Roofing

Roofing Archives for the Interstate Roofing blog, we serve the Portland & Vancouver areas. We do residential, commercial, new and repair: call 503 684-5611

What Does Your Attic Say About Your Roof?

Each and every day, your roof takes a beating. Shingles are designed to last decades, but they have to bear the brunt of rainstorms, snow, and 95-degree weather, and even a small imperfection in your roof opens the door to bigger leaks down the road. Most roof problems never display visible signs from the outside, so you won’t be able to tell that there’s a leak simply by looking up at your roof while standing in your yard. At least once a year, you’ll want to climb up into your attic or crawlspace to manually inspect your roof from inside.

Safe Inspection Tips

Unless you have vaulted ceilings, you likely have an attic or crawlspace that’s shaped like a triangle. Your attic floor is made up of ceiling joists, which are spaced 12 to 24 inches apart, and most ceiling joists are never covered by plywood or another surface that’s safe to walk on. When you crawl up into your attic, make sure that you step very carefully to avoid putting a foot through your insulation and drywall.

Always wear a respirator when dealing with fiberglass insulation. The tiny fiberglass particles itch like crazy when they land on your face and arms, and you don’t want to breathe them in. Your insulation could also harbor a variety of nasty diseases and mold.

Common Problem Areas

Roofing leaks typically develop where sheathing panels meet, at valleys, siding, chimneys, skylights or vents, but severe weather can cause damage anywhere. Although the Pacific Northwest doesn’t get the kind of severe weather other parts of the country do, like hail storms and hurricane strength winds, we do get prolonged rain – which can be even more damaging to a roof. Long-term leaks are more dangerous simply because fewer homeowners recognize the signs.

Types of Damage to Look For

Do you see sunlight? If so, it’s a bad sign. Visible sunlight means that you already have a large hole in your roof, which means that water damage and expensive repairs aren’t far behind. Most roof damage requires a closer inspection, and you’ll need a flashlight and moisture meter to ensure that your roof is still in good shape.

Pay close attention to roof framing members as you conduct your inspection. Make a note of any discoloration on the sheathing panels, and use your moisture meter on each joist. Mold starts growing at about 27% moisture, so shoot for 5% to 15% just to be on the safe side.

Modern roofs aren’t just designed to keep water out; they’re also designed to let water inside your roof escape. Water damage can negatively impact your roof’s permeability, trapping humidity inside the sheathing panels and framing.

Need a professional roof inspection in Portland? If so, contact Interstate Roofing today for a free estimate. Our roofing experts will give you all the information you need about the current state of your roof to make the right decision for your home.

Attracting Customers With External Appearance

As a business owner, you’re probably sick of hearing about first impressions, branding and all of the other buzzwords that get thrown around when it comes to attracting customers. However, the reason these ideas get so much attention is that the face you show your target audience has a big impact on sales. Did you know that something as simple as upgrading your roof can draw more customers while protecting your business assets at the same time?

Curb Appeal: Does It Help Business?

Curb appeal is usually something that homeowners think about when getting ready to sell their houses, but this concept is also important to your business. The condition of a roof, especially a sloping roof, is immediately noticeable even when customers are driving by. If your roof is cracked, damaged or growing moss, it suggests a lack of care that customers will associate with your business as a whole. On the other hand, if you have a roof that’s well kept and attractive, it shows that your company pays attention to detail and is dedicated to ensuring top quality in everything you do.

The Right Look

It may sound strange, but a quality roof also helps project the identity of your business to potential customers. Every business has a brand, and every brand has a personality. Think about popular chain stores and restaurants: the look of their buildings reflects the qualities that they promise to customers. You should strive for the same kind of effect with your business.

Benefits of Quality Roof Installation

A sturdy roof does more than give your building an appealing appearance. Remember that a roof is your first line of defense against potentially dangerous weather and can also have an impact on your energy bills. Weather is pretty much the number one threat to your physical business location, so the better your roof is, the more protection it provides to the interior of the building.

A high-quality roof offers:

  • A Sturdy underlying structure that stands up to the elements
  • The newest materials designed to last longer and provide better protection from changing weather conditions
  • Solid insulation against heat in the summer and cold in the winter
  • A low-maintenance surface that doesn’t split, bubble or hold water

When your company building looks good, customers are more likely to stop in, browse and make purchases. If you’re ready for an upgrade, check out Interstate Roofing’s website for a gallery of our best work. We can pair your business with a skilled roofing contractor and a team of experienced workers who can give your Portland, OR, location the makeover you’re looking for. Contact us at Interstate Roofing.

