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How to Estimate The Size of Your Roof

Whether you are considering a re-roofing project on a home, business, or large shed, getting up on top of the roof with a ladder and tape measure is not the ideal way to find out how much material you will need to get for the replacement roof. Not only is this a dangerous maneuver but it is certainly not going to give you an accurate form of measurement.

Instead, because your roof is a significant investment in both money and time, the best way to get the estimate you need is through mathematics and the handy-dandy use of a roofing calculator. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to get the roof area and the roof pitch, so you can input these numbers into a calculator to get the total rough estimate of how much it is going to cost for a new roof installation.

Step One: Sketch Out Your Roof on Grid Paper

By doing this, you will have a much easier time figuring out the roof pitch and the roof surface areas. The best way to go about this by getting the longest dimension of the roof. A good thing to remember is that one roof square is equal to 100 square feet. Count how many squares there are and take that number and convert it into the measurement units you want to use for your drawing.

Step Two: Fill in the Details of Your Roof

Take note of things like valleys, diagonal distances, protrusions, overhangs, dormers, and hips as these will need their own measurements. Chimneys, vents, skylights, trim, and even pipes all affect the surface area of the roof. You may need to use binoculars to count out the squares of shingles in places that are unreachable. Sketch these areas out onto your roof diagram before moving onto the next step.

Step Three: Determine Roof Pitch

The pitch of a roof is the angle that it sits at and how steep it is. The pitch of the roof is the measurement of the vertical rise divided by the horizontal span, often measured out in inches. You may hear a roof’s pitch is compared to the slope, but they are not one in the same. The reason the roof’s pitch must be calculated before the area is because it affects the actual area size of the roof. A moderately pitched roof will run as a 6 in 12 where the roof will rise six inches vertically for every twelve inches of horizontal run.

If you have a steep roof, you may have a 12 in 12 where your roof is at a forty-five-degree angle. The rise of the roof is the distance from the top studded wall to the peak of the roof, while the run is the distance from the outside edge of the perimeter of the studded wall to the center of the house.  There are three ways by which you can measure your roof’s pitch.

  • Grab a ladder and place a level a foot or so up on the roof and hold. Measure the 12-inch mark from the bottom of the level down onto the roof. If this distance measures at four then you have a 4 in 12, or if it measures at 8, you have an 8 in 12 pitch.
  • Grab a ladder and jump up at the end of your house where the gable is. Place the level on the gable trim, flat against the house. Measure from the 12-inch mark on the level up to the bottom edge of the gable’s trim. The distance you get is the roof’s rise.
  • If you have an attic, you can place the level against one of the rafters and mark where the 12-inch mark is on the bottom of the rafter. Measure from the end of the level up to the bottom edge, and this will give you the roof’s rise.

The most common roof is a 6 in 12, which is a 27-degree angle with anything above this being anywhere between 30 and 45 degrees. Anything below a 6 in 12 is anywhere from a 5 to 23-degree angle.

Step Four: Calculate the Area of Your Roof

There are a few ways you can go about this, but typically the easiest way is to calculate the simple areas of the roof and then calculate the more complex areas. You can do this by finding out the estimated amount of how many shingles you will need. Measure out the length and width of each plane on your roof, including things like hips, dormers, and adjacent pitches. Multiply the length by the width to get the square footage of each plane.

To give an example of what you would do for a shed is simply multiply the length and width of one plane but for a gable roof, which has two planes, you would measure both planes and add the totals to get the total square footage. Do not forget to factor in the slope factor, take away recessed areas, and calculate gable lengths.

Step Five: Input Results into a Roofing Calculator

Once you have the roof size in square feet (or in length times width as feet), the roof pitch, and the material you want your shingle to be, you can use a roofing calculator to get the total square feet of the roof area, the number of squares it has, and what the range of the installation cost will be. The average 1,700 square foot roof will have a roof area of around 1,901 square feet with twenty squares, and an installation cost of anywhere between $7,224 to $14,300.

However, this is dependent on what time of materials you want to use during the installation. For instance, asphalt shingles, steel shingles, aluminum shingles, Galvanium/Aluminum seams will all have different cost ranges.

It is important to keep in mind that the materials being used in the installation will only account for about forty percent of the cost, while labor will make up the rest. If the roof you have is large or requires specialized skills in metalworking, then the installation cost will be higher. A roofing calculator will be able to give you a good idea of the approximate amount needed to get your roof replaced, however, if you want a pinpoint accurate amount, you will need to hire a professional assessment.

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How to Choose The Best Circular Saw Blade

During the industrial revolution, water-and-steam driven circular saws became the heart of the construction industry with all lumber mills installing and using them to cut materials like wet lumber and extremely dense hardwood. Nowadays, circular saws are electric, come in a wide variety of types, and have numerous circular saw blade options. Although circular saw blades are simple looking tools, they have advanced features like curved teeth, bevel angles, expansion slots, anti-vibration designs, and friction-reducing coatings.

With this said, due to the number of circular saw blade options on the market, it is very easy to get overwhelmed in knowing what type of blade to choose. The following guideline looks at common blade options and the characteristics that determine their function so that you can pick the best circular saw blade for your project.

