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

Do You Have to Redo Your Roof Before Listing Your Property?

Make sure your roof is in great shape before you list your home for sale.

Before you re-roof, consider roofing repairs. Having a home means having a roof over your head, but that roof can also cause you problems if it’s damaged or old. It’s especially important to pay attention to the condition of your roof if you plan to list your home for sale. Thankfully, re-roofing isn’t the only option when it comes to bringing your roof up to par for a sale. Roofing repairs can be an effective, affordable alternative to an expensive re-roofing job.

Assessing Your Home’s Roof

Before you list your home for sale, you’ll need to evaluate the condition of your roof. The only way to make a thorough assessment is to get out a ladder and take a close-up look at your roof. If you’re not comfortable climbing a ladder or crawling on your roof, call a professional who can conduct an inspection for you.

When inspecting your roof, you should look for signs of overall damage such as torn or missing shingles and holes in the roof. If you’ve experienced any leaks inside your home, try to trace their origin on your roof. It’s a good idea to take photos so that you can show them to your contractor later. Remember that high winds and frequent rain in Portland, Vancouver, and surrounding areas can lead to serious wear on your roof.

Once you’ve assessed the overall condition of your roof, you can decide if it’s time to re-roof or to make repairs. If your roof is badly damaged and could cause structural problems for your home, it’s time to choose re-roofing. However, it’s often the case that roofing repairs are more than adequate to address roofing issues. In some cases, repairs to a shingle roof can keep the roof in good condition for another 15 years.

Choosing a Roofing Repair Option

If you’ve decided that roofing maintenance is a good alternative to a full re-roofing job, you have several repair options from which to choose. While you may be able to complete some repairs by yourself, you’ll likely need help from a professional roofing contractor for most. The most popular repairs include:

• Shingle replacement
• Replacement of roofing materials
• Patching
• Leak repairs
• Chimney flashing

Many homeowners wonder if gutter replacement is also a viable option. While replacing your gutters may improve the aesthetic appearance of your home, such repairs won’t make a long-term difference in the stability or quality of your roof. It’s better to opt for repairs that deal directly with the roof’s core structure and covering material.

Roofing repairs can add to your home’s value and help you prepare for sale. The professionals at Interstate Roofing are here to help you evaluate and repair your roof. For more information on how we can give your roof the work it needs to help seal the deal with your house sale, contact us today at 503-684-5611.

Are Portland Neighborhoods Too Cloudy for Solar Power?

Knowing when to put solar power to use for your home.

Installing solar panels on your PNW home just takes a little planning. The weather in Portland isn’t nearly as bad as outsiders believe. Although it does get cloudy and cold for much of the fall and winter, sun and warmth never fail to return during the late spring and summer. Of course, our “cloudy season” is apt to worry local homeowners who wonder whether installing a rooftop solar array makes financial sense here. As it turns out, clouds are overrated. You just need to keep a few things in mind to get the most out of your home’s solar panels.

Orientation: South or West?

Several factors contribute to optimal rooftop electricity generation. Directional orientation is one of the most important. Although it might seem logical to point your solar panels south, studies have shown that west-facing panels are actually the most efficient. This is because the sun’s rays tend to be strongest during the afternoon. Other studies have cast doubt on the idea of purely west-facing panels and suggested that a southwest or west-southwest orientation is better.


Portland is close to the 45th parallel, so it’s farther north than most American cities. This means that the sun’s rays are a bit weaker here. It also means that the sun tends to sit lower in the sky. Accordingly, the angle at which your rooftop panels sit is very important. A seminal study of solar panels in London located above the 50th parallel found that angles of at least 35 degrees allow for optimal generation in northern cities. Shallower angles may not capture the sun’s rays as effectively.


Of course, every roof is different. Depending on the directional orientation of your house and the presence of obstacles, you may need to adjust the placement of your roof’s panels. Watch out for obstructions like:

• Telephone poles and wires
• Tall trees
• Other buildings
• Cliff faces or retaining walls
• Hills or mountains that may block the sun at certain times of day

Interstate Roofing: Your Source for Roof Installation in Portland, OR, and Vancouver, WA

You don’t have to install rooftop solar panels to put your home’s roof to work in the service of saving money. At Interstate Roofing, we’re proud to offer a wide range of roof installation and repair services that can improve your home’s energy efficiency, sustainability, and physical appearance. Of course, we’re happy to provide advice about solar arrays as well. To learn more about what we can do for your property, give us a call at 503-684-5611 or fill out our online contact form.