Remarkable Roofs in Portland

Is Portland, OR, the coolest town in America? We sure think so. This town’s got some of the finest seafood joints on the west coast, a vibrant music scene, and superb architecture. There’s always some sort of weird or wonderful roof to see in the City of Roses, whether you’re enjoying a Sunday stroll through the Eastside or navigating the winding streets of the West Hills.

The Eyebrow House

Yes, there really is a house by that name in Portland. The Eyebrow House began as a modest 1940s-era bungalow in the Mount Tabor neighborhood and remained such until it was transformed into something quite remarkable by Portland-based Doon Architecture. If you’re familiar with the TV series Portlandia, you’ll remember this house as the one the durian fruit aliens used as a spaceship to return to their home planet.

People’s Food Co-op

The member-owned food cooperative has been around since the 1970s. Committed to sustainability, the structure that houses the co-op features green design elements such as a ground source heating system and lots of recycled building materials. The thing that makes the roof at People’s Food Co-op appropriate for this blog is the fact that the roof is edible.

Ramona Apartment Complex in the Pearl District

From the street, the Ramona Apartments at 1550 NW 14th Avenue looks like most other red brick apartment complex in the city. But go up on the roof and it’s a different story. Up there, you’ll see something called an eco-roof. Planted with a variety of succulents and sedum, this planet-friendly roofing feature absorbs rainwater and filters the runoff.

Herman Brookman’s 1927 Green Mansion in Laurelhurst

If you’re into Byzantine Revival architecture, you’ve got to see the roof on this place. The unique mix of Colonial, Queen Anne and Classical Revival elements make this structure worth checking out.

The Alibi

While in no way as impressive as the other roofs described in this article, The Alibi karaoke lounge at 4024 North Interstate Avenue is certainly worth noting. The stunning neon lights and coconut-shaped doorway are only two of the weird features of this fabulously kitschy bar. The reason The Alibi is included in this list is for its fake thatch roof. Everybody in Portland ought to see it at least once.

It doesn’t matter how fancy or ordinary your roof is, or what sort of material it’s made of. When you require a reputable roofer in the Portland area, Interstate Roofing is the company to call. We can replace, restore or repair just about any roof in the greater Portland area. Need a brand new roof? We can do that, too. Contact us today at 503-684-5611 for a free estimate.

Creative Skylight Design: Letting Some Light In

Pick the prime skylight spot to bring sunshine to your home.

A correctly placed sunlight will add a great layer of ambiance to your homeA skylight gives any home a luxurious touch, and these fixtures don’t have to be complex or fancy to serve the purpose of letting in light. When you know how to pick the best position for a skylight installation, you can maximize illumination and enjoy natural brightness any time of year.

The Best Spots for Skylight Placement

The basic answer to the question of where to put a skylight is wherever your home receives the most direct sun, but there are other things to consider. For example, it follows that the more light you get, the more heat comes with it. Installing a south-facing skylight brings in a lot of ambient heat in the winter, but you might regret it come summer when the temperature outside is making your house unbearable. By contrast, a north-facing light will keep you cool during the summer but isn’t very good for warming things up in winter. East- and west-facing skylights bring in light in the morning or the evening, respectively. Both provide warmth along with illumination for part of the day.

You can control the way the light diffuses by placing your skylight in particular areas in the ceiling. A traditional central shaft provides even lighting throughout the room. Positioning the shaft on a section of sloping roof directs light toward the nearest wall and bounces it back into the room to amplify its effects.

Other Design Considerations

  • You can ensure maximum brightness from your skylight by taking advantage of other design elements:
  • Paint the shaft a light color that reflects the sun or choose a model that comes with a reflective coating
  • Size the shaft according to how many other windows are in the room for balanced lighting
  • Choose a location that directs the light where you most want it to go

Skylight shape doesn’t have much effect on illumination, but it does impact the look of the room. Round and oval have a soft appearance while traditional square and non-traditional triangles and diamonds add an angular design.

Now that you know where you want to put your skylight and the types of designs that are available for it, are you ready to tackle the job of installation? Let the pros at Interstate Roofing take care of it for you. Contact us for a free quote or give us a call at 503-684-5611. There’s a lot of measuring, cutting and placement work involved in getting a skylight to look just right, and you can rely on our professional staff to work out all the details.

The World’s Most Energy Efficient Roofing Options

Beyond cosmetics: how your choice of roofing material can affect your energy bills.

Contrary to popular belief, all roofs aren’t created equal. Around the world, builders use dozens of different materials to keep the elements out of homes and businesses. These materials are generally selected for their “fit” with the local climate, so roofs in warm, dry places look very different from roofs in cool, wet areas. In Portland, some of the most common roofing materials include metal, shingle and tile. Each of these materials has its own benefits and drawbacks for energy-conscious homeowners and business owners.

