Are You Taking Proper Care of Your Portland Roof and Gutters?

Maintaining your roof and gutters is an important part of home maintenance. Properly cared for, your roof and gutters will last for years longer and cost less to repair. Some homeowners wait until it’s too late to prevent an expensive repair bill. So what are ways you can properly take care of your roof and gutters?

Here are seven tips to help you keep up with your outdoor home maintenance:

1. Remove Debris From Your Gutters

With the changing of seasons in Portland, trees shed hundreds of leaves that end up in or on your roof and gutters. Trees lose decaying and lifeless leaves to make way for new, more vibrant ones. Over time, leaves build up in your gutters and will clog them if left unchecked.

You may also find nuts and seeds in addition to leaves, depending on which trees you have. If a bad rainstorm hits, this can lead to water building up with nowhere to drain. An easy fix is to grab a ladder and some gloves and pull out the offending debris safely.

If you have a hose with a long enough extension, a well-aimed blast of water can dislodge stubborn blocks of leaves, dirt, and other material to clear up your gutter. Be careful of the water pressure you use, as it can damage the roof.

2. Check the Downspouts of Your Gutters

Downspouts are where water drains out of your gutters. Downspouts can’t generally be inspected or cleared without removing them. Take a look out the window though during the next rain storm. If you see water overflowing, you may have a clogged downspout.

Make sure the downspout is clear of debris and directed away from the foundation of your home so that your gutters can drain properly. Be careful of any nests of insects or other animals that may have decided to make a home, however. Your gutters will thank you for doing this.

3. Keep Your Trees in Tip-Top Shape

Trees are a big source of debris that can fill up your gutters as well as your roof. Branches can be knocked off your trees from storms or fall as your trees get older. Some may even drop from high enough to damage shingles or dent your gutters.

If you have tree limbs covering your roof, it can do more than just clutter your roof. Varied species of birds and squirrels can see it as a means to make a home for themselves as pests. This can be an annoyance and lead to potential damage to your home. Keep an eye on your trees, and if any branches or limbs are encroaching near your roof, trim them up to remove potential problems.

4. Be Proactive About the Portland Winters

Every season has its ups and downs. Unfortunately, winter isn’t the easiest time for roofs and gutters. Portland winters are known for their continuous rain. This wet weather can put a lot of wear on your shingles and flashing. If either weakens or becomes loose, it may be enough to cause damage or even leaks.

Inspecting your roof before the rainy season and fixing any trouble spots can save you heavier damage during the winter. You should also inspect your roof in the spring to catch any damage and repair it before it becomes a larger problem. It’s also a good idea to check for damage after the rare snow or ice storm.

5. Catch Leaks Before They Happen

Has it been some time since you looked at your roof? Over time, the weather will wear away even the best-made shingles. Watch for any damage done: water and other weather can infiltrate through cracks and missing shingles.

If water has managed to get through this outer roof protection, it can lead to mold and harmful bacteria building up and causing problems inside your home. Mold and bacteria can spread out far and wide if left unchecked.

6. Check Your Insulation and Inner Roof

With the diverse types of weather in Portland, your roof and gutters will be thrown a barrage of shifting temperatures. If you haven’t checked your attic in a while, take a moment to take a look. Insulation in an attic keeps the temperature inside your house stable.

You may need to replace it with new material as it gets worn. You can use this as an opportunity to see if there is any water leaking into your home. Check the ceilings of your other rooms as well for any signs of leaking.

The earlier you detect leaks, the better chance you have to minimize damage and save money on more invasive repairs. Rotted wood is a perfect environment for mold and bacteria and is unsafe for keeping your attic and roof stable.

7. Don’t be fooled by a gutter guard

Leaf guards or gutter guards are put over the top of your gutters in an attempt to catch debris that would fall inside. They are meant to make cleaning your gutters easier to do. Talk to your roofing contractor about whether this is a viable option for your home. Most roofers will steer you clear, as debris can build up on top, which can allow water to seep into your home.

Are Your Gutters and Roof in Portland Ready for a Tune-Up?

Interstate Roofing has been helping Portland residents for years to keep their roofs and gutters in great shape for decades. We can inspect for damage and give you a fair quote for any repairs that need to be done. We can also perform regular maintenance and keep your roof looking and working its best all year. Let professionals help you care for your home. Visit our residential services page for more information.

