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Archive for the ‘Cleaning’ Category

8 Questions to Ask a Roof Cleaner

July 21, 2017

Homeowners know it’s important to clean and maintain their roof; they just don’t know what they should be doing or who to hire. Picking the wrong roof cleaner can lead to leaky, damaged roofs. You could also end up on the hook for injured employees, or even a voided roof warranty.

Don’t let this happen to you. Ask these 8 questions when talking to potential roof cleaners to make sure you are hiring someone you want to work with.

 

Are You Licensed?

Roofs provide a shield against the weather for your home. It’s important anyone working on your roof be licensed professionals to ensure the work is up to a high standard. Different states have different requirements, but most have some form of certification.

  • Washington – In Washington state, anyone who performs construction work (including any roofing activities) must register as a contractor with the Washington State Department of Labor & Industries.
  • Oregon – In Oregon, you must pass a test to become a licensed roofer with the Oregon Construction Contractors Board.

Not working with a licensed roofer can leave you with few options if they perform faulty or damaging work. Even if nothing is damaged, you’re at risk for having a lower quality of work done, as the roofers cleaning your roof are not well trained.

 

Are You Insured?

Let’s face it; roof maintenance is dangerous! Experienced roofers like Northwest Roof Maintenance take every precaution to ensure our employees are safe, but anything can happen when you are on a roof.

All reputable roof cleaners will carry workers compensation and liability insurance to cover their employees on the job. If they do not have insurance, you could be held liable for any injuries incurred while work is done on your home.

 

How Long Have You Been in Business?

Good businesses tend to stick around. While there are plenty of good new businesses as well, if a roofer has been in operation for 10 or more years you know they are doing something right. Generally, these businesses are entrenched in the community and have built themselves a great reputation around hard work and friendly service.

 

How Can I Be Assured You’ll Do a Good Job?

Knowing if a roofer will do a good job is a hard thing to figure out. It’s hard to take any service provider at their word. That said, there are ways to figure out if a roofer does a good job.

  • Do they offer references?
  • Do they have good online reviews?
  • Do they value education and training?
  • Do they clean up after themselves?

If they don’t say yes to all four of those questions, it is probably a good idea to look elsewhere for a roof cleaner.

 

What Do You Use to Clean Roofs?

Different roofs require different approaches to cleaning. Using the right method to clean your specific roof is essential. Below, we’ve put some red flags to look out for when potential roof cleaners are telling you their methods.

Pressure Washing

If a roof cleaner’s first instinct is to just pressure wash your roof, you probably want to move on to the next roof cleaner. Not only can power washing damage your asphalt roof, it can also void its warranty. Just because your roof may look good after a power wash, it is only a band aid fix. The only way to truly attack the root of a problem like moss is to fix it with a targeted solution.

Dangerous Chemicals

Make sure your roof cleaner is not using dangerous chemicals to clean your roof. Many cleaners will not openly admit to doing it, for obvious reasons. Chemicals can damage and void the warranty on your roof. They will also wreak havoc on your yard and landscaping below and might be dangerous to use around children and pets.

 

Do You Also Perform More Serious Roof Maintenance?

Why hire multiple companies to complete all the work on your roof? It makes a lot more sense to form a lasting relationship with a roofer who will know the history of your roof every time they are cleaning and maintaining it. Since a roof cleaner will be on your roof, you will want one who will notice, and then be able to fix larger issues.

 

Do You Perform Free Inspections?

You should not pay for inspections. Reputable and trustworthy roof cleaners know they are offering a fair price, and do not mind quoting jobs for free. Look for a roof cleaner who will listen to your concerns and problems, and give you a free estimate. More than likely their estimate will be more reasonable than a roofer charging for a quote.

 

Do You Guarantee Your Work?

Never work with a roof cleaner that does not guarantee their work. Roof maintenance and care take a lot of skill, and good roof cleaners are hard to come by. All of the best roof cleaners out there guarantee their work and will come out to fix any work you believe is not up to par.

