The bigger question is, just how much of the roof is beyond repair? On the one hand, it might look really bad, but the roof tiles might be the only part of the roof that need to be replace, in addition of course to the waterproofing lining underneath it. But if the roof has been letting water in underneath that, the plywood could be rotten and even the rafters and roof infrastructure could be compromised. The further the damage goes into the house – likely in parallel to how long the roof and the house was neglected – the more work you will have to do.
The first thing to do, if you have not already done it, is to get a roof inspection. In some cases, you might get it for free, especially if there is a known problem and the roofer considers your business a possibility. Even if you do pay for the inspection, the typical roofing company will deduct that from the final charge if you give your business to them.
Roofing material have come a long way in the last few decades. And nowhere has been more impacted than in the Puget Sound area because of its weather. Although it doesn’t get below freezing so often in your Kirkland or Redmond neighborhoods, the almost constant dampness through a good half of the year takes its toll on the average roof. In a place like southern California, they might have different environmental challenges, such as a baking sun, but in Kirkland or Bellevue, it’s about moisture and cold mostly.
The Pacific Northwest, and the Puget Sound / Seattle area in particular, has one big challenge when it comes to roofs: Rain. Sure, there are places in the world that get more rain, but on the continental United States, it’s considered one of the wettest. Perhaps more important than that level of actual precipitation is how “damp” it is. Seattle is green because of the rain and because it stays wet often for a long time.
Only a few decades ago, it seemed every house in Seattle was either composite or shake. Now, there are dozens of different materials that can be used on a roof – and for numerous reasons – and countless manufacturers that have popped up to satisfy the market. With all these new roof material types and products, there are still some basics you can use on almost all roof material types to keep it in great shape, and in particular considering the typical weather we get in the Pacific Northwest.
My house in Shoreline gets a lot of salt water spray on the roof. How can I prevent damage and avoid having to replace my roof?
Any kind of water, in excess, puts pressure on a typical roof of the Pacific Northwest. Salt water adds another dimension to it because the salt introduces elements other than just plain water. If you Google the contents of seawater, click ‘images’ and you will see that a drop of seawater has many living organisms in it. The organisms won’t actually eat your roof or anything, but they prove that there are nutrients in the water that can feed other types of creatures when they get a chance to build up on your roof over time.
Assuming you have made the decision that you are planning to replace the roof on your home, or you are going to put a new roof on a new construction, there are several good questions you can ask your roofing company before you sign on the dotted line. Or at least, before the work actually starts.
My old house in Bothell, the roof is leaking. Do I need to replace the whole roof, or just do a partial re-roofing?
The single most effective thing you can do for your roof is to get an inspection. Especially if you have any worries or concerns about a potential problem. And if you know for sure you have a leak, my advice to you is to put down what you’re using to read this now, and contact a roofing company right away. As I type this, it’s mid-September, and the forecast is for about five more days of rain. If you’ve got a roof leak this very moment, the urgency is clear.
Surprisingly, most home owners neglect the roof of their house until a serious problem presents itself. The roof might look terrible, or it has sprung a leak, or there was a terrible storm overnight, and the owner finally decides to ask a roofer for a checkup. But most roof problems – certainly those that require the roofing material to be replaced – occur gradually. That is, the heating, cooling, freezing, snowing, thawing, raining and heating cycle takes its toll on the the materials over many years and many seasons.
What is the best material to use on a roof replacement project on a typical Buchan style home in Seattle / Bellevue area?
There is probably no single answer to this question. A lot depends on the look of the house itself, and of course, what the prevailing neighborhood style is. On some streets, even in affluent Bellevue, for example, every house might have a composite roof. If you replace your roof with a shake or synthetic shake roof, it will definitely stand out. While shake can often look fancier than composite, your house may stand out in a way that might alienate your neighbors. So, the first place I’d start is, take a look at the neighborhood covenants, if there are any.