Keeping Your Roof Safe From Mother Nature

Taming the landscape to protect one of your home’s most important assets.

Hiring a roofing contractor for routine maintenance can help prevent costly issues down the road. The sound of tree branches scraping across the roof on a windy night is enough to make any kid want to hide under the covers. That same sound can strike fear, or at least concern, into the hearts of adults as well. Trees and other landscaping elements that are too close to the roof can cause damage when you least expect it. Try these tips for keeping your roof—and the rest of your home—safe.

Trim the Trees

In climates that are prone to snow and ice, trees that overhang the roof are a disaster waiting to happen. Branches become brittle in the cold and can easily snap under the weight of a snow load. It doesn’t take much imagination to picture the mess and expense that follow.

The hanging branches that make those scraping noises during wind storms are another problem, and not just because it freaks the kids out. Every time a branch rakes over your roof, it wears away a bit of the shingles. Severe weather may lead to shingles being ripped away entirely. If trees remain wet after the storm, they can continually drip water onto the roof, preventing it from drying out and encouraging the growth of moss or lichen.

Don’t Trim the Trees

Hot climates require a different approach to tree maintenance. You still don’t want branches that are close enough to the roof to scrape along its surface, but you also want to avoid trimming them back too much. Direct sunlight can cause the roof to dry out and compromise the integrity of the shingles. The roof may crack or peel, allowing water to get into your home.

Beware of Vegetation

Just like overhanging branches that drip water, fallen leaves that collect on your roof keep it wet and can cause moss to begin growing. Moss on the roof may look quaint, but it eventually leads to molding and damage if left unchecked. Leaves may also get stuck in gutters and cause overflow. Be sure to clean up any leaves you find and address moss right away if it begins growing on the shingles.

Even if you maintain your trees well, sometimes you have to deal with roof damage. If that happens, reach out to Interstate Roofing. Our specialists service the Vancouver and Portland areas and will give your roof a thorough inspection and assessment. After providing you with an estimate, we’ll get a roofing contractor on the job right away to fix up the roof, perform any necessary maintenance, and ensure that your home stays safe far into the future. Contact us today to get started.

Is Your Roof About to Become a Miniature Ecosystem?

Taking advantage of an emerging trend in residential design.

At this point, you’ve probably heard about the concept of a green roof. First popularized during the early 2000s, green roofs have gained steam in just about every corner of the country. However, far too many homeowners still aren’t aware of their benefits and drawbacks. If you’re thinking about investing in a green roof, we’ve decided to provide a little clarity on the subject.

What Is a Green Roof?

According to the EPA, “a green roof is a vegetative layer grown on a rooftop.” As long as it’s cultivated and managed, a green roof may be comprised of anything from basic ground cover or grasses to a vibrant, native ecosystem that includes small plants, shrubs and even trees.

What Isn’t a Green Roof?

While the definition of “green roof” is fairly straightforward, it’s important to note what isn’t typically included on a green roof. A roof that’s covered in organic life due to the uncontrolled spread of seeds, mold spores, and other unwanted forms of life may actually be harmful to homeowners and business owners. For instance, roofs with unchecked mold growth tend to hold moisture. This may cause leaks or damage shingles. Roofs that harbor sources of food, including grasses and small plants, may eventually attract pests that can chew their way into your home.

Benefits of a Green Roof

  • Properly constructed and maintained green roofs have several benefits:
  • They can absorb the sun’s energy and reduce cooling costs during the summer
  • They act as filters for polluted air and reduce carbon emissions by cutting energy use
  • They can absorb and filter storm water, potentially reducing the risk of flooding and water pollution
  • They may double as rooftop parks
  • Things to Keep in Mind

When installing a green roof, keep a few things in mind:

  • Use native, drought-resistant plants to the extent possible
  • Mix a variety of organisms together
  • If your roof is publicly accessible, consider providing seating for visitors

Find a Residential Roofer in Vancouver and Portland

Whether you’re ready to put a green roof on your house or wish to explore more traditional roofing options, you can trust us to point you in the right direction. Our knowledgeable sales staff and experienced roofers know the Pacific Northwest’s roofs through and through. It’s our pleasure to provide you with the tools you need to make a decision that pays dividends for years to come. To learn more about what we can do for you, call us at 503-684-5611 or fill out our online contact form.

