Metal Roofing 101: MRA Launches New Educational Resources for Homeowners

Metal Roofing 101: MRA Launches New Educational Resources for Homeowners

MRA Metal roof on a home
New MRA educational videos are now available for homeowners in the market for a new roof.

PORTLAND, Ore. — New educational video resources focusing on the specific performance and sustainability benefits of residential metal roofing are now available for homeowners through the Metal Roofing Alliance (MRA), the leading nonprofit metal roofing trade organization in the U.S. and Canada.

Based on some of the most frequently asked questions and information requested by U.S. and Canadian homeowners, the organization has launched eight separate short videos covering key topics including how metal roofs perform under harsh conditions, such as high winds, hail and lightning storms, wildfire, snow and ice. The videos also offer considerations and tips for incorporating a rooftop solar system, the sustainability properties of metal roofs and their care and maintenance.

Additionally, MRA has created 12 videos highlighting information covered in its Residential Metal Roofing Buyer’s Guide, a comprehensive free resource for homeowners trying to navigate the re-roofing process. The new Buyer’s Guide videos cover topics such as the different options for metal coatings, what to look for in an installer, understanding the re-roofing process, warranty guidance, care and maintenance and much more.  The Buyer’s Guide and the new video series are available as free resources at www.metalroofing.com

“With metal roofing booming in popularity and the increasing need for home resiliency in light of climate extremes, homeowners are seeking solid information and resources for how to make the best home improvement investments,” said Renee Ramey, MRA executive director. “These new videos cover our most requested metal roofing topics in a quick, easily digestible format.”

About the Metal Roofing Alliance

Representing the residential metal roofing industry in the United States and Canada, the Metal Roofing Alliance (MRA) was formed to help educate consumers about the many benefits of metal roofing. For more information about MRA membership, residential metal roofing resources and tools, visit MRA at www.metalroofing.com

Busting 10 Myths About Metal Roofing

Busting 10 Myths About Metal Roofing

MRA Metal roof on a home
Metal is one of the best materials to choose from when you need a new roof.

In this special episode of the Today’s Homeowner Podcast, I’m talking with Renee Ramey, Executive Director of the Metal Roofing Alliance.

We’re talking about the 10 most common myths when it comes to metal roofs. Get ready for some surprising information!


The Metal Roofing Alliance is a nonprofit trade association that helps homeowners make educated roofing decisions and connects them with expert metal roofing professionals.

Like Renee says, “We’re all about spreading awareness and making sure that people have the right information!”


1. Style and Color Options are Limited

When many people think of metal roofing, they envision a classic barn metal roof — which is one option, but there are many others.

Metal roofing can look like any other material out there, like shake, tile, asphalt or shingles. As far as colors go, there are thousands of color options out there to fit your home or aesthetic!

2. They’re Not Energy-Efficient

Because of the make and the coatings, it’s completely possible to have a ‘cool metal roof.’

This means that the coatings on the metal roof itself help emit heat and keep your home cooler in warm climates. And you’ll save money on your energy bill this way!

3. They Won’t Withstand Extreme Weather

Metal roofs actually test well against hurricane-type winds and are resistant to fire embers.

They also remain solid against hail and snow, which proves they are built tough and will last long!

4. They’re Not Sustainable

Metal is a recyclable product and a lot of the roofs today are made of recyclable material. Not only is recycling utilized in making the roofs, the roof can be 100% recycled at the end of its life. We love an earth-friendly product!

5. They’re Noisy

If quality metal roof systems are installed correctly, they can actually be quieter than other roofing systems!

6. They’re More Expensive Than Other Materials

As mentioned, metal roofing comes in a variety of colors and styles and the price range can vary. The price of one quality metal roof is equivalent to two or three asphalt roofs and it will probably last many decades longer than its counterpart.

Down the road, this adds up and a metal roof becomes the cheaper option!

7. They’re Too Shiny

A quality metal roof comes in a variety of glosses and finishes. Shininess is mitigated by the color and gloss you pick for your roof!

8. They’re Too Heavy

MRA has data that dispels this myth. They are more light in weight compared to other products out there.

9. They’re Likely to Get Struck by Lightning

If lightning does strike your metal roof, the hit of the lightning will mitigate it in a manner so it will not reach anyone or anything.

It also has the highest — class A — rating against catching on fire.

