Redefining Restoration

Tips & Tricks for Cleaning Gutters

It’s one of our least favorite homeowner chores, but cleaning gutters doesn’t have to be a burden. The residential roofing pros at Van Rooy Restoration in Indianapolis share some expert tips, tricks, and tools to get the job done right and with ease.

Tips and Tricks for Home Gutter Maintenance

Keeping Gutters Clean & Debris-Free

No matter how your gutters are designed or what they are made of, they won’t work properly if they are dirty. Leaves, pine needles, and sticks are a few of the things we commonly find clogging gutters. Clogs can damage gutters and cause water leaks and other problems in your home. Thankfully, there are plenty of tools you can use to keep your gutters clean.

1. Ladder. This time-tested piece of equipment is often your first line of defense against gutter debris. However, it comes with some very obvious safety risks. Always follow all instructions when using ladders. You don’t want to turn an afternoon chore into an overnight hospital stay.
2. Vacuums and cleaners. No ladder? No problem, when you have one of these specialty devices at home. Both use extendable hoses and curved accessories hooked up to your shop-vac or leaf blower to reach over and into gutters to suck up or blast away debris.
3. Gutter guards. Designed for long-term low maintenance, these tools cover your gutters to let rainwater in and keep most debris out. They are the ideal solution for folks who don’t want to or can’t clean their gutters regularly. However, it’s worth noting that no guard is perfect, and you will still need to access your gutters from time to time and flush them out with a garden hose.

Maintaining Your Gutters

Keeping gutters cleaned is just one part of your maintenance duties as a homeowner. Sagging, leaking gutters can spell disaster for your home. Do this if you have:

Loose gutters. Replace older gutter spikes with gutter screws. Screws are much sturdier than spikes and provide better support and protection for your gutters.
Leaking gutters. Notice drips between gutter seams when it’s raining or snowing outside? They’ve sprung a leak. Make a mental note, or choose a dry day to run hose water to identify the leaky joints. Clean and dry any problem areas, and apply beads of silicone caulk to seal them up.
Damaged downspouts. Downspouts play a critical role in diverting water away from your home. Make sure downspouts are free of debris, and regularly inspect joints to make sure they fit together tightly. Use splash blocks, extension hoses, and/or irrigation pipes to help “aim” water runoff in the proper direction.

Time to Replace Your Gutters? With What?

Have your home’s gutters reached the end of the line? When it’s time to replace your gutters, there are several options today. Gutters come in a variety of styles, materials, colors, and prices.

The standard gutter width is five or six inches, and the most common designs are flat-bottomed (“K-style”) and tubular-bottomed (“half-round”).

Vinyl gutters are one of the most popular, because they are lightweight and inexpensive. Vinyl gutters are also easy to install for the average DIYer. One of the biggest downsides of vinyl gutters is their relative fragility – you can’t lean ladders against them, they tend to fade in sunlight, and can even crack in extreme cold.

Homeowners looking for more durability often choose aluminum or steel gutters. Both materials offer their own advantages – aluminum won’t rust and steel is exceptionally strong – but both options are more expensive.

An additional option is seamless gutters. These are growing in popularity and are found on many newer homes for a number of reasons. The gutters are expertly built and installed on-site, meaning there is no need to transport long sections of material. Seamless gutters are custom-fitted to your house, and because they don’t have seams, they are less susceptible to leaks. All these benefits do come at a cost, however, and installation can be several times more expensive than the cheapest DIY options.

Whether you do it yourself or hire a pro, the most important aspect of clean gutters is actually keeping them clean! To avoid bigger homeowner headaches down the road, make a seasonal gutter cleaning schedule now and stick to it. Also, did you know that your roof plays a big role in the health and performance of your gutters? An aging or poorly maintained roof can lead to problems with your gutters and other parts of your home. If you live in the Indianapolis area, contact the experts at Van Rooy Restoration for no-hassle roofing restoration and repair services. Take care of your gutters now to prevent problems later.

How Do I Know When I Need a New Roof?

One of the biggest dreads homeowners face is actually right above our heads. Yep, we’re talking about the roof. Thankfully, roofs tend to have pretty long life expectancies, but when it’s finally time to replace them it can really hurt our wallets. But ignoring a worn out roof can be even more expensive.

Keep an eye out for these top four warning signs it’s time for a new roof.

Tips for Knowing When You Need a New Roof

Age

Whether you’ve lived in your home for years or just moved in, every responsible homeowner should know the age of their roof. Most experts agree – expect to squeeze about 20 years or so out of a standard asphalt shingle roof. If yours is older than this, or the current layer was installed over older layers, it’s time to start thinking – and saving – for a new one.

