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Maintenance

Roof Maintenance Essentials

Roof maintenance is a lot like going to the doctor. A regular check-up will identify and prevent future problems and help ensure longevity. Unfortunately, a lot of homeowners view getting up on their roof a lot like a trip to their physician–they only do it when there’s a problem.

Why does roof maintenance matter?

All roofs, no matter the age, should be inspected annually and should receive regular cleaning and care. It won’t prevent you from ever having to replace your roof, but roof maintenance is your single best method for prolonging the life of your roof and avoiding costly repairs. As professional roofing contractors, we have seen first-hand the effects of a neglected roof: leaks, mold, rot, damaged roof sheeting (aka roof decking), and even structural damage. In some cases, the damage is severe enough to warrant a complete roof replacement

Regular inspections and maintenance are your best defense for extending the life of your roof and protecting your home or commercial building. So we’ve compiled the top professional roofing contractor tips for roof maintenance.

Roof Maintenance Checklist

  1. Annual Roof Inspection

A healthy roof relies on a regular check-up–an annual inspection to ensure everything is in tip-top shape, and if anything is amiss, identify potential problems before they become costly roof repairs. So what is included in a roof inspection? Roof inspections vary a little between residential roofs and commercial or flat roofs, but a roof inspection should include:

  • Structural inspection to assess the condition of the roof system overall and the main roofing components. Signs to look for that indicate trouble include:
    • Cracked, splintered, rotted, or broken rafters or trusses
    • Missing or damaged collar ties or rafter ties
    • Exterior walls that are tilting or leaning
    • Sagging ceilings

 

  • Materials inspection to assess the condition of the roofing materials (shingles, tiles, metal, etc.). The most common residential roofing material in the pacific northwest is asphalt composition. When inspecting roof shingles or tiles, look for these signs of damage:
    • Missing, lifted, or damaged shingles or tiles
    • Shingles with granular loss (asphalt composition shingles)

If you have a flat or low-sloped roof, your roof will likely have a different type of roofing material. You can learn more about flat roofing materials here, but the material will be a  type of membrane. Any signs of damage will likely be seam splits or membrane punctures.

 

  • Interior inspection to confirm if there are any signs of leaks and that the attic ventilation system is working properly. Signs to look for that indicate a leak or moisture problem include:
    • Water stains on ceilings or walls
    • The presence of mold on the attic plywood sheeting
    • A musty odor in the attic or rooms

 

  • Inspect all roof penetration points: vents, pipes, chimneys, and skylights to ensure there are no problems like
    • Broken seals or cracked grout
    • Damaged or improperly installed flashing
    • Cracked or damaged pipe boots

 

  • Look for signs of pests. Birds, raccoons, squirrels, and insects all find roofs to be ideal nesting sites, especially roofs that have not been well maintained. If left unchecked, pests can cause a lot of damage to a roof, leading to leaks and other costly problems.

For peace of mind and to ensure nothing is missed, we recommend hiring a professional roof inspector to perform your annual roof inspection. An inspector will know what to look for and can give you expert advice on any necessary repairs your roof needs.

  1. Timely Roof Repairs

Take care of any needed roof repairs that are found in your annual roof inspection. The best approach to keeping your roof in tip-top shape is to address damage and make roof repairs as quickly as possible before the damage leads to costlier problems or even premature roof replacement.

  1. Roof Cleaning and Debris Removal

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as the saying goes. This is especially true when it comes to maintaining your roof.

  • Remove any debris from the roof, valleys, and gutters, and from around any roof penetrations
  • Remove moss and treat your roof to prevent future moss growth
  • Clean gutters and downspouts
  1. Trim Trees and Branches

Trimming branches that hang over your roof and gutters is an important part of protecting your roof and serves multiple purposes. Tree branches can be a problem during storms if they break and fall on your roof, but they can also drop smaller twigs, leaves, and other debris that can accumulate in your roof valleys and gutters. Debris accumulation not only traps moisture but it also provides a welcoming environment for pests and becomes a fire hazard.

Professional Roof Inspection and Roof Maintenance Services

We won’t deny that there is plenty you can do yourself when it comes to inspecting and maintaining your roof. But, with more than forty years as professional roofing contractors, we can tell you that most homeowners tend to let roof maintenance slide until it becomes a big problem requiring extensive roof repairs or replacement. We have even seen this with commercial roofs, which is why Pacific West Roofing specializes in residential and commercial roof inspection and maintenance.

Pacific West Roofing Cleaning & Maintenance Services:

  • Evaluation of roof condition, including roof sheeting
  • Complete roof cleaning
  • Debris removal from the roof, including roof valleys, behind chimneys, around vents and skylights, and from gutters
  • Moss removal
  • Moss treatment to prevent future moss
  • Evaluation of all roof penetrations, caulking, and flashing
  • Repair flashing as needed
  • Seal/re-seal all roof penetrations as needed
  • Repair nail pops and secure loose shingles as needed

If your roof is due for an inspection, or you already know your roof needs cleaning or repairs, contact us today. Our friendly and knowledgeable office staff can answer your roofing questions and schedule your roof inspection. We will also give you an honest assessment of the condition of your roof, what repairs may be needed, and how you may be able to extend the life of your roof. Come next winter’s storms, you’ll be glad you did!

Homeowners Roofing Tips

Best Types of Residential Roofing for the Pacific Northwest

Your roof is the single most important investment you will ever make to protect your home. So it stands to reason that you would want to use the best residential roofing materials you can get. But what makes one type of residential roofing material a better choice than another?

As any experienced residential roofing contractor will tell you, climate and weather are your first considerations. Roofing materials run the gambit when it comes to the different options available and, while many are top-rated for durability and lifespan, they are not equally suited to different climate conditions. With more than forty years of experience installing, repairing, and replacing residential roofs, we’ve come to understand what types of roofing materials perform best in the Pacific Northwest. We break them down for you here.

Asphalt Composition Roof

Asphalt composition shingles are found on 80% of homes in the US and are the most common residential roofing material used in both new roof construction and roof replacements. Their popularity stems from the fact that modern asphalt composition shingles are durable, holding up well in a wide range of weather conditions and climate extremes, with an average lifespan of 17-30 years depending on the grade of materials and if the roof was properly installed. Asphalt composition shingles also come in a variety of colors and styles and are often the most economical option, making this type of roof a popular choice for both new residential roof installation and residential roof replacement

Our Top Asphalt Composition Recommendation: Malarkey SBS Modified Asphalt Shingles. These shingles incorporate a relatively newer technology that rubberizes the shingle’s asphalt, resulting in a better hold on to their UV protective granule, creating less opportunity for the shingle to crack. When well maintained, the average lifespan is 22 to 35 years.