Why Isn’t Your Business’s Roof as Green as Your Neighbor’s?

Outshine the competition with the greenest roof in your district.

If you looked out the window of your Portland-based business lately and thought you saw plants growing on your competitor’s roof, you weren’t imagining things. Green roofs, also called eco-roofs, are a fast-growing trend that’s taking the concept of “going green” to a whole new level.

Benefits of Green Roofs

Green roofing involves placing live plants on the roofs of residential and commercial buildings. Introducing vegetation this way benefits the building and the surrounding environment by:

  • Increasing the lifespan of the roof by as much as 200%
  • Reducing up to 70% of storm water runoff
  • Converting carbon dioxide to oxygen
  • Reducing energy costs for both heating and cooling
  • Reducing heating of the surrounding area (the “urban heat island”)
  • Providing habitats for species that have been pushed out of their native areas

It’s no wonder, then, that Portland has an initiative in place that pays up to $5 per square foot to individuals and businesses that choose to install green roofs. The city is also promoting the development of roofs that attract particular species of wildlife, including birds that usually make their homes in dry riverbeds.

Enhancing Your Business

Companies like Turtle Island Foods are getting into the green roofing trend in a big way. This company, home of Tofurky meatless products, created an extensive roof with soil deep enough to accommodate vegetable plants. There’s little reason why other businesses with the right budget can’t follow suit, especially when the city is willing to put forward money toward the price of installation.

Turning your otherwise empty roof space into a lush, living habitat gives back to the environment and shows customers that your business is willing to go beyond basic “green” practices such as recycling. In fact, if you already have a green initiative in place, installing a green roof is a good next step because it increases property value and makes your building—and, therefore, your business—more attractive.

Interstate Roofing can help your business go green with a new roof. Visit our website to request a free quote, and check out the green practices we already have in place. The debris from each roof that Interstate Roofing replaces in the Portland area is, rather than being dumped in a landfill, carefully recycled, making your green roof project even more environmentally friendly. Contact us today at 503-684-5611 to see what we can do to make your business stand out.

Are Portland Buildings Ready for Energy Independence?

Installing wind and solar without caving in your roof.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve doubtlessly heard about all the great energy innovations promised for Oregon’s biggest city. Unsurprisingly, Portland is at the forefront of the national push towards energy independence and alternative power.

Unfortunately, good intentions aren’t the only thing we’ll need to get a healthier power grid up and running. If we want to improve the way we create power, we’ll need the infrastructure to support it, and this is where Portland’s buildings come in.

Why Roofs Are So Critical

The majority of solar panels are comprised of silicon crystals in which atoms are arranged in a closely packed, regular matrix. While it’s not quite the same as a pile of sand or rocks, a typical solar panel is heavy enough to place a similar strain on your roofing.

Unfortunately, many of the classic buildings that give this city its unique flavor weren’t made for the additional load. Unlike the snow and rainwater that roofs are designed to handle, solar panels are generally permanent fixtures; unless you’re willing to climb up a ladder and take them down every night, you’re going to need to make sure your roof can support their constant weight before you shell out for an entire set.

Why not just place solar panels on stilts or lampposts? While this technique is effective for generating a small amount of power, you probably want to do more than just charge your iPhone. The amount of solar power an installation creates is directly proportional to the surface area of the solar cells, and since roofs are typically the only available source of usable real estate, it’s critical that they have the structural integrity to support an installation.

Preparing Your Roof

According to some structural experts, solar panel installations present a number of unique problems. For instance, roofing members that have undergone decay in the past may be too compromised to handle an installation safely. Similarly, roofs that were known to leak at some point in their histories should always be checked thoroughly to ensure that they haven’t sustained damage that could make solar panels dangerous. Another concern is that existing HVAC components may be installed in a hanging fashion that adds stress to rafters—you don’t want your solar installation to be the straw that suddenly breaks your roof’s back.

While many houses built after 1970 are designed to accommodate weighty loads, you should never take the newness of your property for granted. Always consult with an expert before major additions. To learn more about attaining energy independence the right way, contact Interstate Roofing. Contact us to receive a free estimate and take the next step toward achieving energy independence safely and smartly today.

Tips for Choosing a Roofing Material After Storm Damage

The right materials will help your home withstand storm damage.

