Roofing 101 with CertainTeed

As anyone who lives in the Pacific Northwest knows, it is important to have a good roof on your home to protect it from the constant downpour that occurs nine months out of the year. But how many of us really know what's going on under our shingles?

In this post, we're going to peel back the layers to help you understand the different parts of a roof and their functions in keeping your home safe from leaks and ice dams.

First, check out this helpful graphic from CertainTeed:

There are six main elements to a roof, as you saw above. But before any of that goes on, there is a plywood deck that acts as the base for the roof. This needs to be carefully inspected when your roof is being replaced to make sure there are no deficiencies and that none of it is rotting.

1. Waterproof Underlayment

     What is it? A sticky underlayment that goes on the edges of the roof: the valleys, the hips and ridges, the rakes, and the eaves, as well as around any roof penetrations. 

     Why do you need it? It acts as a barrier to prevent water and ice from building up in the eaves and creating an ice dam.

     Why WinterGuard? CertainTeed's WinterGuard® underlayment features a standard adhesive bottom but can be repositioned before deck adhesion. It is available in three finishes: sand, granular, and high tack/high temperature (for keeping shingle, metal, slate, and tile roofs from getting too hot in warmer temperatures). WinterGuard is a "composite material of asphalt polymers, formed into a rolled sheet. The asphalt makes it vapor-tight, and the polymers make the asphalt elastic and sticky", meaning it seals around nails that are driven through it. Check out this video to see WinterGuard in action.

2. Water-resistant Underlayment

     What is it? This is the underlayment that covers and protects the bulk of your roof.

     Why do you need it? Having a water-resistant, but not waterproof, barrier allows moisture to pass through but not water itself. This is what protects your home from anything that gets past the shingles themselves.

     Why DiamondDeck? CertainTeed's DiamondDeck® underlayment is synthetic, made of felt that's been saturated with a asphalt and fiberglass blend. It is scrim-reinforced to improve the protective surface and fully-adhering, meaning less wrinkles for a cleaner, flatter roof surface. An excellent choice for Northern climates, DiamondDeck withstands high winds, so if shingles get blown off, you don't actually need to replace them for up to six months. DiamondDeck holds up better and longer, giving it great value for the cost. You can watch this video to see DiamondDeck as it's applied to a roof.

3. Starter Shingles

     What is it? These are the first shingles to be laid down, hence the name "starter," and they line the edges of the roof.

     Why do you need it? Starter shingles are laid differently than normal shingles, defending the rest of the shingles from wind uplifts along the edge of the roof.


Here's another way of looking at the layers:

4. Roof Shingles 

     What is it? These are what most laymen think of when they think of a roof. They are made with a base material, a coating asphalt, a mineral filler, and finally a surfacing material like mineral granules.

     Why do you need it? Shingles are the first line of defence for your roof and home.

     Why CertainTeed? CertainTeed makes architectural shingles, meaning they are significantly sturdier than the 3-tab shingles of the past. They also offer more color options than their competitors and most people prefer their aesthetics to other shingles. In 2005, CertainTeed won the Professional Remodelers Best in Class award for their superior quality roofing system. You can watch CertainTeed shingles being made here. CertainTeed also offers shingles made with their StreakFighter® Algae-Resistant Technology, which you can read about here and here.

5. Hip & Ridge Caps

     What is it? Hips and ridges, as you can see in the diagram above, are the peaks of a roof. They get capped, and the caps then get covered with special shingles to match the roofing shingles and give a nice, finished look to the roof.

     Why do you need it? In order to ensure proper attic ventilation, which we'll explain more in a moment, there should be a 1" gap in the roof at the hips and ridges down to the plywood deck. This then gets covered by a ridge vent to allow proper circulation for warm air coming up from out of the attic. They also add another layer of protection to keep water from getting under the shingles and to keep the wind from blowing your roof off.

6. Roof Ventilation

     What is it? This should really be the number one thing because a lot of it happens before any shingles get laid down. Heat rises, so having proper ventilation is critical to protection your home. This is often in the form of ridge vents (see above) that allow warm air to leave the attic without allowing the outside to get inside.

     Why do you need it? Roofs need to be properly ventilated for a number of reasons: it keeps the framing, insulation, and plywood from being damaged or rotting, and it helps combat potential mold and mildew problems. A properly vented roof will give the shingles a longer life expectancy as well. You can learn more about ventilation herehere, and here.

It is also vital to make sure your roof is properly flashed with drip edge and step flashing to protect the home in the seams of the roofing materials and around the roof's edges. 


