Ridge of roof with brown composition shingles and two chimneys in front of blue sky.

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.