Anatomy of a roof: The Asphalt shingle

Shingles are an essential part of any roof system, and they play a vital role in protecting your home from the elements. They provide a barrier against wind, rain, snow, and hail, and they also help insulate your home against heat and cold. When choosing shingles for your home, it is essential to select an appropriate type for the climate in which you live. For example, if you live in an area with severe weather conditions, you will need a more durable kind of shingle than if you live in a more moderate climate.

There are many shingle types, including; metal, slate, shake, and ceramic. In this post, we’ll be talking about the Asphalt shingle; it’s the most common one you can find and believed to be the most versatile shingle on the market. We’ll be discussing the benefits, manufacturing process, and average costs of quality installation.

The benefits of Asphalt shingles;

  • Durability: Asphalt shingles are one of the most durable roofing materials available. They can withstand high winds, rain, and snow, making them a good choice for climates that experience extreme weather conditions.
  • Lifespan: Asphalt shingles typically have a 20-30 years lifespan, making them a good long-term investment for your home.
  • Aesthetics: Asphalt shingles come in various colors and styles, so you can find an option that complements the look of your home and neighborhood.
  • Affordability: Asphalt shingles are one of the most affordable roofing materials available

The manufacturing process;

It begins with creating the fiberglass mat. Glass fibers are mixed with water and then drawn through tiny holes to form the mat. The mat is then coated with pre-heated asphalt, a sticky, black liquid that seals the fibers together and covers them with a waterproof layer. The shingles are then coated with a mineral granule that protects the asphalt from the sun and weather and is subsequently cut into pieces called shingles.

The price of Asphalt Shingles;

The price of an asphalt shingle roof varies by the size of the home. The quality of the materials and the installation process also dictate how much you’ll have to pay. A new asphalt shingle roof costs between $3,000 and $7,000; this is significantly cheaper than metal or ceramic shingles.

In conclusion, choosing the best roof shingle for your home can be difficult, and it’s essential to consider your budget, the climate in your area, and the style of your home when planning your project. There are various types and styles of shingles available, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Asphalt shingles are the most common type of shingle and are the most economical option, but we recommend speaking to a roofing professional first to find out what works best for your home.

7 Things to know before installing a skylight

Before installing a skylight in your home, there are several factors that you need to take into account to ensure the best results. Here are some things to consider before installing a skylight in your home:

1. The location of the skylight. It would help determine where you want the skylight to be in your home and what size you want it to be. This measure will ensure that the skylight is in an area that will get enough sunlight during the day.

2. The type of skylight. There are several different types of skylights, so you need to choose one best suited for your needs. For example, a fixed skylight is best for areas that don’t get a lot of traffic, while a ventilated skylight is ideal for bathrooms.

  • Fixed skylights are the most common type of skylight. They typically live in an area of the roof where a hole already exists, such as a chimney. These skylights don’t open or close, so they are not ideal for homes in areas with a lot of rainfall or snowfall.

  • Ventilating skylights have a small opening that can open or close to allow air to circulate in the home. This type of skylight is ideal for homes in areas with a lot of rainfall or snowfall, as it helps to prevent the accumulation of moisture in the house.

 

  • Tubular skylights. This skylight is a small round tube that gets installed in the ceiling. It has a lens at the top that helps to direct sunlight into the home. Tubular skylights are ideal for low-ceiling dwellings, as they don’t take up a lot of space.

3. The cost. Skylights can be expensive to install, so you need to make sure you have the budget. 

  • Fixed skylights are the least expensive option, but they also offer the least amount of flexibility. If you choose a location for your fixed skylight, make sure it’s the right one.
  • Ventilating skylights are more expensive than fixed skylights, but they can open and close to control ventilation. These are a good option if you want the ability to regulate the amount of natural light and air coming into your home.
  • Tubular skylights are the most expensive option, but they save face by being energy-efficient. Solar-powered skylights use solar panels to collect energy from the sun; then, they power the skylight’s opening and closing mechanism.