Metal Roof

One of the fastest-growing segments of residential roofing is metal residential roof replacement. And it’s no wonder. Metal roofs hold up extremely well to the elements and can last 35 or 45 years. Metal roofs are also available in a wide range of colors and profiles, can help you lower your energy costs, and are non-combustible with a Class A Fire Rating. Don’t be surprised that this roof system is about 3X more cost than a standard composition roof system. 

Our Top Metal Roof Recommendation: Standing Seam Metal Roof from Standard Taylor Metal These metal roofing products have a color coating system that is ENERGY STAR® listed and many are also certified by the Cool Roof Rating Council. The cool rating certification signifies that a metal roof will help lower a home’s solar heat load, equating to lower energy expenditures for cooling during the summer months. 

Cedar Shake Roof

Cedar shakes have been used in residential roofing for hundreds of years and are almost synonymous with the traditional Pacific Northwest roof. Although the cost of a cedar shake roof is much higher than other residential roofing materials, there are a number of benefits that make this one of our top choices for residential roofing here in Oregon. The natural Northwest aesthetic is very appealing and cedar shakes are more durable than traditional asphalt offering 5 to 10 more years of roof life when properly installed and maintained. The main deterrent to using cedar shake for most homeowners facing a roof replacement is the cost, as cedar shake tends to be 5 times more expensive than asphalt composite shingles and 3 times more expensive than standing seam metal. Then add in maintenance costs over its life.

Concrete Tile Roof

Roofing tiles have been traditionally made from fired clay (terracotta), and while very beautiful, roofing tiles of this type tend to be expensive and are prone to cracking in extreme weather conditions. Concrete tile on the other hand is better able to withstand extreme weather conditions and is roughly 20% less expensive than its clay or slate counterparts.  Concrete roofing tiles are often made from molded, tinted concrete and can come in many styles and shapes—curved, flat, fluted, or interlocking–giving homeowners a broad selection.

While concrete tile roofs are well suited to our climate, there are other considerations when it comes to roof replacement. Even modern lightweight concrete tile is still heavier than the traditional composition or shake roof and the weight must be taken into account. If you are considering replacing your roof with concrete tile, you will want to start by having the structure of your home certified by a structural engineer for the weight it can bear.

Synthetic Plastic Shake, Slate, and Tile

Modern residential roofing materials continue to expand with newer synthetic products available that mimic the look of slate, shake, and tile but are much lighter in weight, averaging just 4 lbs per square foot. Modern synthetic roofing products are also durable with longer lifespans than some traditional residential roofing products. Synthetic shake, for example, looks the same as cedar shake but lasts 2-3 times longer. Opting for synthetic roofing materials can also add up to significant savings. For example, synthetic slate, besides being a much lighter product than traditional slate tiles is 2 to 3 times less expensive.

Low Slope and Flat Roofs

It might seem counter-intuitive to consider a flat or even low-sloped roof here in the rainy Pacific Northwest. Modern residential roofing products and expert installation, however, make these types of roofs a viable option. So much so, that we devoted an entire blog to this topic. If you have a low-sloped roof or a flat roof, check out our blog on The Best Flat Roofs for the Pacific Northwest.

Choosing the Right Roof for Your Home

When it comes to residential roofing—whether new construction and new roof installation or roof replacement—today’s homeowners have more options than ever before. Selecting the right roofing materials for your home will come down to these key considerations: the climate where you live, the structure and style of your home, your personal tastes, and your budget. 

We’ve outlined our top recommendations for residential roofing materials that are best suited to our climate. Our final recommendation is to work with a qualified and experienced residential roofing contractor who can give you an honest and reliable assessment of the condition of your current roof, who can provide necessary roof maintenance and repairs to prolong the life of your roof, and who can guide you through the selection process when it comes time to replace your roof.

At Pacific West Roofing we have been performing residential roof inspections, maintaining roofs, and installing new and replacement roofs in the greater Portland Metro area for more than 40 years. If you have questions about your roof or you already know you need a new roof, contact us today

General Roofing Tips

Nine Steps to Hiring a Quality Roofing Contractor

It is always important to vet any contractor, including any roofing contractor that performs work on your home. It is common knowledge to inquire if the contractor is licensed and bonded, but what else should a homeowner do to ensure they receive the highest quality product and services? In reality, there are many ways you can protect your home improvement investment, especially when it comes to the roof of your home.

By following this simple nine-point checklist for hiring a quality roofing contractor, any homeowner can rest assured they have done their due diligence to protect their family, their home, and their investment.

  1. Licensed, Bonded & Insured

Is the roofing contractor licensed, bonded, and insured? The Oregon Construction Contractors Board (ORCCB) is an excellent resource to research any contractor in Oregon. The Board tracks licenses and complaints, and provides educational services, to help you verify the validity of the contractor’s license prior to engaging them for services.

  1. Number of Years in Business

How many years has the roofing contractor been in business? Make sure any potential roofing contractor is qualified to perform the work you are seeking and ask how long they have been in business. While there are many qualified new contractors, a history of providing quality service and products cannot be underestimated.

  1. Product Certifications

What roofing products is the roofing contractor certified to install? Most homeowners don’t know that roofing contractors can get certified to work with specific product lines whether pitched roofs or flat roofs. Inquire about any product certifications or training the contractor possesses to ensure they are knowledgeable of the product’s performance, installation processes, and warranties.

  1. Warranties

What warranties are available and what product warranties is the roofing contractor certified to offer? Warranties are another variable homeowners don’t always know to ask about. For example, shingle manufacturers like Certainteed and Malarkey offer multiple levels of warranties, and roofing contractors basically earn the right to offer the highest-rated warranties for these products. Pacific West Roofing is a 5-star Certainteed SelectShingle Master and a Malarkey Emerald Premium Contractor, which means we are able to offer the highest-rated warranties for these products on the roofs we install, including workmanship warranties. You can find a deeper explanation of warranties here to learn how to understand warranty agreements.

