Maintenance

Mold – the pesky little fungi | Pacific West Roofing

Mold in the Attic! The Pesky Little Fungi

When was the last time you climbed into your attic? Cool summer mornings are perfect time for a check-up, especially if it’s been a few years.

However, since mold problems are so common here in the Pacific Northwest, anytime is a good time to check out how things are going — and hopefully not growing — in your attic spaces.

As we mentioned, mold is a common problem. This is especially true in newer homes due to weatherization home builders are attempting these days.

Why? There are several contributing factors that can have a major impact on making an attic a mold-friendly environment. Let us count the ways!

* Inadequate attic ventilation. (This is the No. 1 cause of mold growth in the attic.)

* Bathroom, kitchen and or dryer vents discharging into the attic.

* Inadequate or missing attic floor insulation.

* Improperly installed insulation cathedral ceilings and skylight chases.

* Furnaces and water heaters installed in an open attic.

* Plumbing vents that open into the attic.

* Lack of a vapor retarder in the ceiling

Those are just a few of the most common reasons why mold might take up residence in your attic. Fortunately, solutions to attic problems can be relatively simple and inexpensive. On the other hand, big and costly problems are usually inevitable if the issues go undetected and/or are ignored for long periods of time.

Why Mold Is A Big Problem
Mold can lead to more than just problems with the structural integrity of your roof. Mold spores can also lead to health problems.

Some of the more common health problems related to mold include coughing, congestion, and ear, nose, and throat congestion. Mold can also pose serious health problems for people suffering from asthma or allergies. Perhaps worst of all, people with already weakened immune systems can develop respiratory infections

Structurally, mold poses a risk to your roof since it attracts moisture for food, which over time can ruin the plywood sheathing and framing materials made out of wood.

Pacific West Roofing in the Pacific Northwest
If you are uncomfortable evaluating the attic on your own, give us a call. Although we are not a home inspector, we can still inspect your home for the possibility of elevated moisture levels, attic moisture issues, white or black molds, mold spores, roof leaks, and more.

And, of course, as the PNW’s premier roofing solutions company, we can do a roof-focused home inspection and take a look at your soffit vents, ridge vents, and other roof vents and roof sheathing to determine the source of air and attic mold removal solutions.

Think you might have mold in the attic? We are experts in identifying the problems, and more importantly — providing the solutions!

Contact Pacific West Roofing today.

Maintenance

How to Remove Algae from Roof Shingles | Pacific West Roofing

Here in Oregon, mostly blue-green algae grows on the outside of the house or on the roof shingles. The only way to take care of it is to use a high-base chemical solution, like zinc sulfate. We’ll explain more of that in a bit.

While some people actually like the look of moss on their roof, they may be unaware that it can damage your roof, even promote rot.

What happens is the algae grows and becomes food for the moss. That moss then collects rainwater, like a sponge. If that top layer of moss gets heavy enough, the moisture seeps under the roof shingles and into the understructure. This brings mold build-up and eventually decay.

That means if you see algae or moss on your roof shingles, it’s time to remove it. Here’s how.

CLEANING YOUR ROOF WITHOUT DAMAGING IT

First we need to say one thing: don’t ever use a high pressure washer on your roof (for some reason it’s the first thing many people think to do). That pressure can strip granules and protective elements from shingles – it’s almost like wearing away the tread on a tire. Doing this means you’ll have to replace your shingles sooner.

Other people broom off the moss, which does work, but stiff bristles could also wear away the granules.

ONE OF THE MOST EFFECTIVE MOSS KILLERS IS ZINC SULFATE

Zinc sulfate most often comes in powder form. To start cleaning, apply it directly and generously to moss areas – it’s recommended to use three pounds of powder for every 600 square feet. Spread it along the ridge of the roof, then let the rain do it’s job of dissolving it.

Generally, this takes care of moss for 1-3 years. The zinc needs to be applied annually though to keep the algae from regrowing, similar to how chlorine gets added regularly to maintain the cool blue color of your pool.

Here’s the downside: zinc sulfate is damaging to plants if it hits them directly. That’s why, before using it, most people will drape their plants to protect them. We also recommend applying it on a calm day, so the wind doesn’t spread it further than where it needs to be.

EARLY REMOVAL IS BEST FOR LONG-TIME PROTECTION

Taking care of algae growth early on is a very important way to ensure longevity for your roof. The more you let it grow, the higher the likelihood of seeing further damage.

Do you have questions, or need help cleaning your roof? Call the experts at Pacific West Roofing for any assistance.

Maintenance

How Often Should I Have My Roof Inspected? | Pacific West Roofing

You keep on top of preventative maintenance for your health, your car, and even your kids’ homework—but what about keeping that literal roof over your head in top shape? Sure, Spring cleaning has you sweeping behind the fridge and winter prep might have you checking to see if the water pipes are in good shape, but when’s the last time you had the roof inspected? Roof maintenance is two-fold: One you can do yourself (if only with a pair of binoculars), but this should be complemented with an expert inspection at routine intervals.

When looking at a roof yourself, keep an eye out for uneven surfaces in the decking and cracked caulking. Are any of the shingles curling, buckling or blistering? Are there even some missing shingles? Look at the rubber part of the pipe vents and see if they look worn down or split open. Any damage to chimney caps should be addressed, and if you notice moss or lichen, that can be a sign of decay. Black algae may seem like a cosmetic fix that doesn’t necessarily need immediate attention, but it’s an excellent food source for moss, which can remove granules from the shingle exposing the asphalt to the sun’s rays.