How to Determine the Best Roofing Angle for a House

Roofing angles are one of the trickiest elements in the design of any building. Many factors play a role in what angle, or pitch, a roof will have. A roof must be strong and sturdy, both structurally and in terms of weather resistance. It also has to be steep enough to allow water to run off it easily. But if a roof is too steep, it takes up more square footage and will have significantly higher materials costs. Of course, there are aesthetic considerations too. The angle of a roof helps determine the overall look of a house.

So how exactly do architects determine the best roofing angle for a house?

How Roofing Angles Are Measured

Angle, steepness, and pitch are words usually used interchangeably in the roofing business. Each essentially refers to the roof’s vertical rise over horizontal run: the ratio of how many inches the roof rises for every 12 inches of depth. For example, a roof with a pitch of 3:12 would rise 3 inches for every 12 inches of horizontal run toward the peak of the home.

If you’re curious, or if you have a project that requires it, you can determine the pitch of your own roof. A tape measure, a bubble level, and a pencil should be enough to get the job done. Just head into the attic and place one end of the level against a rafter. Check the bubble to make sure the level is, well, level. Next, make a mark on the level exactly 12 inches from the point where it’s touching the rafter, then use the tape measure to measure the distance from that 12-inch mark on the level to the underside of the roof. You’ll then have the numbers you need. The rise (the vertical distance from the level to the roof) over the run (12 inches) is the roof’s pitch, or angle.

Why Do Rooftops Need To Be At an Angle, Anyway?

The primary reason rooftops must be angled is obvious: they need to allow water to roll off them. Water is one of the most powerful solvents in the world. You need only to look at the vast canyons and deep valleys carved out by water to understand that, over time, water will eat its way through everything. Even the most well-made roof is no match for the relentless onslaught of rain, snow, or ice. If puddles are allowed to sit on top of a roof and don’t have a way to drain, the roof will inevitably develop leaks. If water leaks into a home through a compromised roof, it will cause even more damage, which may result in the need for tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of repairs.

Of course, not all roofs are at an extreme angle. Some might seem to be completely flat, but in reality, very few roofs are totally flat. The rise should be at least ¼ inch and could be as high as 2:12. Even the seemingly flat rooftops of apartment buildings are constructed to have a slight angle and built-in scuppers to drain away pooled water. This allows these roofs to drain properly, even when they lack the more dramatic pitch of a traditional house.

Roofing angles exist for more than just the drainage of water. A steeper roof also helps protect the home from heavy winds by distributing the pressure of the wind during inclement weather.

How Do You Know What Angle Is Best for Your Roof?

We’ve established that weather is the single most important factor in determining why a roof has the pitch it does. But how do you actually go about figuring out what the angle should be? The first step is to consider the climate where you live. You’ll notice that many houses look dramatically different depending on where they’re located. New England is famous for its steep, gabled rooftops, designed especially for the region’s frequent wind, rain, and snow. By contrast, homes in Arizona, where rainfall is rare, are typically much flatter.

Of course, weather shouldn’t be the only factor that determines the angle of a rooftop. It’s also a matter of personal preference. Steeply angled roofs are considered aesthetically pleasing, and if you want a home that has one, it doesn’t really matter if you live in an area where rainfall is scarce. Just remember that a roof should be constructed to resist the elements in your area.

Keeping Your Roof in the Best Shape Possible

A roof is built to withstand heavy wind, rain, and of course, the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. A well-made and well-maintained roof can last for decades; although eventually, all roofs need to be replaced. Roof replacement is a huge, expensive job that requires a great deal of time, effort, and materials. You can, however, stave it off as long as possible with proper maintenance.

A steeply angled roof is built to resist heavy winds, but you could still lose a few shingles if a gale sweeps through your neighborhood. Replacing those shingles quickly is of critical importance, as bare spots on the roof are weaknesses where water can easily seep through.

It’s a good idea to have a professional roofer inspect your roof at least once a year and make any necessary repairs. It’s even better if that roofer has emergency services available. If your roof starts leaking, you won’t want to wait to have repairs done. You’ll know who to call and that the repairs will be made promptly. For the best roofers in the business, contact Interstate Roofing in the Portland and Vancouver area for all of your roofing maintenance and repair needs.


What Materials Make the Best Shingles for the Pacific Northwest?

The Pacific Northwest is famous for its cool and temperate climate, with clouds, wind, and rain regularly doing a number on every rooftop in the area. During the winter, ice and snow can give these same rooftops a further beating, not to mention wear and tear from leaves, falling branches, and other debris carried by all of this inclement weather.

