roof damage portland

Top 5 Causes of Roof Damage to Portland Homes

roof damage portland

We’ve been working on roofs in the Portland area for over 40 years! During that time, we’ve seen it all. Over the years, we’ve learned about the most common causes of leaks and roof damage to homes in the Portland area.

In today’s post, we’ll talk about the damage that can be caused by Portland weather, local insects and pests, poor roofing work, and much more.

Let’s get started!


1. Weather

Portland weather can really wreak havoc on your roof!

Heavy Rain

If there’s one thing you know as a Portland homeowner, it’s that sometimes it feels like the rain will never stop!

Heavy rain contributes to many roof problems. First, water on your roof can get under your shingles and cause leaks. Plus, wet roofs are a haven for mold, lichen, and fungus, all of which can make your roof look worse and increase the chances of structural damage to your roof and home.


Snow & Ice

Snow and ice storms aren’t that common in Portland, but when they do occur, they can cause damage to your roof, shingles, and gutters. How?

  • Snow and ice are heavy. Because it might take days (or even weeks!) for all the snow and ice to melt, the accumulated weight can damage your roof’s structure. Plus, big icicles can fall and cause damage to your home or even serious injuries!
  • Snow and ice contribute to leaks. As snow and ice slowly melt, they cause drips that can last for weeks! Plus as snow and ice melt and refreeze, water can seep under your shingles and expand, prying shingles up from below.
  • Snow and ice can act as a drainage barrier. Ice can freeze in your gutters, keeping them from draining properly. A layer of snow and ice on your roof can act like a blanket, trapping warm air inside your home– leading to condensation that can damage the structure of your roof.



Heavy winds, particularly during Portland’s winter storms, can cause serious damage to your roof. Strong winds can loosen shingles or cause shingles that are already loose to blow away entirely. Wind can also cause trees and branches to fall on your roof.


Extreme Temperatures

Fortunately, Portland has a pretty moderate climate. But we do see some extreme temperatures that can cause problems for your roof and your home.

During the winter, temperatures below freezing can cause shingles to crack. Extremely high temperatures can make roofing materials expand, bend, and even warp. The worst part about damage from high heat is that you probably won’t notice any problems during the dry summer months. It’s only when the rainy season rolls around that you’ll start seeing leaks and drips.

That’s why we recommend seasonal roof inspections!


2. Trees & Branches

Don’t get us wrong: we love how many awesome, huge, old trees there are in the Portland area.

But big trees can cause problems for your roof. During winter storms, big branches can get weighed down with snow and ice and come crashing onto your roof, causing serious structural damage. Heavy rain can loosen a tree’s root structure and cause it to fall on your home’s roof.

The best thing to do is keep your trees pruned and have your trees inspected and make sure they’re not a danger to your home.

Healthy trees are happy trees!


3. Insects & Other Pests

Insects like ants and termites can get into your home through your roof. Plus they can build nests that are hard to spot before they cause serious structural damage. In addition to insects, squirrels and raccoons can damage your roof by building a nest in your attic.

The best way to combat roof damage from insects and other pests is to have your roof inspected for weak spots and other possible points of entry.


4. Lack of Care & Maintenance

One of the biggest factors that contribute to roof damage in Portland is simply a lack of regular maintenance. The best way to prevent serious roof damage is simple: nip it in the bud with regular inspections and preventive maintenance.

Here’s what can happen if you don’t:

  • Clogged Gutters – Can trap water, encourage mold growth and insect infestations, contribute to leaks, and ultimately fail it not cleaned and repaired.
  • Cracked Chimneys – Ice that expands as it freezes is one of the biggest causes of cracked chimneys. But a chimney can also crack naturally over time as bricks and other materials become unstable.
  • Leaky Skylights – Skylights are a great way to let natural light into your home. But unless they’re inspected regularly for leaks and other problems, little issues can turn into big problems. Even if you don’t see leaks in your home, poorly maintained skylights can trap moisture and condensation that can damage the wood in your roof’s structure.
  • Roof Damage – Loose, warped, or missing shingles, as well as damage to the roof’s underlayment and flashing, can all lead to serious roof damage. What could’ve been a simple fix might eventually require a full roof replacement.


5. Poor Quality Roofing Work

The previous owner of your home might’ve even a DIY roof repair that didn’t turn out quite right. In our experience, poor roofing work can cause more problems than it solves!

When we inspect a roof, we look for issues like:

  • Improperly Installed Shingles – Loose shingles let water in and cause serious structural damage. They are also more likely to blow away during a storm and will need to be replaced sooner rather than later.
  • Flashing – Flashing is the thin metal pieces under the shingles and the joints in your roof. They are designed to create a waterproof barrier. Flashing that’s not installed or maintained properly can crack over time, resulting in leaks and other roof problems.
  • Re-roofing – We take an extra close look at any roof that has been “re-roofed” (one that has had a new roof laid on top of the old one). It’s a common cause of leaks, mold, and other roof problems. Remember – you can only roof over a single layer of shingles and that eventually the whole roof will need to be replaced!


Protect Your Roof!

Your home is the biggest investment you’ll ever make. Regular roof inspections, maintenance, and repairs can help protect your home from problems caused by a damaged roof. Contact Fivecoat Roofing today to find out how we can help you protect your roof! We’ll come out to your home and offer you a free, no-obligation estimate.


Photo Credits: Brian Robinson, Brian Robinson