  1. Professional Associations

What professional associations does the roofing contractor belong to? Professional associations, like the Western States Roofing Contractors Association (WSRCA) and the Associated Roofing Contractor Group (ARC), are great resources for the contractor, but they are also great resources for the consumer. Check to see if your contractor belongs to any professional associations. Association memberships provide contractors with continuing education on products, methodologies, safety, and other industry-specific information, so make sure to ask if they possess any current memberships. Pacific West Roofing is a member of both ARC and WSRCA and we sit as actual board members.

  1. Supplier References

Do suppliers like working with the roofing contractor? Another great untapped resource for homeowners is the contractor’s suppliers. Ask your contractor who their roofing product suppliers are, then contact them directly for a reference. It’s possible to find useful information like if the contractor is current (invoices paid) with their supplier and which contractors the supplier likes to work with. Even roofing product manufacturers’ reps may be able to provide additional references.

  1. Online Reviews.

In the age of the internet, reviews and online forums are a great way to learn about the quality of a company’s workmanship and customer experiences. Don’t forget to use that powerful tool we call Google!

  1. Detailed Cost Estimate and Bid

Confirm any bids you get cover all the details! Most homeowners don’t know everything that goes into installing or replacing a roof or how the total cost is calculated. Here is the list of items you should find on a proper roofing bid:

  • Ventilation – How the roof will be ventilated and the associated cost.
  • Flashing – What flashing materials will be used around any vent, pipe, or skylight openings? Ideally, the quality of the flashing should match the quality of the roofing materials. It does no good to use top-rated shingles and then install sub-par flashing, vent, or pipes–failures (aka leaks) are almost guaranteed to happen.
  • Confirm all materials used will be new: new vents and new flashing. 
  • Does the bid call for peel and stick membranes around penetrations like chimneys, pipes, skylights, and vent pipes? Details like this should be included in the bid.
  1. Qualifications and Training of Crew

Shopping around for the lowest bid may help your wallet in the short run, but a lower price does not always mean a better deal. Labor, which represents the quality of workmanship, should be the biggest deciding factor. There is no substitution for quality labor and training. At Pacific West Roofing, our roofing technicians and installers undergo extensive and ongoing training to ensure they are fully qualified to do the work and deliver the utmost in quality workmanship.

This checklist is meant to be a resource for homeowners so they can protect themselves and have peace of mind that they are investing their home improvement dollars responsibly when they hire a roofing contractor, but Pacific West Roofing is always here to answer your questions. We pride ourselves on our customer service and customer education.  

Don’t rely on just one of these points to make your decision about a roofing contractor. Do your homework, be thorough, and make a fully-informed decision before you sign any contracts.

For more information about Pacific West Roofing, you can check our website, give us a call, contact our suppliers, and ask us for references–we will be happy to provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision. Below you will find a quick list of credentials that will help you immediately answer some of the questions above.

Pacific West Roofing is:

  • A Trained Professional Residential Roof Contractor with 40 Years of Experience
  • Beter Business Bureau (BBB) Accredited
  • Malarkey Roofing Shingle Certified
  • CertainTeed Shingle Certified
  • Duro-Last PVC Membrane Certified for Flat Roofs
  • A Member of the Western States Roofing Contractors Association 
  • A Member of the Associated Roofing Contractor Group 
Residential Roof Replacement Roofing Tips

4 Signs You Need a New Roof

Your home is one of the most significant investments you will make in your lifetime, and the roof is one of the most important elements to maintain and monitor to protect that investment. Your home’s roof shelters you from the elements and provides proper ventilation and air quality within the home. The roof is also one aspect of homeownership that many don’t understand and it is often overlooked until obvious signs of trouble—leaks—are finally noticed. But leaks aren’t the only sign your roof may be in trouble.

How do you know when to replace this critical piece of our investment?  Well, that’s an excellent question, and we will set out to explain here 4 key signs that your roof is ready to be replaced.

Sign #1: Missing Shingles

This is a common sign that you should consider roof repairs or replacement. While a missing shingle or two is not a surefire sign your roof is failing, it is a key indicator of possible problems in the future. Missing shingles can lead to an increased risk of leaks, moisture problems in attic spaces, a saturated roof deck that can cause delamination and rot, and possible structural damage to the framing. 

It is important to monitor the integrity of your roof shingles for these reasons, but also for your property value. Curb appeal is real, and missing shingles on an otherwise intact family home can curb the enthusiasm of potential home buyers when it comes time to sell.

Sign #2: Granules Missing from Shingles (Discoloration or patchy appearance)

Granule loss, within reason, has been a natural part of the aging process of a roof.  But there are several factors that can speed up this process and cause your roof to age prematurely.  Premature granule loss can be caused by improper pressing of the granules during the  manufacturing process or an aging roof usually on the south side, but it can also be caused by storm damage or improper roof cleaning, and foot traffic. 

If you begin finding excessive deposits of granules in your gutters or notice discoloration or a patchy appearance on your roof, it is time to consult the professionals. Pacific West Roofing has over 40 years of experience in roof installation and maintenance, and we are always happy to consult on whether your roof needs to be replaced or simply maintained in order to prolong its life. 

Sign #3: Signs of Leaks

It almost seems like this one should go without saying, but there are many homeowners that ignore this telltale sign that their roof needs repair, replacement, or maintenance. The most common incursion points for water to enter your house due to roof problems are skylights, chimneys, pipes, vents, and the valleys where the pitch of your roof changes direction. Water entering a home can be a driving force of expense, so any signs of a dark discoloration on ceilings or walls due to water should be addressed immediately. 

The locations listed above are the most common locations where leaks occur, but it is often the quality of the installation that causes leaks within these weak points in a roof. It is critical to hire a trusted and experienced professional roofing contractor to protect your investment.

Sign #4: Signs of Mold in the Attic Space

It is common knowledge these days that mold in a home can be a dangerous condition for you and your family. Attics can create ideal circumstances for mold to grow. Without proper ventilation, they can be overly hot or overly cold, humid spaces that provide just the right conditions for mold to propagate and thrive. 

A properly vented and installed roof can help you minimize the conditions that allow mold to grow in these spaces. Proper ventilation allows your attic to maintain an optimal amount of airflow minimizing potential condensation and discouraging the development of mold. If you have moisture or mold in your attic, this is a sign your roof ventilation is not working properly and could be a sign that you need a ventilation evaluation or possibly a new roof.