10. Difficult to Install Solar Panels or Solar Systems

Metal roofing is the best platform for solar. Solar Systems outlast the life of an asphalt roof so there’s a risk of dismantling the system.

The metal roof should outlast the life span of the solar system and there are clamps for this very purpose. Even more, the clamps do not require you to puncture the surface in order to have a solar system on your roof!


Want More?

If you’re ready to upgrade to a metal roof, or just want more questions answered when it comes to a metal roof, check out metalroofing.com.

Listen to this special-edition Today’s Homeowner Podcast for more home improvement tips!

10 Myths About Metal Roofing

10 Myths About Metal Roofing

MRA Metal roof on a home
Metal is one of the best materials to choose from when you need a new roof.

In this special episode of the Today’s Homeowner Podcast, I’m talking with Renee Ramey, Executive Director of the Metal Roofing Alliance.

We’re talking about the 10 most common myths when it comes to metal roofs. Get ready for some surprising information!


The Metal Roofing Alliance is a nonprofit trade association that helps homeowners make educated roofing decisions and connects them with expert metal roofing professionals.

Like Renee says, “We’re all about spreading awareness and making sure that people have the right information!”


1. Style and Color Options are Limited

When many people think of metal roofing, they envision a classic barn metal roof — which is one option, but there are many others.

Metal roofing can look like any other material out there, like shake, tile, asphalt or shingles. As far as colors go, there are thousands of color options out there to fit your home or aesthetic!

2. They’re Not Energy-Efficient

Because of the make and the coatings, it’s completely possible to have a ‘cool metal roof.’

This means that the coatings on the metal roof itself help emit heat and keep your home cooler in warm climates. And you’ll save money on your energy bill this way!

3. They Won’t Withstand Extreme Weather

Metal roofs actually test well against hurricane-type winds and are resistant to fire embers.

They also remain solid against hail and snow, which proves they are built tough and will last long!

4. They’re Not Sustainable

Metal is a recyclable product and a lot of the roofs today are made of recyclable material. Not only is recycling utilized in making the roofs, the roof can be 100% recycled at the end of its life. We love an earth-friendly product!

5. They’re Noisy

If quality metal roof systems are installed correctly, they can actually be quieter than other roofing systems!

6. They’re More Expensive Than Other Materials

As mentioned, metal roofing comes in a variety of colors and styles and the price range can vary. The price of one quality metal roof is equivalent to two or three asphalt roofs and it will probably last many decades longer than its counterpart.

Down the road, this adds up and a metal roof becomes the cheaper option!

7. They’re Too Shiny

A quality metal roof comes in a variety of glosses and finishes. Shininess is mitigated by the color and gloss you pick for your roof!

8. They’re Too Heavy

MRA has data that dispels this myth. They are more light in weight compared to other products out there.

9. They’re Likely to Get Struck by Lightning

If lightning does strike your metal roof, the hit of the lightning will mitigate it in a manner so it will not reach anyone or anything.

It also has the highest — class A — rating against catching on fire.

10. Difficult to Install Solar Panels or Solar Systems

Metal roofing is the best platform for solar. Solar Systems outlast the life of an asphalt roof so there’s a risk of dismantling the system.

The metal roof should outlast the life span of the solar system and there are clamps for this very purpose. Even more, the clamps do not require you to puncture the surface in order to have a solar system on your roof!


Want More?

If you’re ready to upgrade to a metal roof, or just want more questions answered when it comes to a metal roof, check out metalroofing.com.

Listen to this special-edition Today’s Homeowner Podcast for more home improvement tips!

How a Bidet Cleans You and Protects the Environment

How a Bidet Cleans You and Protects the Environment

In the 17th century, French furniture makers invented the bidet, a common bathroom fixture in the Arab World, southern Europe and West Africa. Though North Americans have resisted the innovation, more U.S. residents have embraced it, particularly during nationwide toilet paper shortages.

Now, bidets have evolved from emergency personal hygiene alternatives to just one more feature in a luxurious bathroom. 

Man holds Fluidmaster Soft Spa remote control
Some bidets — such as Fluidmaster’s Soft Spa 9500 — come with remote controls, providing easy access to personal hygiene. 

What is a Bidet? 

A bidet’s primary purpose is personal hygiene. While most people use dry toilet paper, a bidet offers a wet alternative. 

