Homeowners Residential - Leaking Roofing Tips

Find and Fix Roof Leaks for a Drier Winter

It may have taken some time to arrive this year, but we are now officially in the Pacific Northwest rainy season. We appreciate the rain falling outside since it returns our natural world to green and healthy. What we don’t appreciate is that same rain falling inside! If the rainy season has introduced leaks into your home or business, it’s time to call in the professionals at Pacific West Roofing to repair those roof leaks

Roof Leak Risks

No matter how small a leak is, allowing moisture into your home where it should not be can lead to mold and mildew buildup that can penetrate your home’s structure and even get into the HVAC system. Once the mold spores enter an HVAC system they can be distributed throughout a home through the air vents potentially leading to health problems — especially for those with allergies or asthma. 

While movies and television often poke fun at roof leaks with homeowners scrambling to put buckets and pots and pans under persistent leaks, having water dripping from a ceiling is no laughing matter. A small leak can cause a puddle to form over time making the area slippery to walk on. A large leak can damage furniture, carpets, appliances, and really anything the water hits. 

A roof leak can allow water to reach the rafters, ceiling joists, and even wall frames of a home leading to wood rot and decay. That water can deteriorate and weaken the framing posing a danger of collapse at worst, but also leading to an expensive repair at the least.  

Signs of a Roof Leak

The key to avoiding major damage from roof leaks is to catch the leaks before they have time to grow too big. Ideally, professional roofing contractors should be hired to conduct a complete roof inspection annually, but there are also signs of roof leaks that homeowners can look for. 

#1 Brown discoloration in the attic or on ceilings could be a sign of a roof leak. Because rainwater travels along lumber and roof panels before it hits your ceiling, the site of the discoloration may not be exactly where the roof leak is. 

#2 After heavy rain, you may notice water spots on exterior walls. The flashing where the roof meets the wall may be in need of repair and more than likely, the home’s siding will also be impacted. 

#3 Skylights are notorious for sprouting roof leaks. Look for water stains at the header of the skylight or the side toward the peak of your roof. Those stains can be from faulty flashing that allows rainwater to seep in between the window frame and roof structure. 

#4 Mold and mildew buildup around heating and air vents. If a roof leak has been persistently allowing water to seep into an attic, mold and mildew may have built up and penetrated a home’s HVAC system. 

#5 Unexplained puddles or drips from the ceiling are no-brainer signs that there is a leak somewhere in your home. Depending on where the water is found, the problem may or may not be from a roof leak, but the problem is certainly worth another look!

What Causes A Roof Leak

There are several causes of roof leaks, some that can be easily addressed and others that may require more challenging repairs. 

Skylight Leaks

  • Rain that seeps through the flashing around a vent can work its way through a roofing system and ‘escape’ through a skylight. Leaks surrounding roof penetrations such as skylights, vents, or chimneys, can be explained by poor installation of flashing or faulty/deteriorated materials.
  • Moisture around the bottom of a skylight glass could be caused by condensation. Condensation is caused when warm air hits the cold glass. Because of this, skylights are made with condensation channels around the edges to capture and drain water, but the weepholes that drain the water can become clogged and overflow the channels. 

Roof Leaks from Trees and Branches

  • Trees can be a big culprit to roof damage. Branches that are too close to a roof can scrape away shingles, damage gutters, and even damage framing. 
  • Those twigs, leaves, pinecones, and other assorted tree parts can cover a roof and clog gutters allowing for water to build up and seep into the roof structure. 
  • An easy way to prevent these roof leaks is to take the time to trim branches and clear the debris each season. 

Roof Leaks from Pest Damage

  • Pests can also cause roof leaks. There are birds that like to peck at shingles making holes that destroy the shingles. Birds sometimes choose to nest in gutters causing rain to back up in gutters and overflow to areas where it shouldn’t be. 
  • Wasps and bees also like to nest on roofs, often in the corners.. These pests can work their way behind shingles and flashing which disrupts the materials from laying as they should causing damage.
  • Finally, rodents can cause roof leaks because they like to chew and those teeth can work their way through roof vents, shingles, and right through to the wooden framing. All of the activity from pests can lead to cracks, holes, and structural damage that weakens the roof and increases the likelihood of leaks. 