If you have questions about the health of your roof, Pacific West Roofing is ready to assist you. With our team of professional inspectors, we can offer you a fair and honest assessment of what your next steps should be in order to either extend your roof’s life or to help you navigate the replacement process. Contact us today to get started and gain peace of mind regarding your most important investment.

Commercial Flat Roofs Flat Roofs

The Best Flat Roofs for the Pacific Northwest

Flat roofs have long had a reputation of being unsuitable for the Pacific Northwest. Traditional built-up asphalt roofing (BUR) commonly used in flat roof construction may be well suited for desert climates, but does not hold up well to our rainy climate and is prone to leaks. The modern flat roof is another story, though. Advances in technology and the development of new roofing materials have expanded the options and extended the life span for residential and commercial flat roofs.

There are six common types of flat roofs, which we break down for you here. Of the six, we recommend two flat roof types for commercial or residential buildings here in the Willamette Valley. 

Common Types of Flat Roof Materials

  1. Built-up roofing (BUR) consists of alternating layers of reinforced fiberglass fabric and asphalt or tar, finished with a top layer of round rock or cap sheet.
    Pros: Fire-resistant, waterproof, excellent ultra-violet protection.
    Cons: Susceptible to wind and water damage, loses elasticity quickly, leaks can be difficult to find, not a good option for the Pacific Northwest climate.
  2. Modified bitumen roofing is similar to BUR and is made of asphalt combined with polymerized rubber or plastic, reinforced with fiberglass to create a flexible and durable waterproof membrane.
    Pros: Versatile, flexible, durable, waterproof, ideal for the rainy and temperate Pacific Northwest climate. Can be very fire resistant with the proper coating.
    Cons: Absorbs heat in the summer.
  3. Ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM) roofing is an extremely durable and waterproof synthetic rubber membrane.
    Pros: Extremely durable, lightweight, flexible, fire-resistant, easy to repair.
    Cons: Absorbs heat in the summer, seams tend to break down as the rubber expands and contracts, prone to leaks if not installed properly and often isn’t.
  4. Spray polyurethane foam (SPF) roofing consists of applying a liquid sprayed onto an existing roof, which expands into foam, creating a solid layer across the roof surface, then a white latex or acrylic coating to waterproof the foam.
    Pros: Good insulation, energy-efficient, easy to install and maintain, waterproof, versatile, and relatively low-cost.
    Cons: Requires warm, dry weather and clean surface conditions for proper installation, highly susceptible to damage from wind-blown debris, requires frequent care, too short of a season in the NW to complete.
  5. Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO) roofing is a single-ply white synthetic membrane with a fabric reinforcing scrim that stabilizes and strengthens the membrane.
    Pros: Durable, UV, water-resistant, versatile, light-weight, and flexible, available in a few colors, mid-level maintenance, least expensive of the membranes.
    Cons: Highly flammable like most other single-ply membranes, does not perform well in high heat, seam edges need to be resealed with edge sealant every so many years, 90% carbon and can’t be welded after a couple of years of UV exposure.
  6. Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC) roofing is a single-ply membrane consisting of two layers of membrane with a fabric reinforcing scrim in the center that stabilizes and strengthens the membrane.
    Pros: Durable, UV, and water-resistant, versatile, light-weight, and flexible, available in a variety of colors, relatively low maintenance, fire-resistant with self-extinguishing properties, chemical resistant, holds up well in strong winds, can be welded for decades if needed. Lasts for decades.
    Cons: It’s more costly than TPO.

Our Top Flat and Low-Pitch Roof Recommendations

As roofing contractors with more than 40 years of roofing experience in the Portland metro area, we have come to understand which roofing materials perform well over the long-term in our climate. The Willamette Valley experiences wide fluctuations in temperature and moisture and seasons can range from searing heat and drought-like conditions to perpetual sogginess or even deep freeze. High wind is also common at certain times, and fire is a growing concern. 

These seasonal temperature variances and weather events can wreak havoc on flat roofs and certain materials will fare much better than others. Our top recommendations for residential or commercial flat roofs in Portland and the Pacific Northwest are 3-ply, cold process modified bitumen roofing and single-ply polyvinyl chloride (PVC) roofing.

  • 3-Ply, Cold Process Modified Bitumen Roofing

Modified bitumen is one of the most highly reliable and long-lasting options for flat roofs. It is extremely durable and tear-resistant making it an excellent choice for commercial buildings with high roof-top foot traffic, and when properly installed, it offers nearly fail-safe waterproof protection. Modified bitumen roofing is also a very flexible material that can withstand thermal expansions and contractions–even deep freezes–without losing its shape, becoming brittle, or cracking. This is also a relatively low-maintenance roofing material that is easily repaired if it is ever damaged. Repairs usually only amount to simply putting another sheet or patch of bitumen roofing over the existing sheet. With proper care and maintenance modified bitumen has a life expectancy of 20 years.

An added benefit we appreciate is the cold process our roofing installers can employ for installing this 3-ply roofing material. This method does not require the application of hot tar or the use of hot torches, which is a nice bonus, especially in the heat of summer.

  • Single-Ply, Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) Roofing

Single-ply polyvinyl chloride (PVC) roofing is another excellent choice for flat roofs in the Pacific Northwest. Like modified bitumen roofing, PVC roofing is a highly durable, waterproof, low maintenance, and long-lasting material. One of the top attributes of PVC though is its superb fire performance. The PVC material is self-extinguishing, once the source of the flame is removed, and radiates less heat during combustion which helps prevent the spread of fire to other materials. It also generates less smoke, as compared to other common building materials. 

Another reason we like PVC roofing is the flexible nature of the material and how well it stands up to temperature fluctuations, as well as wind. It comes in different colors, including white, charcoal, and light gray which can offer better UV reflection and less heat absorption in the summer.  PVC roofs also have a long life span of up to 30 years requiring relatively low maintenance

All of these characteristics–whether we are talking about 3-ply modified bitumen roofing or single-ply PVC roofing–add up to a very appealing flat roofing system for residential and commercial properties. They are both highly durable, long-lasting, low maintenance, roofing materials. As roofing contractors, we appreciate being able to give our customers this peace of mind. 

