Dec 302015
 

How to Remove Snow from Your Roof

When there’s a big snowfall in your area and you’re wondering if your roof can stand the extra weight, don’t reach for a ladder and a shovel, reach for the telephone. Calling in a professional to remove ice and snow from your roof is the smartest and safest option.
When (If Ever) is it Necessary?

The critical factor in determining excessive snow loads on your roof isn’t the depth of the snow, it’s the weight.

That’s because wet snow is considerably heavier than dry, fluffy snow. In fact, six inches of wet snow is equal to the weight of about 38 inches of dry snow.

The good news is that residential roofs are required by building codes to withstand the heaviest snows for that particular part of the country.

Theoretically, if your roof is built to code, it’s built to support more than the normal load of snow and ice.

You can determine the type of snow you’re getting simply by hefting a few shovelfuls, you should be able to quickly tell if the current snowfall is wet or dry. Local winter storm weather forecasts should alert you to the possibility that snow loads are becoming excessive and a threat to your roof.

How Do I Know There’s a Problem?

An indication that the accumulated snow load is becoming excessive is when doors on interior walls begin to stick. That signals there’s enough weight on the center structure of the house to distort the door frame.

Ignore doors on exterior walls but check interior doors leading to second-floor bedrooms, closets, and attic in the center of your home. Also, examine the drywall or plaster around the frames of these doors for visible cracks.

Homes that are most susceptible to roof cave-ins are those that underwent un-permitted renovations. The improper removal of interior load-bearing walls is often responsible for catastrophic roof collapses.

The Snow Load Seems Excessive, Now What?

Most home roofs aren’t readily accessible, making the job dangerous for do-it-yourselfers.

People die every year just climbing ladders. Add ice and snow and you’re really asking for trouble.

Instead, call a professional snow removal contractor to safely do the job. Check to make sure they are licensed and insured, that immediately sets them apart from inexperienced competitors.

Pro crews attack snow removal with special gear, including sturdy extension ladders, properly anchored safety harnesses, and special snow and ice-removal tools.

Don’t expect (or demand) a bone-dry roof at job’s end. The goal is to remove “excessive” weight as opposed to all weight. Plus, any attempt to completely remove the bottom layer of ice will almost always result in irreparable damage to your roofing.

The DIY Option

If you have a small, one-story bungalow where the roof is just off the ground, taking matters into one’s own hands may be safe, if you can work entirely from the ground and have the right tools.

Long-handled snow rakes work great on freshly fallen snow, and at $45 they are relatively affordable. Look for models with sturdy telescoping handles and built-in rollers, which keep the blade safely above the shingles.

Other versions work by releasing the snow from underneath. These models slide between the roof and snow, allowing gravity and the snow’s own weight to do most of the work. Models range from $50 to $125 or more for unique systems utilizing nylon sheeting. Again, search out models with sturdy adjustable handles.

A common sense word of caution about all these snow removal tools. They tend to work their best on light, fluffy snow, the kind that probably doesn’t need to be removed in the first place.

You’ll need to anticipate where the snow and ice will fall as you pull it off your roof — you won’t want to pull a load of heavy, wet snow down on top of yourself or any helpers.

Remember, the goal isn’t to remove all visible snow and ice, but rather just enough to relieve the excessive load on the roof.

Dec 302015
 

Have a crawl space? You may have big problems.

Crawl spaces are susceptible to moisture and deterioration problems. Why? Soil has high humidity that can cause a crawl space to become damp. This damp environment can be unhealthy, harboring mold and creating an ideal living space for pests.

Think this damp space is isolated and doesn’t affect the interior of your home? Think again. The natural airflow of a home is from bottom to top (ground to sky). As your home naturally breathes, the moist air (and everything in it) flows up and into the living areas of the home.

By properly air sealing and insulating your home’s crawl space, you win by:
Creating a more comfortable and more healthy living environment for you and your family.
Saving on energy costs by not having to heat or cool the air from the crawl space that is pulled into your home due to natural air flow.
Creating additional storage space for your home by creating a clean and dry space beneath your home.

Contact Us to schedule your free estimate!

Dec 292015
 

CLEANING VINYL SIDING

How often should vinyl siding be cleaned?

We recommend an occasional washing with clear water using a garden hose and soft-bristled brush (a long-handled, car-washing brush is ideal for this purpose).

If water isn’t enough to clean the dirt off your siding, use the following recipe to make a DIY cleaner that works wonders:

  • 1/3 cup detergent (Tide®, for example)
  • 2/3 cup trisodium phosphate (Soilax®, for example)
  • 1 gallon water

How do you get rid of mildew on siding?

Mildew can collect on surfaces of all types of building products. Normally, mildew will appear as black spots, but it can be easily removed.  Use our basic DIY cleaning solution above with the addition of sodium hypochlorite as follows:

  • 1/3 cup detergent (Tide®, for example)
  • 2/3 cup trisodium phosphate (Soilax®, for example)
  • 1 quart sodium hypochlorite 5% solution (Clorox®, for example)
  • 3 quarts water

How do you remove caulk or tar from vinyl siding?

Use mineral spirits in reasonable amounts and apply directly to the substance. After cleaning, immediately rinse the area thoroughly with water.

How do you power wash vinyl siding?

If you decide to power wash your vinyl siding, read the power washer instructions carefully before you begin. When using the power washer hold the it straight at eye level making sure you don’t aim the washer upward because water can collect behind the siding. We recommend setting the power washer pressure between 1,500 PSI and a maximum of 2,400, using a 40-degree tip.