Protecting Your Home
A lot must be considered when you are ready to purchase a new roof. The information below is meant to open you to new ideas, and answer most questions you might have.
Roof Covering Products
While there are a lot of options when it comes to roofing materials, the most reliable and serviceable is composition shingles. We use only one company Certain-teed. They’ve been quietly growing over 100 Years.
They not only know the manufacturing business better than others and offer the broadest product line, their warranty offers significant peace of mind for the homeowner.
We are also credentialed at all of Certainteeds levels, and qualified to be called a “Quality Master Company” not by paying extra money but that label can only be acheived through Certainteed testing procedure. We also passed the MSA Wizard test on the first try. Being accepted at Certainteed highest level of installation competence enables us to give a guaranty backed by the manufacturer even better than their industry best guaranty available to non-credentialed contractors.
If you happen to like a color of composition from another company, we will comply to a degree. We should be able to find a color close to it that pleases you and also assuages our conscience. Because we know roofing, we know what’s right for your home. I think you would agree that higher quality materials are of more importance than finding the shade that complements your garden best.
When it comes to wood products, Cedar Shakes or Shingles, It all depends on the look you want. Shingles are sawn on both sides, giving them a smooth uniform look. Shakes are split on the exposed side sawn on the underside, allowing the wood grain to determine the shape, which can give them more character.
Concrete Tile, or Cap and Pan, is used mostly on Spanish Style homes. If you are considering this type of roofing material, ask the company about examples of this kind of application. While it does last a while, the initial setup can be stressful, as the tiles are fragile. Underlayment selection is critical as wind driven rain can exploit the cavities in this system. Care must be of utmost import during the application.
Slate roofs are the ultimate. As long as nothing disturbs the roof, you can expect beauty, quality and protection for as long as a hundred years. Underlayment selection is critical as wind driven rain can exploit the cavities in this system as well. As stone is an organic product, each piece will be slightly different from each other; it can be a very unique look on your home.
We do not install metal roofs because we do not believe in them. Mountain Goat Roofing is an old fashioned company that takes pride in the aesthetics of a job well done. A metal roof to us lacks personality, plus most roofing manufactures are passing on warranties on these roofs that they will not back up. This is evidenced by the typical integration of inferior penetration flashing components inconsistent with the guaranty of the field material. No one gets a call for a leak in the middle of the field material; it’s always at any roof penetration. They are also typically “noisy neighbors” during rain or hail, and not user friendly when the time comes for a service call.
We at Mountain Goat Roofing really love what we do, which is mostly concentrating on steeply pitched roofs. Our attention is focused on the care of your home, so we don’t play distracting radios or music. All of the workers have at least six years in their respective field of discipline (clean up, tear off, installation) with OUR company.
Cedar Shakes and Shingles
It is important to understand the differences between types and qualities of cedar roofing products. Unlike manufactured products, quantifying the minimum and maximum properties or tolerances of something that grows with water and sunshine must be based on criteria more foolproof than laboratory testing in a controlled environment where the sun doesn’t shine, the sky doesn’t rain and the wind doesn’t blow. Cedar products have been used as a roof covering for homes in the northwest longer than any roofing product.
Some Noteworthy Assets:
- 12 or more grains (growth rings) per inch, or “tight grain”
- Straight grain through entire length
- No knots
- Completely opaque in the top third of the piece.
- Four corners with the top at least 1/16″ thick all the way across.
- Pieces are at least 24″ long.
- They are at least 1/2 thick (medium) and 3/4 thick (heavies) at the butts.
- They are 100% heartwood.
- They 100% edge grain.
They are not sold through any middle men to the roofer but will pround hail the grade and the name of the mill company crafting them. By and Large these are small generational shake and shingle mill companies usually located in the remote areas of western Washington with a keen sense of family tradition in relation to the product they craft. They have a fixed clientele of roofers that desire higher standards for their clients. Most have opted out of trade organizations due to their lowering standards, emphasis on higher volume, and hence a wider entrance door.
A side profile reveals a virtual perfect isosceles triangle.
The age old complaint “you just can’t get good wood anymore” applies only to those who don’t know where to get it (unfortunately this does not stop people from buying bundles of questionable lineage from a retailer).
Its’ ubiquitous use for so long however makes it easier to determine what properties that should be considered assets and those that are clear liabilities.
Detrimental Characteristics to avoid
- Less than 12 grains per inch.
- Grains veer off, are flat (bastard grain) or twist
- Has knots or knurled grain next to where a knot once was
- You can see light coming through the shingle/shake
- Top corners are missing or any portion across the top is missing.
- Less than 24” long
- They are less than ½” thick across all or part of the butt for mediums (3/4” for heavies)
- They are too close to the bark and manifest characteristics of branch growth
- The shake bolt was turned incorrectly to extract more wood from the same bolt of wood producing flat grain or “furry” wood.
