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

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!

Benefits of Hiring Certified Roofing Contractors

If your roof has begun to fall into disrepair, you should hire a certified roofing contractor. Licensed professionals will be able to install new roofs and inspect old ones so that leaks don’t develop inside the house. The best roofers will be brimming with ideas and can ensure that your house becomes the jewel of the neighborhood. Here are a few excellent reasons to hire a roofing contractor with an impeccable resume, manufacturer certifications and a healthy respect for detail.

Protect your budget by hiring certified contractors for your roofing projects.

Roofing Certifications

Knowledge of Materials

Contractors who have been in the business for several years will be familiar with a variety of roofing materials. They can provide a brief rundown of the benefits and drawbacks associated with the following items:

  • Ridge-cap shingles
  • Lifetime shingles
  • Leak barriers
  • Flashings
  • Roof decking
  • Manufacturer’s extended warranties

Your new shingles should match the rest of your property in style and color. If you have a shed with green shingles, for example, then you might choose similarly textured green shingles for the roof of your home. The goal is to make your house rigorously durable without sacrificing its character.

Reliable Techniques

Licensed contractors will be able to install shingles according to the local and regional codes. In most cases, a waterproof layer of asphalt paper or synthetic underlayment will be installed first. The shingles will then be added to the roof from the bottom to the top. Your contractor will ensure that the shingles overlap with each other for a bit of extra protection during violent rainstorms. Extremely steep roofs, of course, will require extra caution.

Appropriate Supervision

Successful contractors will also ensure that the team of workers at the job site is effectively supervised during the entirety of the work day. While the head contractor may very well be both experienced and skilled, all of the underlings should be as well. Shingles that are installed incorrectly may cause leaks. In the worst cases, the adjacent gutters and attic insulation may be damaged.

Reasonable Warranty Options

At Interstate Roofing, we back up our work with guaranteed warranties. Most of the materials we use come with brand warranties that are effective for significant amounts of time. Should a certain portion of the labor not live up to your expectations, you can expect the problems to be fixed without any extra cost to you. Contractors who are not properly certified may perform shoddy work that will leave you high and dry.

If you need help with roof installation in Portland, OR, call us at503-684-5611 or contact us online. We can provide advice on materials, techniques and warranties. By the end of summer, your home will be the new neighborhood focal point.

Is Your Roof Keeping Your Home from Selling?

You’ve painted the shutters, pressure washed the siding, re-screened the windows, and cleaned up the lawn. After all of that hard work, why isn’t your home selling? The answer might have something to do with your roof. If your roof needs work, it can negatively impact your home’s curb appeal.

The roof is responsible for protecting the home’s interior from the elements, so buyers might see a worn roof as a sign of other potential problems. Even if your roof is not currently leaking, the presence of worn shingles, damaged flashing, or a lumpy appearance might create a negative first impression. If conditions look favorable for a leak, potential buyers might assume that additional damage is already present in the form of mold, mildew, and structural damage. If you want your property to have curb appeal, your roof needs to be intact and look attractive.

If your old roof is still fighting the good fight against the weather and invasive critters, you’re very lucky. However, your dated roof can still negatively impact your home’s curb appeal. If your roof firmly reflects the designs of a previous generation, that might not appeal to potential buyers. An outdated roof can create the impression that you’re selling an outdated house. Unless you’re selling an architectural treasure, you’ll want your house to look like it’s capable of supporting modern amenities. Additionally, advances in energy efficiency and roofing technology are attractive to many new buyers.

Buyers have every right to be worried about a roof that’s no longer under warranty. A home is a major investment, and an older roof is more likely to succumb to the elements, debris, and other troubles. A warranty won’t keep the roof from being damaged, but a warranty does provide some financial security if disaster does strike. There are also some circumstances that might allow a buyer to hold a seller responsible for damages that occur after the sale, so a warranty can offer peace of mind to both parties.

If you would like to know more about the current state of your roof and roofing options, contact us at Interstate Roofing. We can help you make key improvements to your home’s exterior. Don’t let a bad roof keep your good home from selling.

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.