As with any roof installation, the quality of the materials and the roofing contractor’s workmanship play an equal role in how well your roof will perform and how long it will last. An improperly installed roof will be prone to problems from day one, regardless of the materials used. Different materials and different types of roofs also require different expertise, technical knowledge, and specific skill sets. This is why it is important to make sure the roofing contractor you hire has the requisite experience.

Pacific West Roofing has been installing flat roofing systems for both residential and commercial properties throughout the greater Portland metro area for more than forty years. Our roofing installers, technicians, and repair crews are experienced with installing and maintaining both 3-Ply, Cold Process Modified Bitumen Roofing and Single-Ply, Polyvinyl Chloride (PVC) Roofing. 

If you have a flat roof in need of inspection, repair, or replacement, contact us today. Our friendly office staff will be happy to set up a time for us to come out, inspect your roof and give you an honest recommendation and cost estimate.

Spring Roof Maintenance
Maintenance

Spring Roof Maintenance Checklist

Spring has long been associated with being a great time of year to do some cleaning, air out the house, dust off the garden tools, and freshen up the yard. Depending on your ambition and how much you got done in the fall, the list of projects can get quite lengthy. And for good reason: the change of the season is always a good time to do your regular home maintenance, especially when it comes to your roof.

Regular roof maintenance will protect and extend the life of your roof (and your home). The key is to stay on top of things, which is as simple as inspecting your roof twice a year in the spring and fall and doing a bit of routine maintenance.

Here’s our pro-recommended spring roof maintenance checklist:Debris on roof

  1. Remove all loose debris from your roof. Over the winter months, leaves, branches, pine and fir cones, and other debris tends to collect on roofs. Even if you don’t have large trees around your house, it’s still a good idea to take a look and blow off what you find. Left unchecked, debris accumulates in your roof valleys, around vents, chimneys, and skylights, trapping moisture or causing water to back up under shingles which can damage your roof’s sheeting.
  1. Treat your roof for moss. Besides trapping moisture, moss growing on your roof will pull the granules off of your shingles and could cause your roof to lose its warranty. We recommend treating your roof with a coating of zinc sulfate in early spring right before moss is in bloom.
  1. Clean the gutters and downspouts. Debris accumulation in your gutters can cause a host of problems beyond the more obvious one of water overflow. Gutters clogged with leaves and other debris can lead to pest infestations, rot, and water damage to your roof and siding. Gutters weighted down by debris are also at risk of pulling away from your house. Even if you have gutter screens, it’s still a good idea to inspect your gutters and make sure they are free of any debris or impediments.gutter cleaning
    Remember to check your downspouts, too, as these can also become clogged. You should be able to hear water flowing through downspouts—if you don’t, something is wrong. We recommend installing a clean-out screen in your downspouts to keep your ground pipes from clogging, which can be costly to have cleared.
  1. Inspect your roof for loose or missing shingles. Winter storms can wreak havoc on a roof, no matter the age. So it is always a good idea to inspect your roof in the spring. Any missing or damaged shingles should be replaced as soon as possible to prevent possible leaks and further damage. If you do find missing shingles, you should also check your attic for any signs of leaks.
    If you have a shake roof, you should also look for signs of rot. Rodents have been known to burrow down through rotten shakes and make themselves at home in the attic below. The damage can be extensive and costly to repair.
  1. Inspect the flashing around pipes, vents, chimneys, and skylights. Look for any signs of damage, including splits, cracks, and aging or missing caulk. Make these repairs right away to prevent leaks and water damage to the roof.

Getting up on the roof probably isn’t a highlight of spring for most homeowners, but inspecting your roof every spring and fall (see our winterization tips) is essential to protecting your roof and preventing costly repairs or early roof replacement. Hiring a professional roofing contractor to inspect your roof for you is an excellent way to keep your roof healthy as they will know what to look for and can make any necessary repairs.

The experienced roof technicians at Pacific West Roofing offer complete roof inspection, maintenance, and repair services so you can remain safely on the ground and have peace of mind that your roof is in tip-top shape. Give us a call today, before problems occur!

Maintenance

How to Extend the Life of Your Roof

One of the most common questions we hear as a professional roofing company is “how long will my roof last?” The answer depends on a number of factors such as the type of roof and how well it was installed, weather and climate conditions, and how well the roof is maintained. Obviously, some things are out of your control, but there are steps you can take to extend the life of your roof.

Before we dive into how to prolong the lifespan of your roof, we should discuss and compare the average lifespan of the different roofing materials, as well as how roofs age and the factors that cause a roof to age prematurely.

Average Roof Lifespan

Not all roofing materials age the same and each type will have different life expectancies which can range from 20 to 50 years or more. For example, composite asphalt shingles have an average lifespan of 20 years, while fiber cement shingles typically last about 25 years. Wood shake roofs tend to last about 30 years, with proper care and maintenance. Metal roofs have a longer lifespan averaging 40-80 years, whereas slate, concrete, and clay roofing tiles can last   100 years or longer.

installing a roofHow a roof is installed can impact how long it will last. An improperly installed roof will have a shortened lifespan no matter what materials are used. An expertly installed roof, which will have the requisite bracing and ventilation, will perform better over a longer period. That’s why it’s important to only hire an experienced professional roofing contractor that is knowledgeable in proper roof construction and ventilation, as well as the materials you have selected for your roof. At Pacific West Roofing, we have more than 40 years of experience installing composite, shake and metal residential roofs, which is a solid benchmark to look for when selecting a contractor.

How Roofs Age

Weather and climate are two key factors to how your roof ages, but roof orientation, slope, and even elevation can also affect the life of your roof.

Roofing materials expand and contract as temperatures rise and fall. Here in the Pacific Northwest, weather extremes are common–from freezing temperatures, high winds, and torrential downpours in the winter to simmering heat and even drought conditions in the summer. Weather like this will naturally take its toll over time and extreme weather events can increase the rate of deterioration.

The direction a roof is facing and the slope of the roof will also affect how quickly it ages. For example, flat roofs and roofs with a more southerly exposure will receive more sunlight and UV radiation than roofs with a steeper slope or less southern exposure. Flatter or lower sloped roofs also will not shed moisture as rapidly as steeper sloped roofs. This can also affect how a roof ages, as moisture retention can lead to moss growth.

