Cleaning Roof and Gutters

Cleaning Your Roof and Gutters

Gutters have one job: to guide rainwater off your roof, straight down the drain and away from your house. Despite their importance, it can be easy to forget about them until something goes wrong.

If your gutters become clogged or broken, the results can be serious: not only could you end up with structural damage that costs a fortune to repair, the resulting dampness can cause health issues for you and your family.

While we are always happy to help clean roofs and gutters, we wanted to share our top three tips in case you want to give it ago on your own.

Word to the wise: Be safe! Go with your gut. If you’re not comfortable on a ladder or roof, stop and call a professional.

Be prepared: Have the right tools

Here’s a short list of the tools you’ll need:

  • Gloves
  • Safe ladder
  • Trash can
  • Water hose
  • Ladder
  • Five-gallon bucket
  • Blower

Once you have your tools, get started on the roof first and then clean then the gutters. While cleaning the gutter, start at the downspout and work away – rinsing as you go.

Stay Safe on the Ladder

Safety is the number one priority when you’re up on a roof. These few key things will help keep you safe while you’re off the ground:

  • Make sure your ladder has 3 rungs above the edge of the roof edge when using it to get on and off the roof.
  • Use a ladder stabilizer to protect the gutters and keep the ladder from teetering
  • Be aware of where the power lines are – and stay clear

Avoid the “NO’s” of roof cleaning

These three things are cardinal sins of roof cleaning – never do them:

  • No power washing
  • No brushing or scrubbing
  • No scraping

When it comes to asphalt/composition roofing, be careful to clean it correctly. Never power wash, scrub, brush or scrape. The use of these methods will loosen and remove the sandy layer of granules and will result in voiding your roofing warranty.

Be sure to contact a professional and always check with your roofing manufacturers for approved cleaning meatheads and chemicals.

Do you have any other roof and gutter tips to share with local property owners? Let us know in the comments below!

Fire Prevention in the Mid-Willamette Valley

As we near the end of fire season, fire prevention is definitely first and foremost in our minds and conversations. California had a tough season as well, which is a potential foreshadowing of what we can expect in coming years. And if we can learn anything from California’s recent fires, it’s that a fire can take a typical city neighborhood and reduce it to ashes it in just hours; as seen most recently in the Redding fire this year.

There are many different factors that impact fire season in our region, but one is the local people. The Willamette Valley is becoming more populated than ever, which can negatively impact fire risk – especially when some are ignorant of fire risks. We must keep basic fire prevention in mind, because the decision one neighbor makes can affect thousands of other community members.

Climate change is another important factor in fire seasons. Climate change is a very real issue to some and to others a hoax, and while we won’t weigh in we know one thing to be a fact: Oregon is in the middle of a severe drought. We aren’t in the business of debating political or environmental issues, but we need to stay aware of what we do every day that makes a good or bad impact on the environment around us – and do our best to limit the negative impacts.

aumsville oregonWhat can we do to prevent neighborhood wildfires? It starts in our own yard. Defensible Space (sometimes called “firescaping”) is a term relating to keeping your yard lean and green – and increases your home’s chance of surviving a wildfire. Defensible space is the buffer you create between a building on your property and the grass, trees, shrubs, or any wildland area that surround it. This defensible space reduces the risk that fire will spread from one area to another, or to a structure, and provides firefighters a safer access area from which to defend a threatened area. Firefighters sometimes do not attempt to protect structures without adequate defensible space, as it is less safe and less likely to succeed.

ReadyforWildfire.org does a fantastic job teaching how to “zone” your property and the basic rules of safety when it comes to fire prevention. This includes where to trim, prune, plant, remove plants, and even store firewood. They also provide diagrams of how to plant on slopes (vertical spacing vs. horizontal spacing) and share some fire-resistant plants.

firescaping

Luckily there are several steps we can take on our own property to greatly reduce the risk of fires in our neighborhoods. At Hart Property Maintenance, we believe that as a community we should always have a great respect for our environment, and that can start right in our own backyard.

Do you have other tips for fire prevention? Let us know in the comments!

roof and gutter maintenance

6 Tips for Roof and Gutter Maintenance

When was the last time you looked at your roof and gutters?

If it’s been awhile, don’t let it sit another minute! Unfortunately, homeowner’s insurance most likely will not cover damage from a leaky roof if homeowners aren’t keeping it maintained. In fact, insurers will generally require homeowners to show proof that they stayed up on maintenance.

And this problem isn’t getting better. In the past two years we’ve seen an uptick in home inspections from insurance companies, and they threaten to cancel coverage if the homeowner is neglecting to keep their roof and gutters in check with an emphasis of moss control

But don’t fear! We at Hart Property Maintenance want to make sure your roof and gutters are in good condition, and that your home is covered in a worst-case scenario. Below are the top 6 tips to maintain your roof:

1. Look Up
At least twice a year, in Fall and Spring, look at your roof and gutters from the ground for any of the following warning signs:

  • Lifting or missing shingles
  • Damaged drip edge
  • Buckling, loose or missing flashing
  • Missing or exposed fasteners
  • Sagging or broken leaking gutters
  • Piles of granules
  • Heavy debris accumulation

2. Trim Your Trees
Any good-sized storm could send branches crashing onto your roof, so you shouldn’t overlook any leaning branches that could scratch or gouge your roof materials. Look around the landscaping in your yard for any potentially dangerous branches and keep them trimmed away. Remember keep your yard out of your homes bubble.

3. Clean Your Gutter
gutter cleaningWe recommend you hire an expert to clean your gutters a few times per year (we’re happy to help!). Leaves and other elements can clog your gutters and cause water to backup into the attic, living areas or behind the fascia boards. This is especially important before an intense storm, where water can back up quickly. Also, be on the lookout for sagging gutters or damaged drain components and repair or replace as needed.

4. Look for Moss and Algae
Help avoid moss and algae growing by keeping your attic properly ventilated, removing any debris, and trimming those overhanging branches from nearby trees (see tip #2!) When you see it treat it.

5. Re-Caulk, When Necessary
This is especially important to keep in check. Caulking is used in many places on your roof and gutters and has a life expectancy usually less than the other roofing materials it is applied to. Roof warranties can be voided by not staying up in this. If you don’t know what you’re doing, we recommend hiring an expert to help you with the caulking process (another time we’re happy to stop by).

6. Check Your Insulation
Without proper ventilation, heat and moisture can cause sheathing and rafting to rot, roof materials to buckle and insulation to lose effectiveness. This will cause your overall roofing system to be ineffective. Proper insulation and ventilation in your attic will help keep your roof in good condition and reduce any moisture.

Bonus Tip: Be Safe!

roof cleaningDIY roof repairers beware! For those bold enough to attempt roof maintenance yourself, please bare in mind that it’s dangerous up there. It’s advisable to stay on a firmly braced ladder equipped with t a ladder stabilizer attached when possible. If you do decide to walk on the roof, it’s best to wear rubber-soled shoes to prevent slipping. Fall protection gear is heavily advised for that oh slip moment. Safety gear can be acquired at most large home improvement centers.

All these steps should keep your roof and gutters maintained and lasting for years to come. Do you have any other tips to share? Let us know in the comments below!