5 Big Benefits of Gutter Cleaning This Summer

As the saying goes, April showers bring May flowers. In Chicago, we should be thinking more about August showers, since August gets the most rain per year on average!

If you don’t prepare your gutters for the Chicago summer storms, you may face a few problems that are much harder to tackle.

Fortunately, gutter cleaning is both cost-effective and easy with the help of professional gutter cleaning services!

Read on for the top 5 benefits of gutter cleaning and spare yourself some expensive issues down the line.

1. Protect Your Roof

You’ve probably noticed that most rooftops are built with a slight slant or incline that leads to the gutter. This enables heavy rainfall to make its way down your roof and into your gutter so that it can be safely redirected.

When your gutter is clogged, water may begin to pool around the edges of your roof. When water pools on shingles, it can seep between the cracks, weakening the shingles’ hold and damaging the underlayment. Over time, you may begin to lose shingles and your roof may develop holes where water damage is particularly severe.

When your roof is damaged, you risk leakage that can lead to mold, mildew, and structural damage in your home’s interior.

2. Protect Your Yard

If your gutter’s job is to collect rainfall, your downspout’s job is to direct that rainfall to a designated area of your yard. Many builders place the downspout in an area that has an incline so that the water continues to disperse throughout the yard, rather than pooling in one spot. 

If your gutters are clogged, water that doesn’t get trapped on the roof can cascade over the gutter in sheets. As a result, your grass, mulch, and other landscaped elements will become water-logged or wash away altogether.

3. Avoid an Unwanted Rooftop Garden

Chicagoans with seasonal allergies will be the first to tell you that this spring has brought a historically high pollen count. In other words, we’ve seen an unusually high amount of pollen floating through the air, feeding plants left and right.

Gutters become clogged with a number of things, from fallen leaves to broken branches and twigs. As this debris breaks down, it creates a nice, organic bed for plants to grow in. Meanwhile, that pollen that’s making you sneeze is also feeding the plants that are trying to grow in your gutter.

If plants start popping up in your gutter, you’re in need of some serious gutter cleaning and you may want to act on it fast! These growing plants are adding to the weight and pressure on your gutter. Over time, you’ll start to see sagging and cracking along your gutter that could cause residual damage to your roof and walls.

4. Dismantle Pest Habitats

Plants aren’t the only things that thrive in a clogged gutter. A variety of pests will also gladly set up camp amidst the debris.

While you may not mind a robin’s nest or two, some birds are territorial after nesting and laying their eggs. For example, swallows, which have made their way across all of North America, will dive-bomb humans and pets who get too close to their precious cargo. The last thing you want is to face a bird attack when you’re walking the dog or bringing in the groceries!

Bees, wasps, and hornets have also been found in clogged gutters. Not only is this a risk for the members of your household but it could also be a risk for your bank account. Due to premises liability law, it’s not out of the realm of possibilities that you could find yourself facing a lawsuit after a guest got stung by a pest living in your gunked up gutter!

5. Reduce Your Risk of a Cracked Foundation

Perhaps one of the most costly side effects of a clogged gutter is a cracked foundation. The foundation of your home rests below the ground and is made of either wood or cement. This is what provides your house a level surface to stand on and keeps your support beams and other structural elements from sinking or tilting.

A downspout’s most important job is to divert water away from your foundation. The same gushing water that could destroy your garden could make its way underground, causing your foundation to swell, shift, or crack.

Depending on the type of foundation your house is built upon and the age of your property, you may not be able to recover a damaged foundation at all. In the event that you can, it won’t be cheap or quick. 

Even if water damage leads to a minor crack in your foundation, this issue can’t be ignored. Between the pressure of the house and the changes in temperature and moisture, a small crack in your foundation will deepen over time.

Gutter Cleaning in Chicago, IL

Gutter cleaning is something that every Chicago homeowner should add to their spring cleaning to-do list. It’s far less expensive than having your roof, landscaping, or foundation repaired. It’s also less daunting than dealing with some mysterious or finicky pests.

If you’re looking for professional gutter cleaning in the Chicago area, you’ve come to the right place. At My Window Washing, we’ll do more than clean your windows and power wash your property. We’ll also clean your gutter!

Contact us to schedule an appointment or receive a free estimate on the work you need to be done. We’ll even throw in a coupon or two

Deck Maintenance: How Power Washing and Care Extends a Deck’s Lifespan

Do you have a deck on your home, or are you thinking about having one built? This can really enhance your outdoor living space and add value to your home.