Inadequate insulation

  • Inadequate insulation in the attic can also cause a roof to leak. If insulation is lacking, the heat from a home penetrates the roof causing built-up snow and ice to melt leading to a build-up of moisture and water. 
  • The same can happen if a roof is not properly ventilated. Over time this excess moisture can weaken the roof structure leading to roof leaks. 

Inspecting a Roof for Leaks

There are lots of places on a roof that can spring leaks, especially if the roof was not properly installed or if it’s showing signs of age. Over time flashing may become cracked or warped, shingles may go missing or be damaged, or years of wear and tear may finally be taking a toll. While homeowners can do a visual inspection from the ground for missing shingles, identifying damage or signs of a pest invasion is best done by a close-up look at the roof. 

We recommend regular roof inspections. Pacific West Roofing’s expert roof inspectors will walk every inch of your roof, closely examining all potential entryways for water from the areas around chimneys and vents to skylights to shingles that just don’t look right. Once they are done they will provide you with a checklist of their findings and discuss your options as well as roof maintenance tips like keeping gutters and the roof clear and clean. We understand the need to replace a roof is something no one wants to hear so we’ll offer cost-effective repair alternatives to replacement if we can, but also assure you a quality replacement that will last for decades if you need it. Contact us to see how we can help. 

General Homeowners Replacement - Residential Roofing Tips

How to Find a Residential Roofing Contractor

No one wants to hear the news that their home’s roof needs repairs or worse, replacing. But a roof will not last forever and keeping it in top shape is essential to your family’s comfort and safety. If you find yourself in need of roof repairs there are strategies for finding and hiring the best residential roof contractors to get the job done right. 

Word of mouth is a good place to start. Friends, family members, co-workers, and neighbors may have had great experiences with local residential roof contractors and be more than willing to share contact information. Get as many details as you can on timeliness, cost, courtesy, and results. Be aware, however, that all roofs are not the same, so if your sister hired a residential metal roofing contractor, but you have a PVC flat roof, you may not see the same results. Further research will be needed to gauge the options among residential roofing companies. 

Research Residential Roofing Contractors Online

Even with a solid recommendation, doing online research on any residential roofer before you call them, can help you find the best person to do the work required whether your roof is metal or shingle, flat or pitched. 

Do you ever purchase anything online these days without first checking the reviews? Reviews are just as important when looking for roofing services. Read the comments to look for clues as to how easy the roofing company was to communicate with, how fair the pricing was, and what was the end result. 

Do a full investigation of the residential roofing contractor’s website. First check whether they are licensed, bonded, and insured. Most roofing companies will highlight that information on their website, often with the license number listed. If this information is not available from the website, you can also check the Oregon Construction Contractors Board (ORCCB) site which tracks licenses and complaints and shares information on how you can verify the validity of a contractor’s license. Let’s face it, you can’t be too careful these days when fraud seems to be everywhere. 

If your research shows the residential roofing contractor is properly licensed, next check how many years they’ve been in business and what professional associations they belong to. Pacific West Roofing carries memberships with the Western States Roofing Contractors Association (WSRCA) and the Associated Roofing Contractor Group (ARC) which allows us to easily access continuing education on safety, products, and practices which not only benefits our team but benefits our customers. 

Questions to Ask a Residential Roofing Contractor

Once you’ve exhausted the information found online, it’s time to contact a potential roofing contractor directly and ask some critical questions. 

Every roof is not the same, so make sure your residential roofing contractor is experienced working with whatever material you have or want. Ask what roofing products the roofing company is certified to install and what type of ongoing training installers and repairers have undergone with the product. If certified, the residential roofing contractor should be able to tell you all the details on the product’s performance, installation processes, and warranties. 

Make sure to ask about product warranties since residential roofing contractors who are certified for specific products are often able to offer the best warranties. For instance, Pacific West Roofing is a 5-star Certainteed SelectShingle Master which means we can offer the highest-rated warranty on this product for the roofs we install. This particular warranty also covers workmanship, which is another area to ask questions. Find out how long the product is guaranteed, but also if and how long the work is covered. 

