Posts

How Long Do Roofs Last in Oregon

Few other parts of a home have to endure as much as an Oregon roof does. From a constant onslaught of solar radiation to relentless winds and gallon after gallon of rain and snow, your roof is designed to deal with it all so that you can remain safe from the elements inside. Despite this, most homeowners don’t spare an extra thought for their roofs and often even neglect their much-needed maintenance and care.

How long do roofs last in Oregon, anyway? Is there any way to extend their life span? What can you do when your trusty roof starts to reach the end of its useful life? Read on to find out.

The Parts of Your Roof

Your roof is made up of many different components, each of which serves a different purpose and affects its life span. The truss serves as the skeleton of the roof, made up of a series of beams including struts and rafters. Together, these serve as a support system that holds the rest of the structure together. Set on top of this structure is the decking, which is the section of the roof that holds everything else together. It’s a solid layer that can be made from any one of a variety of materials, as long as they are strong and sturdy. In the Pacific Northwest, it is almost always plywood or OSB.

Attached to the decking is the underlayment, which serves as another layer of protection from the elements. It’s often made from felt and helps to keep rain from seeping through the decking. Above this are the shingles, overlapping pieces of any number of a variety of materials that serve as the roof’s first line of defense from ultraviolet radiation and damaging rainwater. Also attached to the outer layers of the roof is the flashing, usually made from strips of metal and designed to keep water out of any seams in the entire system.

Where Problems Can Occur

Since the shingles are the top layer of your roof, they are usually where the first signs of wear and tear begin to occur. Heavy winds and other inclement weather conditions can rip shingles off of the underlayment, leaving bare patches that are then more vulnerable to the elements.

The next vulnerable area is the flashing, which can also be damaged by heavy storms. It can also corrode over time since it’s usually made from simple strips of metal such as aluminum. Small holes in flashing can be easily patched, but as the holes grow larger, the entire element may need to be replaced.

Where more serious problems can occur is in the wooden elements, such as the truss or decking. If the elements can get through these, it can mean the roof has been compromised in its entirety. There are many reasons why the truss and decking can become compromised. If the shingles and underlayment are damaged, they won’t be able to do their job of protecting the parts that lay underneath. Mold growth can also render entire parts of the wooden support structure unusable.

Of course, even without storms, damage, and mold growth, simple age will eventually take its toll on a roof as well. While other states have larger storms, Oregon has one of the most quietly demanding environments for your roof. Over time, every roof will need to be replaced, but there are certain things you can do to extend their life spans.

Getting the Most Out of Your Roof

While no roof lasts forever, proper maintenance and care can add years to the normal life span. As the shingles and flashing are your roof’s first line of defense, you should always make sure these are in good shape. If you notice a few shingles are missing, you should see to it that they are replaced quickly. If they aren’t, the underlayment, and eventually, the decking and truss will become vulnerable to water and sunlight.

It’s a good idea to periodically inspect your roof for signs of damage. You may also notice that something is amiss if your energy bill starts to creep upward. This could indicate a leak in the roof somewhere. Roof leaks are not always obvious, but if you suspect you have one, you can spray the rooftop with your garden hose and then head into the attic. If you notice water dripping in, you will have located the source of your leak.

If you need to have an inspection or repairs performed, make sure you have a great roofing contractor like Interstate Roofing on call. It’s important to do so because they are available 24/7, should you have a roofing emergency and need to get someone on site quickly.

What To Do When It’s Time to Replace the Roof

So how long do roofs last in Oregon? Well, it varies, depending upon the construction of the roof and how well it’s been cared for. If the roof utilizes composition shingles—one of the most common types—it will usually last about 20 years. If it’s not properly cared for, it will probably last about three to five years less than that, while if it’s well taken care of, you can often add three to five more. Eventually, however, the roof will need to be replaced.

As you might expect, this can be a costly process. When a roof is installed, it usually comes with a warranty on the shingles and a warranty on the installation, but these warranties will only go for so many years. A manufacturer’s standard warranty may be for “a lifetime,” but they prorate after a very short amount of time. Choose a roofing contractor that can offer extended warranties.

Purchasing the manufacturer’s upgraded warranty is often a great choice if you are planning to stay in your home for over 10 years. If you’re planning to move, it may not be necessary. However, keep in mind that some parts of a roofing warranty may be transferable to the next homeowner. Talk to your roofing company to see what your options are. If you intend to live under that roof for a long time, it is well worth the time and effort to get your warranty extended, which will greatly ease the financial burden if there are any issues.