Having a deck professionally installed will run you about $31 a square foot. It’s an excellent investment, but you’ll want to make sure that you take good care of it so that it lasts for years. 

Proper deck maintenance is one of the best ways to enhance your wood deck’s lifespan. Keep reading to learn more about the importance of power washing a deck and other important deck maintenance tips.

Pressure Wash Your Deck at Least Once a Year

It’s vital to clean your deck at least once a year thoroughly. Power washing the wood acts as a natural exfoliant and helps the protective sealers seep even deeper into the wood, which protects the deck.

There are many benefits to power washing your deck. First, it helps to control microbes that allow mold and mildew to grow on your deck’s wood. Doing this in the spring also rinses off any dirt and salt that has accumulated over the winter months.

It’s essential to be careful with a pressure washer as a well-meaning, but inexperienced homeowner can accidentally gouge the wood with the intense water spray. If you’re not 100 percent confident that you can do it yourself, consider hiring a professional.

The service is inexpensive, and it’s worth the peace of mind in knowing that your deck is cleaned right and will last for years.

Sand Your Deck Before Sealing

Pressure washing is the best way to prepare your deck for sealing. 

After you’ve pressure washed your deck, you’ll need to wait for it to completely dry. Sometimes, this can take as long as 48-hours. Once it’s dry, you’ll want to sand your deck lightly.

This is necessary to remove any splinters or fuzzy patches that pressure washing can cause.

The easiest way to do this is to use 80-grit sandpaper attached to a pole sander. Don’t make the mistake of using a power sander, as this is overkill.

Choose the Right Sealant

Once the wood is prepared, you need to seal it. This will keep the wood from warping, cupping, or cracking.

A clear sealant is usually your best bet as this will last longer. You may choose a tinted sealant or stain, but if your deck gets a lot of foot traffic, then it will likely fade.

One mistake to avoid is using paint, lacquer, or varnish instead of sealer. The problem is that each of these just leaves a film on the wood rather than penetrating it. These finishes will look great when you first put them on, but as they wear, the peeling and cracking will look terrible.

It’s also a good idea to opt for a synthetic sealant as oil-based products may attract algae and mildew. If you want your wood to look its best, choose a semi-transparent finish as this will add a bit of color and protect your deck from the sun’s damaging UV rays.

Clean Your Deck Regularly

Your deck is constantly exposed to the elements, so it’s important to regularly clean up leaves, branches, and debris that accumulates. Otherwise, they could rot and stain the wood.

Prevent water damage by using a large push broom to sweep off any water puddles after it rains and accumulated snow. If you get a lot of snow, gently clear it off with a plastic shovel.

Inspect the Deck Every Year

To make sure your deck lasts and looks great for as long as possible, you’ll also want to inspect it at least once a year.

Many homeowners do a thorough inspection before they start their springtime deep cleaning and again in the autumn. This will help you stay on top of things and proactively take care of small issues before they become a bigger problem.

Check the entire area for loose nails, soft spots, or planks that are rotten or split. You’ll also want to check the railings and other deck attachments to make sure they’re secure.

If you notice anything that could cause a hazard, it’s critical to fix it right away. Not only is there a good chance that the problem will only continue to get worse, but, some issues could also increase the chances that someone could get hurt.

Choose Your Deck Accessories Carefully

Adding some area rugs to your deck can give it a more comfortable and cozy feel and protect it from scrapes caused by chairs and table legs. However, natural materials like bamboo or jute can absorb moisture and encourage mildew growth.

Protect your deck by choosing area rugs made of recycled plastics. They don’t absorb water and will also last longer.

Keep Up with Your Deck Maintenance

Now that you know how to take care of a deck, all you need to do is repeat the steps above as part of your regular home maintenance routine. This is important even if your deck is made of pressure-treated wood.

While the treatment will keep it from rotting or getting infested with insects, it’s still vulnerable to sun and water damage. The only thing you’ll need to do differently is to make sure you use cleaning and sealing products designed for pressure-treated wood.

Let Us Pressure Wash Your Deck for You!

Are you behind on your deck maintenance? We can take care of it for you!

We’re fully licensed and insured and will pressure wash your deck to remove mold, mildew, and dirt. It’s easy to schedule, just give us a call at 800-941-2790 or use our convenient form to book online.