Of course, even a pleasant sunny day without a cloud in the sky can take its toll: the sun’s ultraviolet radiation beats down on rooftops and causes them to deteriorate over time.

Because weather is so hard on rooftops, particularly in the Pacific Northwest, you need to make sure you have the right materials making up the shingles of your rooftop. In this article, we’ll look at why composition shingles are the best shingles for Pacific Northwest homes.

The Parts of Your Roof

A roof is made up of several different elements. It begins with a wooden frame called fascia, with a wooden decking built on top of that. These parts give the roof structure. The rest of the materials used to make up the roof are used to protect the home from the elements.

Attached to the wooden decking is a thick layer of felt called the underlayment. Attached to the underlayment are the flashing, which helps direct water off the roof, and the shingles.

What Are Roofing Shingles?

The shingles on your roof are its first line of defense against the elements. They protect from sunlight, rainwater, and other debris. Shingles are flat, rectangular pieces that fit over each other in an overlapping pattern. They are attached starting at the base of the roof and toward the top of it.

Shingles can be made from many different materials. Stone such as slate is also popular as is wood. As you may imagine, these materials can be expensive which is why most homeowners opt for less expensive options.

Finding the Right Roofing Materials for Your Home

Fortunately, there are options for shingles that marry cost savings with the added aesthetic appeal of slate shingles. Composition shingles, which are also known as asphalt shingles, are one of the most popular choices available. They are usually made from a fiberglass mat that is covered with a layer of tar and a mixture of granules to ensure a lightweight, inexpensive, waterproof protective layer for the roof of your home. Certain composite shingles are created to have the appearance of slate shingles while still costing a fraction of the price of the more expensive material.

If your building happens to have a flat roof, rather than a sloped one, the best material is probably an artificial membrane called TPO, which stands for thermoplastic olefin. This material is made of a polymer base created from the aforementioned thermoplastic. On top of that is a reinforced fabric center, and on top of that, a top ply made from thermoplastic polyolefin. This roofing material works well for flat roofs because it’s highly UV resistant: flat roofs deal with the sun’s rays even more than sloped ones do. They are also likely to have less effective water drainage. TPO materials help prevent leaks.

What Happens When the Shingles Are Lost or Damaged?

Shingles are durable, but inclement weather can still damage them. Heavy winds will pull shingles off of the roof and blow them away; ultraviolet solar radiation will wear them out; and ice will form underneath them, eventually leading to leaks.

If the shingles on a rooftop are lost or damaged, air and water will eventually leak through the holes in the roof. If air gets in, it can dramatically drive up energy costs in a home by reducing the efficiency of the heating and cooling systems. If water gets through one of the holes in the roof, it can encourage the growth of mold and dry rot. Water can also cause catastrophic property damage, possibly costing thousands of dollars to repair, and all because the roof was missing a few hundred dollars’ worth of shingles.

As you may expect, the problem of lost and damaged shingles is of particular concern in climates like the Pacific Northwest. The alternating wind, rain, and sunlight of this climate can put a lot of extra stress on rooftops, perhaps more so than in other climates in the United States. This is why the best shingles for Pacific Northwest homes are composite ones, or TPO for flat roofs. They are resistant to all of these weather conditions and are relatively inexpensive to replace.

Who Can Repair and Replace Lost and Damaged Shingles?

Properly cared for, roofing shingles, generally last about 20 years. However, they’re still susceptible to damage. Heavy winds and constantly falling leaves and branches are a risk to shingles, no matter how well-maintained they are. When you do lose a few, you don’t want to leave bare patches on your rooftop. Not only does it look unappealing, but it also puts the home at risk of further damage from the weather.

Because of this, it’s a good idea to have a great roofing contractor you can contact in case of a roofing emergency. It’s also a good idea to know who your contractor is before the emergency actually occurs. Do a little research into who is available in your area and how they have been reviewed by other customers.

Your best option is to look for a company like Interstate Roofing. We have years of experience in the industry. We’ll be able to address emergencies, as well as routine roof repairs and maintenance. If you’re interested in any aesthetic work or in roofing for a business, we’ll be able to do the job for you quickly and effectively, ensuring you get the most out of your roofing materials for years to come.


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.

Avoid These Common Residential Roofing Mistakes

It’s easy to take the roof over our heads for granted—that is, until the roof over our heads needs to be replaced. It’s a big job and can be a good investment, but it can turn into a stress-inducing disaster if the job isn’t done well. You may be able to do the work yourself, but most people will need to seek help from residential roofing experts.

