Roofing and Construction FAQ

What should I do when I find a leak?

When you see water coming through your ceiling, follow your instincts and put something under the leak to catch the water (like a bucket or a pot from the kitchen) then call us right away. Do anything you can to divert the water from your walls and flooring. Unplug and move any electrical items nearby and clear the space of any paintings or furniture than may get damaged. If your ceiling is bulging, poke a small hole in it to allow the water to drain into the bucket. We will make the necessary roof repairs as soon as possible and advise you about other restoration services.

We have moss on our roof. Will high pressure cleaning harm my shingles?

Pressure washing will make quick work of moss buildup, but it will also damage asphalt shingles. It’s safer to use high water volume at low pressure. To prevent accidental damages, hire an experienced contractor and make sure the water is sprayed downward, not up and underneath the shingles. Pre-treatments can be used to kill the moss and algae before removal, making it easier to clean it off without the extra pressure.

Do zinc strips help prevent algae and moss? Where should they be installed?

Zinc helps to slow down algae and moss growth. As rain falls on the roof it runs across the zinc forming zinc oxide, which is the chemical that prevents this roof nuisance from forming. We carry 99.5% pure zinc strips that are 2 1/2″ wide and 50” long. They should be installed about 3” below the ridgeline, leaving at least 2″ of the strip exposed.

Our home is surrounded by fir trees and we get quite a bit of moss. Is there a roofing material more resistant to moss than regular composition roofing materials that can also withstand impact from fallen branches in a storm?

Most roofing materials are not moss resistant. Some composition products come with copper-coated granules that will prevent algae growth for a period of time. This may be your best defense against moss as many feel that algae is a precursor to moss.

However, with constant tree debris facilitating moss growth this is virtually unavoidable. The only real way of dealing with moss is to clean your roof once or twice per year. The impact of falling branches is a risk for any type of roof. Composition shingles would be the simplest to repair.

What are the black streaks I see on older asphalt composition roofs?

Those black streaks are caused by algae spores. This is more of a cosmetic problem than a danger to your roof, but algae can promote future moss growth, so it’s important to prevent it if you can.

In addition to zinc strips, we also offer a series of asphalt composition shingles with copper-coated granules. These granules will help prevent the algae growth before it starts, and as long as the roof is maintained properly, they should continue to work for 10-20 years.

Should I use laundry detergent to control algae or moss on my asphalt roof?

The degreasers in today’s laundry detergents will actually eat through your roofing and cause numerous leaks in a matter of days. This used to be an easy, effective method for controlling moss and algae, but because of environmental concerns, laundry detergent no longer contains the fungi-killing phosphates it used to.

We can only suggest using products that are specifically designed to control moss on roofing products, and the one we recommend our customers use is Moss Out!

Is it okay to install a new roof over the top of my existing roof?

While it’s always better to start fresh, it is generally safe (with most products) to install new roofing material on top of the old. In fact, some building codes will allow a third layer. But, when you don’t tear off the existing material, damages to the decking and roof structure can go unnoticed. There’s also a possibility that the old shingles will create bumps and imperfections in your new roof. Tear-offs are always recommended.

Are there any good roofing alternatives that look like cedar shakes?

There are several roofing products that can mimic the appearance of wood shakes. Metal, concrete, asphalt and composite materials can all be used to achieve that shake look. Based on the aspects of your home, roof slope and budget, we will help you find the right solution.

How do wind warranties affect my asphalt roof?

All asphalt shingles are warrantied for wind speeds between 60 and 110 miles per hour. That’s some strong wind! The average annual wind speed in Vancouver, WA is roughly 9 mph, topping out around 20 mph in November. However, depending on the shingles’ weight, most wind warranties are only good for about five years.

What are "architectural" shingles?

Architectural shingles, also called dimensional shingles, have a textured composition. Their various shapes and colors bring an element of design to your roof. Making a roof more than a covering, architectural shingles can help protect your home while topping it off beautifully.

Will a roofing project affect my skylight? Should it be replaced?

Skylights are a great way to bring natural light into the darker areas in your home. When a skylight gets to be 8-10 years old, however, they begin to break down, making it harder for them to survive a roofing project. When we replace a roof or make repairs near a skylight we have to lift and adjust it in order to re-seal the opening. When a skylight has weathered many years of exposure, its internal seal becomes brittle and may crack or shift when being moved to facilitate roofing.

This is likely to cause an eventual leak. Also, the argon gas filling the space between the glass panes dissipates after this much time (depending on exposure to the elements) reducing the skylight’s insulating power. For these reasons we generally suggest replacing older skylights during roof work.