Metal Roofs

Once virtually unknown in the Pacific Northwest, light-colored metal roofs are an increasingly popular choice for local homeowners. During the summer, these “cool roofs” can reduce energy absorption by as much as 25% relative to asphalt roofs. This is due to their high albedo effect, a measure of how well they reflect solar energy back into the atmosphere without absorbing it. Although light-colored metal roofs don’t absorb energy as well during the winter, Portland’s climate isn’t severe enough for this to make much of a difference on users’ heating bills. Additionally, the region’s near-constant winter cloud cover reduces the efficacy of sunlight as a home-heating booster.

Shingle Roofs

Although asphalt shingle roofs can boost energy absorption during the winter, they’re often regarded as a subpar choice for homeowners who want to keep cool during the summer. In fact, they only reflect 10% to 15% of the energy that touches them. However, high-tech coatings and many single-ply membranes can help low slope roofs reflect heat on the hottest days. Additionally, attic insulation can dramatically improve cooling efficacy during the warm season.

Tile Roofs

Tile roofs are popular in hot, dry places like Phoenix and Las Vegas, but Portland’s climate isn’t ideal for this material. Tile tends to be a poor insulator and has trouble keeping homes warm in the absence of effective insulation. In addition, it’s also prone to leaks—a major drawback in Portland’s wet climate. However, light-colored tiles are adept at reflecting solar radiation during the height of summer.

How Does Slope Affect Efficiency?

Material isn’t the only factor that affects roof efficiency. A roof’s slope is a major determinant of its overall energy rating. Since the sun strikes them at an indirect angle during the warmest part of the day, steep-sloped roofs are ideal for homeowners who worry about air conditioning costs. By contrast, low-sloped roofs are less intrinsically efficient. However, it’s easier to apply coatings or other radiation-shunting materials to these designs.

Find Energy Efficient Roofing in Portland

No matter which material you decide to use in your home’s roof, you’ll need to make sure it’s installed promptly and effectively. At Interstate Roofing, we’re proud to offer a range of roofing choices and provide the assistance that you need to enjoy years of superior performance. To learn more about all of our roofing products and services, call us at 503-684-5611 or contact.

Are Those Patchy Spots on Your Roof Hiding Danger Zones?

Common problems that may be causing your roof to deteriorate.

Your home’s roof is constantly exposed to changing weather conditions and other hazards that can threaten its integrity. Weather, installation problems and general exposure are all potential culprits when it comes to a damaged roof.

Weather Woes

  • Every type of weather has an impact on your roof. A few common issues include:
  • High winds that lift up shingles
  • Rainwater seeping under shingles, causing mildew and rot
  • Snow and ice accumulation, melting and refreezing, leading to ice dams that impair drainage
  • Condensation during humid weather that encourages decay in the attic below
  • Overhanging tree branches that rub on shingles and cause abrasion
  • Damage from fallen tree limbs
  • Growth of unsightly moss or algae, resulting in further moisture damage
  • Damage to shingles from any extreme weather condition

Finally, there’s regular old wear and tear from exposure to all of these elements over the years. The roof faces more direct contact with the elements than other parts of your home, making it important to check for damage on a regular basis.

Structural Defects

Problems with the roof structure may result from harsh weather, age, lack of adequate ventilation or improper installation. If the roof wasn’t designed to accommodate natural expansion and contraction or has a weak underlying structure, it could result in problems with drainage or bowing under heavy loads such as snowfall.

Anything that causes poor drainage can spell disaster for overall roof structure. Standing water leads to dampness which, over time, can cause roof materials to deteriorate. An uneven roof is often the culprit when it comes to accumulation of water and debris, though weather-related factors could be to blame as well.

Sometimes your roof just plain wears out from age. Old shingles are susceptible to splitting, tearing, cracking, peeling and curling while membrane roofs may blister or rip.

Maintaining Roof Integrity

The most important part of roof care—and the thing that will help prevent small problems from becoming big headaches—is regular roof maintenance. Neglecting your roof means that you won’t see damage until it rears its head in the form of costly repair bills. Other steps to take include installing proper ventilation in your attic to prevent dampness and condensation, and using the right kind of supports and flashing when installing antennas and other rooftop structures.

When your roof needs more care than you can give it, visit Interstate Roofing’s website here for a free estimate on the help you need. We’ll tackle any job from repairs to replacement in order to get your roof back in top shape and minimize future damage.