A reputable and trusted cleaner knows how important cared for roofs are to well-maintained homes. They will make you feel comfortable with the services being performed. They are looking for long-term customers who know good roof maintenance is not a one time job.

 

The NW Roof Team

Do you need your roof cleaned in the Vancouver, WA or Portland, OR area?

Work with Northwest Roof Maintenance to ensure you are working with experienced, well-trained professionals who know what they are doing. We help homeowners in the Portland and Vancouver area with roof cleaning, repair, moss cleaning, and preventative treatments.

Our friendly, knowledgeable consultants will take a look at your roof and recommend only the services we know will benefit you and your property. Contact us online or give us a call today at 503-740-4808 (Portland) or 360-910-8938 (Vancouver).

The Pros & Cons Of Different Roofing Materials

June 5, 2017

nw roof maintenance

When it comes to roofs, your experience with maintenance and repairs will depend on what type of roofing material you have. Some roofing materials require very little maintenance, while others require a lot and are more vulnerable to damage.

Tile, Cedar, and composition are three popular roofing options, each with unique qualities. Whether you’re choosing a material for your new roof or learning more about maintaining the roof you have, it’s important to understand the benefits and drawbacks of these common roofing materials.

 

Tile Roofs

Tile roofs are a classic, distinctive style of roofing popular in the South and Southwest. No wonder! Tile roofs resist damage from scorching heat and sunlight, making them a great choice for these areas. Roofing tiles can be made of clay, concrete, or a sand-cast material, but they all function in the same way.

Pros

  • Unique curb appeal – Tile roofs create an attractive look for adobo and other Southwestern-style homes.
  • Built to last – Generally, a tile roof will last for years and years. Some claim to last 50 years, but you can find homes with tiles that are older.
  • Fireproof – Unlike untreated wood roofs, tile roofs are fireproof. They also naturally resist mildew, algae, and insects.

Pro Tip: Concrete tiles can be styled to mimic the look of cedar. This means you can enjoy a cedar roof appearance without the high maintenance!

Cons

  • Heavyweight – Tiles are heavy. So heavy, in fact, that your roof will need enforcement to support the weight!
  • High cost – It should be no surprise that heavy roofing materials — and roof reinforcements — come at a high cost financially.
  • Fragile – Walking on a tile roof can cause cracks, breaks, and other damage. Any work that needs to be done on or around the roof should be performed by a skilled professional to avoid damage.
  • Maintenance – While the tiles themselves require very little maintenance, the underlayment beneath them needs to be replaced every 8 to 20 years. This involves removing the tiles from the roof and repositioning them atop the new underlayment.

Learn more about maintenance for tile roofs.

Cedar Roofs

Cedar roofs are simply gorgeous. Cedar is a renewable resource that is locally sourced in the Pacific Northwest. Many homeowners are drawn to cedar roofing for its aesthetic appeal, but unfortunately, it can fall into disrepair without the proper maintenance.

Pros

  • Exceptional beauty – It’s hard to beat the appearance of a cedar wood roof. Cedar has a natural beauty which ages well too.
  • Durability – Cedar roofs are long-lasting, resistant to insects, and generally good with storms.
  • Energy efficient – Cedar provides a natural insulation, which helps to keep home heating and cooling costs low.
  • Eco-friendly – As mentioned, cedar is a renewable resource. It’s common for Cedar harvesters to replace every tree used with another.

Cons

  • High cost – A cedar roof is a significant investment. Cedar shingles are more expensive to purchase and install compared to other roofing materials. The longevity of cedar, provided it’s properly maintained, can often provide a high return on investment.
  • High maintenance – Cedar requires diligent maintenance. In addition to annual inspections and cleanings, cedar roofs need regular moss, mold, and mildew removal and prevention treatments.
  • Can be flammable – Some building codes prohibit the use of cedar roofing materials due to their flammability. However, cedar shingles can be treated with fire retardants and chemical preservatives.

Learn more about maintenance for cedar roofs.

Roof Cleaning and Maintenance Portland OR

Composition Roofs

We see a lot of composition roofs in the Vancouver, Washington area. In fact, they are found on more than 75 percent of homes!

