Maybe you’ve just noticed some moss growing on your roof. Or perhaps you’ve had the unfortunate experience of your gutters backing up during a downpour. You’re considering grabbing your ladder and solving the problem. How hard can it be, right?
As it turns out, it can be pretty hard. Safely and correctly cleaning roofs and gutters requires skill and the correct equipment.
Let’s take a look at 7 common mistakes people make when they try to clean their roofs and gutters, and how All Around Maintenance can help.
Mistake #1: Not cleaning your gutters regularly
No homeowner wants to spend their Saturday pulling leaves and pinecones out of their gutters, right? That’s why neglecting to clean the gutters is a common mistake many make. However, your gutters affect more than just the water flow off your house. Dirty gutters impact your roof and foundation longevity, too. They should be cleaned regularly.
Gutters capture water coming off your roof and direct it away from your house’s foundation. When gutters become clogged with sticks, leaves, or other detritus, it can cause the water to overflow and drop straight down to your house’s siding or foundation. This can lead to:
- Water or moisture leaking into your basement or crawlspace
- Staining or rotting on your house’s siding
- Soil erosion
Not only that, but when gutters fill with water, it adds a lot of unnecessary strain to the roof due to the water’s weight. The weight can cause damage to both the gutters and the shingles on your roof.
A good rule of thumb is to have your gutters inspected and cleaned at least twice per year, once in the spring and once in the early fall.
Mistake #2: Pressure washing your roof
Pressure washing your roof might seem like a fast and easy way to clean your roof. But in reality, you’re more likely to damage your roof with this method than you are to successfully clean it.
When you use a pressure washer on your roof, you run the risk of loosening the granules on the roof’s shingles.
Granules are the small sparkles you see on shingles. They are granules of minerals used to protect the shingle from rain, snow, ice, etc. and also help the roof shed water when it rains. These granules also help to efficiently absorb UV and make your roof more fire resistant.
The more granules you lose, the faster you are going to need a new roof. That’s why it’s best to avoid any activity that will strip the shingles of their granules — and to leave the roof cleaning to the pros.
Mistake #3: Stepping on your roof’s ridge caps
Standing on a roof is already difficult — the slope is often surprisingly steep and the surface deceptively slippery. But did you know you can also damage the roof if you walk on it incorrectly? This happens specifically with the “ridge caps” on your roof. The peak of your roof is called a ridge. Ridge caps are special shingles designed to fit over the peaks of roofs, protecting your roof and promoting water drainage.
When you stand on them, the weight can cause these shingles to crack, which can lead to them to break or leak down the line. They are integral part of your roof’s longevity, and should be handled by professionals only.
Mistake #4: Using harsh chemicals to clean your gutters or roof
There are many cleaners out there that can technically clean your roof — but that doesn’t mean you should use them. Chemicals can make it easier to remove moss or other buildup from your roof, but they’ll usually do so at the cost of the health of your shingles. Harsh cleaning solutions will:
- Speed up the degradation of your roof’s shingles
- Promote roof rot
- Discolor the roof
- Cause harmful runoff to drain onto your house or into your yard
Here at All Around Maintenance, we’ve been cleaning roofs for over 15 years. Our team hand scrubs your roof to treat and kill moss and other damaging buildup. Contact us today to learn how we can help with your roof cleaning needs!
Mistake #5: Choosing the wrong tools
Finally! The rain has stopped and the weather is good enough to get some of your outside home projects done. You’re starting with the gutters. But what tools should you use for the job? Consider trying these:
- A ladder – to reach the gutters
- Gloves – to protect your hands from the debris in the gutters and the sharp edges that many gutters have
- Gutter scoop – to scoop out debris from your gutter. If you can’t find one of these, a trowel will work as well
- Garden hose with a spray nozzle – to help flush the gutters once you’ve removed as much of the debris as you can
- Goggles – to shield your eyes from any debris you kick up
Don’t use leaf blowers or shop vacs to clean your gutters. They seem like the faster option to get rid of debris. But really, they’ll just blow the debris to other places — like onto your roof, all over your yard, into your eyes (ouch!). This creates more work for you later.
But remember: Be safe and when it doubt, leave it to the pros!
Mistake #6: Wearing the wrong clothing
You probably weren’t planning to clean your gutters while wearing your favorite outfit, but you might not have considered your cleaning clothing beyond that. When choosing your outfit for this task, make sure it will protect you — you’re going to be on a ladder up high in the air, kicking up all sorts of debris.
With that in mind, make sure to avoid wearing any loose fitting clothing that could catch on something while you’re up on the ladder. Consider wearing clothing you’re not attached to, because it will get dirty. Wear rubber soled shoes to increase your grip on the ladder. And don’t forget your safety equipment! Goggles, gloves, and even a face mask are all a good idea to protect yourself from anything dangerous you’ll disturb while cleaning your gutters.
Mistake #7: Ignoring ladder safety
This one may seem like common sense, but thousands of people suffer from ladder injuries every year. Here are some ladder safety tips if you decide to clean out your gutters yourself:
- Always follow your ladder’s safety instructions
- Make sure you are using a sturdy ladder placed on firm, even ground
- Wear rubber soled shoes to increase your grip on the ladder
- Don’t climb a ladder in bad weather or if you are feeling ill
- Practice the “3 points of contact” rule: have at least two hands and one foot, or two feet and one hand on the ladder at all times
- Always face the ladder
- Don’t overreach
Contact the licensed professionals at All Around Maintenance
Our licensed and insured professionals are here to help with all of your gutter and roof cleaning needs! Whether you’re looking for maintenance, inspection, cleaning, or repair, we have the knowledge and skill set to help you get the most out of your roof.