Confessions of a Weathered Roofer

Re-roof, replace or ignore: a roofing contractor tells it all.

Homeowners pour a lot of money into painting walls and updating flooring without giving much attention to the roof over their heads. It’s only when the roof fails that residents remember that crucial part of their house that keeps out the sun, rain and vermin. Roofing contractors are often appalled at the roof conditions they encounter on houses that are otherwise picture-perfect.

What You Don’t See Won’t Hurt You

When it comes to your home, this is a dangerous attitude. Many homeowners go through life blissfully unaware of the potential problems threatening their homes. This is especially true for the parts of the house that are out of sight. To the trained eye of roof experts in Portland, OR, however, even small things could be a source of major problems down the road.

  • Ponding occurs when a hollow in the roofing material collects and retains some of the precipitation. Accumulated debris can trap rainwater and snow, allowing moisture to sit in one place and promote deterioration of the roof. This is especially problematic for houses in rainy Vancouver, WA.
  • Curling, lifting, cracked and missing roof shingles can lead to leaks. Left unrepaired, damaged or missing shingles will stress nearby shingles and cause more problems.
  • Blistering and peeling shingles need to be replaced immediately to prevent more deterioration. Puncturing the blisters or nailing down loose shingles will only worsen the problem.
  • Stains on the roof shingles from overhanging branches, algae growth and pet waste (bird droppings are the worst – and can void manufacturer’s warranties) should be addressed quickly to make sure that the roof material doesn’t deteriorate even more.
  • Loose fasteners, flashings and deteriorated seals, missing granules on bituminous material, and rotting underlayment can lead to moisture intrusion into your attic space.

Causes of Roof Problems

Wind, hot temperatures and heavy precipitation can damage roofs slowly so that the condition is hidden until the attic leaks or until wind or water pressure strip away parts of the roof.

Incorrect installation and repair of roof layers can lead to numerous problems that may not be obvious right away. If the issues have to do with poor design, consider a thorough inspection and professional repairs to correct the problem immediately.

Roofs that aren’t cleared of debris and algae growth regularly will deteriorate quickly, since water tends to pool in low spots. Leaves and twigs will break down and affect the underlying material.

The Final Fix

Roofing problems are not to be messed with by untrained persons. Roof work is a hazardous job, and installation and repair are complicated processes. If you need the services of a roofing contractor, contact us online or call the experts at Interstate Roofing for a consultation: 503-684-5611.

Anatomy of a Roof: Important Parts to Know About

Understanding what’s up there.

Roofs are complex and have many parts. A roof is one of those things that people rarely think about. Usually, a roof is just there, doing what it’s intended to do: protect the interior of a structure. Take a look at your roof. What do you see? To most people, it doesn’t look like much. There’s a lot more going on up there than you can see from the ground. Your roof is a complex system with plenty of parts. Want to know what they are and what they do? Read on.

Ridge

The ridge is the highest part of a pitched—also known as “sloped”—roof. Most houses have pitched roofs for both aesthetic and practical reasons.

Roof Truss

Think of the truss as the skeleton of the roof. Comprised of beams fastened together in triangular patterns, the roof truss is the framework that holds the roof together.

Rafters

Rafters are the parts of the truss that run all the way from the top of the roof to the bottom. There are principal rafters, common rafters, auxiliary rafters and compass rafters. Some rafters are called kings and some are called hips.

Decking or Sheathing

This is the part of the roof that covers the rafters and provides a flat surface to which the shingles are attached. The sheath or deck is generally made with large sheets of plywood.

Underlayment

The part of a roof known as the underlayment is usually made of super heavy felt, although synthetic materials are available. Also called tar paper, the underlayment is placed atop the decking prior to installation of shingles. The underlayment provides an additional layer of moisture protection. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we can use all of that we can get.

Fascia

The fascia is a horizontal timber board that’s attached to the ends, or ‘feet’, of the rafters. Fascia is considered part of the trim and is the part to which rain gutters are attached.

Eaves

The word eave means edge and that’s exactly what it is: the lowest edge of the roof. Fancy or plain, the eaves project beyond the side of a structure and provide an overhang to prevent rainwater from accumulating along the base of the building.

Soffit

Stand under the eaves of your roof, look up, and you’ll see the soffit. It’s the finished underside of the eaves that project from the roof.

Valley

When two sloped roof planes intersect at an external angle of less than 180 degrees, it’s called a valley.

Hip

Whereas the valley of the roof describes the interior angle of two intersecting sloped roof planes, the hip is the external angle formed by the same intersection.

Gable

On a ridge roof, the gable is the triangular part of a wall just underneath the roof slopes on the side of a building.

