immediately after, and, in slow periods, months after) to do roof repairs and be paid by the carriers—have exacerbated the roof problem.  The main concerns about storm chasers are they may be acting fraudulently by actually causing damage to the roof (under the pretext of “going up there and checking things out”) and/or by taking the claims check and not actually doing any repairs (or doing a terrible job).

Steel RoofingThere is a solution which ends the cycle – steel roofing is very tough and highly resistant to hail damage. Hail will not penetrate a steel roof. Even a new asphalt shingle roof won’t protect a building from the next hailstorm. In fact, many steel roofing products have the highest impact resistance and hail rating (Class 4) granted by Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL). This means a sample of the product did not crack when hit twice in the same spot by a two-inch steel ball, which, in a storm, would translate into a huge hailstone. As a result of steel roofing’s superior performance in hail prone areas, some insurance companies even provide a reduced rate for pole buildings protected by steel roofing.

It’s no accident every one of my 5 buildings currently have steel roofing (one formerly had asphalt shingles, replaced by steel after wind damage).  If I am going to go to the trouble and expense of putting on a roof – I only want to do it once.

Polymer Roofing Tiles

Many people are not aware pole buildings can be roofed with any roofing material which can be used on any other structure. While through screwed steel roofing is going to be the most economical and durable solution, some circumstances dictate other choices from an aesthetic standpoint.

DaVinci Roofscapes introduced polymer roofing tiles in June of 2012 and the product has far surpassed even their anticipated sales. The manufacturer believed they had a winning combination of looks, durability and a competitive price point for their new product.

What are they?

Polymer Roofing TilesThey took impressions of real cedar shakes and used their proprietary technology to transfer those extremely detailed impressions to their molds for the product. The final results are an amazingly accurate and realistic appearance.

Pricing for their Bellaforté Shake compares to real cedar, high-end asphalt or steel roofing options. This is appealing to potential pole building owners and homeowner associations who still love the look of cedar, but need more value. The polymer tiles provide this value because of their enhanced lifespan, insect- and fire-resistance, along with low maintenance and exceptional abilities to combat severe weather conditions.

Are they easy to install?

Polymer roofing tiles were created to have a multi-width appearance replicating hand-split real cedar shakes. The tiles feature slanted sawn edges and staggered lengths. Snap-fit tabs are molded into each tile for easy installation and self-alignment. The roofing tiles come in 49 colors and a selection of five color blends, including Abruzzo, Espresso, Tuscano, Verona and Harbor Gray.

But do they look “real”?

The 12-inch Bellaforté Shake tiles feature multiple profiles which enable the creation of a staggered appearance which simulates a natural roughhewn wood shake roof. The product’s patented features, which include a leading edge tab and a self-aligning ledge, help reduce the installation time.

How about installation time?

A square (covering 100 square feet of roof) of Bellaforté Shake (with 100 pieces per square) weighs just 190 pounds, which is less than standard shingle roofing. This lower tile weight helps reduce installation time and transportation costs. The tiles are 100 percent recyclable and come with a 50-year limited warranty.

Better than real cedar shakes?

Many like this polymer roofing tile better than real wood shakes because it stands out and the building owners know what color they’re dealing with right away. With natural cedar, it changes from golden to silver to gray and even to black in some cases. Plus, this product is easier to install than real cedar because of the standardized size.

In some instances there is a reason to get excited about the product beyond the appearance, value and neighbor envy — significant discounts on insurance. This product resists severe weather, hail and fire damage. Neighborhood associations can be extremely particular on architectural detail however these shakes are so authentic-looking they often receive instant approval.

I vote Yes!

Needing a different look with long lasting appeal? Polymer roofing tiles might be the solution. I like to look at new (and old) products from every angle, and so far – this is one can honestly say I can’t find one “downside” to it. I stand up and take my hat off to…polymer roofing tiles!

Why Steel Roofing?

My grandparent’s lake cabin was nearly 75 years old when the cedar shake roof finally gave out in the 1980’s. With the quality of cedar shakes down and the price high (besides the dangers of a wooden roof in a forest) the solution became clear – painted steel. In the woods, the non-combustible feature alone made for a hands-down winner.

Over 25 years later the steel roofing is still doing the job. Also, in the years since, five of the immediate neighbors have reroofed, all except one of them with steel. The one with shingles, well they are going to be reroofing in the not too distant future!

Steel roofing has grown in popularity in the last few decades. It can be applied to virtually any surface, slope or roof style. Steel sheds snow, rain and windborne debris better than any other roofing material. Its light weight per square foot minimizes the structural costs to support and makes it relatively easy to work with. Aesthetically steel roofing offers the “designer look” along with function, beauty and long-term economy.

When I first became involved in the pole building industry over 30 years ago, factory pre-painted steel was yet somewhat of a novelty. Almost all steel roofing was bare galvanized. Paint colors were fairly limited to Red, White, Blue, Green, Gold, Beige and Brown. We’d order standard lengths of White steel in massive quantities, at a discount, offering White painted roofs at the same price as bare Galvanized. Nowadays, twenty or more colors are available.

Early painted steel was polyester. Kind of like my ’66 Chevelle SS, it faded from Dark Blue to Robin’s Egg Blue in a matter of a few short years. Paint systems with more durability and slower fade rates are now available, from Silicon Modified Polyesters (SMP) to Kynar.  I kind of think of Kynar as being as close to colored Teflon as you can get.

For practical purposes, under most atmospheric conditions, pre-painted steel will outlive the owner of the building!

Asphalt shingles may come with long warranty periods, but they are prorated against the original cost of the material and do not include any labor costs. Shingles are susceptible to damage in hail storms, especially at low temperatures.

Steel roofing will not rot, crack, split, warp, creep, curl, peel or erode. Tile roofing can break, and if so, how many people have kept a spare tile or tiles around and left them exposed to the weather so they will color fade the same? Wood shakes become waterlogged and the new building codes require them to be installed over asphalt impregnated paper (felt) which reduces their lifespan.

Reroofing? Steel roofing can be installed over most existing roofing without the need for structural modifications. This can eliminate costly tear-offs and disposals.

My grandpa Pete was a builder and owned a saw mill, my Dad and his five brothers were framing contractors. I was brought up with “wood is good”, but after three plus decades of using steel roofing, I am a convert!