Portland Eco-Friendly Roofing Ideas - Pacific West Roofing

35 Roofing Safety Tips

If you’re planning some DIY work on your home roof, roofing safety must always be your first priority. If you skip these necessary considerations because you’re eager to get to work, there’s a greater likelihood that an accident will happen— so why push your luck? Remember to take these roofing safety precautions to avoid serious injury or even death.


Following proper roofing safety procedures begins before you head up to the roof. Take notice of each potentially dangerous area in your site, like power lines and unsafe roof access areas. Once on the roof, be sure to do the following:

  • Make sure your work area is clean, organized and blocked off from pets and children.

  • Never work when the roof is wet or slippery.

  • Avoid working on your roof during extremely hot or cold weather. Extreme temperatures can cause shingles to become damaged and prevent them from sealing or lying properly.

  • Wear soft-soled footwear for optimum traction.

Take advantage of the fall-related safety equipment available to you, such as a harness and ropes with a roof anchor into the framing of the roof structure. Also, toe boards and brackets that you can walk along on are great roofing safety precautions to take.


In addition to roofing safety, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has important safety guidelines for portable ladders. They are as follows:

  • Read and follow all the warning labels on the ladder, and never use a ladder that is damaged.

  • Avoid electrical hazards by looking for power lines overhead before handling a ladder. Never use a metal ladder near power lines.

  • Always maintain 3 points of contact on the ladder while climbing (two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand). Keep your weight near the center of the rungs and always face the ladder while climbing.

  • Only use ladders and their accessories (ladder levelers, jacks or hooks) for their intended purposes.Man Cleaning Gutters with Roofing Safety in Mind

  • Make sure your ladder is free of any slippery material on the rungs, steps or feet.

  • Do not use a step ladder as a single ladder or in a partially closed position.

  • Do not use the top rung of a ladder as a step unless it was designed for that purpose.

  • Only use a ladder on stable and level surfaces unless it has been secured at the top or bottom to prevent displacement.

  • Do not place a ladder on any unstable base to obtain additional height.

  • Do not move or reposition a ladder while a person or equipment is on it.

  • A ladder used to access an elevated surface (your roof) must extend at least 3 feet above the point of support (gutters or eaves). Do not stand on any part of the ladder that extends beyond its support.

  • For the safest angle, place the base of the ladder a quarter of the working length of the ladder away from the wall or other vertical surface. For example, if your eaves are 10 feet from the ground, your ladder base should be placed 2.5 feet out from your gutters.

  • When working in a location where your ladder might be displaced by other work activities you must secure the ladder to prevent displacement, or a barricade must be erected to keep traffic away from the ladder.

  • Make sure that any locks on an extension ladder are properly engaged.

  • Do not exceed the ladder’s maximum load rating.

  • Make sure you don’t have to stretch or reach more than your arm’s length while standing on the ladder.

  • Never leave a ladder unattended.


We cannot stress enough how vital it is to be careful around power lines. Proper roof safety goes beyond the roof itself.  If you cannot avoid power lines, call your utility company before you start working.

  • Make sure you are using a wooden or fiberglass ladder instead of metal, and be extra careful when using metal flashing. Remember that electricity can jump or “arc” to a metal object several feet away.

  • Never touch hot wires with your hands or tools.


Roofing contractor installs new composite shinglesA pneumatic nail gun is a dangerous tool and can easily become a weapon. So, it should always be handled with extreme care when exercising roofing safety procedures.

  • Never point a nail gun at another person.
  • Make sure the safety mechanism is working properly, and never tamper with it.

  • Only pull the trigger when the “business end” of the nail gun is pressed firmly against the material you intend to fasten. Do not “shoot” nails from a nail gun.

  • Make sure your nail gun is properly cleaned, inspected and well-lubricated before use.

  • Do not rest a nail gun against your body to prevent misfires.

  • Always disconnect the air supply as soon as you are finished using a nail gun, and never work on the tool while it is connected to the power supply.


  • You will be surprised at how much material goes into most roofing jobs. You might be inclined to carry more than one bundle at a time, but this is a dangerous move, especially when climbing up ladders and walking across steep rooftops.

  • Store material close to the roof in order to save time and energy when retrieving material.

  • Remember to always lift with your legs rather than your back, and take a break when you’re tired to avoid injury.

  • Always follow the shingle manufacturer’s instructions and use the preferred installation and repair materials for your specific roof type.


Don’t trust your roof to just any contractor. Choosing Pacific West Roofing, LLC assures that you’ll be working with a quality, dependable roofing contractor with a proven reputation for customer satisfaction and a history of following roofing safety to the letter. We are licensed, bonded, and insured in Oregon and Washington, and our work is backed by a 10-year workmanship warranty. If you need help with your roofing project, contact Pacific West Roofing today!

10 Things To Consider Before Replacing Your Flat Roof
Flat Roofs

10 Things To Consider Before Replacing Your Flat Roof , Part One

When the time comes to replace your flat roofing system there are several things to think about that can improve the performance of your next roof. There are plenty of factors that can contribute to the failure of a flat roof, including improper slope, poor drainage, and structural problems. The location and use of the building will bring up other considerations such as R-Value, wind uplift, and fire resistance.

The guidelines in part one and part two of this post will help ensure that your next roofing system lasts longer than the one you’re replacing.


