Residential - Leaking Roofing Tips

Ice is Not Nice: Preventing Ice Dams and Icicles

You may have noticed that it is no longer possible to predict what the weather in the Pacific Northwest will be season to season. It used to be that ice dams on roofs were a rarity in the Willamette Valley, but now they may be something to worry about and certainly something to prevent. Pacific West Roofing has been around long enough to have seen our share of ice dams and we can work with you to prevent or repair damage from ice dams.  

What Causes an Ice Dam

An ice dam occurs when the upper areas of a frozen roof start to thaw while the lower areas are still frozen. Thawing occurs when heat collects in the attic warming the roof but not the eaves. Asphalt shingles are particularly susceptible to ice dams. The melting ice and snow flow down and refreeze along the eaves, as well as in the gutters, creating an ice dam. As that meltwater reaches the dam it pools leaving it likely to start leaking into your home through cracks and joints in the roofing materials. Even without the presence of an ice dam, the expansion and contraction of roofing materials as temperatures fluctuate can worsen any existing roof leaks or cause new leaks.

Another problem with melting and freezing water on roofs is icicles. Sure the look of icicles cascading from a roof makes for dramatic photos, but the extra weight they add to gutters and the roof can be damaging. Not to mention falling icicles can injure people and pets. The main reason icicles form is that water is not being directed through gutters and downspouts, most often because the gutters are clogged with leaves, needles, or other debris. Instead of running through the downspout, the water floods over the edges of the gutter and freezes. 

Any roof leak can cause damage ranging from a build-up of mold and mildew to rotting supports. 

How to Prevent Ice Dams

A simple way to prevent ice dams and icicles is to ensure your gutters are clear of debris. This prevents water from building up and freezing and also helps when spring thaw occurs and inevitably the rain returns. But it’s not just debris that’s the culprit. In the winter, snow and ice can build up in gutters and impede the flow of water. If you’re not comfortable on a ladder or on your roof, Pacific West Roofing is happy to come to your home to ensure the gutters are properly cleared and maintained

Keeping gutters free from ice and snow is easier if snow on the roof is kept to a minimum. Removing heavy snow loads from the roof reduces the chance of ice dams and roof collapse. 

Aside from gutter cleaning, the best way to minimize the risk of ice dams is to ensure your home has adequate insulation and a proper attic ventilation system. Your home should have enough insulation to prevent heat transfer from inside the home to the roof, and also have venting that keeps attic air cold enough to minimize freeze and thaw cycles. Air should flow under the eaves or soffit along the underside of the roof and out through the vents. In addition, any air leaks that might warm the underside of the roof should be sealed. Together, these systems slow or stop snow and ice from melting on your roof. 

If you live in an area where the chance of ice dams is greater, like in some of our higher elevations that are colder and get more snow and ice, there are options like modified rubber underlayments such as Ice and Watershield that can help. The downside is these shielding membranes need the heat of the sun to properly adhere to the roof deck, so they must be installed well before or after winter freezing. 

While it may be tempting to tackle snow and ice on the roof yourself with a shovel, hammer, or chisel, using these tools can damage roof shingles or even the roof structure itself. And salt might be another option but we all know the hazards salt poses to the environment and no one wants to kill off their shrubs and trees with salty runoff. Why not stay inside where it’s warm and dry and let the experts at Pacific West Roofing take care of your winter woes? Better yet, call us well before the first snow falls to inspect your roof and make sure it’s ready for another season of frozen precipitation. 

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. 

Residential - Leaking

Risks of a Leaky Roof You Wish Your Mom Told You | Pacific West Roofing

leaky roofYour roof is an integral part of your home, keeping you protected from the variety of weather changes that occur throughout the year in the Pacific Northwest. If your roof has started showing signs of leakage, it likely needs special attention. If you decide to ignore this, you risk major damage to your home.

Risk #1: Attic and Ceiling Water Damage
If you have noticed brown discoloration in certain parts of your attic or ceiling, this could mean that your roof is leaking in a certain area. It may not be clear where the leak is coming from, as water quickly travels along lumber and roof panels in the attic before it gets to your ceiling. If you notice discoloration, it’s important to call a roofing specialist right away to find the problem and fix it.

Risk #2: Mold and Mildew Buildup
Mold and mildew in your home can cause serious health complications. Mold or mildew on the exterior can quickly get into the home’s structure, including the HVAC system, and that means that it will get into the air and vents of your home. Mold and mildew can lead to nasal congestion, asthma, and more if it is not found and treated quickly.

Risk #3: Slipping Hazard
Is your roof leaking onto the floor of your home or garage? This could form a puddle over time and make it dangerous for people walking, especially children or senior citizens who may be more susceptible to tripping.

Risk #4: Water Spots
Have you noticed water spots on your exterior walls, especially after heavy rain? This could mean that the flashing where the roof meets the wall is in need of repair. This can be a difficult fix, because the home’s siding will likely also need attention. Not sure if this is the problem? A roofing specialist can take a look at the issue and provide expertise on how to tackle the job and get it fixed before more damage occurs.

Risk #5: Structural Damage
Over time, leaks can cause serious damage to the rafters, wall frames, and ceiling joists. This type of damage can significantly deteriorate the wood and ultimately weaken the framing of your home. This is not only dangerous for your family because of the likelihood that it could buckle and fall, but it can also be expensive to fix if you let it go for too long.

Is your roof leaking? Contact Pacific West Roofing. Our expert roofers can quickly identify the source of the leak and make seamless repairs.

Portland Roofing Contractor Since 1980

CCB# 169414