Roof Cleaning Today
An early start this morning to get everything prepared for today’s job in Sidbury. Described as a large village on Wikipedia with a population of 457 – and it’s very own iron age fort at Castle Hill. No, we aren’t doing the roof on the fort just in case you were wondering!
Loaded, equipment checked and we set off in good time. On the way to most jobs, Brett runs through the plan with me. It’s important to be co-ordinated and organised as to how we are going to approach the job.
There is quite a bit of set up to do on arrival. The platform ladder is assembled at the back of the property, pot plants and patio furniture moved, power obtained for the gutter vacuum and we are set to go.
I have to say I am massively impressed with stability, safety and ease of use of the Henchman platform ladder.
• All four legs are adjustable so you always have a stable a level platform
• It is very comfortable to work from with plenty of room
• You can lean out as far as you like form the platform – it can’t tip over
• The stability means you can focus on the job 100%
• The sectional design makes it easy to get down narrow paths
The only down side is that someone hadn’t noticed that the bottom section for the ladder hadn’t been put on board before we left – so the first rung in now 4 feet off the ground. Ooops!
With everything set up, Brett has a quick chat with our lovely customers. There are three small sections of flat roof at the back of the house – one of which is leaking a bit. She asks Brett to have a look while he is up there. The problem was pretty obvious. A badly felted flat roof that had been done with scraps. Pictures taken and provided to the customer.
It’s Raining Moss (Who sang that song?)
Before long, the patio is disappearing under a coating of moss and other debris being removed from the roof.
Working from the ridge tiles down, Brett is able to loosen and bring down the majority of the moss. Particular attention is paid to the horizontal joints between the courses. It’s where the moss likes to get started.
The rear roof is completed in three sections – so only two ladder moves required.
Important to note (1)
We NEVER climb onto the roof. Aside of the obvious dangers, tiles are likely to be damaged, cracked or even dislodged. With the right tools and equipment, nearly all domestic roofs can be cleaned and treated without needing to get onto the roof.
With the rear roof completed, it’s time to take the platform ladder apart and move it to the front. Here it really comes into its own as the lawn is sloping away from the house. A quick adjustment or two on the legs and we have our level platform again.
Before starting on the front, we clean up as much moss as we can at the back so no one walks over it, treads it in or slips on it. It is a dry day thankfully, but always good to clear up as we go along. And it gives me a chance to be in charge of the broom! (I’m our Trigger for those 10 minutes!).
Having got the back tidied up for now and the front ready to go, its time to grab some lunch and a bit of a break.
Drews The Butcher
It’s a short walk to Drews – which turns out to be a bit of a general store as well as the butcher. Perfect!
Two excellent Pork Pies for the workers. Blinking lovely they were and highly recommended if you are going that way. AND a real bonus – a lovely juicy bone for Bella. She was most pleased!
15 minutes to enjoy the produce in the sunshine and then back onto the front of the house.
Almost always you find a significant difference with the amount and even type of growth on two sides of a roof. The obvious factor is the direction the roof faces and the amount of sun it gets. Shaded areas get more moss.
While the front of todays property has less moss, it is still significant – and much finer. Every tile needs scraping to at least loosen and ideally bring it down.
Another two ladder moves and the scraping part of the process is complete.
The next step is to clear the gutters of the moss and debris. A key part of any roof cleaning job.
Again, it is all done for the safety of the platform ladder because we have it there, but most gutter clearing jobs are done from the ground.
It amazes me what finds its way into guttering. Tin cans, balls, plastic bottle tops – you name it, we have probably removed it from a gutter somewhere! Seagulls are largely responsible for much of it around here imagine.
With the moss cleared from the gutters, it is time to treat the roof with the appropriate biocide.
This kills off any remaining moss and ensure that the spores can’t re-establish themselves for quite some time.
The other major plus is that the lichens that are more stubborn and resist the scraper for all they are worth quickly give up when the biocide is applied.
It does take a little while to act and the roof will improve in its appearance over the next few weeks – particularly as we have a few heavy showers to flush the remaining bits and pieces off the roof.
Important to note (2)
With the roof cleaned and treated, there should be very little if any growth over the next 12 or so months. We highly recommend that the roof is treated at the right intervals to stop it coming back. The right interval is difficult to judge, but likely to be in the 12-18 month range on most properties.
Here is the good news.
A biocide treatment of the roof is about one third of the cost of a total clean and then biocide treatment. It makes economic sense to treat it when it’s needed. Prevention rather than cure.
And that is something that we are very happy to advise on and do for you.
The last seps
The final task of the job today is the clean the outside of the gutters and the soffits.
As you can see from the picture, they definitely needed it.
This does improve the appearance of the property and while its mostly aesthetic, it does help keep the guttering in good shape – and means the soffits wont need painting quite so often.
Before we pack up and head for home, Brett knocks on the door and invites our customers to have a look. We want to be 100% certain that we have met and exceeded their expectations.