4. Your roof shape and pitch. Knowing these specs will help make sure that the roofing in your home can support the skylight’s weight, which is especially important if you have a tile or metal roof.

5. The installation process. Installing a skylight can be complicated, so you need to make sure that you hire a professional to do it. Otherwise, you could end up without a weather seal and an inevitable leak.

6. The warranty. Once you’ve installed the skylight, you need to ensure that a warranty will cover it; this will protect you from any problems that may occur down the road.

7. The maintenance. Skylights require regular maintenance, such as cleaning the lenses and replacing the sealant around the edges. Be mindful of how much labor and cost to can invest into care.

If you need more information for a custom skylight installation, give us a call, we’re happy to answer any questions you might have.

What’s a roof pitch, and why does it matter?

It’s no secret that a well-built roof is a vital key to a home’s weather protection and overall durability. But what many homeowners may not know is that the angle of your roof pitch matters too. 

So what is a pitch? 

A Roof pitch is simply the angle at which your roof slopes, and it’s expressed as a ratio – like 4:12, for example. That means for every 12 inches of horizontal measurement, your roof will rise 4 inches. A steeper roof pitch is any pitch greater than 3:12, while a shallower roof pitch is anything between 2:12 and 3:12.

Why does the pitch matter?

For one, it affects how well your home can shed water and snow. A steeper pitch will help your roof shed water and snow more effectively, while a shallower pitch may leave your home vulnerable to leaks and other damage. In addition, your pitch also plays a role in the overall aesthetics of your home. A steeply-pitched roof can give your home a more dramatic look, while a shallower pitch may be more subtle.

How can I measure the pitch of my roof?

There are a few different ways to do this. One way is to use a level and a tape measure. First, find the highest point on your roof and place the level down at the ridge. Then, measure from the top-level down to the edge of your roof; the number you get is the pitch of your roof.

Another way to measure roof pitch is by using a protractor. This method is more accurate than using a level and could save you from having to climb on the roof. First, find the center of your roof and mark it. Then, measure from the center point – out to the edge of your roof. Once you have this measurement, you can use a protractor to find the angle of your roof.

*Sidenote – Please use a harness when walking on your roof and if you don’t have one, call us for a free inspection instead.

What are the advantages/disadvantages of a steep roof pitch?

Pros:

  1. Weather Benefits: The steep angle prevents buildup and supports proper rain flow
  2. Resale Value: A steep roof implies durability, appealing to potential home buyers. 
  3. Aesthetics: It can be a unique design that stands out in your neighborhood

Cons:

  1. Higher Costs: It’s more challenging to construct than a shallow pitch and thus is more expensive.
  2. Difficult Maintenence: It is more likely to experience leaks and structural damage problems and is more challenging to fix.
  3. Utility costs: A steep pitch is less energy-efficient than a shallow pitch, as it allows heat to escape more easily. 

What are the advantages/disadvantages of a shallow roof pitch?

Pros:

  1. Eco Friendly: A shallow roof can help reduce the amount of heat loss in your home during the winter months.
  2. Potentially more space: it can add extra living space to your home since you won’t have much attic.
  3. Installation: A shallow pitch is easier to walk on and, therefore, easier to maintain.

Cons:

  1. Material Costs: you’ll need more roofing material to cover the same area as you would with a steeper pitch
  2. More Maintenence: Snow, rain, and debris tend to accumulate faster on a shallower pitch
  3. Natural Light: shallower the pitch, the more likely it is that there will be windows near the top of the walls

Even if you don’t plan on installing a new roof anytime soon, it’s still important to know your roof’s pitch as well as all of the pros and cons of different pitches. Consider these insights the next time you plan a major home improvement project, and you’ll save time and money.

Anatomy of a Roof: The Essential Geometry

The Geometry

A roof is one of the most critical parts of a house; it protects the home from the elements and can cause damage to the interior if not maintained correctly. A roof comprises; different utilities, geometric shapes, and design elements. Each aspect has a unique purpose, and in this series, we’ll be learning about the entire anatomy of a roof and every layer that makes it function.