Composition roofs are built with shingles made from composite materials like asphalt. There are three main types of composite shingles:

  • 3-Tab – The most basic, inexpensive, and least durable option. They get their name from the shingle having three tabs. Basically, 3-tab shingles are a low-cost alternative to more decorative and traditional materials.
  • Presidential – A more luxurious type of shingle with the look of cedar but the performance of composition roofing. Many homeowners enjoy the look of a hand-split wood shake roof without sacrificing durability.
  • Architectural – Also known as laminated or dimensional shingles, architectural shingles are high-quality, durable, and stylish. Made from a heavy fiberglass mat base and ceramic-coated mineral granules, they give the roof dimension and protection.

Pros

  • Low upfront cost – Composition shingles are the most affordable roofing material in the short term (average lifespan is 12 to 17 years).
  • Variety of styles – Choose from 3-tab, presidential, and architectural shingles with a range of colors and features.
  • Relatively easy installation – Compared to other roofing materials, composition shingles are easy to install for any knowledgeable roofing contractor.

Cons

  • Vulnerable to bad weather – Composition shingles can be dislodged during storms by strong winds. They can also crack or break from any strong impact such as hail stones or fallen tree branches.
  • Vulnerable to heat – Asphalt shingles are not resistant to extreme heat, which may result in cracks and color loss. Also, extreme fluctuations in temperature can lead to expansion and contraction damages.
  • Shorter lifespan – If you are planning on staying in your home for more than 20 years, a composition roof may not be the best investment.
  • Not environmentally sustainable – Asphalt shingles are a petroleum-based product. The manufacturing process is not environmentally friendly, and the shingles often end up in landfills.

Learn more about maintenance for composition roofs.

 

Keep Your Roof In Top Shape No Matter The Material

No matter what material your roof is made from, it’s your responsibility to keep it well-maintained. Northwest Roof Maintenance can help!

We offer inspections, cleanings, coatings, moss removals, repairs, and more for homeowners in the Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington areas. Contact us for a free estimate and for all the answers to your roofing material questions.

6 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Clean Your Own Roof

March 23, 2017

Roof Cleaning

Many homeowners love DIY projects around the house. From painting to yard work, it can be fun and rewarding to do home maintenance projects. There is certainly plenty of home maintenance work that can be handled without calling a professional. However, roof cleaning is not one of them.

Especially in Portland, Vancouver, and the Pacific Northwest, regular roof cleaning is critical to remove moss and other weather-related issues. Roof cleaning prevents decay and other costly damages to your property. It also extends the lifespan of your roof, protecting an important asset to your home.

While technically you can clean your own roof, it’s not recommended. From personal injury to property damage, there are plenty of compelling reasons to leave roof cleaning to the professionals. Before you go grab your ladder and head out on the roof, consider why cleaning your own roof might not be a great idea.

6 Reasons Why You Should Not Clean Your Own Roof

Falls

Let’s get real. Roof cleaning is dangerous. You may not think your roof is too high or too slanted, but you may change your tune once you’re up there. Falls from roofs account for more than one-third of fall-related construction fatalities, and these are experienced professionals.

Falls happen for all kinds of reasons. One second of lost balance can lead to a whole world of trouble. All kinds of unforeseen events can cause a fall including early morning dew, brief summer showers, a sudden gust of winds, faulty equipment, or even a pesky insect. No matter how confident you are in your abilities, anyone can be a fall victim.

Plus, even if you don’t fall, there are all kinds of way you can hurt yourself cleaning your roof. It’s pretty easy to twist your ankle, strain your back, or suffer all sorts of cuts and bruises.

Insects

Despite what you may think, you might not be alone on your roof. Insects like wasps, hornets, and bees may have built nests in the area, especially in places that are difficult to see. Insect nests can be located on your roof, in your chimney, or in nearby trees.

