How to Clean Your Home’s Exterior

Whether it’s cleaning driveway stains or mildewed vinyl siding, here’s what you should know about everything from removing oil stains to pressure washing your house.

Getting your Oak Park roofing projects done before the winter is a good idea, cleaning the exterior of your home correctly while the weather is still nice is a good idea as well. House cleaning isn’t just an inside job. If you want your home to look its best, you need to keep up on exterior house cleaning, too. 

Exposed to the elements all year, it makes sense that siding, driveways and garage floors get dirty, too. Just as a freshly cleaned car seems to drive better, a spic and span clean house exterior feels great to come home to.

Not sure where to start washing the outside of your house? Here’s how to approach exterior house cleaning from top to bottom.

How to clean siding

You can clean vinyl siding the tried-and-true way: rinse siding with a hose, use a long-handled brush to scrub with soapy water (laundry detergent works as a siding cleaner) and then rinse well.

To remove mildew or algae on siding, consider a hand-pump garden sprayer and oxygen bleach. (Don’t use chlorine bleach to clean siding. It can strip color and kill plants.) Mix powdered oxygen bleach with warm water to create a siding cleaner. Stir and apply the mixture with a long-handled brush to dry siding. Let the cleaner work for about 10 minutes. Use a water hose to wash siding well.

You may be tempted to use a power washer, but use caution and start with the lowest setting if you DIY the job. Water jets can injure people and damage masonry, stucco or wood siding, and it could may force water through seams of vinyl-siding panels. Also, power washing alone will not remove mold or mildew.

If you do use a pressure washer, be sure to wear eye protection. Start at the top of your house and work down, directing the water downward and going side to side across the siding. Most professional pressure washing services now have better tools and techniques that allow the use of lower pressure than you can DIY, so consider hiring this job out— especially if you have a two story house.

How to clean a concrete driveway or garage floor

Concrete is porous and will hold oil stains and marks from other vehicle fluids, such as grease and antifreeze if they’re allowed to linger. Other garage floor and driveway stains can come from tires, mold, mildew, rust and fungus.

The first step in removing oil stains from your garage floor or driveway is also the best way to keep future fluid leaks from staining: Cover the area with a drying agent, such as cat litter. Let the desiccant remain for a day before removing it and then scrubbing the stain with laundry detergent. You can also buy a commercial oil stain remover from an auto parts or home supply store, if you prefer.

Read the full article here: How to Clean Your Home’s Exterior

House Parts You Didn’t Know Had a Name

House Parts Defined

Ever tried pointing out an architectural detail to somebody, only to fumble for what to call it? Or put in a call to a contractor to fix a part of your home and have to call it “you know, that thingamajig”? Don’t worry, it’s happened to all us. So to help you out the next time you need to identify a part of a structure or a design element, here’s a handful of definitions that even some of our TOH editors weren’t familiar with. Have you ever looked at your Evanston roofer and asked, “what is that technically called?” Now you can know! Below are descriptions of places in your home that you never knew had a name! 


A board attached to the edge of a gable roof. In house styles such as Gothic Revival and Tudor, bargeboards often bear intricate carvings or colorful painted details. Also called vergeboard or gableboard.


A second, small, pointed roof that diverts rainwater around something, such as a chimney, that projects out of a primary roof.


The weathering on exposed bricks or stones that looks white and powdery. It appears when natural salts in the materials leach out and crystallize.


The curving part of an arch that’s bookended by the peak of the arch and either a capital or molding abutment.


The wall space between the outer string of a stair and the floor, or wall space between the shoulder of an arch and the outer walls.


The triangular, recessed center area of a pediment that’s bordered by moldings.

Read the full article here: House Parts You Didn’t Know Had a Name

Maximum Value Home Exterior Projects: Gutters

When you are looking into roof repair in Schaumburg, be sure to have us take a look at your gutters as well. Gutter repair or installation can improve your overall home value.

Gutters might not seem like the most glamorous home improvement project to date, but they serve a critical purpose, and might in fact, be one of the best projects you can take on for the sake of your home’s protection.

Think back to the last big rainstorm you had: the howling wind, leaves and landscaping swept up into mini wind tunnels of debris and the torrential downpour of rain that makes leaving your home’s front stoop a decision of whether or not you want an additional shower that day.

Granted, not every rain is as heavy as this, but whether it’s a light sprinkle or what you might consider a neighborhood monsoon, gutters handle the critical task of keeping drainage away from your house, leaving it dry and protecting other home elements like siding, windows, doors and the foundation from water damage.

“One of the worst things you can do,” according to appraisal expert Leslie Sellers, president of the Appraisal Institute, “is a poor job on gutter installation.” An improperly functioning gutter system will risk leaks that can cause a huge amount of permanent water damage to your home’s exterior and foundation.