Understanding roofing systems will help you realize your home improvement goals and will help you communicate with your contractors. First, let’s start with the different shapes you commonly see when looking at a roof; identifying these aspects of the roof system will help you communicate your project goals with your roofer.

 

The Gables

Gabled roofs are the kind of roofs you probably liked to draw when you were a kid. They have two sloping sides that intersect to form a ridge, and this triangular section is the first line of defense against the elements.

The ridge.

The ridge is the highest point of the roof, and it runs along the entire length of the home. It serves as the gable’s top point, it helps support the roof’s weight, and typically has openings called “Ridge Vents” that let air through the attic.

The Eaves

The eave refers to the edge of a roof that extends beyond the wall face; it forms an overhanging structure that diverts rainwater from the sides of the house. The soffits line the Eaves; we’ll talk about those next.

The Hip

The hip roof is a style of roof that slopes back from all four sides. This roof style is more prevalent in colder climates because it helps keep the house warmer. A hip roof achieves the same goal as a gabled roof in that it also diverts water and snow.

The Valley

The valley is the low point on the roof where two slopes meet. The Valley allows water to collect and flow off the roof, so it is essential it’s clear of debris.

Now let’s move on…

Now that you have a basic grasp of the shapes, we can move on to the individual components of a roof like soffits, fascia boards, and flashings. In the next post we’ll be diving into the utilities that allow a roof system to function.

Do it Yourself: 3 Rules For Roof Maintenance

 
A new roof is a significant investment — The average composite reroof costs $28,256 (Source: Remodeling magazine). Maintenance is your secret weapon to delay these more significant projects.
 
Did you know a worn-out roof loses its ability to reflect sunlight? The function of composite shingles is to keep your home cool during the summer and dry during the winter. Roof maintenance affects more than just the design of your home; it could impact your carbon footprint, the moisture levels of your attic, and your home’s resale value. Whether your roof is brand new or as old as the home, keeping up with the basics can significantly extend its lifespan and save your pockets.
 
If you’re reading this, you probably own a home, and your roof might be a little neglected. Don’t beat yourself up; there’s never a better time to learn about roof maintenance than now; let’s start with the basics.
 
 

Rule #1 – Clean your gutters

 
Gutters serve an essential function; they divert rainwater from your roof’s sheathing and rafters. They also prevent water from chipping away at the foundation by redirecting its flow. Safe to say, gutters are clutch, and if you take care of them, they take care of you.
 
The fix: Our advice is to inspect your downspouts next time it rains. If you see a weak stream of water, grab a ladder and scoop out those leaves. We would also recommend investing in gutter guards and sticking to a twice-a-year maintenance schedule. **If you’re weary of heights, we recommend calling a professional; it’s better to be safe than sorry. Click here to see our rates and to schedule a cleaning**
 

Rule #2 – Remove piles of debris

 
When moisture gets trapped underneath leaves, pine needles, and other organic material, they decompose and gradually strip the granules off of your shingles. They can also create fertile ground for moss and different types of organic growth. This accumulation happens more in homes with inconsistent pitch slopes and flat roof sections.
 
The fix: If you fall into this category, we recommend using a leaf blower or soft pressure washer to move these piles off your roof.
 

Rule #3 – Kill the Moss

 
What are granules? They’re reflective minerals purposely added to composite shingles to help mitigate sun exposure. Moss (aka Organic growth) is a big problem in the pacific northwest, and during the rainy season, it can strip the granules right off your roof.
 
Organic growth is also the leading cause of discoloration and premature aging in newer roofs. This discoloration is caused by a thin layer of black algae that often goes untreated and unnoticed. Unless you’re getting routine cleanings, you more than likely have some type of organic growth, and it’s a slow death for your shingles.
 
The fix: Most treatments only remove the top layer of moss, and you’ll find yourself treating it more often as it fights to grow back each season. We have found that a light mixture of bleach and water works wonders when killing the moss once and for all (Use safety protocols because the active chemicals can burn the skin and eyes). Once the moss is dead, we recommend several applications of soft-wash solution through a pressure washer just to maintain a sterile environment for your roof.
 
