Common Roofing Problems in the Pacific Northwest
Oregon and Washington residents don’t have to be told about how wet the weather is here in the Pacific Northwest. We live it 365 days a year.
While we may love the wet, rainy weather (for some of the year, at least), it does create potential problems for our roofs. In this month’s post, we’ll outline top roofing issues Oregon and Washington homeowners grapple with every year.
A poorly installed roof
No matter how good the roofing materials are, if they aren’t installed using proven and cutting edge techniques, the roof will cause you issues. In fact, there is no single cause of roofing issues in Oregon and Washington more common than faulty installation.
A properly installed roof that can hold up to the demanding weather of the Pacific Northwest begins and ends with finding a roofing contractor you can trust.
Make sure to ask the following questions of any roofing contractor you consider to make sure they are a roofer you can trust…
- Who will I be contacting? – You want to make sure you will have a point person who you can ask questions.
- What do your former customers say about you? – Take a look at review sites such as Google and Home Advisor to ensure clients are happy with the work they do.
- How experienced are you? Do you have certifications to prove it? – The only quality in a roofer that speaks louder than a certification from an industry leader like CertainTeed is the experience that backs it up. The right roofing contractor (like Cutting Edge Contracting) has both.
- Do you hire employees or work with subcontractors? – Choose a contractor that works with the same people every time to ensure consistent quality results.
- What roofing products do you use? – Make sure the products are rated to work here in the rainy Pacific Northwest.
- Are you insured? – This one is important! If they are not licensed, insured, and bonded you could be liable for any injuries on the job site. Don’t be afraid to ask for proof on insurance (we’re always happy to provide it here at Cutting Edge!)
- Do you provide written estimates? – Work with a contractor not afraid to make things official. Get an estimate in writing and make sure the contractor sticks to their word.
- What is your warranty? – Simply put, any roofer worth working with will guarantee their work and be proud of every job they complete. A good roofer works on every roof as if it were their own.
- What does the roof cost? – Make sure the bid makes sense and that the contractor isn’t under-bidding just to lock you in and charge more later.
Roof leaks and their causes
When leaks allow water to enter your house, serious damage can be inflicted, including:
- Moisture and mold in your living space, walls, and attic
- Flooring and other materials becoming rotted and destroyed
- Furniture and electronics destroyed
- Inability to keep a warm temperature in your home
Improper flashing installation
“Flashing” is the seal that waterproofs the area where two different materials meet and keeps water out of your home.
You can finding flashing where your roofing material meets your…
- Vent piping
- HVAC systems
This is a particularly weak spot with inexperienced installers. Issues caused by improper flashing installation include:
- Reduced puncture resistance
- Open seams
- Loose tiles and shingles
Since the roof is quite literally the shield that protects your home from weather and debris, punctures are common. Hail and severe weather can cause these punctures directly, while wind can blow debris from your yard or neighborhood and cause a puncture.
While puncturing can happen in any part of your roof, the areas where there is sealant and flashing is particularly vulnerable to punctures.
Trees can cause damage to your roof even without falling! Overhanging trees or branches rubbing up against your home can slowly disintegrate the integrity of your roof, damaging and knocking loose shingles.
Falling branches, even if small, can puncture your roof, necessitating a repair before water infiltrates your home.
Roof blistering and shrinking
When the membrane of your roof, or the material under the tiles and shingles, shrinks and expands due to moisture or heat, it causes wear on your shingles and tiles. This affects its stability and ability to deflect rain and other weather.
Blistering on shingles is also quite common, and generally a sign of old shingles or poor ventilation in your attic. Either way, when it happens your roof will be particularly sensitive to further damage from heat and sunlight.
Pests and insects
When animals, insects, and pests make their way onto your roof, holes are inevitable. Drawn by debris like fallen leaves, tree branches, and moss, insects and other small animals will make themselves at home on your roof. Once they’re there, they will attempt to get into your home for the shelter and warmth it provides.
Make sure to clean off your roof regularly and ensure debris is not left to make an appealing home and resting place for critters!
Ponding or pooling water
As discussed above, one of the worst possible things to happen to your roof is having loose debris left on its surface.
Pools of water can lead to:
- Loose debris preventing drainage
- Backups in gutter systems, causing flooding onto the roof
- Sunken, damaged roofs
When a roof is experiencing ponding, leaks happens. This is because while your roof is designed to resist even violent rain water, it’s not designed to repel still water.
This will in turn cause water to buckle the roof or even force an ice dam, which will cause the pooling to get even worse.
If you ever see pools of water on your roof, contact a roof installer immediately.
We take roofing seriously here at Cutting Edge Contracting.
We get frustrated when we see improperly maintained roofs. This is because we see issues that could have been completely avoided if it weren’t for improperly performed maintenance.
For almost all roofing issues (including every issue listed in this blog post), an experienced professional roofing contractor should be contacted.
In addition to being flat out dangerous, unless you have the experience and certifications necessary to fix a roof you will likely inflict more harm than good. It could even mean the difference between a simple fix and having to invest in a completely new roof.
Call a professional roofing contractor
Questions about your roof or concerned your home is going through one of these issues? Let us know! We can either answer your questions or help you with a new roofing project.
Sean Kelly is the COO & President of Cutting Edge Contracting. His background in business, accounting, and the construction industry helped him become the award-winning manager of a nationally-known paint company before joining Cutting Edge.