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What your Contractor Should Know About the Building Codes

does your contractor understand the building codesCalifornia’s energy codes are ever changing and evolving in an effort to reduce energy use. In 2005 major changes were introduced to the roofing and building codes in the form of TITLE 24. Every few years more things are added and implemented. These changes not only effect the installation of roofing materials that must be used to comply but also offers alternative ways to meet these requirements. Customers need to be aware of these options and be given the choices based on your home as well as your finances. What city you live in is also important as different climate zones have different regulations. Even installation codes vary from city to city so it is very important that your contractor is educated on these codes. These codes apply to conditioned living spaces only, not garage or storage areas.

ENERGY STAR & COOL ROOFS: By now most of us have heard of Energy Star Ratings on all types of products. Roofing is no different with a wide variety of choices, brands and colors available to comply with Title 24. Every roofing manufacturer has one basic variation of White roofing that meets this requirement at no additional cost to consumers. Your home may not be suited for light color so you could use Cool Roof shingles which are available in a variety of special colors, but the down side is increased cost.

RADIANT BARRIER ROOF SHEETING: This is a requirement for all new construction in California. Sadly when it comes to reroofing it is one of the most widely abused products that some roofing contractors routinely install improperly and sell to unsuspecting homeowners telling them that is complies with Title 24. The only way that this product can be installed properly is with a 1” airspace between the existing roof sheeting or all of the existing skip sheeting or roof sheeting must be removed first. It is NOT allowed to be installed directly over your existing skip sheeting or plywood sheeting which is in violation of the building code, and does not meet Title 24 when done this way. There is no doubt the product itself is good if installed properly but given the labor needed to do it right it usually is cost prohibitive.

ATTIC INSULATION: As of July 1st 2014 the Title 24 standard for attic insulation requirement was raised from R-30 to R-38. Therefore it may be possible to add additional insulation to your present to bring it up to R-38. This will require an attic inspection to determine your present R-Value and see what type of insulation you have now: fiberglass blown in, fiberglass batt, or cellulose. Some homes do not have accessible attics or have vaulted ceilings taking away this option. The great thing about attic insulation is that it saves energy in both winter and summer.

RADIANT BARRIER FOIL: If your house has radiant barrier foil on the underside of the attic rafters or over the attic insulation this is an option for Title 24. Recently there are Radiant Barrier Underlayment products on the market that most building departments are accepting to comply. Most roofing manufacturers will accept these products as well. The customer needs to know that with shingle underlayment Radiant Barriers the benefit comes in reduced attic temperature in the summer months, but often has little or no effect in the winter.

DUCTWORK IN ATTIC INSULATED AND SEALED: This is an option that requires your attic ducts be insulated and sealed to a standard set forth in code Section 151(f)10 .   Verification of this can only be done by an inspection and certification from a qualified licensed Heat and Air company. This option is rarely used as most ductwork in residential attics don’t meet this standard.     On the other hand if your house has an underfloor duct system or does not have any attic space then you are exempt from Title 24. If for some reason you do not have air conditioning you are also exempt.

PRICING OF OPTIONS: Be sure to explore the various options available to you and ask the contractor for cost breakdowns of those options. Each house is unique and what works for one person will not be the same as someone else. The cost for each item will vary greatly depending on the size and configuration of the roof, one or two story, roof pitch, etc. Pricing can vary widely between the different options.

At Alex Engardt Roofing we belong to the Associated Roofing Contractors of Northern California as well as the National Roofing Contractors Association. We are very knowledgeable in the local roofing codes and have regular meetings with building officials on these matters. It is our goal to provide you with the knowledge and pricing options you need to make good decisions that fit your home and budget.