DIY Home MaintenanceOn December 18, 2017 by LeaH
Cleaning Your Roof and Gutters
Most of my roof falls under the shade of large trees and this environment seems perfect for the growth of moss between virtually every joint of the shingles. Besides looking unkempt, I have been told that moss can shorten the life of my roof. I spoke with folks at Texas Metal Roof Contractors(TMRC), about this problem and about rain gutters that overflow during our spring storms. They offer a number home maintenance services including: gutter cleaning and repair, free roofing inspection and estimate for repairs.
They Shared Some Helpful Tips:
- Safety First! Again, Chuck emphasized the critical importance of safety. There are many injuries annually from falling from roofs and ladders. The right equipment, including a safety harness as shown in the photo above is essential. Don’t let roof work become hazardous to your health.
- Stable Ladder. Always use the right equipment when accessing a roof. Use a ladder with a 3-4 stabilizer bar (available at building supply stores) that rests on the roof rather than on the gutter. This protects the gutter from pressure damages and removes the danger of the ladder sliding sideways on the slick edge of the gutter.
- Brush Moss. Remove roof moss by brushing it off rather than using a pressure washer that can damage and deteriorate the shingles, shortening the lifespan of the roof and often causing water damage.
- Re-Treat. After the initial moss removal and chemical treatment, the roof should be re-treated every 2-3 years to prohibit the return of the moss.
- Using a Gutter Spoon. Gutters are cleaned best by hand using a gutter spoon which is a plastic scoop designed to fit into the gutter and remove debris. Using a pressure washer can cause water damage to the shingles, paint on the fascia and can force water up under the shingles which can cause damage to the roof sheathing.
- Gutter Guard Systems. Even if you have installed a gutter guard system (a mesh that covers the gutter), the gutters still need regular cleaning because some debris and dirt still get through. An ideal gutter guard system would be made up of short, removable sections for easy cleaning. Sometimes pine needles build up on top of the screens and make the system ineffective. These should be removed periodically as well.
- Cleaning Siding. Vinyl siding (especially with northern exposure) often develops green algae or black mold which ruins the beauty of the siding. It can be pressure cleaned and treated to kill the spores that produce the algae and mold, and quickly improve the aesthetics.
- Bird Problems? Birds often roost in certain house structures (like eaves) that provide an ideal nesting place. Pigeons are a particular problem, and their droppings contain parasites that can be harmful especially to children and pets. These areas can be screened off to keep the birds away.
Advice on Hazardous Materials Removal
Am I endangering my health when I work on my home or have work done? Here are a few check-ins before you begin.
- Lead paint: Lead Paint was outlawed in the United States for residential use in 1978 but is still used in some commercial applications. If your home might contain lead paint, the best protection is keeping it well painted with covering paint layers. If you suspect that you might dislodge lead paint dust through remodeling or when preparing a suspect surface for painting, such as scrapping, you should use a professional painters air respirator mask with appropriate filters. It is possible that occasional lead exposure poses a minimal danger to adults as some purport, but any exposure is highly dangerous for children, especially young children. Cases have been reported of children becoming very ill after houses with lead paint were scrapped, in preparation for painting, which were only in the neighborhood and not directly in contact with their play areas.
- Asbestos: Asbestos is a commonly occurring rock that lies around in some peoples yards! The danger is not in touching it, but when its fibers become airborne. Similar to measures for lead paint, maintaining paint layers which cover it has traditionally been considered more than adequate protection. Some experts disagree. The real problem comes when some material containing asbestos must be disturbed or removed. Most states have specific laws regarding removal of asbestos. Some allow construction workers and homeowners to remove small amounts, while other states require a specially licensed contractor to remove any amount. If you do remove any the professional respirator mask is a must.
- VOCs: The most immediate construction exposure to Volatile Organic Compounds is in the application of paints, varnishes, and glues. Read the labels on your products. Some greener choices are sometimes available with lower VOC content. Other construction materials also give off potentially harmful gases. The formaldehyde released in OSB and Exterior grade plywood releases very slowly because of the form used. Ironically many interior plywoods and panels use more volatile forms. Not all carpet is equally safe so do your homework. Certified low VOC content carpet can give you some peace of mind.
In general, plan out your project so that the exposure of yourself and family are minimized. Construction areas can be sealed off with plastic and dust kept to a minimum through consistent cleaning. Painting and staining are ideally done on days when you can maximize ventilation. Construction sites are inherently dangerous for small children anyhow, and they should be kept safe. A little common sense and taking time to do it right can make your project safe.
What Will Duct Cleaning Not Do For You?
- It will not resolve issues outside of the system, like rodents and insects or water leakage.
- According to EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), duct cleaning generally will not change the quality of the air you breathe.
- It has not been shown to prevent health problems except in rare cases of bacterial infestation or severe mold problems.
- It will generally not give dramatic increases in airflow except if large items of debris are removed.