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Archive for the ‘Maintenance’ Category

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.

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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!

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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).

Q and A’s About Your Roof

July 13, 2016

 

LogoWe all have questions about our roofs, and let’s be honest, roofs aren’t exactly straight forward. They can be a variety of materials, shapes, pitches, sizes, etc. They can leak, sag, warp, etc… There is no end to the things that can happen on a roof and no end to the things you can learn about roofs. From how different weather affects roofing materials to various types of repairs and maintenance needed and so much more, we could write endless blogs and still not cover every detail or answer every single question. That doesn’t mean we can’t answer some common questions though. Below we’ve compiled a few commonly asked questions regarding your roof!

 

Q: How often should I have maintenance or repair done on my roof?

A: There is no straightforward answer for this question, no one size fits all. The need for maintenance inspections is going to vary on different factors that affect your roof. If your roof is heavily shaded you will probably need it inspected/treated for moss more often. Whereas, if your roof is in a heavy sun setting, moss won’t be as big of an issue. If there are bad wind storms one year you might need an inspection for wind damage versus a year with mild weather. The best thing to do is keep an eye on your roof. If you notice moss growth, missing shingles, warped areas, or anything else indicating a need for work, call a roofing professional to come take a look! So be flexible, pay attention to the different factors, and ask a professional for advice on your specific roof.

 

Q: I’ve heard it’s bad to pressure wash my roof, is this true?

A: It depends on what type of roof you have. If you have a Cedar Shake or Tile roof in good condition, it is most likely completely fine to pressure wash your roof! A roofing professional can let you know for sure by checking how brittle your roofing material is.
If you have an asphalt shingle roof, then you should never pressure wash your roof! Some companies will push pressure washing as a “thorough cleaning”. While it may remove more moss than just brushing or treating, it will also remove granules from your shingles, shortening the life of the roof. This can also potentially cause leaks!

 

Q: I had my roof treated, and now there is a white powdery substance on my roof, is this normal?

A: Yes, If the treatment being used is Zinc based, this white powder is just a zinc build up. It won’t damage your roof, and will wash away the next time it rains. The zinc is what kills moss and prevents future growth. So having a large ratio in the treatment is actually a good thing!

 

Q: If my roof is leaking do I need to have it replaced?

A: Don’t panic, a leak does not automatically mean you need to replace your roof. A small leak can be an indicator of a underlying problem with your roof, though more often than not a leak is localized and can be taken care of with a patch job. The best way to know for sure is to have a roofing professional inspect the area. They should look at three areas: the interior where the leak is appearing, the attic (if possible) to see if the leak is appearing at the intrusion point or if it’s traveling, and the exterior of the roof to determine how large of a patch is needed.

 

Q: How do I know which roofing contractor to choose?

A: It’s going to come down to who do you trust on your roof. Before you choose any contractor make sure to get a detailed bid from them. This ensures that you know what you are paying for, since it’s never fun to get blindsided. Trust your gut! If you get a weird feeling about a company don’t just dismiss it because they are the low bid. A lower price shouldn’t be your only factor, since often times (though not always) a price that is way below the competitions price will mean sacrificed quality or service. Always with choosing a contractor feel free to ask questions. A company that knows what they are doing should always be able and willing to help you understand what’s going on.

Have a roof related question that we didn’t answer here? Feel free to e-mail us any and all questions at office@northwestroof.com.

Take the pressure of off your composition roof!

May 27, 2016

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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.

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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?


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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!

What you need to know about leak repair and rain

December 18, 2015

Leak 1It’s the moment every homeowner dreads, hearing that faint drip, drip, drip indicating a leak somewhere in your home. Or maybe it’s spotting a wet splotch on your ceiling that wasn’t there before. Whether it’s a drip in the attic the inspector caught, or the obvious Niagara Falls in your living room, no one is excited about a leak. We get it, no one has damaged sheet rock or wet floors on their Christmas list! However what homeowners want even less is unnecessary damage to the plywood and roofing materials. Therefore, we don’t recommend repairing most leaks while it’s heavy or steady rain. This view may leave you wondering why not in the rain, when can your repair be done, what can you do?