What Is a Soffit: 10 Roofing Words to Help You Understand Your Contractor

When you’re unfamiliar with an industry, hearing the jargon thrown around may make your head spin. What is a soffit? What’s a cricket? Maybe you’ve heard of gables, but how do they figure into roofing work? As your local roofing experts, we get it. Sometimes it’s all you can do to wrap your mind around what work you need done, and picking up the industry terminology just adds another layer of complication.

That’s why we’re here to arm you with the information you need to fill in the gaps. Whether it’s having a professional assess a damaged roof or just answering what a soffit is, we’re here to help. Here are 10 words you might find helpful in understanding your contractor.

1. Soffit

A soffit is an easily overlooked part of the roof, but one you’re likely to notice from here on out. If your home has eaves, you can go look at one right now. Just walk underneath the overhang and look up. The soffit is the underside of your eaves, sometimes sealed with additional panes and sometimes left exposed. Some soffit areas even incorporate open ventilation elements to work in tandem with a ridge vent, giving your attic airflow for ideal ventilation. While it may not be the first part of a roof that draws your attention, it’s just as important as everything else.

2. Cricket

No, it’s not a noisy insect! At least, not in terms of roofing. On top of your house, a cricket is a small ridge structure that’s put in place in order to redirect water around the sides of chimneys, walls, or anything else that might rise upward out of your roof. The cricket helps ensure that falling water keeps moving around the obstruction, preventing it from pooling in one area on top of the roof. Pooling water is never good for roofs, making crickets important structures to have.

3. Flashing

Flashing, while not very flashy, serves yet another important purpose on your roof. It is typically a flexible sheet of metal that is used to better seal the roof, preventing leaks around projections or intersections by offering a little extra protection where materials meet.

4. Gable

You may be familiar with the term gable, whether just from hearing it in conversation or in relation to Anne and her green ones, but what exactly is it? The fact of the matter is that you may have gables and not even know it. In short, a gable is the triangle or A-shaped part of your wall that forms the peak of your roof. You’ll usually hear the term gable in relation to gable roofs in general, the simple style of a roof with two sloping planes of the same pitch on either side of a ridge. Gabled roofs are quite common, not only in America but also in other parts of the world.

5. Hip

The hip of a roof is an inclined external angle formed by the intersection of two roof panes, both sloping down toward the eaves. A hipped roof has no gables. Instead, it has additional panes that gently slope downward from the highest point of the house. A hipped roof can have an almost tent-like appearance, with all the panes leading up to one central peak. Like a gabled roof, they are popular throughout the world and can be found in many different countries and architectural styles.

6. Eaves

An eave is simply the lowest part of the roof’s edge. They may end at the wall of the house, or they may extend out beyond it. They feature prominently in architecture throughout the world, although they all serve the same uniform purpose of dropping running water clear of the walls.

7. Fascia

Sometimes referred to as gutter boards, fascia is roof trim that runs along the lowest edge of the roof. The fascia helps connect the lower ends of the rafters or roof trusses as well as supporting the gutters on its top and the front edge of the soffit on its bottom.

8. Rafters

Without rafters, you can’t have a roof. They are the angled timbers that form the basic framework of the roof, providing a structure on which it can be built. Your rafters extend out from the ridge, or hip, all the way to the eaves. They’re the bones of your roof, and keeping them in good condition is vital to its long-term health. That’s why using all your available options to keep them warm and dry, especially in our rainy climate, goes without question.

9. Rake

For some homeowners, a rake is just a gardening tool you break out in the fall. In roofing, though, it has another meaning. There, it refers to the sloped sides on either end of a gabled roof, just above the gable itself. There is some variance in rake structure—some are flush with the gable while some hang over it similar to eaves.

10. Ridge

Much like how a mountain ridge rises up from the lowlands around it, your roof’s ridge rises up above the rest of the structure. It’s the highest horizontal external angle formed by the intersection of two sloping roof panes. It’s also the highest point on your roof, from where the rest of the panes slope downward.

On the inside of your roof, the ridge is also where your rafters meet to form a kind of spine for the roof. Some ridges are raised even higher through the use of ridge vents, which raise the top of the ridge to open up the attic to air and allow for ventilation.

Interested in using your new vocabulary and see how it all works together? Give us a call! We’re more than happy to talk you through any questions you might have and help you with any roofing work that needs doing. We promise the next time you hear someone asking what soffit is, you’ll be the one with the answers.