The slope of your roof system is the key player in how well your roof sheds water. Ponding water, the biggest problem among commercial or flat roofing systems, is caused by insufficient roof slope. When a poorly sloped roof starts to leak, the leaks will be much more severe for the fact that the water has nowhere else to go. There are older flat roofs out there that are performing satisfactorily with slopes of just 1/8″ per foot, however, it is generally recommended that the slope be a minimum of 1/4″ per foot in order to minimize ponding water on the roof surface and prevent subsequent leaks.

Roof Drainage

As your roof’s slope sheds water, your roof’s drainage system disposes of it. And, an inadequate drainage system will cause many of the same problems that improper slope will. Whether you’re using internal drains, scuppers or gutters and downspouts, the roof drainage system needs to be matched to the size and slope of your roof. As the slope of your roof increases, the volume of water that is routed to the drainage system will increase. Stop and ask yourself if there are enough drains, if the scupper openings are large enough, or if your gutter system is large enough handle the volume of water expected to hit your roof.


Your insulation’s ability to resist heat transfer is determined by its R value. The higher the R value, the better. Consider your roof’s existing R-value and how it affects your heating & cooling costs. Not only will adding insulation improve your R value, but if your roof’s slope is inadequate, using tapered insulation can be a more cost-effective solution than structurally altering the roof. It is the best way to insulate a flat roof and by adding thickness to the taper, it increases your R-value.


Another important thing to think about is the weight your roofing system can support, which is typically expressed in pounds per square foot (PSF). Roofs are generally engineered to handle projected wind and snow loads based on regional, historical data.

Let’s say your original built-up roof system was installed with a structural load of 2 PSF. This value would have also dictated the framing that was required to accomplish the desired structural strength. Now, let’s say you’re considering a modern single-ply EPDM membrane roof system as a replacement, and your prefer a ballasted system since it’s typically the least expensive. Ballasted systems usually have a structural load of around 10-12 PSF. The additional weight load placed on the roof structure (even if the old roofing system was removed) could easily cause the roof to collapse. Therefore, it is crucial to compare the weight of the new roof system to the limits of the original roof system that the building was designed around. Consult with an engineer if you aren’t sure about how much weight your roof structure can safely handle.


If your roof deck has structural problems this is another important element to contemplate when replacing your roof system. Wood-framed roofs often have joists that have bowed from years of constant load. This can cause water to pond in the middle of the roof. Maybe your roof decking has weird elevation changes from previous instances of construction and remodeling. Whatever decking issue you may be facing, it’s critical that these aspects are factored into your roof replacement project. If your roof structure has deficiencies and you decide to install a new roof system over the existing one, the new roof will have the same problems. You will have the best opportunity to address structural issues is the existing roof system(s) are removed down to the decking.

Find the last 5 flat roofing considerations in Part 2 of this post!

If it’s time to repair or replace your flat roof, check out our commercial roofing page and contact us today.




Things To Consider Before Replacing Your Flat Roof
Flat Roofs

10 Things To Consider Before Replacing Your Flat Roof, Part 2

In a conclusion to our previous post, here are five more things to think about if your flat roof needs some TLC.


Your roofing system experiences positive air pressure as wind passes across your roof. This suction effect pulls the roof system away from the structure. If your roofing system is insufficiently anchored when this happens, it could fail. And, if the decking underneath is inadequate; enough uplift can cause substantial structural damage. In the Portland area, typical wind speeds vary from 0 mph to 17 mph, and rarely exceed 26 mph. However, historically, the area has experienced winds in excess of 100 mph.

A flat roof membrane can be attached to the roof deck in two ways; either with mechanical fasteners or be being adhered directly to the insulation or DensDeck cement board, which is then attached to the decking. Each method has its pros and cons. In the case of a mechanically fastened system, the fasteners take the brunt of the pressure and the insulation is largely protected. In the case of a fully adhered membrane, the insulation is put under more pressure.

To minimize the chance of roofing system failures, consider the quality of material being used, the type of fasteners used as well as fastener spacing, and consider modifications that will improve wind uplift resistance like ½ sheets of membrane due to distance between the fasteners in the corners and edges of the building.


Underwriters Laboratories (UL), an independent testing agency, sets standards for fire resistance for all kinds of different products. They give ratings specifically for roofing systems based on their resistance to flame spread. There are three classifications of UL ratings: UL Class A, UL Class B and UL Class C; Class A being the most resistant to flame spread. As a general rule of thumb, and part of many building codes, any publicly occupied building, commercial structure or apartment building must have a UL Class A rated roofing system.


When deciding on a roof system replacement versus just a roof repair, cost is always an important factor. If you think about these expenses in terms of cost-per-year, it can help you make a smart financial decision, but you’ll need to know how long something will last. For example, let’s say a new roof system will cost $50,000 and is expected to last for 30 years. A repair for the same roof will cost $14,000 and the expected life of the repair is 5 years. Not factoring for inflation, the replacement would cost you about $1,700 per year, and the repair would cost you $2,800 per year. While the option requiring the least amount of capital is usually the favored option, cost per year can also influence this kind of decision.


Deciding whether or not to tear off an existing roofing system before installing another can be tricky. But, considering the topics discussed above can help you find peace of mind. Some situations can make the decision to tear-off for you, such as water damage, multiple existing roof systems, and extreme structural problems. Others may yield options which do not require the removal of the existing roof system. Just keep in mind that the new roof you install will only be as good as the roof system and structure that it is installed over.

Pacific West Roofing can help you determine whether a tear-off or roof-over is best. We’ll walk you through a thoughtful consideration of all options and conditions that will impact your flat roof‘s performance, and find the method that is right for you.

Portland Roofing Contractor Since 1980

CCB# 169414