If you clean your roof yourself, you risk running into these tiny creatures when you’re already in a vulnerable position. A swarm of wasps or hornets is the last thing you want to deal with while you’re trying to keep your balance. Not only are you susceptible to painful stings (hope you’re not allergic!), but you’re also more likely to fall.

ladder-upload-get-achievement-support-aluminum

 

Experience & Expertise

How many times have you cleaned a roof in your life? For the average homeowner, the answer is not many. For the experienced roofing professional, the answer is a ton! With that much experience and hands-on training comes a level of expertise that only professionals can reach.

Here are a few things a roofing professional can spot in a second, but the average homeowner might miss:

  • A potential weak spot
  • A leak or potential leak
  • Areas in need of repair
  • Signs the roof needs replacement

Not all roof damage is visible to the untrained eye. By attempting to clean your roof yourself, you risk missing key signs of damage that could escalate into larger problems. Plus, if you do find an issue, how will you know if you’ve fixed it or made it worse?

Improper handling of roof issues can lead to more serious problems down the road. It takes experience and expertise to even know what to look for, let alone how to treat problems. Simply put, roof cleaning is just not a recommended DIY project.

Cost Effective

DIY enthusiasts will argue that hiring roof cleaning professionals is a “waste of money.” However, cleaning your own roof is not necessarily a way to save money. If you clean your roof yourself, you will still have to purchase tools and supplies. Plus, actually doing the work will take you longer because you are not a trained and experienced professional. And in the end, despite your best efforts, your roof still may not be adequately cleaned.

Consider the costs of not getting a proper roof cleaning. The cost to repair roof damage or even replace your roof is considerably higher than a routine cleaning. You’re simply making a small investment in your property that will pay off over time. Especially if your roof cleaning provider, like Northwest Roof Maintenance, offers preventative treatments to keep your roof in good shape for longer.

Time Is Valuable

Cleaning a roof is a time-consuming, labor-intensive process. Do you really want to spend your summer weekends up on your roof? Probably not. Your time is valuable. That’s just another reason why you should leave roof cleaning to the professionals, so you can spend your time doing things you love.

Also, cleaning a roof isn’t really that fun. The staff at Northwest Roof Maintenance loves it, but we don’t expect the average homeowner to share our passion. So go out and enjoy your weekend with your friends and family. Come back to a clean roof!

roof maintenance

 

Ready To Call In The Professionals?

Owning a home is a big responsibility. Some home maintenance tasks you can easily do yourself, while others are best left to professionals. Take roof cleaning off your to-do list by contacting a professional roof cleaning company.

Of course, you shouldn’t just hire anybody to clean your roof. Make sure you work with experienced, well-trained professionals like the staff at Northwest Roof Maintenance. We help homeowners in the Portland-Vancouver area with roof cleaning, repair, moss cleaning, and preventative treatments.

Our friendly, expert consultants will take a look at your roof and recommend only the services we know will benefit you and your property. Contact us online or give us a call today at 503-740-4808 (Portland) or 360-558-3274 (Vancouver).

How Often Should You Clean Your Roof?

November 30, 2016

You may love to experience the four seasons each year in the Pacific Northwest, but your roof doesn’t. Rain, fog, ice, and even shade from large trees can create the perfect environment for moss and fungi to grow.

Moss, mildew, algae, and lichen grow into your shingles and wear away the material. They can even lift shingles. This creates space for water to pool and eventually leak into your home.

People in Portland and Vancouver often ask us: “How often should I clean my roof?”

It’s a good question, but unfortunately, there’s no easy answer. How often you should clean your roof really depends on several factors that affect the condition of your roof. I’ll go over those today so you can decide whether your roof needs cleaning. First, we’ll talk about how to safely and effectively clean a roof.

Let’s dive in!

How Pacific NW Roofs Should be Cleaned

First things first: Any roof expert will recommend that you don’t climb up on the roof yourself. We’ve seen too many serious injuries to people who were being cautious but simply didn’t have the expertise to navigate the roof safely.

It’s especially dangerous in the Northwest too — moss, fungi, and moisture make your roof extra slippery.