 

When Action is Necessary

For homeowners with colored grit found in places like the gutters, that’s a red flag. It might look like sand, but it means the roof is being exposed to dangerous UV rays. It might be that the roof’s service life is about to expire, and acting quickly may give you a few more years. Any shingles with issues require immediate replacement, and there are some things a handy DIYer can do him or herself, such as nailing back in loose shingles, but for the most part it’s best to leave things to a pro.

In an ideal world, roofs are expertly inspected annually, preferably in the autumn before the wind, rain and snow sets in. Otherwise, it’s recommended to have a new roof inspected after the first five years, then at 10 years, 13, 15, 17, and every year after that. Handymen are truly “handy” for small fixes and can save you a few dollars, but there’s no substitute for a professional, licensed roofer who carries liability insurance and workers compensation on their employees.

WHAT’S THIS GOING TO COST?

Many reputable roofers offer free or low cost inspections, but the actual repairs will certainly have a price. Shingle replacements are usually under $250, common skylight and chimney repairs are under $500, and repairs to flashing are typically under $25 per foot. And if you have moss? That’s best removed in the autumn with a moss killer designed specifically for roofs (don’t use one for lawns, as you’ll suddenly have a green roof).

Dead moss can then be removed in the spring, right in time for your annual spring cleaning activities. You can hire a roofer or do this yourself, but keep in mind that it can take a few hours to sweep and clean a roof, which can be a back-breaking task for a larger home– especially with a steeper roofline.

THE SKY IS LEAKING

By the time a roof is actively leaking, it’s probably been damaged for quite awhile. That’s why it’s paramount to keep up with regular inspections. Telltale signs can include dark spots on the ceiling interior, peeling paint near roof overhangs, damp areas by the fireplace, and water stains on the pipes.

Don’t wait until it’s too late. Roof replacement can be extremely expensive, and it’s always better to keep up with maintenance rather than waiting for the worst to happen.

 

Maintenance

How Are Your Pipe Flashings? | Pacific West Roofing

When it comes to owning a home, a good maintenance plan is always a worthy investment. In fact, you can avoid some expensive water damage issues by having your roof inspected every 3-5 years. Here in the Northwest, your roof will get hit with more than three feet of rain every year. Combine that with a couple annual wind storms and it makes a lot of sense to have your roof checked once in a while. Inspections are a special part of the quality service we’ve offered in Portland since 1980.

A COMMON PROBLEM

When your home was originally constructed, pipes were installed everywhere for plumbing and ventilation, a few of which protrude through your roof. Some of these pipes let air in so that water flows smoothly through your sinks, tubs and toilets. Others facilitate the exhaust of hot moist air generated in your kitchens and bathrooms. At the point where the pipes come through your roof, a metal base plate and rubber seal are also installed, which is called flashing. These fixtures are made to keep the penetration leak free and they come in a variety of sizes to accommodate whatever pipes are used.

However, the service life of the most common pipe flashing products on roofs in the Portland area is about 8-10 years. You can find higher quality flashing products that will last up to 20 years. As time passes, the flashings will wear out. The rubber will crack and deteriorate, letting water flow into your attic and your home.

If this continues on unnoticed, the rain that comes in through your compromised flashings will travel down the pipes, behind the walls, and eventually rot the wood structure in your kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry room. Wherever there is an elbow in the pipe, the water could drip, causing stains and leaks in your ceiling.

We’ve been working on roofs in the Portland metro area for 35 years now, and we’ve seen and used a variety of flashing materials made by different manufacturers. Not all of them fail in that 8-10-years time frame. There are a number of factors that can affect the lifespan of your flashings, such as the slope and directional exposure of your roof. If your roof has a steep slope but your roofer used a low-slope flashing, it may not last as long. Additionally, the flashings that exist on the sides of your roof that face the South or the West will endure more heat and direct sunlight, causing them to break down more quickly.

THE PROPER SOLUTION

With every problem there are good and bad solutions. The quick fix for a leaky pipe flashing is to seal it with caulking, but this is not intended to be a lasting solution. You’d be lucky if it got you through one season. Depending on the cause of the flashings’ demise, as well as the age of your roof, the best solution is usually to install a new flashing. Cutting corners will only cause a frustrating cycle of unnecessary stress and repairs.

Concerned about roof leaks? Give us a call at 503-635-8706 or visit our contact page to send us an email.

 

 

Maintenance

Got Roof Moss? We Can Help! | Pacific West Roofing

How long has it been since you thought about roof maintenance? If it’s been a long time, do you ever wonder what moss might be doing up there? If you’re a homeowner and none of this registers, it’s time for you to consider an inspection to assess the moss accumulation on your roof.

Every roof must have regular maintenance. The reasons for this are: increased lifespan of your roof shingles, granule retention, leak prevention, and even costlier repairs down the road due to negligence.

How do you lose the moss? Treatment! There are a variety of moss control products including earth friendly solutions. Once the moss has been treated and dies, it can be flushed off of your roof with a gentlepressure washer or broom. The next step is to do your best to prevent moss in the first place. Consider some of these basic preventative measures:

 

  • Keep your roof free from tree branches. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t have trees around your home, just keep the branches from growing on or over the roof.
  • Keep your roof clean. Try to keep debris off your roof, particularly in areas that are susceptible to moss growth such as the North side.
  • Consider preventative measures that are administered through a professional roof maintenance company.
  • While it’s not the most comfortable situation in the world, there may be instances where you need to speak to a neighbor about their property. For instance, maybe they have a tree that is growing over your roof. Also, a home that is up wind needs a roof that is well-maintained, otherwise their moss spores may travel to your roof.

If you want to treat your roof for moss, or if you would just like us to consult with you regarding your roof, please contact us online or call us at (503)635-8706.

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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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