If you’re interested in a roof cleaning or a free inspection, give us a call.

5 questions to ask a roofer (before you hire them).

Person installing new roof. Legit Exteriors explains the cost to replace a roof in the Portland OR and Vancouver WA area.

Home improvement projects can be expensive and stressful, but they don’t have to be. When a homeowner is knowledgeable, has a plan, a budget, and the right team, the job goes smoothly. Before you choose the right contractor, you should have realistic expectations and know all your options. We wrote this guide to help you make an informed decision.

Here are the 5 questions you MUST ask before you hire a roofer.

1) Do they offer a warranty?

Your vehicle has a warranty; why doesn’t your roof have one? Warranties are crucial for helping maintain the resale value of your home. These assurances safeguard you from coming out of pocket for any issues that are likely to pop up after completing your job. These issues can involve labor mistakes, manufacturer defects, or unforeseen weather conditions and can present themselves as leaks or cosmetic blemishes.
Even the most skilled roofers may occasionally misplace a nail, and 1 out of every thousand shingles probably have a defect. Sometimes you won’t know until your roof ages and gets in contact with the elements. The good thing is that these problems are typical and come with the territory, but having a good warranty in your back pocket will save you in the long run.

So what kind of warranty should we expect?
You can read all about our warranty and use it as a reference when you secure bids from other roofers – Click Here to learn about roof warranties.

(P.s. – If a roofer does have a warranty, find out the term limits and if it’s transferable if you decide to sell your home.

2) Are they priced correctly in the market?
Hiring someone because they’re cheap might seem like an intelligent idea upfront, but it can quickly go south and prove to be a big mistake on the backend; we’ve seen it happen countless times.

Here’s an extreme example: A homeowner will hire a contractor who swears they can do the job for a vastly undercut rate, knowing that it’s impossible. In their blind enthusiasm, the homeowner agrees to the roofer’s terms and cuts them a check, only for them to disappear as soon as the deposit clears. If they’re lucky, they may eventually get the roof put on. Still, even then, the workmanship may be so poor, and the materials so secondhand, that the homeowner would have been better off with the original roof.

On the other side of the coin, companies overcharge, which is more worse, especially if the roofers aren’t exceptional. The last thing you want to do is overpay for shoddy work and cheap materials. A good roofer will never overcharge you for supplies because they do thorough, critical measurements and have updated information about the tax rates in Oregon & Washington. Our critical measures include detailed pitch reports, 3D diagrams, and satellite imagery to give us an accurate picture of the roof. We do all this to ensure we give you precise material quotes upfront, without hidden fees once the job starts.

3) Are they certified by their manufacturer?

This is the secret to getting quality work that rivals any model home in a new neighborhood. A certified contractor has to perform exceptionally well or risk losing their certification and eventually their warranty. When a roofing company is certified by a manufacturer, they are subject to random quality control audits to ensure their brand name is lived up to.

A roof without a certification has nobody on the hook for its quality, so the manufacturer has no obligations towards you or your home. Legit exteriors and a handful of other companies are platinum certified by Owens Corning.

Click here to read about Owens Corning’s quality assurances and check out this video of our founder David’s visit to an Owens Corning inspection – https://youtu.be/izy72zQGOTE

 

4) How long have they been in business?

One of the most giant red flags for any homeowner should be how long the company has been in business. You shouldn’t distrust someone because they’re just starting out, but if they don’t at least have a proven track record of completed projects under their belt, there’s no way of telling if they will ever do a good job or not. Ask your roofer about their experience level and ask to see their past jobs; if you get some images of their work, ask an expert to grade it for you.

As a roofer, there are so many unique case scenarios that can pop up at any time during the job. The only way to navigate them is through past experience, the kind you can only get from having roofed 1000s of homes.

Take, for instance, chimney flashing; if you don’t caulk it correctly, rainwater will enter right into your home, you’ll be right back at square one. Trust us, we do repairs, and we see hundreds of bad installations every year.