Pleased to say that they were delighted with our days’ work. All the patio pots and furniture had been replaced, the roof was moss free and treated, the gutters were clear and cleaned.
We all enjoyed the day, Bella had a couple of walks and enjoyed her bone, the job went very smoothly (as long as you don’t mention the bottom section of the ladder), Drews pork pies are the best and the customer is delighted.
What a fabulous place to be and such lovely customers.
Until next time…
The Gorilla Grounds and Garden Team
We have been looking forward to today!
It’s the day that we get to pull together the work at the Ebford site that we have been clearing for a few days now and get the gates and fencing installed so that the site is secure. It’s a bit of a dull grey Monday for July, but that will probably be good for us given the work that lies ahead.
A bit of background always helps.
The task we took on is to essentially ‘reclaim’ 4 acres of land overlooking the Exe Estuary. It hasn’t been used or attended to for at least the last 10 years according to the client and probably a lot longer than that judging by the size of some of the self-seeded trees!
In places it is 10 feet high in brambles. There is one very narrow path across the land that seems to be used by local dog walkers.
The client wants the site secured and then cleared so that better use can be made of the land. There is no vehicle access because the tack leading to the fields has become inaccessible.
Clearing and securing.
Having spent 4 days on site, we found the old fencing – rotted out. However, it was better news with the two gates that were lying in the undergrowth. With a couple of minor repairs, they will get reused, saving the client about £300.
We set off this morning to collect the necessary materials – 8 x 8 gate posts, round posts and half rounds for the rails. Plus hinge sets of course. Getting the materials hasn’t been as straight forward as it usually would be because of Covid 19 and our usual suppliers not having everything in stock. However, the Fencing Centre at Colyton Raleigh were brilliant and sorted us out.
The downside was having to hump and carry all the materials the last 100 metres or so to the work site. I felt like I had already done a full day of work, just getting all that lot down there!
However, a little after 9 we were all set on site with the timber, concrete, water, gates, hinges, nail gun, post hole shovel, digging bar, level, string line, post rammer and today Bella the very helpful canine assistant as well.
Because the gates were running across the slope on the land, we made sure to have extra long gate posts so the one on the lower side would be high enough to hand the gate on and still be 100% secure. Planning and setting these things out in advance is SO important.
With the primary post position determined, the hand digging began. Soon we were into those beautiful Devon red soils. I’m sure you know why the soil is red in colour. If not, look it up – it is fascinating.
Getting the first post in and set is always a good point to reach. Its position has to be spot on as it will now dictate where the rest of the posts go and the overall look of the finished job.
I mentioned the red soil just now. Bella seemed to particularly like it for some reason. So much so that she went to the effort of soaking herself in a water trough on the site and then rolling in the freshly dug soil! We put it down to frustration from the lockdown – or maybe wanting to look like a fox! Serious blonde to seriously red in an instant.
Fence Style and Purpose
It’s always important to work out that the fence is really there to do and what style in needs to be. In this case, we had advised the client to go with a simple round post and three half rails. It’s essentially agricultural land, there is no intention to keep animals on it, it isn’t there for privacy reasons.
It is there to denote that it is private land to discourage casual walkers from using it as a cut through to get to the cycle track that adjoins the land.
Round post, half round rails fits in perfectly in this rural setting. Looks smart and is inexpensive on materials.
Back to the posts
Having got the second gate post in and set, our next task was to position the round posts. Correct spacing is important and dictated by where you place your first post. We always make sure that we aren’t giving ourselves a headache by suddenly discovering that one of the posts has to go in where there is a large tree stump or other obstruction. (Learned that one from a painful experience!).
Posts set out, it was time for the favourite bit of the day – hand ramming. Had to be done. No way around it as we can’t get any machinery on to the site.
Three hours later and feeling like we had both been to the gym for several hours at a time, Brett and I had the posts in. Perfectly aligned (of course) and now ready for the rails to be put on.
We have always erred on the side of strength and made sure the distance between posts is never stretched for the sake of it. I have seen too many fences fail in less that 5 years where they would likely have been ok if the spacing was a bit closer. For the sake of an extra post or two, it’s never worth it!
Getting the rails up is the fun bit and where it all comes together. Having cut a spacer to use as our template, the rails took well under an hour to get done. Fabulous. Now for the moment of truth.
Hanging the gate
If we have measured correctly, if we have put the posts in the right place, if they are square to each other – it all goes through our minds as we pick the gates up! I’m confident we have it right, but I just want to see it done.
They are spot on! A bit of adjustment to level them up. We did notice that the gates were slightly twisted from lying in the undergrowth for who knows how long, but that is minor and certainly not worth replacing them with new ones at this stage.
All in all a very satisfying days’ work – a secured site and now we can get on and clear the other 3.6 acres of brambles, self-seeded trees and other debris.
Turning this site back into something usable will be very rewarding.