BIPV Solar Shingles Cost – PV Redux – Solar Roof in 2017

Material Cost plus Labor Cost = Total Installation Charges

The axiom for all home improvement projects. Yet, for the solar shingle market, this helps to remember, especially with what is on the immediate horizon.

Wait, What’s A Solar Shingle?

The technical acronym: BIPV stands for Building Integrated Photovoltaics. Simply put, embedding solar technology into building materials. For our purposes, we stick to roofing materials, or what is known as the solar shingle and/or solar tile. Especially, since these are the type of BIPV products being designed for the residential market.

If needing a quick refresher on solar technology (the PV part of the equation), see our piece on solar panels. There we note that solar tech is moving in a direction to product “enough electricity to power not just a few appliances, but an entire home, including transportation.” Here, we’ll show you how.

Difference between the Solar Shingle and Panel

First key difference is size. Panels are, or can be, huge. This translates into more solar modules (and cells) being installed on the roof than a shingle can currently offer.

Which leads to the next difference, power. A shingle produces around 15 to 60 watts, while a panel, typically 18 sq. ft. generates 185 to 250 watts. In general, this means the panel system will produce more electricity than a shingle system.

Then there’s elegance factor. Not only are panels big and powerful, they’re big and cumbersome. They are adhered to a roof after careful surveying to make sure the structure of the (whole) house can handle the weight. Usually rack mounted, so they stand out above the roof surface. Noticeably stand out. Solar shingles are usually near flush with the existing roof structure and becoming more of an option to be the actual roof structure with a beauty that mimics traditional roofing. At the time of this writing, solar shingles have a metallic finish that is distinguishable from the rest of your roof, but still less noticeable than panels.

The bottom line difference is that currently panels are more efficient and cost effective than shingles. While shingles are more aesthetically pleasing and gaining traction to be the primary way anyone would choose to do solar power generation on their own residence.

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Fiber Cement Siding Cost and Pros and Cons in 2017 – Exterior Home Improvements

Fiber Cement as a siding option continues to be a popular choice. A review of U.S. Census data for new single-family houses sold in America shows Fiber Cement garners nearly a quarter of all siding materials. Brick, Wood and Vinyl are on a downward trend while Fiber Cement continues to gain in popularity. Stucco is, perhaps surprisingly, the #1 siding option in America where its popularity in the Western portion of the U.S. is enormous, but so is Fiber Cement in that region. The two materials in 2015 combined for a whooping 92% of the overall market out west.

Fiber Cement is commonly referred to as James Hardie, which is the company that originally created this plank board. It’s also called Cement Board, as the materials are made of cement, wood pulp, clay and sand. Fiber Cement is relatively heavy, quite sturdy and will last up to 100 years, while its surface usually needs repainting every 20 to 40 years.

Pricing Information – Part 1


Due to its weight, Fiber Cement routinely requires two workers to install each piece. For this reason, along with the idea that waste adds great expense to the project, the material is not well suited for DIY installation. There are essentially four styles of Fiber Cement: lap siding is the most common, shake and shingle, vertical panels, and artisan lap, which equals architectural grade of lap siding.

Fiber Cement lap siding costs $5.00 to $9.00 per sq. ft. installed. The other styles usually exceed $10.00 per sq. ft. Sticking with lap siding, the overall project cost for installing cement board on a typical two bedroom American home is $15,000 to $25,000. As there are numerous factors that impact the price, we will help explain that, but first let’s break down the costs. Note: this is a ballpark estimate example based on the national average cost of materials and job tasks.


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Stone Siding Cost, Plus Pros & Cons: Natural Stone vs. MSV Siding in 2017

Stone as a siding material has two main options: natural and faux. The price difference between the two can be as much as $20 per sq. ft. Aesthetically, the two options are nearly identical and many of the benefits are the same.

via Dutch Quality Stone

Did you know? Natural stone will last about twice as long as faux stone veneer.

Faux stone, also known as Cast or Manufactured Stone Veneer (MSV) consists of concrete and utilizes dozens of pigments to achieve its color. Mostly it is made to look as close to natural stone as possible. Often, the beauty of natural stone is overlooked. Rock can be anywhere from light in color, to dark, to even blue and red. For MSV to mimic the natural stuff, it must also be cast from molds that are shaped by natural stone pieces. Once finished, faux stone becomes a lighter and less expensive option to ship, install and ultimately to pay for as a consumer.

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