At Northwest Roof Maintenance we know how to get the job done right so that your roof will need to be cleaned much less often than if you tried to clean it yourself. Here’s how:

  1. Our roof cleaning treatments are meant to last. For example, when we get rid of moss on your roof, we also apply a follow-up treatment to your entire roof to prevent future moss growth.
  2. We always offer a free full preliminary roof inspection. This allows us to identify even the smallest leaks, cracks, and other issues that may be damaging your roof. We’ll fix any problems we find so your roof will stay strong and clean for longer.

roof damage

Now let’s figure out how often you should have someone clean your roof.

Factors that Affect Your Roof’s Condition

There are two major causes of dirty and moss-covered roofs:

  1. Excessive moisture that promotes moss, fungi, and bacteria growth
  2. Structural damage that allows water to seep under your shingles or tiles where the sun can’t reach (When there’s damage, we usually recommend our repair services before we clean your roof.)

Here are a few of the most common causes of these issues:

1. Heavy Rainfall

heavy rainfallWater that accumulates on your roof from rain creates the perfect moist environment for bacteria, moss, and fungi to thrive. After extra rainy winters, you might notice a lot more moss and fungus growth on your roof than usual.

The amount of rain that falls on your roof has a big effect on when (and how often) you should get it cleaned.

If you’re not sure whether your roof needs to be cleaned or not, you can always contact us for a free inspection and estimate.

2. Excessive Shade

Many Portland and Vancouver homes are nestled under the cover of large trees. Trees are beautiful — they help keep your home cool in the summer and increase the value of your property. Unfortunately, they can also make it hard for moisture to evaporate off your roof.

If your roof is in a shaded area, you’ll probably need a roof inspection and cleanings more often.

3. Falling Leaves and Other Debris

If you often notice leaves or other debris from trees accumulating on your roof, you may want to think about more frequent roof cleanings. Here’s why:

When leaves cover your roof, they also trap moisture, which makes it easier for moss, fungi, and bacteria to grow, which can roof damage from snowalso cause the development of leaks. As we know, excess moisture equals bad news for roofs in the Pacific Northwest!

4. Other Factors

There are many other reasons you may need either more frequent roof cleanings or extra roof maintenance than normal.

Here are a few:

  • A snowy winter, when snow was on top of your roof for a long period of time
  • An intense wind or hail storm that may have caused damage to your roof shingles, tiles, or shakes
  • Damage to your roof from a fallen tree or branch
  • Any time you notice leaking, missing shingles or other signs of damage

Roof Cleaning Frequently Asked Questions

How do you get rid of moss?

Our moss removal procedure involves a few different steps.

  1. We use a combination of compressed air and soft brushing to loosen moss and blow it out from between your shingles, tiles, or shakes without damaging them.
  2. On cedar shake and cement tile roofs, we may also use high pressure water in extreme cases if necessary. We will NEVER use high pressure water on a composition shingle roof as this can be damaging.
  3. To finish, we’ll apply a preventative treatment over the entire roof to stop new moss growth.

What’s the best time of year for a roof cleaning?

It really depends on you and your roof. We often recommend gearing up for winter by getting your roof cleaned at the start of fall. This can really help protect your roof because our moss treatments actually prevent future moss growth! Barring extreme weather, however, you can get your roof cleaned at any time of the year.

The bottom line is, the best time to get your roof cleaned is when your roof needs it!

How do I know when my roof needs to be cleaned?

One of the best things you can do for your roof doesn’t involve much work at all: simply pay attention to it! Keep an eye on your roof. If you notice moss growth, missing or damaged shingles, warped areas, or any other signs of damage, you’ll know it’s time for maintenance.

What Types of Roofs Can You Clean?

At Northwest Roof Maintenance, we clean most types of roofs, including composition roofs, tile roofs, and cedar shake roofs.

Different types of roofs require different types of care. For example, to prevent future moss growth, we use a zinc-based treatment for composition and tile roofs and a copper-based treatment for cedar shakes.

Roof Maintenance Vancouver WA Northwest Roof Maintenance

Is Your Roof Due for a Cleaning?

If you think your roof needs to be cleaned, or if you’re not sure, Northwest Roof Maintenance can help! Our friendly and professional consultants will take a look at your roof and recommend only the services we know will benefit you and your roof. We never suggest unnecessary repairs or maintenance.