- They are usually sold through a simple or complex chain of middle men to the roofer. They usually have a very impressive label the mill company has purchased. Yes sadly when it comes to western red cedar shake and shingle genealogy, imposters are about as easily procured as the label on each bundle bearing the names of respectable institutions.
- A side profile reveals everything but a perfect isosceles triangle.
Our Philosophy on flashing quality used on pitched roofs orbits around this principle regarding manufactured roof coverings: “when a leak occurs it is at a penetration flashing or roof plane termination.“ On very rare occasions it will occur in the middle of a roof deck. Most roofs function well if installed properly but will be blind sighted early on in life because of inferior flashing components. In the following paragraphs we will detail the different flashings available, their functions and assets/liabilities as they relate to their composition.
Therefore, it makes sense to outline first the different kinds of metal available before their use is appropriated for a specific flashing detail. Your roof may have all or just some of these applications.
Metal Flashing is available in a plethora of variety and in varying thicknesses. Some of the most common types from least expensive to longest lasting are; galvanized, galvanized with a finish, aluminum, stainless, lead, and copper. The long-term viability of untreated semi-precious metals is well documented. Since raw steel simply rusts quickly it becomes necessary to bond an insulator to the metal from the elements. The first step is to galvanize.
Galvanized metal is the most economical metal available and has a short term service life usually inconsistent with the life expectancy of most roofing materials. When a finish is desired, oil is not applied to the galvanized sheet. Instead a finish is vacuum applied, baked on, or both.
Enamel is the most common choice of finish and will do an adequate job for most roofing material applications if handled properly. Unique research must be done here to ensure the paint selected and applied to the opposite side of the metal is not “seconds” as it will have an adverse reaction to the top finish of the previous metal piece it is stacked upon. This may or may not manifest itself immediately but will destroy the top finish exposing raw steel to the elements. More than one contractor has learned the hard way to insist all the way to the source or change to a vendor more conscientious. Given this finish will wear well with most roof covering systems; it is a real decent value.
Patented Finishes. Most higher quality finishes contain some combination of vinyl and polyester and are applied to sheet goods at 24 gauge or thicker. Different coating manufactures have different application methods and chemical compositions they have patented. Depending on the application method these finishes generally have a long service life.
Aluminum if a substantial gauge, 24 ga. or heavier, has a very long service life and has a pleasing neutral appearance. Special care however must be considered here as it is very finicky who its neighbors are. Fasteners and other metal in contact must be of equal or higher value up on the metallurgical scale or it will rot out at an incredible rate.
Stainless has an extremely long service life and does not react adversely to zinc chromate (protective coating on most fasteners) it is slightly more bright than aluminum but both hold spray paint fairly well.
Lead is probably the most versatile of all these metals. Because it can be bent into virtually any shape without cutting, it can be used to deflect water from one critical area to another without the vulnerable connections associated with two or more pieces of rigid steel flashing. Its’ long-term viability has been proven over centuries on European Cathedrals and other prolific structures. It can also be used as solder to “glue” two pieces of untreated or galvanized steel, copper, stainless or even to itself. However unless welded, the connection should only be qualified as a “glue” when soldered to itself.
Copper has a similar life expectancy to Stainless but is an entirely different look. Left to age naturally it will turn a dark brown or patina in a mottled fashion. This is a greenish blue crust or film formed by natural oxidation. It is both preservative and ornamental. An artificial patina is produced by the use of acetic acid, but it is not durable. Copper is also fairly tolerant to metals of dissimilar value. This is probably the most popular choice amongst the semi-precious metals.
Valley flashing (when required) where used: A valley is where two opposing pitched roof planes meet together and travel downhill. Elk warrants their product itself to carry the water down the valley through their 40 year material lines. Fifty year material requires metal flashing to do this job. This flashing detail will deflect and carry more water by far than any other flashing component used on your home. An end profile reveals it is bent in the shape of a “W” to keep the water on the same side of the roof it came from until it drains into the gutter.
Attic Ventilation Flashing. AKA (stem vents, mushroom vents) Three vents are commonly available; Plastic, galvanized, and galvanized with baked on enamel. An astute observer will learn a lot when removing an existing roof layer as you can glean the results of the end of a real life test that includes the most accurate telltale signs of why any flashing detail expires, or didn’t expire. It has been our experience that plastic stem vents will crack at critical areas after ten years. Depending on area and atmospheric conditions, a galvanized stem vent can last up to fifteen years. A galvanized stem vent with baked on enamel will last over twenty five years. Mountain Goat uses only this last type.
Step Flashing where used: Each piece of this eight inch by twelve inch flat metal is bent into the shape of an “L” and is applied on the top portion of the roofing material above the exposure line and the vertical portion abuts a wall, chimney, or skylight curb, that siding, counter flash, or a skylight curb will hang over and overlap.