Firstly, the “why” we won’t do many repairs in the rain. The fact is that repairs on the roof, especially leak repairs, generally involve opening up a larger portion of the roof than just where the leak is. Whether it’s replacing the surrounding shingles or extending a patch of the protective underlayment, it exposes the framework and at times the attic. When there is steady water coming down while this exposure is happening it allows that water to freely access the otherwise protected areas and can cause way more damage in a short period of time than would be caused by the leak if left for a few days. Think of it like a leaky pipe. You recognize your pipe is leaking, and you know you need to replace a portion of the pipe to fix it. You don’t want to replace that portion of the pipe while the water is running though, this would cause water to get everywhere, and would cause the repair to be harder to complete because you would be battling an extra force. While it’s not an exact analogy, it’s an easy way to see the trouble of repairing leaks in the rain.

Which takes us to “when” can it be done. Rain doesn’t necessarily mean all repairs are stopped. If it’s on and off light showers, many field, skylight, and flashing repairs can still be done. Some repairs that are more surface repairs and are small can even be done in heavier rain. But for more complicated repairs or repairs in water vulnerable spots like troughs and valleys, or repairs in which you are replacing everything down to the plywood, it’s best to go with a completely rain free day to complete the work! Don’t stress about trying to figure it out on your own though. Listen to and trust your roofer to know when it’s safe to do the repair.

Lastly we come to “what” can you do. My first advice is DON’T panic! Being able to explain your situation calmly to a roofer, and being able to listen to any advice they have for you is going to be one of the most valuable things for you. Another thing you can do is take precautionary measures. Placing buckets to catch the drip can be helpful, especially if you are able to place them in the attic and catch the leak at the highest point, minimizing internal damage. Tarping can also help minimize the water getting in, however don’t tarp your roof if you have to nail or staple the tarp, as this can make holes in the roof and create even more leaks!

Hopefully some of those questions have been answered for you, leaving you more confident as a homeowner and ready to face any leak that comes your way!

Prevent Worry with Preventative Maintenance

August 18, 2015

America has become a culture that’s always moving. We live fast-paced, constantly looking for the next big thing or the next step. We are told not to let anything stop us, and from that we develop the mentality to not let anything even slow us down. Examples of this is how we don’t take the time to go to the doctor until we experience illness. Or how we don’t take our car in to the shop until it doesn’t drive right. While this fast paced, don’t stop unless necessary, life style seems normal and makes us feel productive, imagine how much time and money you could save if you took care of things BEFORE they were a problem. If you took vitamins before you were sick to help prevent getting sick at all. If you took an hour at the shop every few months to prevent being without a car for long periods of time when it dies on you.

 

This is true for your roof as well. Too often we assume our roof is fine, or at least good enough, until it completely fails. We ignore moss build up or we think that since the roof isn’t leaking those missing shingles must not be important. We shrug off the worn and curling shakes or the cracked and broken tiles, saying we’ll wait to pay until there’s an actual problem. There IS an actual problem though, this mindset. While not paying for preventative maintenance may save some money in the moment, it can cause larger problems that build up and can cost you thousands in the future. Problems that could have been prevented had the roof been taken care of.

 

Sometimes the problem doesn’t lie in a lack of desire, but rather a lack of knowing. Maybe you don’t know how to tell what needs to be done, or even what can be done. There are a couple things that you can look for, such as missing, curling, or lifting shingles, moss growth, or rusting and staining behind your gutters. If you are noticing these, or any other signs of wear and tear there is a good chance you need some maintenance done. Even with knowing some things to look for, it’s hard to be certain you aren’t missing anything. That’s where a professional roofer can help. At Northwest Roof maintenancewe want to help you stay on top of your roof repairs. If you are noticing things that need maintenance or repair we will come give you a free estimate* for the problem AND check out the rest of the roof for any further needed maintenance. Call us at 503-740-4808 OR 360-910-8938

 

So don’t get caught up in the “I’ll worry about it later” attitude, rather, prevent the need for worrying! As Keith Elder said “Nothing prevents maintenance like preventative maintenance”.

 

*Estimates are free if there is a known problem or need. For a general inspection of a roof without any known problems or for a roof certification inspection there is a $130 inspection fee.

Satellite dishes – How to deal with those holes in your roof

July 21, 2014

We live in a day and age where our lives may revolve around television and satellite TV has become very reasonably priced. As a result, the new, smaller dishes are mounted on roofs everywhere.

About half the roofs I see have a dish mounted somewhere on the surface. The downside to this practice is that this adds more weak points to your roof.  The fewer holes and exposed fasteners on a roof, the lesser the chance of damage from a leak developing in the future. If you are having a satellite dish installed, request that the dish be mounted on another surface, if possible. If that is not possible, make sure the technician installs the dish using gaskets and sealers, in order to reduce the chance of future leakage.