You can watch a full CertainTeed Integrity Roof System® Installation here

We are a Shingle Master Certified company partnering with CertainTeed Roofing Products to bring the you quality roofing products and installation you deserve. Our Shingle Master Certification allows us to offer a Sure Start Plus 4 Star 50-year warranty

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Henry Blueskin VP100

If you follow us on Facebook, you may have seen progress updates from the house we are currently building in Carlton. Here's a picture of it from Thursday, September 21st:

We are finally onto the housewrap phase. (And just in time for the rainy season!)

We are finally onto the housewrap phase. (And just in time for the rainy season!)

If you've ever seen a new house being wrapped, you may think this blue stuff we're putting on looks a quite bit different than normal. That's because it is.

Allow us to introduce you to one of our favorite products: Henry Blueskin VP100. Unlike normal housewrap products, Blueskin is self-adhering. This means that there won't be any gapping in the housewrap, making it significantly more water-tight - just what we need here in the rainy Pacific Northwest.

Take a look at this example from an informational brochure by Henry:

Blueskin is technically considered a membrane, rather than a plain old housewrap. It is air-tight, water-tight, and weather-tight, which also means it is more energy-efficient than other housewraps, reducing energy bills and keeping your home more protected. You can read all about the technical data of Blueskin VP100 here.

We love this stuff so much, we make sure to put the option to upgrade to Blueskin on all of our bids for siding jobs. If you are interested in having us put Blueskin on your home, you can learn more about our siding services here.

In the meantime, follow us on Facebook to keep up to date with the progress of our Carlton house, and feel free to stop by our office to check out a sample of VP100. You're going to love it!

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Warning Signs You Picked the Wrong Contractor

We know that a lot of time and research can go into finding the right contractor, as it should. But sometimes you can still end up being deceived and hire the wrong contractor. Here are some of the warning signs that you might have hired the wrong contractor for your project:

  • You never signed a contract - legally if the job is $2000 or more, the contractor is required to have a contract. Regardless of the cost of the job, having a contract is a great safeguard for both the contractor and you.
  • Virtually no details are written in the contract - you should know exactly what work is being done and what products are being used; the more detail, the better.
  • You are required to get permits, or permits are purchased in your name - this is a warning sign that they aren't licensed.
  • They aren't licensed or bonded or insured, or they don't have workman's compensation.
  • They don't (or won't) give you references.
  • They tie deposits to specific dates rather than work completion milestones - projected completion dates change often; completion milestones don't change.
  • The workmanship is poor quality.
  • There are unexplained delays in their work - you should be informed of any potential delays that come up and when they can be resolved.
  • There is drug or alcohol use on the job site.
  • They have poor communication skills.
  • They don't follow what's written in your contract - if your contract is detailed enough for you to know what they are doing and what products they are using, they should be sticking to that.
  • They aren't following OSHA guidelines.
  • They steal from you - whether it's stealing your money on the job site by scamming you, or stealing your belongings, it's never okay.

If any of these sound familiar, it might be time to fire the contractor and find someone new. It's worth it to make sure your home is taken care of with quality work and quality products the first time around.

For more information about selecting a contractor and avoiding any problems, check out these resources: Oregon CCB's 16 Ways to Avoid Remodeling, Repair, and Construction Problems, our guide to Choosing the Right Contractor for You,'s Contractor Checklist, and HouseLogic's tips for Fighting Back Against a Bad Contractor.

How to Choose the Right Contractor for You

We understand that choosing a contractor is not an easy task – there’s a lot involved with finding someone you trust to work on your home. You don’t want just anyone to complete your project. We get that, and we feel the same way.

Much like finding a business partner, you want to find a contractor who you trust, who communicates well with you, who knows what you want and is able to do it for you. And this is especially important if you have a job that will last longer – you don’t want to get halfway through the project and realize the contractor you hired is not going to work out after all.

So we’ve compiled the following lists of questions for you to consider when choosing a contractor.

Things to Ask Yourself:

  • Do I feel comfortable and safe with this contractor?
  • Do I trust this contractor to work on and in my home?
  • Does this contractor know what they are talking about?
  • Are they explaining things in a way that I can understand? Are they using big words to confuse me and make it seem like they know more than they do?
  • Is this contractor being transparent with me, or are does it feel like they are hiding things?
  • Does this contractor actually listen to me and understand what I want?
  • Do I have a good gut feeling about this contractor?
  • Does the value of what I’m getting make me feel good about the price? Is it worth it?