Understanding Different Circular Saw Blade Options

The number one thing to understand is that each blade has a purpose, to cut a specific type of material. The best circular saw blade for your project will be one with the advanced features you need to get through the material of your choice, whether that be hardwood, softwood, light-gauge steel, vinyl, ceramics, or natural stone. Let’s begin with a list of the different types of saw blade categories, types of blades within each category, and their material uses.

Standard Circular Saw Blades: often known as wood cutting blades are the most common type of blade that you will find. Their main uses are for cutting through softwood, hardwood, and wood composites. When looking at a wood cutting blade, you will want to look out for the number of teeth as this determines the speed, type, and finish of the cut you will get. Common blades in this category include rip-cut blades which cut with the wood grain, crosscut blades which cut across the wood grain, and combination blades which can make both crosscut and rip-cuts.

Rip-cuts have an aggressive cut and deep gullets, whereas, a crosscut blade will have forty to eighty teeth and smaller gullets between each tooth. Other blades in this category include framing blades, or carpentry blades, which will have twenty-four teeth, plywood blades which have 100+ fine teeth, thin-kerf blades which provide minimal waste and an easy and fast cut, and hollow-ground blades which have a very thin body with larger teeth.

When it comes to choosing the best circular saw blade for wood cutting, you will want one that has an anti-kickback design, several expansion slots, and a friction-reducing coating, to ensure that your cuts are clean, and non-splintered. Keep in mind that blades which have fewer teeth will always cut faster but will lack a fine finish

Masonry Cutting Blades: often known as diamond blades, these are excellent for cutting extremely tough materials like natural stone, concrete blocks, and even glazed ceramics. Masonry blades are very easy to spot as they do not have any teeth, are made out of a fibreglass-reinforced silicone, and are extremely abrasive, similar to sandpaper.

Common blades in this category include continuous-rim blades which are designed for cutting through slate and tile, turbo-rim blades which cut through brick and concrete, and segmented blades which also cut through brick and concrete but with a more aggressive cut.

If you want to cut an abrasive material, the best circular saw blade is an abrasive blade specifically designed for materials like aluminum oxide, silicon carbide, and some metals. Continuous-rim blades have an extremely clean finish, whereas, turbo-rim blades do not.

Segmented blades have an aggressive cut, whereas abrasive blades are good for general purpose cutting. The coarseness of the blade determines how well you can cut through the intended material; the more coarse the blade is, the easier it will be to cut through soft materials like brick and limestone.

Metal Cutting Blades: these types of blades are also toothless, but have heat expansion slots cut deep into the blade to help dissipate the heat that gets generated by cutting metal. If you are looking for the best circular saw blade to cut through metals like bronze, brass, light-gauge steel, aluminum siding, and copper tubing, these are your best bet. They should not be confused with abrasive blades, as metal cutting blades are designed with specific anti-shattering material to reduce the risk of shattering during use.

Plastic Pipe Cutting Blades: generally, a wood cutting blade that has a higher number of teeth, anywhere from forty to eighty, will be able to cut through most plastics. The key with these types of blades is to go slow during the cut so that the blade doesn’t get stuck within the pipe or doesn’t kick back towards you.

Acrylic Sheet Blades: if your project includes cutting acrylic, the best circular saw blade would be one with a high-tooth count, similar to a plywood cutting blade. The finer the blade, the smoother the cut will be, however, it needs to be cut quickly to provide a satisfactory cut. Generally, using a table saw or a jig with a fine blade is a better option than a circular saw blade.

The Characteristics That Make Up Circular Saw Blades

When it comes to choosing the best circular saw blade for your project or your setup, you are going to want to look at the characteristics that make up the different types of blades. Not only will this give you a greater understanding of the design of each blade, but it can truly determine whether you get the cut you want or not.

The general rule of thumb is that the more teeth you have on a blade, the smoother and finer the cut at a higher expense.  Other features to be on the lookout for include the following.

  • The Position of the Teeth: this is called the “hook” or the “rake” and indicates where the tooth makes contact with the surface of the material. If you have a tooth that points down towards the surface of the material, this is called a positive angle point and will give you a fast, rough cut that removes quite a bit of waste material. If you have a negative angle point, this will create a smooth finish but it will not cut aggressively or quickly and it does not remove much waste.
  • The Gullet Size: this is the space that appears between the teeth. Looking at this will help you determine how much waste material gets cleared out during the cutting process.
  • The Bevel Angle: this is the angle of the tooth which can be seen when the blade spins. This angle can be non-existent (flat), be alternating, or be a “high alternating” among other configurations. The best circular saw blade that has no bevel angle will be well-suited for rough cuts when you want to clear out a lot of material. An alternative top bevel will face the opposite direction of the angle preceding it, what this means is that you get a very clean cut. A high alternating top bevel will have low-tear cuts that are clean.
  • The Kerf: this is the width of the cut or the width of the tooth at its widest point. The best circular saw blade for finer woodworking cuts is one with a thin kerf.

Although the above information is just a guideline for those who are looking for a reference point when choosing the best circular saw blade for their project, it is important to note that you should take your time when deciding and always consult a professional when you are unsure. Having the right circular saw blade is critical, not only for safety reasons but for a satisfactory result.

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