Contact us online or give us a call today at 503-740-4808 (Portland) or 360-558-3274 (Vancouver).

Photo credits: Carolyn, jill, jellidonut… whatever

Take the pressure of off your composition roof!

May 27, 2016

cropped-Custom-Roof-Repair

In America the most common type of roofing material is composition. With three main composition roof types – 3-tab, architectural, and presidential – composition roofs offer a variety of options in price, quality, and looks for the homeowner. In being the most common roofing material, it makes sense that many roof maintenance questions we receive have to do with how to properly maintain a composition roof. One of the most common questions we are asked, and what I want to address in the post, is “should I pressure wash my composition roof?”

 

In short, no, you should never pressure wash your composition roof.

 

Now I’ll give you some detail. Composition shingles are made of a fiberglass reinforcing mat in the center, with asphalt and fiberglass granules coating it. Any sort of exposure to the elements can cause wear and tear to this material. Wind can loosen granules from the shingles and loosen shingles from the roof. Rain can wash away granules, causing thinning of the roofing material. Extreme sun can melt and wear the asphalt and fiberglass materials. This is why roofs only last so long, because they are inevitably exposed to things every single day that wear them out. It’s the purpose of a roof, to take that wear so that the decking material underneath, the attic, and the interior of our homes don’t have to take that wear.

Low_Pressure_Roof_Washing

This being said, it begs the question of “if my roof is already exposed to the elements, why would pressure washing be any worse?” Well, it’s like a child, just because you can’t keep them from being exposed to every
germ it doesn’t mean you will intentionally take them to visit the infectious disease ward at the hospital. Rather you wouldn’t expose your child to unnecessary illness. Just because your roof is exposed to the elements doesn’t mean you should intentionally cause additional wear and tear to the roof. Pressure washing inflicts a higher volume of water to the roof at a proximity that guarantees it is harder impact than normal rain water. This high impact of water can loosen and wear out granules, it can force little pieces of moss up under shingles keeping them from working properly and allowing rainwater to penetrate underneath and leak into the home. It can also loosen the shingles themselves making them more vulnerable to wind. All of this can shorten the life of the roof significantly.

 

Not only can it shorten the life of your roof, but when you do find yourself needing repair or replacement, you will find that having pressure washed your roof makes many warranties void and is an out for many insurance companies. Where as a hand brush off, while still not “natural” wear and tear, if done right, does not put unneeded stress on the shingles. It also loosens the moss without loosening the granules. It removes the surface moss, not the dirt.

 

So, if this is true, why do some companies still offer pressure washing of composition roofs? That is a good question. The most common answer I found was “If the homeowner wants it and will pay for it, why wouldn’t we offer it.” Unfortunately this careless, even selfish, attitude is a common one found out there. Other reasons for pressure washing compositions roofs varied. Some companies approached it from a “it will look cleaner” angle, operating under the idea that a pressure wash will remove more grime and dirt from the roof leaving it looking better than just a brush off. There is some validity to this, a brush off isn’t going to remove every layer of built up dirt on the roof, but it’s also not going to remove layers of shingle granules. So the choice is yours, a “cleaner” roof or a roof that does it’s job and lasts long enough to be worth your investment?


removing-moss-on-roofs

The last issue I want to address is why clean your roof at all, if brush offs won’t make it squeaky clean and a pressure wash will damage the roof, why even bother spending money on cleaning the roof? I mean you can learn to like the look of moss right? Well, you might learn to like the look, but I can tell you that your roof won’t like it! Moss can be extremely damaging to the roof if left unaddressed. For more detail check out our blog about spring cleaning your roof. To summarize for you though, moss can deteriorate shingles and cause leaks. It’s not something to be ignored. Removing the moss from your roof is a key part to keeping it effective. The great thing is that once you get the moss cleaned off, if you stay on top of less invasive upkeep, like treatment as soon as there are traces of moss, you can maintain your roof in a way that’s truly best for your roof!