Tips To Keep Your Roof In Top Shape And Extend The Life

You can’t stop time, nor can you control the weather or change the direction or slope of your existing roof. But with proper installation, adequate ventilation, regular care, and roof maintenance, you can prevent your roof from aging prematurely.

Here is our best advice to get the most out of your roof, no matter the type:

  1. Hire a professional roofing contractor with a proven track record in roof installation, ventilation, roof maintenance, and repair.
  2. Check your roof’s ventilation to be certain your roof and attic have been properly vented for efficient air circulation.
  3. Maintain adequate insulation to better regulate temperatures in your attic.
  4. Keep your roof and gutters clean and free of leaves and other debris.
  5. Trim large overhanging branches.
  6. Inspect your roof once a year and after every extreme weather event. This includes checking your attic space for signs of moisture or mold.
  7. Have your roof inspected professionally–this is your best assurance all is well and the best way to catch any necessary repairs. This may also be a requirement to maintain roof warranties, so be sure to at least follow the minimum inspection mandates.
  8. Clean your roof regularly, or have it professionally cleaned. Be sure to remove any moss that may be growing.
  9. Hire a qualified roofer to do any necessary repairs and prevent issues from getting worse.
  10. Be proactive! Don’t wait for leaks or mold to happen. Don’t wait for your roof to fail. Regular inspections and maintenance are the best way to protect and extend the life of your roof.

Pacific West Roofing has been installing new and replacement roofs, as well as inspecting and maintaining roofs in the Willamette Valley for more than 40 years. Our crews are experienced pros who are familiar with all types of roofs. If it’s been a while since your roof was last inspected, or you see signs of damage, contact us today to schedule a free roof inspection.

January 1, 2022
Commercial Roof Maintenance

How to Prolong the Life of Your Commercial Roof

No doubt you’ve heard the phrase “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Benjamin Franklin was speaking about fire prevention when he originally uttered these famous words, but his sage advice is universal. And when it comes to commercial roofing, Ben Franklin couldn’t have been more right.

Commercial roofing is to business owners and facilities managers what residential roofing is to homeowners: the single most important thing that protects the building and everything inside. A properly constructed roof in good condition is your best defense against the elements and whatever mother nature throws your way. A failing roof, on the other hand, can lead to all sorts of costly problems, disrupt your day-to-day operations, and put your business and assets at risk.

Regular roof inspections, maintenance, and immediate repair are your best assurances that your building’s roof is in good working order. Commercial roofs are unique from residential roofs in their design and the materials used, but just like residential roofs, they can experience a variety of problems over time that often go undetected until leaks and other tell-tale signs of trouble begin to appear. Regular inspections by an experienced commercial roofing professional can expose potential problems before they occur, prevent costly damage, and extend the life of the roof.

The most common commercial roof problems include:

  • roof problemsUnprimed or poorly installed flashing separation, which causes 95% of flat roof leaks
  • Failing or debris-filled pitch pans due to recessed filler
  • Punctured or impacted roof membrane and broken seams due to poor installation
  • Too few fasteners in the base sheet and perimeter flashings
  • Missing vent and chimney caps
  • Standing water due to blocked drains and poor roof slope design
  • Damaged underlying substrate
  • debrisAged and failing caulking which should be inspected
  • Blisters, buckles, and cracks in asphalt-based roofing products

The most obvious signs of trouble are the visible water stains from a leak. Pin-pointing a leak in a flat roof is problematic as water run-off is much less predictable than on a pitched roof. To further compound the matter, by the time a leak is visible, other damage to the building has likely occurred from the accumulating moisture. In this case, an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure—or more!

At Pacific West Roofing we have more than forty-one years of roofing experience and our crews are commercial roofing experts. If it’s been a while since your commercial roof was inspected, or if you are seeing any problems, contact us today. We can inspect your commercial roof, make any of the necessary repairs, and advise you on a regular inspection and maintenance schedule to prolong the life of your roof and protect your assets.

Roof ventilation
Homeowners

Why Roof Ventilation Matters

The roof of your home covers the attic space, which is an area we like to think of as the lungs of your house. Your attic is constantly “breathing” in and out as fresh air enters, circulates, and exits to maintain a proper balance of temperature and humidity. This airflow is critical to the health of your home and the lifespan of your roof so proper roof ventilation is key.

Ensure Good Airflow

A properly vented roof will serve to regulate and maintain optimum air temperatures and humidity levels in your attic. Without proper ventilation, stagnant attics become ideal spaces for moisture to collect and mold to form, both of which are unhealthy conditions for your roof, your home, and you! An attic with sufficient ventilation will have equal levels of incoming and outgoing air, or air movement, and will be able to maintain ideal temperature and humidity levels year-round.

In the winter, a properly vented roof allows outside cold air to enter and replace warmer air, which rises with convection. This serves to keep your attic cold, and a cold attic is exactly what you want, especially in the event of an ice or snowstorm. When snow and ice melt too quickly, ice dams can form and cause damage to your roof and gutters. A slower melt-off helps prevent this from happening. A warm attic in winter is also more likely to become too humid and is at risk for moisture buildup and mold. Keeping air on the move prevents condensation on the cold plywood roof deck, which can lead to mold growth. 

During summer a well-vented roof helps regulate temperature by allowing hot air to flow out of the attic. As hot air rises, it escapes through the upper vents at the top. This continual flow of air is critical to preventing moisture build-up and condensation within your attic. Moisture in your attic will lead to other problems like mold and can shorten the lifespan of your roof, as well as damage your home’s main structure. 

Saves Energy and Money

Proper roof ventilation will also help you save energy and money. Improperly vented attics will result in excessive heat build-up during the hotter summer months, causing your air conditioner to work harder to keep your home cool. Excessive attic heat can also cause roof shingles to age at a faster rate. It can also cause the plywood decking of your roof to delaminate because the glue can’t keep up with the expansion 

Wasted energy, condensation, mold, ice dams, rotting roof decks, aging shingles, and a shortened roof-life all add up to expensive problems that proper roof and attic ventilation can help prevent.

types of ventsTypes of Vents and Their Purpose

Both upper roof vents and lower vents along the soffits are necessary to create the right balance and exchange of incoming and outgoing airflow. 

Roof vents allow rising hot air and moisture to escape from the attic, preventing heat build-up and condensation, 

roof vents

depending on the season. There are two types of roof vents: ridge vents and box vents. A ridge vent is an air exhaust vent installed on the peak of a roof. A box vent is a hole cut into the roof with a box cover, and while positioned high on the roof, box vents are typically placed near the ridge or peak.