Bidets can be freestanding, separate fixtures; toilet seat replacements with jets; or handheld attachments that spray water. 

Regardless of the type of fixture, each has the same function: to provide the best personal cleansing experience. 

Bidets also have environmental benefits, reducing the need for toilet paper and stress on forests. In fact, North Americans annually use 36.5 billion rolls of toilet paper, so switching from dry to wet cleaning methods could save 15 million trees, according to Scientific American.   

Fluidmaster Soft Spa box, unopened, in a bathroom
Retrofitting a toilet with a bidet seat is a space-saving alternative to installing a separate, freestanding fixture.

About Fluidmaster’s Soft Spa 

If you’re looking to give your bathroom a spa-like makeover without renovating your entire space, you might consider the Fluidmaster Soft Spa Electronic Bidet Toilet Seat

It offers more luxury than a traditional bidet, without the hassle of replacing your toilet. 

The Soft Spa features adjustable water pressure, wand positioning and temperature, as well as a heated seat and warm air-dryer. It even includes a remote control and easy-to-follow instructions. 

Fluidmaster Soft Spa, still in the box, parts visible
Fluidmaster’s Soft Spa 9500 comes with everything to replace your toilet seat with one that doubles as a bidet. 

If you’re new to bidets, no problem. Soft Spa’s Gentle mode is perfect for even the most sensitive users. 

And if you’re worried about the maintenance involved, a self-cleaning wand saves you from extra work and guarantees a superior clean.

So, you can lounge in luxury, and save on elbow grease! 

“Today’s Homeowner” host Danny Lipford, pictured with the Fluidmaster Everything Kit
Fluidmaster developed the Everything Toilet Tank Repair Kitfor the most complete solution to quickly repair your toilet. 

The Importance of Maintenance

You would think that something you use every day would get regular maintenance to ensure its optimal performance.

But in the case of the toilet, most of the time, you’d be wrong. 

People take toilets for granted. But our friends at Fluidmaster want to help you transform this lowly fixture by upgrading your toilet technology.

Because you spend a lot of time there, you need the toilet to work properly. So Fluidmaster developed the Everything Toilet Tank Repair Kit for the most complete solution to quickly repair your toilet. 

Whether your toilet leaks, makes noises or constantly runs, you can solve the problem with this kit. It includes a fill valve, adjustable flush valve, tank-to-bowl gasket, adjustable flapper dial, color-coded tools and stainless steel hardware. 

The kit is designed to work with every toilet type; it comes with step-by-step instructions and installation tools. 

That way, your toilet is ready whenever you need it! 

Tools You Need to Work with Concrete

Tools You Need to Work with Concrete

So, you’ve decided to pour a concrete pathway, patio or slab — that’s the first step toward improving your home. But do you have the right tools to work with concrete? 

I don’t mean the materials to make a form and fill it. For instance, you’d need lumber, gravel base, a level, concrete mix and a tamp, along with other stuff to make a slab. But rather, the basic gear and tools to complete just about any concrete job. 

Before you start a concrete project, check this list. Chances are, you’ll need these tools.


Chelsea Lipford Wolf wears safety glasses before starting a concrete project

Protective Gear 

Remember, safety first! Exposure to concrete mix can irritate your skin, so always wear rubber boots, pants, a long-sleeve shirt and rubber gloves. 

You’ll also need splash-proof, chemical-safe glasses to protect your eyes, and an N95 respirator to prevent inhaling concrete dust.

Finally, it’s a good idea to wear earplugs if you’re using a portable mixer. They can be noisy! 


Man pours a bucket of water into the Quikrete countertop concrete mix in a wheelbarrow

Wheelbarrow

If you need to haul bags of cement or concrete mix around your yard, load them up in a wheelbarrow. Your back will thank you! Wheelbarrows are also perfect for mixing small amounts of concrete mix and water.

Just empty the concrete mix into a wheelbarrow and form a depression at the center of the mix. Then pour two-thirds of the recommended water amount into the depression. (An 80-pound bag of Quikrete concrete mix requires about 3 quarts of water.)  

Finally, work the mix with a hoe and gradually add water until it has a uniform consistency and looks like thick oatmeal. 


Man loads portable concrete mixer from concrete in a wheelbarrow
(©kuchina – stock.adobe.com)

Portable Concrete Mixer

When it comes to mixing concrete, a wheelbarrow and hoe get the job done. But if you want to really speed up the process and save your energy, get a portable concrete mixer. 

