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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Choosing the Right Countertop Material for Your Lifestyle

There is an abundance of countertop materials to choose from when renovating your kitchen - marble, quartz, quartzite, soapstone, butcher block, concrete, granite, limestone, laminate, recycled glass, stainless steel, terrazzo, ceramic tile, and even paper composite. But which material is right for you and your lifestyle?

Let's take a look at the pros and cons of some of the most popular materials:

MARBLE

Pros: The look (obviously); marble is as classy as it gets; it's mostly heat durable; and it's timeless so you maintenance aside, you won't want to change it.

Cons: Marble is a porous surface so it will absorb liquids and stain and etch, meaning it needs to be resealed every year or two. It gets nicked, cut, and scratched easily. Plus it's the one of the most expensive materials you can pick for your countertops.

If you watch home improvement shows at all, you've probably heard the phrase "carrara marble" thrown around a lot. Carrara marble is a variety of marble that is one of the highest qualities of marble, and it comes in the typical white and blue-gray color people picture when they think of marble. Marble is absolutely beautiful, but it is also extremely expensive. If you are going for a kitchen that is luxurious, timeless, and more show-than-tell, marble might be the right countertop for you.

QUARTZ

Pros: Quartz is the man-made version of marble, so you get the beauty of the real stuff, combined with great engineering that has gotten rid of the flaws, making quartz stain, scratch, head, acid, and impact resistant. It's also a non-porous surface, so you don't ever have to reseal it - you gotta love low maintenance.

Cons: Like the real thing, quartz can get chipped, particularly on the corners and edges, and the repair work requires a professional.

We here at Square Deal Construction Company love quartz. We always include it as an option in our kitchen remodel estimates because we think it's so great! If you like the look of marble, but you have a budget and you actually use your kitchen on a daily basis, quartz is probably the countertop for you. To see what your kitchen would look like with quartz, check out Cambria's online app DragonVision, or if you have iOS, you can use the Cambria AR app.

GRANITE

Pros: Granite comes in a huge variety of color options and variations, and it can be polished (shiny) or honed (matte). Once it's been sealed, granite is non-porous so it's easy to clean. It's also mostly resistant to heat, cuts, and scratches.

Cons: Needs to be sealed! Seriously, granite absorbs absolutely everything if it's not professionally and properly sealed, and periodically resealed. Another con is how easy it is for the corners to get chipped.

Because they are anything but man-made, granite countertops are one-of-a-kind. If you don't mind a little more maintenance for your counters, and you are possibly interested in more rare colors, granite just might be what you're looking for. You can see what different granite colors look like in a kitchen with the Keystone Kitchen Visualizer.

CONCRETE

Pros: Because concrete is so sturdy, it's almost completely stain, heat, and water resistant, as long as it's been properly sealed. It's also super easy to customize - everything from the thickness to the edges to the color to the finish can be customized.

Cons: Concrete will patina (darken in color) over time and it does require periodic maintenance such as resealing to keep it in tip top shape.

If you're going for a more unique, very stylized aesthetic in your kitchen, concrete might be just the countertop you need.

RECYCLED GLASS

Curava  Recycled Glass Surfaces from  Keystone Granite

Curava Recycled Glass Surfaces from Keystone Granite

Pros: Recycled glass countertops are super unique and fun. They have large pieces of glass to significantly more finely ground pieces. It's also mostly resistant to cuts, scratches, and heat, although that varies by manufacturer.

Cons: The two biggest cons for recycled glass surfaces is that they can stain and how wide a cost range there is.

If you want a more colorful, eco-friendly kitchen, recycled glass is a good way to go, although you should definitely do more research into which manufacturers are better.

BUTCHER BLOCK

Pros: Butcher block brings some often much-needed warmth and character to a kitchen, and it is a great way to have multi-use surfaces. They are also extremely sanitary when they've been properly sealed. 

Cons: Butcher block needs to be sealed and oiled regularly to stay in good condition. It's not a great material to put around a sink because of how wet the sink area usually is, but it's a good option for a counter space near the oven or as an island top. The wood is also susceptible to scratches and dents, just like a regular cutting board.

If you like a more natural look, and you need multi-functional space, you should consider adding some butcher block to your kitchen.

 

You can find more information on countertop materials at these locations: Studio McGee's rundown of countertop surfaces pros and cons; Consumer Reports "Best Countertops for Busy Kitchens" report; Stock Cabinet Express's comparison of granite versus quartz; the Countertop Preview consumer toolbox Countertop Comparison Chart; Jenna Burger's helpful rundown of materials; Zillow's guide; and Lindsay Stephenson's revisit of quartz countertops.