Soffit venting allows cooler, fresh air, to flow into the attic at the lowest points. The soffit is the part of your roof overhang that meets your siding. Together with roof vents, soffit vents 

soffit venting

create a passive system that effectively enables air to flow into, up, and out of the attic.

There are two types of soffit vents: rectangular and continuous. Rectangular vents are cut into the blocking between the rafters of your home. With continuous venting, the soffit is vented all the way around the attic area. This type of venting is for closed soffits where the rafters are not visible. 

Pro tip: Always keep all of your roof and attic vents open and un-impeded by debris to maintain proper airflow. 

How do I know if my roof is properly vented?

Every roof needs both roof and soffit vents. Simply walking around your house and looking at your roof and eaves will tell you if you have vents, but this alone does not mean you have sufficient ventilation. Inspecting your attic for signs of moisture is a more reliable way to determine if you have adequate venting. Any moisture on the tips of nails is the first sign. You can also touch your ceiling just below your attic on a warm sunny day. If it feels hot, your attic may be overheating. If it is winter, you might grab a flashlight and inspect your attic for condensation. Excessive heat and moisture are signs your roof and attic are not properly vented.

Of course, the best way to tell if your roof’s ventilation system is adequate is to have a professional inspection. This is a service we offer at Pacific West Roofing. Our experienced inspectors will give you an honest assessment of your roof, attic, and vents, so you can have peace of mind knowing your roof is in good shape and sufficiently ventilated, or be alerted to any problems that should be addressed before they become costly repairs. Contact us today to schedule an inspection.

Roofing Tips

Winterize Your Roof With A 5-Point Inspection

Fall has settled in, along with the wind and rain. This means your roof has already had a taste of what’s to come in the winter months. For many here in the Willamette Valley, where we are blessed with an abundance of trees, it also means your gutters and roof valleys are already collecting debris. As autumn is the precursor to winter, now is the time to winterize your roof.

Why Winterizing Your Roof Matters

No matter the age of your roof, it is a good idea to do a routine inspection each fall, before the heavy wind, rain, and ice storms come. Regular roof review and maintenance will ensure your roof is free of debris, shingles are intact, and all penetrations (chimneys, vents, etc.) are leak-free. This will help prolong the life of your roof and could save you thousands of dollars in repairs down the road.

How to Winterize Your Roof in 5 Easy Steps

  1. repair missing shingleRepair missing shinglesThe only way to really know if you have missing shingles is to get up on your roof and take a look. Even if you have never seen evidence in your yard of roof debris after a storm, that doesn’t mean damage didn’t occur. It is a good idea to inspect your roof in the fall for any tears, or punctures and make any repairs before the heavy winds and rain of winter set in.
  2. Remove leaves and debris. Fir needles, leaves, and other debris collect in roof valleys, around skylights, chimneys, and vents, as well as gutters. If left unattended, these collection points become moisture traps and havens for pests that can also cause roof damage. Further, as debris piles up, it can create dams, diverting water under shingles and causing unnecessary leaks. The debris will also eventually find its way into your gutters. Besides overflowing during heavy rains, gutters that become too heavy with soaked leaves and other debris are at risk of pulling away from the roof.

    If any large branches are growing over your roof, it is a good idea to cut them back. This will help prevent larger branches and debris from falling onto your roof.

  3. ventInspect all roof penetrations. Skylights, chimneys, vents, and flashings are all potential leak points on a roof and should be inspected once a year to ensure all are properly sealed. Look for missing shingles around each area. Check pipe flashing boots for splits. Make sure there is adequate caulking around penetration points like chimney corners, as well as exposed nail heads along ridges, and the front edges of flashings and vents.
  4. mossTreat for moss. Moss holds water and if left to grow unchecked can become a heavy blanket on your roof. Moss is also a prime breeding ground for bacteria and mold and can lead to rot which will shorten the lifespan of your roof.
  5. Check for damage from pests. Nesting birds, rodents, and insects can all cause damage to a roof. Even minor damage can lead to major problems and expensive repairs. Addressing the issue through a method of pest control, even if it’s simply removing a nest, will help protect and extend the life of your roof.

Bonus tip!

6. Insulate your attic. This is an often overlooked area when it comes to inspecting and winterizing a roof. Attic insulation does more than regulate the temperature in your home. Proper insulation can also stop leaks by preventing heat transfer and slowing or stopping snow and ice from melting on your roof.

We know getting up on the roof is not something most homeowners relish, but an annual roof inspection is a necessary step to extending the life of your roof and protecting your home. Our experienced roof technicians offer complete roof inspection, maintenance, and repair services so you can remain safely on the ground. Give us a call today, before you discover a leak later in the season!

 If you are determined to do your own inspection and repairs, here’s a pro-tip that could save your life: install permanent roof anchors! This is a service we offer and we would be happy to do this for you.

Warranty

Roofing Warranties Explained; Part 1– Workmanship | Pacific West Roofing

Roofing Warranties ExplainedRoofing Warranties Explained: Part 1– Workmanship

Your roof has a big job, and a lot can go wrong with it. If it begins to fail, should you blame the shingles, the contractor, or yourself? To keep the lines of responsibility clear, contractors and manufacturers have warranties that promise to uphold certain expectations. But also help them avoid liability for problems that are reasonably beyond their control.

When you have roofing work done you’ll be looking at warranties from both your contractor and the manufacturer of the products installed. In the first part of this post, we’ll be discussing factors in the job agreement that you’ll outline with your contractor. Stay tuned for part two, which will cover the manufacturer warranty.

MANAGING EXPECTATIONS

It is in the best interest of both you and your contractor to establish– in writing– all the pertinent details regarding their service and your expectations. This way, the outcome of any dispute will be much more predictable.

The written job agreement you negotiate with your contractor will define the following issues:

  • Products to be used
  • Work start and complete times
  • Work site appearance
  • Insurance coverage in case of property damage or personal injury
  • License and code requirements
  • Price
  • Payment terms and conditions
  • Change order procedures
  • Exclusions

REPUTATION AND PRICE

The agreement between you and your contractor will almost always include a written warranty on workmanship. Any good roofer will stand behind his work because he values his reputation and the potential for homeowners to refer him to others. These two things are the most reliable assurances you have of satisfactory work.