Ready-to-assemble mixers come with a stand, mixer barrel, mixing tines, wheels and hardware. A decent concrete mixer with a 5-cubic-foot barrel could cost $300 to buy, or you could rent one for a few hours for about $35. 

Either way, this machine takes the guesswork — and elbow grease — out of mixing concrete. So you can focus on pouring a patio in record time! 


“Today’s Homeowner” co-host Chelsea Lipford Wolf mixes concrete in a bucket

Bucket, Drill and Mixing Paddle

Looking for a low-budget portable concrete mixer? Look no farther than a 5-gallon plastic bucket, a drill and a mixing paddle.

Just attach the mixing paddle to the drill, pour the concrete mix and water into the plastic bucket and start drilling! Or, really, mixing. 

If you’ve got a drill and a bucket on hand, you can buy a mixing paddle — compatible with a corded or cordless drill — for just $15. It’s the perfect DIY setup for small concrete projects!   


Danny Lipford looks at a wet concrete patio in production at the job site

Screed

A screed is a long straight edge that you run back and forth over concrete to level it. Reinforced aluminum screeds, ranging from $30 to $100, are available at the home center in different sizes for most needs. 

Or you can do what I do — save money and make your own! 

You’ll need two pieces of wood: one strip should be long enough to extend over the form’s edges while a 1-by-4 nailed underneath it should be short enough to fit inside the form. 

Just run the screed along the formwork edges to smooth the concrete surface, and remove any excess concrete mix.


Man mixes concrete mix in a wheelbarrow with a shovel

Shovel 

No matter how many concrete projects you’ve worked on, there’s no such thing as a clean pour. You’ll always have voids to fill, and a shovel comes in handy to move small amounts of concrete.

In addition, remember that excess concrete mix from screeding the surface? You’ll need a shovel to remove and relocate it to needed areas. 

Pro tip: A square shovel, as opposed to a rounded gardening shovel, is the best tool for this job. But in a pinch, any shovel will do. 


Using a concrete float on a freshly poured concrete steps

Float

Screeding poured concrete levels the surface, but you still have to deal with imperfections. That’s why you’ll need a float to help finish the job. 

Just after the surface has lost its sheen, and the concrete starts to harden but is still workable, run the float over it with an arching motion. 

Running a float over screeded concrete compacts the concrete — so it’s denser and stronger — and smooths the surface. It may cost $12 at the home center but the impact is priceless. 


Concrete edger tool
(Photo: The Home Depot)

Edger

A concrete slab with rounded edges has a finished look that’s attractive and functional. Use a concrete edger (just  $10 at the home center) to prevent chipping and spalling. 

Wait until the concrete is firm and has lost its sheen, but is still workable, and then start edging. 

This step isn’t necessary for a concrete subfloor that won’t be seen or directly walked on, but it’s a must for garbage can pads, patios and sidewalks. 


Giving concrete resurfacer a broom finish

Stiff-Bristle Broom

Whether you’re pouring a new concrete slab or resurfacing an old one, you need to texture the surface with a stiff-bristle broom. This gives the concrete a non-slip surface that’s uniform in appearance. 

Applying the texture follows leveling the surface with a screed and smoothing it with a float. Wait until the concrete starts to turn solid, but while it’s still soft. 

Stiff-bristle brooms range from $20 to $50 at the home center. Whichever option you choose, it’s a small price to pay for the peace of mind that comes from making the slab safer to walk on. 


Closeup of a stained concrete patio with a new control joint scored into the structure

Groover or Saw

Concrete, like most building materials, expands and contracts as seasons change. It’s important to minimize the cracks in a slab to preserve its look and function. 

One way to do that is to make straight-line control joints just after the concrete starts to harden and the surface has lost its sheen. 

You can cut control joints using a groover and any straight board. Just hold the groover parallel to the board at predetermined locations and run it vertically down the slab. 

Control joints should be cut to at least 1/4 the slab’s depth and at equal intervals. For instance, add grooves every 10 feet for a long driveaway and every 4 feet for a sidewalk. 

Use a bronze or heavy-gauge stainless steel groover (approximately $25) to score freshly poured concrete. Or you can just saw cured concrete.

These are the basic tools needed to create and finish most concrete projects. What project are you working on? Let us know in the comments below!