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Metal roofs beautiful, durable

Question: I'm tired of the expense of replacing my shingle roof. Does it make sense to install a residential-style metal roof? Will my house stay cooler during summer?

Answer: There is absolutely nothing negative to say about the new residential-type metal roofing. It looks beautiful, has a 50-year to a lifetime warranty, is fireproof and reduces summer air-conditioning costs,

Attractive metal roofing is quickly becoming the signature of expensive, top-end houses. Although it does cost more to install, the overall life cycle cost is lower because one can literally last forever.

There are many metal roofing options to choose from depending on your budget and the appearance that you desire. From the ground, simulated cedar shake metal roofs are virtually impossible to distinguish from real cedar.

The Solar Energy Center found that installing a Rustic Shake aluminum roof reduced attic heat gain in the summer by 34 percent for a large air-conditioning savings. In the winter, it creates no negative effect. Also check with your insurance company about a fire-safe discount with a new metal roof.

If you prefer an elegant tile look, choose a steel roof that uses special painting processes. Real earthtone granules are placed on the final paint coat, which is then covered with a super-durable clear coat. You can often install this roofing over your old shingles without an expensive tear-off.

These steel roofs look identical to real tile at a fraction of the weight. No additional roof supports are needed. They are often available in large, lightweight 4-foot panels. You need only 23 panels per 100 square feet of roof, so installation is quick.

Most durable steel and aluminum residential roofing is finished with a Kynar coating (some offer 20 colors). The Kynar coating is so tough that it withstands the 400-ton metal forming presses with no damage. It is guaranteed against peeling and fading. Hylar 5000 coating is also durable.

Copper is still the most revered, and expensive, roofing material, and has many advantages. It weathers to a beautiful green patina, which protects the surface from further oxidation. Copper also cools fast on summer evenings, whereas regular asphalt shingles hold the heat much longer.

Nearly 80 percent of copper and aluminum roofing is made from recycled materials. Each year, discarded asphalt shingles could fill a football field over 1 mile high.

Write for (or download at Update Bulletin No. 976, buyer's guide of 15 manufacturers of residential aluminum, copper, steel roofing, styles, colors, weights and features. By mail, please include $3 and a business-size, stamped, addressed envelope and send to James Dulley, the Times, 6906 Royalgreen Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45244.

Refrigerator temperature

Question: Our refrigerator is not new, and it seems to run a lot. I have an outdoor thermometer to measure the temperature inside it. What should the refrigerator and freezer temperatures be?

Answer: It is very important to have the temperatures set properly. If they are too warm, the foods will not stay fresh. If they are a few degrees too cold, your refrigerator compressor must run excessively long.

The proper refrigerator temperature is 38 to 40 degrees. The proper freezer temperature is 0 degrees. Use a bulb-type outdoor thermometer to check it. The spring-type dial outdoor thermometers are not as accurate.

James Dulley is an engineer. Send questions to James Dulley, the Sensible Home, the Times, 6906 Royalgreen Drive, Cincinnati, OH 45244. To rush bulletin delivery or to read 150 previous columns, consult his World Wide Web page at

James Dulley has written a new 208-page book, Sun-Wood-Wind, compiling 51 of his solar and alternative energy Update Bulletins and columns. Included are 450 manufacturers of new solar, wood and wind energy products, 21 low-cost do-it-yourself solar projects and 13 passive solar house floor plan layouts and exterior illustrations. Order directly from James Dulley for $12.95 (includes postage and handling) with check or money order (payable to James Dulley). Mail order to James Dulley, New Book, P.O. Box 54987, Cincinnati, OH 45254 or