Counter Flashing where used: Counter flashing is the last connection between the roof and a wall or chimney. Its’ function is to deflect water running off a vertical surface over step flashing, roof to wall flashing, or pan flashing. As a roof plane abuts a brick wall, brick chimney, or stucco with no siding to cover the roof flashing, the connection is completed by cutting a kerf or slot into the mortar and inserting a reversed “L” (bent step flashing) into the kerf, securing the flashing and caulking the joint. Mountain Goat Roofing always installs new counter flashing on all chimneys unless it is a new chimney or a mason has recently re-tuck pointed the chimney and installed new counter flashing and executed a good job. Stucco counter flashing is installed similarly only one continuous kerf is cut and instead of reversed step flashing used as counter flashing; a long piece of gable flashing is inserted, fastened, and caulked for a streamlined look. This can be painted with house paint if the colored finish is undesirable.
Gable Flashing where used: Unless wood shingles or shakes are used for the roof covering material, a roof that has skip sheeting (1×4 or 1×6 wood spaced approximately two to three inches apart) must have a solid smooth surface to nail the roofing material to. This is installed on top of the skip sheeting. As there is an additional height (usually ½” thick) not originally accommodated at the gable, if your home has them, this would expose the edge of the sheeting to the weather and must be covered. Gable flashing is installed over the top of the sheeting, under the roofing material, and down over the edge exposed there at 1 – 3/8” or 2”.
Plumbing Ventilation pipe flashing where used: We use the highest quality plumbing ventilation and flashing materials. A roof that is rated 25 years can be easily undermined by a (rubber, galvanized or combination of the two) vent flashing good for only 15. Our three pound lead flashing is hand welded not soldered to the pitch of the roof so the connection is not left to chance. At Mountain Goat Roofing our lead flashings also look more streamlined and after the paint is applied you will only notice the dry interior.
Flapper exhaust vent flashing where used: This product is usually used at the exhaust end of a fan receptacle via ducting wherever exhaust of kitchen smoke/fumes/steam or Bathroom steam/odors is undesirable. Like the Attic ventilation flashing material, Mountain Goat Roofing does not use plastic here for the additional reason that these two functions subject the vent receptacle to additional heating/cooling challenges. Plastic also doesn’t hold up well to extreme heat. For the one time in your life you have a grease fire up the hood exhaust, it’s nice to know your flapper exhaust vent flashing wont drip hot burning plastic onto your stove. Mountain Goat Roofing does use extra heavy 18 gauge metal Broan flapper receptacles for both the kitchen and the bathroom. They have ¼” mesh screen, fully functional flapper to keep the heat in your home during those winter months, and a baked on enamel finish.
Roof to wall flashing where used: As the name implies it is used to cover the last course of roofing as it abuts a wall, chimney or skylight curb. It is generically a piece of metal bent almost to 90 degrees. The vertical portion is covered by the outside rim of a skylight, chimney counter flashing or wall siding or counter flashing.
Pan flashing where used: Is used mostly on the top side of skylights and chimneys. It is a piece of 18” flat metal bent usually five inches up and thirteen inches horizontal, is installed perpendicular to the slope, and is what deflects preceding water traffic to either end of itself as it intersects these penetrations.
Skip Sheathing is commonly used as the substrate that wood shakes and shingles are nailed to. They are the substrate of nearly seventy percent of the homes in the Seattle area. They are usually made up of 3/4” thick by approximately five inch wide slats, run perpendicular to the rafters and spaced vertically about two to three inches apart. The space between is/was to allow the wood shingles to “sweat” the moisture back out, since with shingles the cells are sawn on both sides their moisture retention is greater than that of wood shakes, which are commonly re-sawn only on one side. Notwithstanding, because shakes are re-sawn on one side (the bottom) they can also have moisture issues that the space between the slats assists in transuding.
Solid Sheathing. Ship lap moved into the roof substrate neighborhood in the late thirties as composition required a smooth nail-able surface devoid of slats associated with skip sheathing. Ship lap generally is 3/4” thick by 7-1/4”wide and came in varying lengths. Usually they were used as the foundation forms for concrete, then pulled up for use on the roof. Unfortunately the concrete made these dry and brittle. Nevertheless ship lap has superior nail holding properties when compared to other typical substrates because of its thickness and density.
Plywood vs. OSB. Ever since OSB (oriented strand board) was introduced a few years back a battle has been raging. The primary issue that has polarized either side has been price vs. quality. Although quite relevant, rather than focus too much on the analytical, any conclusion would be myopic, devoid of any real life test results. To be short and to the point here every laborer we’ve come into contact with has agreed, it’s an easy day ahead when you learned you’ll be tearing off a roof nailed to OSB – it’s a quick tear-off. On the analytical side, most roofing material manufactures will not guaranty a pitched roof system installed over 3/8” OSB. 3/8” Plywood does get a guaranty every time. Mountain Goat Roofing has always used at least 1/2” CDX-APA or TECO rated plywood.
All of us at Mountain Goat Roofing look forward to serving you!