If you’ve recently been through a violent storm that has ripped shingles off the roof, sent a large tree trunk crashing through its underlying infrastructure, or caused some other kind of catastrophe, it goes without saying that you’ll need to make repairs immediately. Although having to deal with this kind of unexpected damage can be stressful, try thinking of it as an opportunity to fortify your roof against future storms by selecting some rigorously durable materials. We’ve outlined a few of these options below.

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are used on the majority of residential houses. They’re usually crafted from a fiberglass matrix that has been infused with a synthetic asphalt mixture. Single layers and double layers are both available. While the latter will typically cost more, it will provide an extra layer of protection during intense storms. Asphalt shingles are both easy to install and inexpensive. Professional contractors can usually complete an entire residential project within just a few days.


Flashing will be a critical part of the installation work. If you wish to avoid repeat repairs in the future, you’ll want to add thin strips of metal where two different materials come together. Near the area where the asphalt shingles and the bricks of the chimney meet, for example, flashing will typically be needed. The metal will prevent water from working its way into porous areas.

Proper Installation

Proper installation is essential to any roofing job. Shingles should overlap so there are no gaps between each row. Professionals will generally install starter strips that will protect your new roof against high winds. Ridge vents, ridge-cap shingles and proper nailing techniques are crucial to the success of the project, which is why you should always hire a professional. The goal, of course, is to make the entire roof waterproof so that the interior of your house doesn’t become a swimming pool.

Color and Style

Unexpected roofing catastrophes are an opportunity to improve curb appeal as well as function. You’ll want to make sure that the shingle color you choose will fit nicely with the rest of the house. Brightly colored homes, for example, will give you a bit more leeway. White houses, on the other hand, will usually work best with dark gray or black shingles. Take a drive around the neighborhood or peruse your favorite home-improvement magazine for ideas.

If you’re in need of roofing help in the Portland area, give Interstate Roofing a call. Our staff is experienced in evaluating roofing damage and devising cost-effective repair plans that improve curb appeal and protect homes from storms. Visit our website for more information on our services and for examples of our top-notch work. You can also request a free estimate by filling out our online form.

The Secrets of Slope: Choosing the Right Roof Angle

Is that hipped roof right for you? The style of your home will decide.

As larger numbers of people choose to bloom where they are planted, so to speak, home additions become increasingly common. Getting it right will take more than just slapping a few boards together, however. If you want that new sunroom, porch or extension to fit right in with the rest of the house, you’ll have to consider the style of the roof’s architecture.

The Pitch Will Give It Away

You’ll never see a flat roof on an A-frame home. At least, you probably shouldn’t. Certain roofing designs are practically synonymous with particular architectural styles. Get the angle of the roof pitch wrong, and it’s back to the drawing board for you.

Some of the most identifiable features of popular architectural roofs include the following:

  • Flat roof. Modernist architecture often treats the flat roof as additional living space.
  • Mansard roof. Often embellished with dormers, this steeply sloped, four-sided roofing design is a defining feature of the Second Empire style that rose to such popularity in the late 19th century.
  • Mono-pitched roof. Slanted on one side only, these popular roofs work wonderfully with sunrooms and patio extensions.
  • Cross-gabled roof. These intersecting gables appear often on homes of any style whose design features a complex shape and layout.
  • A-frame roof. This roofing style slopes steeply down as far as a home’s foundation. The architectural mode itself gained rapid popularity in the years that followed World War II.
  • Gambrel roof. Although similar in basic shape to a mansard roof, the gambrel often overhangs the facade and lacks a hipped end. Dating back to 16th-century England, it often appears today on Dutch colonial homes.
  • Saltbox roof. Seen mostly on two- and three-story buildings, these sharply sloped asymmetrical roofs are a defining feature of the early New England colonial style.
  • Hipped roof. This trademark roofline of cottages and bungalows slopes gently and symmetrically down on all sides of a building.

Other Considerations

Any determination of a proper roof pitch must take into account the weather in your locality. Heavy snow and torrential rain will slide off more quickly if the angles are sufficient to permit it. On the other hand, the steep pitch of a traditional gable roof will increase its square footage and, by extension, your cost to build and repair.

Making Your Roof Your Own

If you’ve got questions, Interstate Roofing has the answers. Our expert roofers will be glad to clarify the logistical considerations of constructing and maintaining the roof on your new home or home addition. We even offer a free estimate. Call us at 503-684-5611 today to learn more about our services and to see some of the work we’ve done for fellow northwest homes and businesses.