Another thing we often find are brackets and dish mounts that are left behind when a dish is removed. In these cases, we recommend removing the mount and replacing the shingles where the holes were left. Sealing the holes is a temporary fix, because the sealant dries out and cracks; it remains watertight only for a few years.

If you need us to remove a dish mount, repair damage left by an improperly installed mount, or seal up an existing mount, give us a call!

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Another example of poor roof Installation

June 12, 2014

Poor roofing practices are found all over the greater Portland area.  They are not limited to lower priced homes or to lower income area.  One example of this is a home I inspected in the NW Vancouver area this last week.  The roof is a little bit steep (9-10/12) and is rather large (approximately 4500 square feet). Upon inspection I noted improper nailing, and very poor technique in installing toe boards.  Note the sealed holes every ten feet or so and far too many nails used to secure a flange.  These are just some of the things I noted on the roof.  Full replacement of the roof is likely between $15k-$25k depending on the material used.  Don’t be fooled by the low cost leaders who promise you the world, they likely are going to leave you with a roof like this.  IMG_20140605_131755IMG_20140605_131954 Can you find the tarred portions of the shingles?

Chimney sidewall overlay (second-layer roof)

January 28, 2014

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Most folks do their best to be efficient and frugal with their finances. One way they try to save some money is by hiring an economy roofer to install a second-layer roof (also called an overlay.) While this is an acceptable practice in most circles, be forewarned that it can lead to headaches in the long run. At Northwest Roof Maintenance, we’ve learned that the new top layer of roofing ages differently, because it is not designed to be installed over the top of another roof.

We inspected an overlay roof this week and found another problem that is fairly common with economy overlay installation. When the roofers installed the shingles around the chimney, they did not properly flash the new layer. If the new layer is not flashed under the existing counter flashing that’s set into the chimney, water that runs down the side of the chimney can funnel under the new layer and find all kinds of pathways on top of the old layer. In this case, the water was funneled under the new layer and found a path through the old layer onto an enclosed eave and down the siding.

While we don’t recommend second-layer roofs, if you do decide to go that route, make sure your contractor isn’t cutting any more corners to save a few dollars, or you will likely pay for it by needing interior and exterior repairs in the near future.

The new year–and a renewed mission

January 2, 2014

logoIMG_20130926_102622It’s the new year already! We wish you and your loved ones a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2014.

In 2013, Northwest Roof Maintenance served more customers than in any other year in our history. We realized dramatic growth by dutifully living up to our mission statement: “To provide the most outstanding roof maintenance service every day.” Our friendly and knowledgeable technicians are ready to serve you–for emergency leak repair, concrete tile power washing, gutter cleaning, skylight replacement, and much more. Regular care and maintenance adds years to the life of your roof, so be sure to call us for a free, no-obligation roof inspection.

We offer excellent value. Our warranty, service, and knowledge are second to none and add up to long-term savings. You’ll experience true peace of mind knowing that your roof is in the experienced hands of professionals who stand behind their work and do it right the first time.

Maintain your cedar shake roof – NWRoof

October 18, 2013

Moss and fungus growth on cedar shake.

Moss and Fungus growth on a cedar shake

 

Improperly installed shake on a gable end.

Improperly installed shakes on a gable end

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cedar shake is a unique, rustic roofing material that can add character to many homes. A downside to a shake roof is the cost to maintain it properly. If a shake roof is installed correctly and maintained regularly, however, it can last as long or longer than a standard composition roof. In fact, properly maintained heavy shake roofs can last 40 years and possibly more.

We have started to shy away from power washing shake roofs, since it is debatable whether the impact of a power wash is more harmful than any benefit from the wash. We now recommend removing debris and moss; replacing rotten, worn or damaged shakes; and applying a preservative treatment that inhibits moss, mildew, algae and fungal growth, and reduces UV damage. Leaving debris on a shake roof for any period of time is a death sentence for the roof, because fungus will grow into the shakes and deteriorate the cedar material. Call us for a free inspection and a free estimate on maintaining your cedar shake roof.

In the past few months, we inspected two heavy shake roofs that had been ignored for too long. (See the picture of one of these roofs, above left.)

Several weeks ago, we came across a shake roof over a patio/front door cover that looked odd, because it was improperly installed. These kinds of installation errors compromise roof integrity. (See picture, above right.)