Visible Damage

Sagging spots, leaks and water stains, curling or missing shingles … all of these sign are evidence that your roof is in disrepair. Sometimes, roof damage can be repaired without the entire surface needing replaced, so get in the habit of regularly inspecting your roof from the inside and out. Remember – preventative maintenance may cost a little bit now, but it helps avoid major problems and even bigger costs later!

Signs of Light

The next time you’re in the attic, carefully examine the roofing boards above you. If you see any daylight peeking through or feel a draft coming from the other side, you have a problem. If light and air is getting through the boards, so is moisture.

Granules in the Gutter

The surface of roofing shingles is much like sandpaper. If you find any of these granules in your gutters, this is another sign your roof is reaching the end of its life. Shingle granules tend to break off more on older roofs. Too much debris can clog downspouts, causing additional unintended problems.

What to Do If You Discover Roof Problems

Like we said, roof damage doesn’t necessarily mean you need a whole new roof. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a licensed local roofing professional for minor repairs as soon as you discover a problem. Speaking of pros, did you know that Van Rooy Restoration in Indianapolis does roofs, too? We’ve replaced hundreds of roofs across central Indiana, and earned hundreds of happy customers in the process. Whether you need minor roof repairs, major roof work or replacement, or help with a storm or fire damaged home, we are the team to call 24/7/365!

 

Common Roofing Problems After a Visit from Old Man Winter

Springtime weather is on the way. We may impatiently anticipate warm, spring weather while the roof on your house might disagree. Year after year, Old Man Winter brings on freezing temperatures and heavy snow, leaving unfortunate roof damages. Are you experiencing roof condensation, ice dams or deteriorating shingles? Learn about three common winter roof issues and the solutions for stopping damages in their tracks.

Winter Roofing Issues

Common Issue #1: Condensation.

Believe it or not, roofing systems face the similar phenomenon of a cool drink on a summer day. Months of freezing temperatures create condensation as soon as spring air hits. After a hard winter of frigid, icy rooftops and heavy snow, humid air seeps into the cracks, forming gruesome mold, wet insulation and roof failure. The science? The incoming warm air mixes with a cold roof assembly, causing moisture to damage the entire structure of the building.

How to fix it? Acknowledge waterproofing deficiencies.  

Whether there’s leakage, ceiling coloring or cracks, be aware of possible warning signs to stay ahead of the trouble. The first step for stopping damaging condensation is to ensure proper ventilation. Avoid roofing condensation issues by adding more insulation or vapor barriers to prevent problems before they occur.

Common Issue #2: Ice Dams.

While ice dams are related to condensation due to moisture and melting problems, ice dams can be more serious and harder to prevent. Ice dams are large concentrations of ice that accumulate over the eaves, gutters and in the valleys of a roof, preventing melting ice from going through the gutters and downspouts. Roofs are not the only structure affected by ice dams. Leaks in the attic, roof cavity and walls bring in unexpected mold contamination and wood-destroying insects.

How to fix it? Bring on (and off) the heat.

When preventing ice dams, the main goal is to keep the snow from accumulating and to keep the area from freezing. Before the ice occurs, use heat tape or cables to line along the eaves, gutters and in the valleys. If ice dams start to form, one strategy is to use a roof rake to remove snow, then use a calcium chloride ice melt solution to melt the ice. An important note is to NOT turn up the heat in the building. Increasing interior temperatures is only going to make the ice melt quicker and cause more damage.

Common Issue #3: Deteriorating Shingles.

Cracking shingles increase drastically after a frozen winter, making yearly inspections and upkeep a high priority. Deteriorating shingles are not visually appealing and cause unfortunate roof leaks. (Side note: Problems caused by condensation and ice dams are less likely with strong rooftop shingles.)  Another common problem is people walking on rooftops to shovel off large amounts of snow. Not only is this extremely dangerous, but the added walking weight also wears away shingles with every step.

How to fix it? Replace or repair.

First, identify the location of the roof leak or damaged shingle(s) and determine the repair. You can use cement glue and aluminum flashing for a single quick fix, or even grab your hammer and replace the broken shingle yourself. Another time-saving trick is to find weather repellant or seal for adding extra protection to your shingles.

As the winter comes to an end, fixing roof damages is just beginning. Looking for help in taking care of the damages brought on by Old Man Winter? Contact the pros at Van Rooy today! Whether you’re experiencing roof condensation issues, unbreakable ice dams or crumbling shingles, Van Rooy’s repair services can take care of your home’s winter damages before spring is here.

Enjoy learning about common winter roofing issues? Check out more information from Van Rooy on ice dams.