Aside from the warranty, price is always a major concern. That all-important number is not a measure of the contractor’s experience, reliability, or honesty. It’s a measure of the cost of the project. Sometimes a low price is simply bargain, while other times it can be an invitation to a nightmare.

Remember when you’re staring at zeros on paper that you are shopping for a hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind roof that will protect what is probably the single largest asset you own. This is a wise investment in your home’s curb appeal and resale value.

THE AGREEMENT

The following subjects and expectations must be defined in the clearest possible language. Although your contractor may furnish a separate warranty document, the job agreement often sets the foundation for his promise to you as the buyer.

Products to be used

Most contractors will offer you a choice of good, better, and best roofing products. When you make your selection, those specific brand names and color names should always be noted in the agreement.

Work start and completion times

While it’s critical to have expectations set for start and completion dates, in this region especially, we all know that weather can be a major factor in any construction schedule. Your contractor will give you an firm estimation for the duration of the work, but it’s important to remain flexible when confronted with interruptions.

Insurance

If your contractor is underinsured or not insured at all, you would be assuming a major liability risk. Homeowner’s insurance should never be presumed as sufficient protection against the dangers involved with roofing. Make sure to look over your contractor’s current insurance certificates for workers’ compensation and general liability, and have copies of those documents attached to your agreement.

Licenses and codes

Business and contracting licenses are also usually attached.  Make sure to define who is responsible for permits, code compliance, and other local requirements.

Price, payment terms and conditions

The total cost of the project, acceptable forms of payment, and any other financial details such as a payment plan should be clearly specified in the agreement.

Change order procedures

Last minute changes are not uncommon in construction, but there must be a written procedure for these orders. Whether they are initiated by you or the contractor, a change order can lead to major misunderstandings, animosity, and in some cases, a court appearance. But, as long as no change order is implemented without a formal, written agreement, most adjustments will be feasible.

Exclusions

Usually with the help of their lawyer, roofing contractors insert exclusions and limitations into warranties and job agreements to reduce liability and avoid costly disputes. Most contractors won’t point them out because they are generally somewhat negative, but its important for the homeowner to review them. It would serve you well to know ahead of time that your contractor will not assume responsibility for damage caused by severe weather, asbestos, or hidden rotted decking. Contractors also typically exclude defects in roofing products from their warranty, which brings us to part two– the manufacturer’s warranty. Stay tuned!

More questions? call 503-635-8706 today!

Uncategorized

Do Roofers Work in the Winter?

While most homeowners aim to repair their leaky roofs during the summer, winter roof repair is always available when you need it. Aside from some material limitations, installing a roof in the winter is just as simple as it is in the summer.

And it’s worth it to repairing or replacing a roof work when it’s raining or snowing outside. Even with small leaks, the consistent rainfall and moisture in Oregon can cause major damage to the structural integrity of the roof as a whole. For example, if your roof has a leak, the expansion and contraction of roofing materials that occur due to freezing and thawing can worsen it, and even more, leaks may appear.

DO ROOFERS WORK IN THE WINTER?

So, do roofers work in the winter? Here’s the short answer: Yes! While you may be wondering if it’s dangerous for roofers to be toiling away atop your home in icy conditions, rest easy. Roofing contractors need to work in the winter months just like anyone else, and some roofers actually prefer cold conditions to the summertime when they get cooked up there. Most of the time, if it’s 90 degrees outside, its 120 on your roof. Talk about miserable. If your roof is packed with snow, it should only take 30 minutes to an hour to shovel it off, depending on the size of your roof.

PROS AND CONS OF WINTER ROOF REPAIR OR REPLACEMENT

Now let’s get to the heart of the issue. Roofing materials all behave differently in conditions below 40 degrees. There are types of materials that should not be installed in these conditions and some that can be installed any time of year, regardless of the weather.

Here’s what to do, depending on your home’s roofing material:

FLAT ROOFS
FLAT ROOFS

There are pretty much only two flat roof systems that can be properly installed in the winter – PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) and TPO (Thermoplastic Olefin). These thermoplastic single-ply flat roofing products are mechanically installed and seams are hot-air welded instead of using adhesives.

Rubber roofs, the alternative to these systems, should not be installed in temperatures below 40 degrees. Because the adhesives that seal it will freeze and not bond. Contractors who say they can and will conduct rubber roof projects are ignoring manufacturer suggestions. Proceeding with this project can result in roof leaks and voided warranties. So, it’s a good idea to hold off on winter roof replacement if you’re looking at rubber roofs until it gets a bit warmer. The same goes for peel-and-stick materials, as adhesives won’t bond, creating leaks. This material can actually blow off your roof.

Flat RoofsSLOPED ROOFS

Asphalt shingles are the most commonly used material for sloped roofs and can be installed in the winter. But caution must be taken by roofers installing it. They must be careful not to bend and crack the shingle. Also, because asphalt shingles are dependent on a proper seal between the overlapping shingles. This requires heat from the sun to bond, these materials often do not seal properly until warm weather rolls around. It can cause them to blow off or leak.

Our winter temperatures are generally mild in the Pacific Northwest. Asphalt shingles are also susceptible to ice dams. These are large ice formations along the eaves of roofs caused by poor ventilation or inadequate insulation in the attic. Ice and water shield membrane is a great method to prevent ice dam leaks. It also requires the sun’s heat to properly adhere to the roof deck, so some of the same shortcomings may apply.

sloped roofsMETAL ROOFS

Metal roofs, can be installed in the winter without compromising quality. Cold conditions do not affect metal roofs since they won’t crack due to improper handling. They are designed to allow for expansion and contraction, so the outside temperatures won’t make a difference. Just be sure to use a premium breathable synthetic underlayment to combat moisture caused by poor ventilation. Also make sure to always upgrade intake and output ventilation whenever possible. Whether you need winter roof repair or replacement, mental roofs are safe during any season.

FIND WINTER ROOFING SERVICES IN PORTLAND, OR

With all that said, roofing projects in any season should be discussed at length with a trusted contractor to prevent common issues and the premature failure of your roof. Contact Pacific West Roofing for roof repairs or replacement during the winter months, or for any roofing services you need.

Portland Roofing Contractor Since 1980!

CCB# 169414