Gathering Estimates from Roofing Contractors

You’ve asked the basic questions about residential roofing services offered, but what every homeowner wants to know is how much the roof repair or roof replacement will cost. How to get an estimate from a roofing contractor is not mysterious, but there are some fine points to consider. There are many steps and products that go into any roofing project and all of these items should be reflected in an estimate. A few specifics you should see on a bid are the types of ventilation and flashing that will be used, where they will be used, cost, and assurance the materials will be new. Look for all materials to be the same quality. Using high-end shingles with low-rated flashing is sure to eventually produce leaks. Every product used, and every activity the residential roofing contractor will undertake should be written into an estimate so there are no surprises. 

Doing your homework and research before you choose a residential roofing contractor is essential. But while the on-paper results can look perfect, there is always the variable of how well the people who will do the work will perform. While you can never know for sure if the workers pounding the nails are the best in the business, ask about their skills and training well before they are on your roof. The technicians and installers at Pacific West Roofing have undergone extensive training to ensure they are qualified to deliver the best workmanship. We’re always happy to talk to potential customers about our ongoing training requirements because we’re proud of the team we have and the beautiful work they do.  Contact us to see if Pacific West Roofing is an option for your residential roofing company needs.

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

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.

Portland Roofing Services - Pacific West Roofing
Homeowners Maintenance Residential Roof Repair

8 Symptoms of Bad Gutters | Pacific West Roofing

Pacific Northwest winters don’t usually consist of heavy snow, but instead, heavy rain. This means that the gutters of your home are on active duty for days and months at a time. Many inches of rain and occasional ice storms can be hard on your gutters, especially if they are old or need repair. Gutters protect your home from water damage, which can translate to issues with insulation, temperature regulation, or mold growth. Check your gutters on a regular basis, and if you aren’t sure if you have bad gutters, keep an eye out for some of the signs listed here.

HOW OLD ARE YOUR GUTTERS?

The average lifespan of gutters is between 15 and 20 years. If they haven’t been replaced in that time, then they should be checked by a professional to see if they are working at their peak. Even if they look fine, they might not be. Making sure that you have quality gutters will save you money in the long run.

CRACKS OR RUSTING

If you see noticeable cracks or the beginning of rust on the gutters, it is time to consider replacing them. Rust and cracks lead to leaks, which can lead to damage and costly repairs later down the road.

SAGGING

Do your gutters look uneven or look like they’re sagging? This can be a sign that the system needs to be repaired or replaced professionally. Gutters that sag or slouch mean that they won’t work efficiently and could clog or leak.

POOLED WATER

If you see a lot of standing water near the downspouts, this could lead to a serious problem. When water pools near the bottom of your home’s exterior it can easily work its way down to your foundation. Having water underneath your home can lead to mold, rot, and expensive structural problems. If you see pooled water anywhere within a few feet of your home, call a professional to have your foundation, crawl space, and gutter system checked out. All you may need is an extension to your downspout that leads water further away from your home.

CLOGS AND MORE CLOGS

Northwest rain and wind storms can blow twigs, leaves, and other debris into the gutters. Clogs can be prevented by installing gutter guards, but if you are dealing with clogged gutters all the time, there may be an issue with the actual gutter that is causing the clog. If left to persist, overflowing gutters can lead to the pooling water problems mentioned above.

DETACHED GUTTERS

This is pretty common sense, but if a part of your gutter system is hanging off the side of your home, it’s likely broken and needs repair or replacement. Make sure that your gutters are installed well so they don’t fall off during the next rain, wind, or snow storm.

LEAKS INSIDE THE HOME

If you see any water damage where exterior walls meet your ceiling, you may have a gutter leak instead of a roof leak. Check your gutters in that spot for a crack, clog, detachment, or poorly sealed seam.

EXTERIOR DAMAGE

Have you noticed changes in your home’s siding? Is the paint peeling, chipping or rotting? This could be the result of ineffective gutters. Water could be leaking through or overflowing and splashing up against the house, and without the sealing power of paint, wood siding is quick to rot. Have your gutter system repaired or replaced now to prevent the need for bigger exterior projects.

If it’s time to do something about bad gutters, contact Pacific West Roofing for a free estimate. Call us at 503-635-8706 today.

 

 

Portland Roofing Contractor Since 1980

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