Finding someone who has decades of experience and pride in craftsmanship will help you avoid many of the potential problems that can occur while replacing a roof yourself or with a company that hasn’t had enough experience or training.

Starter Shingles Installed Incorrectly

Starter shingles go under the first row of shingles, and many people doing the job themselves might install these incorrectly or sometimes not at all. The starter shingles act as a barrier since the first row doesn’t have a shingle below it. The starter shingles are vital and protect from water that could invade the sheathing under the bottom shingles, and they’ll provide a straight line to cut shingles on.

Improper Material for the Slope

With a big variance in roof slopes and sometimes having multiple different slopes on one home, choosing a material that will protect the house properly is important. Differently angled slopes have different levels of water run-off. Choosing a material that doesn’t match the slope can leave that part of your roof a weak point and in danger of water damage.

Improper Use of Nails

Repairing a roof takes finesse. If too much pressure is applied, nails will be driven too far in and puncture the shingle mat. This could lead to weaker shingles that are susceptible to being torn off by the wind. If shingles aren’t nailed properly or have too few nails, shingles can slide out of position. There are many different ways to create problems when securing shingles with nails, and poor workmanship could potentially void your roofing warranty.

Insufficient or Improperly Installed Valley Metal

The roof valley is the part of the roof that is most likely to have a leak. This is where the water runoff flows, so the roof valley is hit the hardest with any water from rain or melting snow or ice. Therefore, a roof valley should have an ice and water shield installed, and/or a metal valley. If the metal flashing is either missing or not secured properly, the shield will have to be reinstalled and the roof re-shingled. Not securing material or using enough sealant can cause buckling and water leaks.

Sometimes the valley flashing can be installed incorrectly by amateur contractors or roofers. The flashing needs to be layered under the shingles, not on top of them. The U-shape of the metal should be facing the valley. Otherwise, water runoff might flow in a direction it shouldn’t and cause premature deterioration of the flashing or shingles.

Not Planning for Ice Dams

Not all homeowners need to plan ahead for this, but if you live in a cold climate, you know how much damage ice dams can cause. Without proper insulation, ice forms at the roofline and forces water under the shingles, creating a dam. By putting down an underlayer in the roof starting at the roofline and continuing for at least three feet, you will help add another layer of protection to avoid the damaging effects of melting ice water.

Not Allowing Ceilings or Attics to Vent

Not having adequate venting can cause major damage to your roof and roofing materials. Heat rises and hot air is full of moisture. That moisture causes condensation to build up and, over time, weaken the shingle material prematurely. When laying down shingles for your roof, it’s imperative that they are laid down to allow proper ventilation from your attic or ceilings.

Not Aligning Shingles Correctly

Laying the shingles improperly makes a poor roofing job easy to spot. If the shingles are misaligned, it just looks bad. If the butted joints aren’t on the same horizontal plane or if the cutout on three-tab shingles isn’t vertical, your roof won’t look aesthetically pleasing, and if the shingles have been improperly nailed, there’s potential for roof blow-off.

Incorrect Shingle Overhang

The shingles should overhang the eaves and the rakes by a minimum of an inch to an inch and a half. If drip edge flashing has been installed, then the edge of the shingle should hang over the roof between a half-inch and three-quarters of an inch. Too little overhang can allow water to seep into the fascia boards or into the rake boards. Too much overhang and there is potential for the shingles to blow off in high winds. An experienced roofer will ensure the correct placement of the shingles.

Incorrect Shingle Exposure

Shingle exposure is the uncovered part or exposed part of the shingle from the shingle placed above it. Not only will proper shingle exposure create a beautiful roof, but it will also provide optimal roof protection. There are many problems that can occur when laying shingles. If the shingles are layered too far apart, the exposure will be too wide, and there will be areas of the shingles that are now exposed to the elements that shouldn’t be. If the shingles are laid too close together, it can create an undesirable look and will waste materials. Moisture may also start collecting from water run-off if the shingle exposure is shortened and can also lead to them being blown off in high-speed winds.

It takes a lot of knowledge, training, and experience to complete a quality roof job that will last decades. Our residential roofing experts here at Interstate Roofing provide the highest quality roofing to homeowners. Interstate Roofing is proud to have earned the highest certification level and have more than 30 years of experience in roofing in the Portland and Vancouver areas. If you need help with roofing your home, we are happy to give you a free estimate. We look forward to working with you.