Things to Ask the Contractor (& Our Answers)

  • Are you licensed?
    • Yes. Our CCB license number is #172566. You can check that our license is active at the CCB website here, and we can give you a copy as well, if you would like.
  • Do you have a lead license to work on homes built prior to 1978?
    • Yes we do. Our Lead Based Paint Renovation license is LBPR172566. You can learn more about Lead Safety requirements here.
  • Are you insured?
    • We are insured through United Fire Group, with Commercial General Liability, Automobile Liability, and Excess Liability. We can provide you a copy of our insurance. We also are insured through SAIF Corporation in compliance with Oregon Workers' Compensation laws.
  • How long have you been in business?
    • 20 years as of November 2017.
  • How do you handle any problems that arise? Can you site a specific example?
    • If a problem comes up, we ask that you notify us as soon as possible, and likewise we will notify you of any problems on our end. We believe that communication is key. We will work with you to come to an agreement/solution regarding the problem. If need be, the CCB offers arbitration services. This is what the State of Oregon has to say about resolving disputes.
  • What exactly am I getting for the price you’ve given me?
    • We make our estimates as specific as possible, and if you have any questions, we would love to go over your estimate with you.
  • What is your payment plan?
    • We ask that you put down a 50% deposit at signing so we can secure a spot on the schedule for your project and get materials ordered. Depending on the length of the project, we ask for one to three progress payments, and once the work is completed, we send you the final invoice.
  • Do you offer financing? Will you work with me to get financing?
    • Yes, we do, and yes, we will. We can provide you with several financing options. An approximate monthly payment option will also be listed on your bid.
  • Can you give me a list of references?
    • Gladly! We always send our references attached to your formal proposal, and if you’d like to see them before that, just let us know.
  • When can you start the work?
    • Starting date will depend on the project and what our calendar currently looks like. For a more specific answer, you can call our office at 971.832.0191.
  • How long will it take to complete the project?
    • Project length will also depend on the type of project, but this is something you can ask our estimator when they come out to take a look.
  • What products will you be using? Why those products?
    • Again, this depends on the project, but we would be more than happy to tell you what products we would use on your project and why we like them.
  • What kind of maintenance will I need to do after the fact?
    • Check out this helpful Art of Manliness checklist.
  • Do you have a warranty program for your workmanship? What about the products?
    • Product warranties vary depending on the manufacturer. Square Deal extends to the original Homeowner the standard 1 year construction warranty, to cover the life of the renovations.
  • Is there anything else I need to know?
    • For a full rundown of Our Process, click here.

Things to Ask Their References:

  • What kind of project did this contractor do for you?
  • What was the process like?
  • Were there any hidden fees?
  • Did the price you were charged match the price on the estimate you were given?
  • What was the cost versus value experience for you?
  • What were the pros and cons of working with this contractor?
  • Did you have any concerns or problems with this contractor? If so, how were they remedied?
  • Would you hire them again? Why (or why not)?

We understand that your home is your safe place, and we want it to stay that way.

For more helpful information when it comes to choosing a contractor, check out this brochure from the Certified Contractors Network and this question list from the National Association of Home Builders.


1. What happens when you come out to my house to give me an estimate?

The intention of the first meeting is just for us to meet, go over the project, get a feel for what the project consists of and what your expectations are. We will discuss your budget and types of finishes you would like. Sometimes the budget doesn’t allow for the desired finishes, in which case we can talk about alternate solutions. Depending on the complexity of the project, we can come up with an estimate during our visit. Other times, the estimator will need to leave, do some research, and get back to you with an estimate. Once this process is complete, and you feel comfortable working with Square Deal, we would start the process of creating a formal proposal. This will include all the specs for the job, to include, types of trim, flooring, siding, windows, roofing, cabinetry, countertops, faucets, etc. With this information, we can create an accurate lump sum proposal. We try very hard to account for every aspect and not use budgets for items like some companies do. This is more work in the beginning, but it allows the project to flow more efficiently and it reduces the surprise cost overruns by the end of the project. Often times we will need construction drawings to allow us to bid the project accurately.


2. I’m not sure what I want my project to look like exactly. Can you help me with that?

We have an in house Architectural and Interior Designer, who can create these drawings and assist you with all of the design and selection aspects of your project, if you need or would like help with this. Our fee for this service starts with another design consultation at $65 per hour with a two-hour minimum. Based on the information gathered from that meeting, we will prepare a proposal for the design work and construction drawings. These designs and drawings will be yours even if you choose not to use us to do the project.


3. What if I want to accept your estimate, but I’m not ready for you to start my project yet?

If you decide to go with Square Deal but aren’t ready to start your project until next year, we will just keep your proposal in our file and rebid at the time when you want to start the project. We are normally 3 months +/- out on larger projects.