Hidden Hazards: How What’s Inside That Leaky Roof May Hurt You

Roof maintenance now prevents health and safety hazards later.

Many people avoid going into the attic for fear of encountering spiders or rodents, but something far scarier could be lurking up there if you have a roof leak. Even the smallest hole in the roof can cause widespread damage to your home and put the health and safety of your family at risk, and you may not even realize how much damage has occurred until something devastating happens.

Fire and Electric Shock

In most cases, water douses fires rather than causing them, but all bets are off when water from a leaky roof touches electrical wiring. If there are breaks in the wiring’s insulation, water can create an open circuit, which can spark a fire. The water around the wiring can also become electrically charged, causing a shock to those who touch it. If you suspect a leak, it’s imperative that you shut off the breakers to the affected area and move your loved ones to a safe place until an electrician and a roofing expert can address the issue.

Structural Damage From a Leaky Roof

Combine one small area of roof damage with the relentless Portland rain, and you’ve got a recipe for disaster. For starters, the attic floor will flood. Next, you’ll notice buckled spots on the ceilings, and if the water seeps down a wall, the wood of the framing can become saturated quickly. If allowed to continue, the moisture will make its way to the foundation and cause problems there. You may not notice these issues for months or even years, and by that time, you’re looking at a very expensive repair bill to correct extensive structural damage. If you ignore these issues for long enough, a roof collapse is a real possibility.

Other Health and Safety Risks

Water trapped in dark, enclosed areas breeds mold. These spores grow rapidly and not only contribute to costly structural damage to your home, but also pose a health risk. Mold can grow on any part of the framing, drywall or insulation and make its way to the rest of the house through the heating system. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, inhaling mold spores can lead to severe allergic reactions, asthma, rhinitis and a host of respiratory ailments.

Quality Roof Maintenance in Portland, OR

The time to repair your roof is before you notice water stains on the ceiling or wet spots on the floor. To keep your loved ones healthy and safe, and to protect your most important investment, contact the roof maintenance experts at Interstate Roofing in Portland, OR, today for a free estimate.

Can Keeping Up Appearances Keep Homeowners out of the Poorhouse?

Save money with these roof maintenance and cleaning tips.

Like any homeowner, you’d probably like your roof to last as long as possible. In addition to lasting for years, it needs to be kept in good shape to ensure that the underlying structures are fully protected at all times. The best way to make sure of this is by regularly inspecting, maintaining and cleaning your roof. By taking these steps every six months or so, you’ll not just be maintaining the appearance of your roof and home, you’ll be protecting your investment.

Top Roof Maintenance and Cleaning Tips

Every spring and fall, perform the following steps to ward off costly damages and to extend the longevity of your roofing system:

  • Seal Mortar and Caulking — Check mortar and caulking around joints and chimneys. If there are cracks or other signs of degradation, apply new mortar or caulking as needed.
  • Remove Debris — Debris on the roof can cause serious damage, and it can create the perfect breeding ground for mold, mildew and algae. Sweep it away or blow it off promptly.
  • Replace Shingles — Be on the lookout for missing, damaged or curling shingles and replace them as necessary. This is much cheaper than waiting until serious damage occurs.
  • Look for Rust — As you run across metal components on your roof, look for rust. Use a wire brush to remove the rust, and then prime and paint the spot to inhibit future growth.
  • Check for Algae and Other Growths — If your shingles are tinged green, algae, fungus or other growths may be occurring. Zinc and lead control strips are designed to help treat such growths, so invest in some to nip this problem in the bud.
  • Trim Close Tree Branches — Overhanging tree branches can easily damage a roof. Don’t wait until yours are too close for comfort. Trim them back early to avoid serious issues down the road.
  • Repair Flashing — Take a close look at the flashing on and around your roof. It should be securely affixed. If it’s not, remove the existing caulk, scrub the area thoroughly and reseal the flashing.
  • Remove Snow — If excessive amounts of snow have accumulated on your roof, its structural integrity may be in jeopardy. Invest in a snow rake and use it to safely remove the snow.

Hire the Professionals to Inspect and Maintain Your Roof

Do-it-yourself roof maintenance is smart, but it’s even smarter to have your roof professionally inspected and maintained at least once a year. Interstate Roofing provides affordable, high-quality roof maintenance services in and around Portland, OR. Visit our Maintenance & Cleaning page to learn more, or give us a call today at 503-684-5611!