5) Do they have reviews & testimonials?

This one is pretty self-explanatory and is surprisingly under-looked by many homeowners. If your roofer has pictures of their completed jobs, ask them if they have any feedback from their previous customers.

Pay close attention to things like;

  • communication
  • Speed
  • Quality of service
  • Safety Protocols
  • Respect for your home

You want roofers who are attentive, reliable, kind, and efficient. The best way to get this is to ask to read past testimonials.

In conclusion, we hope this was helpful and will help steer you in the right direction when choosing the right contractor. If you’re in the market for an honest quote, please feel free to reach out to us.

Do it yourself: A Beginners Guide to Roof Inspection.

Not every home needs a new roof; some just need repairs and a few shingles replaced. The only way to know for sure is to get a roof inspection, but you don’t always have to wait for a pro to do it.

If you think you’re pretty handy, know what problems to look for, and aren’t afraid of heights, grab a ladder, print out our inspection sheet and see what you can find. 

*IMPORTANT* – Safety first: Read this before climbing on your roof. When climbing, we recommend you have a friend nearby to spot your ladder or use a ratchet tie to anchor it in place. This will prevent you from being stuck up on the roof if your ladder were to fall and nobody was around. We also advise against resting your ladder directly on your gutters because they can bend or come loose. 

When walking on top of a roof, it’s ideall to be using a body harness attached to a roof anchor. If you don’t have either, you should be relying on your better judgment by only walking on flat sections of your roof. That flat section might be a good enough vantage point to assess any damage, bring some binoculars if you can.

  1. Start in the attic

One of the easiest ways to tell if your roof is damaged is to check your attic for moisture (especially after heavy rainfall). All you’ll need is a flashlight to see and some goggles to protect your eyes from loose fiberglass. 

You’ll be looking for;

  • Dripping water
  • Damaged plywood
  • Condensation

2. Look out for leaves and debris 

Leaves and Debris can trap moisture on your roof; this is bad news for the health of your shingles. If you see piles of Debris, get those removed and then assess the underlaying shingles for granule loss or algae growth.

Things you need to look out for;

  • Discoloration
  • Moisture
  • Green Moss
  • Black Algae

3. Look for curling shingles.

A poorly ventilated attic traps heat that can dry out your shingles until they warp and curl. Curling shingles will compromise the integrity and lifespan of your roof system. If you see any curling shingles, plan on having them replaced soon, or leaks will surely follow. You might also consider installing another roof vent if the attic is confirmed to be under-ventilated. *The rule of thumb; If a 1/3rd of your shingles are curling, it’s probably time for a whole new roof.

4. Check for damaged, missing, or old shingles

If you’re missing shingles, you’ll have a gap in your roof that can leak the next time it rains. While performing an inspection, It’s crucial to catalog every broken shingle you see; this is how you can assess the damage and get a ballpark estimate. It also helps to inspect your gutters for missing granules; this signifies that your shingles are at the end of their lifespan.

Here are a few ways that a shingle can become damaged;

  1. Blow off – a shingle that’s missing a nail will be taken by the wind during exceptional weather. 
  2. Human Error – Walking on top of a roof isn’t easy and takes skill and patience to pull off. Sometimes after a roof is completed, HVAC installers or general inspectors can damage shingles by not exercising caution. 
  3. Manufacturer error – Occasionally, your installer is given faulty shingles. It’s sometimes impossible to tell until after they’ve been installed.

5. Inspect your flashing & drip metal

One commonly overlooked area is the metal around your roof’s chimneys, pipes, dormers, perimeter, and vents. That metal is known as flashing, and it redirects water away from vulnerable areas. Without flashing, water would leak directly into your interior and cause rot and mold. 

When inspecting your roof’s flashing, look out for;

  • Rust
  • Corrosion
  • Any signs of discoloration

If you do all of this and still want an expert opinion, go ahead and book us; we’ll give you an inspection on the house (literally).