Flashing

In roof anatomy, the flashing prevents water seepage around things such as chimneys, vent pipes and valleys.

Your roof might just be the most important part of your house, and we’re glad you took some time to learn more about it. Bookmark our homepage and revisit us when you require an on-time, quality roofing contractor in the Portland, OR, and Vancouver, WA, areas. We are Interstate Roofing and we provide 24-hour emergency roofing services. Contact us online, or call 503.684.5611  to speak to a member of our helpful staff.

When the Roof Is a Garden

The idea of going green is becoming increasingly popular and catching up with both residential and commercial property owners. Today, many property owners are making a conscious effort to adopt eco-friendly and sustainable methods in an attempt to protect the environment.

Going Green? Why Not Start With Your Roof?

Whether you’re considering a roof garden or green roof, there are many advantages. Transforming your roof into a garden can add a unique aesthetic appeal to your property. In addition, you’ll be able to make a significant impact on a personal, community and global level.

Reduce Your Energy Consumption

A roof with natural vegetation provides optimal insulation throughout the year. Most homes with ordinary roofing tend to lose about 40% of conditioned air through the cracks and vents in the attic. With an eco-friendly roofing solution, you’ll be able to lower your heating and cooling bills substantially.

Increase the Value of Your Property

Installing green roofing can increase the real estate value of your property by approximately 7%. In addition, you might qualify to receive property tax credits, storm water tax reductions, and grants depending on the location of your residence.

Make a Positive Difference to the Community

Eco-friendly roofs are designed to reduce the urban heat island effect and smog that’s becoming an increasingly common concern in metropolitan areas. Green roofs are recyclable and can be disposed of responsibly without ending up as debris in landfills.

Green Choices Can Make a Healthier Planet

Small yet significant choices can make a tremendous impact on our environment. A green roof can not only work wonders for your curb appeal but also increase the value of your property. Interstate Roofing is a trusted provider of quality roofing and roof repair services in Portland, OR. Contact Interstate Roofing today at 503-684-5611, and learn more about the various roofing choices available. You can even request a free estimate!

Cold in the Winter, Hot in the Summer

Are you sick of watching your home’s energy bills skyrocket during the winter and summer? Although the Portland-Vancouver area enjoys pleasant transitional seasons, winter’s chill and summer’s heat are constant threats to local household budgets and home energy efficiency. Fortunately, there are several cost-effective steps you can take to reduce your heating and cooling bills without investing in costly new technologies.

Leaking Air, Leaking Money

Many older homes suffer from poorly sealed windows, under-insulated attic spaces and drafty doors. Energy-saving retrofits typically focus on three key areas: attic insulation, window replacement and whole-house weatherproofing. Let’s explore each of these in turn.

Keep It Comfortable with Affordable Insulation

Home energy efficiency depends on a variety of factorsAccording to the EPA and the administrators of the federal government’s EnergyStar program, homeowners can save as much as 20% on total heating and cooling costs simply by adding new insulation to their attics or updating existing insulation within their homes’ walls. This translates to total energy bill savings of as much as 14%.

What’s more, Oregon and Washington both offer additional rebates that may cover part of the cost of installing blown-in insulation in your attic. When it’s done by a professional, the installation process is fast, effective and non-disruptive.

Replace Outdated Windows

Window replacement is another important step. Like attic insulation, energy-efficient windows routinely attract federal and state tax credits. Modern windows use effective sealing technology to keep warm air inside during the winter and outside during the summer. In fact, the newest generation of energy-efficient windows doesn’t even require a second storm window to function properly. Instead, modern windows contain insulating buffers between “inside” and “outside” panes. Many models last for years, so you’ll enjoy ample returns on your modest investment.

Simple Weatherproofing Tips for Year-Round Comfort

Other weatherproofing steps may be even easier. Fireplace inserts effectively insulate your home’s chimney column and reduce heat loss through the roof. Programmable thermostats allow you to control how much heat or air conditioning your home’s interior receives at any given time. Meanwhile, costs for energy-efficient heating units and solar panels have plummeted over the past decade.

Interstate Roofing: Your Indoor Temperature Control Source in Portland, OR and Vancouver, WA

These aren’t the only things you can do to reduce your home’s heating and cooling bills as well as its impact on the environment, but they’re a great start. At Interstate Roofing, we’re proud to help homeowners across the Portland-Vancouver area put more of their hard-earned funds back in their pockets. If you’re ready to transform your house into the efficient, cash-saving envy of the neighborhood, give us a call at 1-800-ROOF-270 or contact us online today.