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The 35 Best Home Hacks of All Time

1. Don’t throw away dryer sheets once you’re done with them – use them to clean your baseboards instead.

2. Clean your sponge by throwing it in the microwave for 30 seconds to kill any lurking bacteria.

3. Use WD-40 to clean stainless steel appliances. It can also remove shoe streaks from tile and wood flooring.

4. Keep your sneakers looking new by scrubbing them with toothpaste from time to time.

5. Bread isn’t just for eating – you can use it to pick up miniscule pieces of broken glass or set it on top of a cake fresh from the oven to keep the cake perfectly moist.

6. Don’t have the time (or space) to pull out the iron? Use a hair straightener to smooth over any wrinkles before you run out the door.

7. Magic Erasers really are magic – use them to clean basically everything!

8. Need your clothes to dry faster than the eta on the dryer? Toss a dry terrycloth towel in the mix.

9. Make store bought cookie dough mix taste more like homemade by adding in a bit of cinnamon.

10. Use Scotch tape to make a grid over the top of your vase before inserting flowers to keep stems exactly where you want them.

11. Those over-the-door shoe hangers make great snack pockets to amplify your pantry space.

12. Add a second shower curtain rod to your shower for storage space. Use “S” hooks with clips to hang up stuff that normally clutters up the edges of the shower.

13. Soften up the gunk in your microwave before you clean it out by heating up a glass of water in the microwave for about 2 minutes.

14. Cut a lemon in half and use the insides to clean hard water stains off faucets in sinks, tubs, and showers. You can also squeeze the juice out, add a little bit of baking soda to it, and use it to remove rust. Toss the lemons in the microwave first for about 20 seconds to optimize the amount of juice you’ll get out of them.

15. Put a magnetic strip on the inside of a bathroom drawer to keep bobby pins from taking over the space.

16. Remove fake drawers from under the sink in your kitchen and put in a dowel to hold paper towel rolls.

17. Put a Lazy Susan under the sink to keep things accessible.

18. Keep your fridge full – it will cut down on your energy bills.

19. Put a rubber band in between a stripped screw and your screw driver to have better control over the screw.

20. Don’t throw away all that trash – check out this Country Living article on trash you could be selling on eBay.

21. Stop spending money on fabric softener and use distilled white vinegar instead.

22. Use an egg slicer for more than just eggs – you can slice kiwi, strawberries, avocado, mushrooms, and pears with it! Just make sure you clean it in between uses.

23. Put cooked chicken into a mixer for some hands-free shredding.

24. Fix scratches in your wood floors and furniture by rubbing a shelled walnut over it.

25. Throw some marshmallows in with your brown sugar to keep it soft and clump-free.

26. Use a pizza cutter to slice herbs like a pro.

27. The sticky side of a Post-It note makes a great dust collector for keyboards.

28. Stuff newspaper into your shoes to dry them out and remove any odors.

29. Wipe your windows and mirrors with newspaper to avoid any lint leftovers.

30. Use empty toilet paper rolls to wrap and store extension cords.

31. Put rubber gloves (or old shoes) on the ends of a ladder to keep from scuffing the wall.

32. Heat up those annoyingly sticky price stickers with a hairdryer to make them easier to remove.

33. Aerate your wine much faster by putting it in the blender for 60 seconds.

34. Get rid of grease stains with chalk.

35. Leave a wooden spoon across the top of a pot water to keep it from boiling over.

 

For more useful home hacks, check out www.homehacks.com.


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The Perks of Metal Roofing

We are currently building a new home out in Carlton and putting a standing seam metal roof on it. Here are some of the benefits of a metal roof:

  • Look - the metal roof is a classic look, lending itself to many different architectural styles. Plus, it comes in dozens of colors, styles, and patterns!
  • Durability - metal roofing won't rot, curl, split, flake, peel, break, burn, or blow off. It's also more resistant to hail, wind, fire, and freezing/thawing problems than composite and asphalt roofing materials. Not to mention it's so much lower in maintenance than those other materials and lasts much longer.
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  • Lightweight - most styles are less than one-third the weight of asphalt shingles.
  • Energy Efficient - metal roofs in general are more energy efficient than asphalt shingles, and you can upgrade to "cool metal roofing" that is even more efficient because of the pigments in it and the way they are designed to reflect sunlight and heat. This guide talks more about the importance of a 1-150 NFA balance in your attic.
  • Value - besides the fact that metal roofs last significantly longer than other roofing materials, they can also add resale value to your home, and, in some cases, even reduce the cost of your homeowners' insurance.
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You can learn more about our roofing services here. And in the meantime, you can follow along with the progress of the Carlton Quaker House on our Facebook page.

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, DoItYourself.com'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.