Also, be wise in your choice of gutter size. If you choose the wrong size for your home, not taking into consideration overhang or elevation of the roof, you can risk constant clogging or basically, a tacky looking system. While DIY projects are feasible for gutter installation, it is essential to understand the ins and outs of the project. If you are unsure, or just don’t have the time to do all the research, then hiring a professional is going to be the best decision in the long run.

Read the full original article here: Maximum Value Home Exterior Projects: Gutters

Inspecting Your Roof to Get Ahead of Problems

Your roof takes care of you — return the favor with a yearly inspection that’ll stop moisture damage and head off expensive repairs.

An Arlington Heights roofing inspection is one of those preventative maintenance jobs that’s easy to overlook. Don’t. Add a once-a-year reminder on your calendar to go out on a warm day and fix any problems you find.

If you’re squeamish about heights, don’t worry. You can do a thorough inspection from the ground using a pair of binoculars.

Or, you can get up close and personal with your roof using a ladder. However, there’s no need to get up on your roof just yet. The less you walk around up there, the better for your roofing — and the safer for you. Work your way around your house, noting any potential problems.

Here’s what to look for:

  • Cracked caulk or rust spots on flashing.
  • Shingles that are buckling, curling, or blistering.
  • Missing or broken shingles.
  • Cracked and worn rubber boots around vent pipes.
  • Missing or damaged chimney cap. (OK, that’s technically not part of your roof, but since you’re looking anyway.)
  • Masses of moss and lichen, which could signal the roof is decaying underneath. Black algae stains are just cosmetic.

Read the full article here: Inspecting Your Roof to Get Ahead of Problems

Do’s and Don’ts for Deck and Patio Maintenance

We know that your Oak Park roofing maintenance is one of the many things you need to do this summer. We hope we can make things easier for you by providing advice on all maintenance items this year. Below are tips on deck and patio maintenance. 

DO seal your wooden deck every few years.

Save yourself some hassle and choose a one-step product that combines stain and sealer. Mitch Kalamian, owner of Solena Landscape Co., recommends Behr’s All-in-One Wood Finish for a good-looking, durable final product.

DON’T sand your wooden deck before sealing unless it’s really necessary.

This step is only a good idea if your deck’s surface has become too rough for comfort, because it adds several steps to your finishing process. “Sanding strips off that top layer of stain, so to do things the right way, you’ll need to put on three coats of stain and sealer afterward rather than just one,” Kalamian says.

DON’T paint your deck if you can help it.

“Priming and painting is always a two-step process, and any moisture trapped underneath will come through at some point,” Kalamian says. “Painting wood creates maintenance that you absolutely must do no matter what.” Where a stain simply fades — and can be replaced as needed with one coat of the right product — paint will chip and flake and is a pain to redo.

DON’T feel obligated to seal your patio.

“If you want a wet look all the time, then seal your hardscape,” Kalamian says. “But you’re creating maintenance, because you’ll have to reseal your patio every two years like clockwork.” Natural materials like slate and bluestone actually tend to self-seal under foot traffic and don’t need the extra layer of protection unless you simply like the glossy aesthetic.

Read all 16 Do’s and Don’ts for Deck and Patio Maintenance here:

Roofing Component Basics

Roofing terminology can be a bit overwhelming. These basic roofing definitions will help get your project off on the right foot.

There’s a lot to cover when it comes to learning about what types of materials go into roofing a house. Some of it involves some pretty tricky terminology. Here are a few definitions that cover the basics.

The major function of a roof is really to protect the home from the elements — snow, rain, wind, etc. And this is why you need a roof that really performs, and how it performs depends upon how well it keeps out the elements.

The type of roof you have will determine how easily water — or the other elements — are diverted. But before we get into the types of roofs, we need to know the different components that make up a roof.

We are your Evanston roofers, along with many other areas, and we want you to feel educated in roofing terminology before you begin your next roofing project. We understand that the roofing industry terminology can get a bit confusing, so we want to show you the basics so you can feel confident and knowledgeable during our time together. 

Roof Components

Underlayment — The underlayment of a roof is the black paper that’s laid over the plywood sheeting in order to seal the roof from damaging elements (snow, rain, ice, etc.). The use of a membrane is typically required, a waterproof membrane, a sweat sheet or vapor barrier — with the underlayment paper serving the triple function.

Flashing — Flashing on a roof refers to the metal pieces that are used to divert water from places where it might collect, such as hips and valleys. Flashing can be made from a variety of materials. You can use a galvanized flashing, a galvanized alloy, copper, lead coated copper or stainless steel. Each of these would work fine.

Shingles or Tile — The shingles or tiles make up the outermost part of the roof. Sitting atop the underlayment, they form the outermost barrier against the elements.

In residential roofing the same basic types of roof have been in sue for hundreds of years are still in use today. The shingle — or tile — has been in use for thousands of years, in fact. You can find intact tiles that have been in use 5,000 years.

READ MORE ‘Roofing Component Basics’ HERE