Let’s get ready for winter!

Removing Fall Leaves from Gutter Forcewashing Vancouver WA

Removing Fall Leaves from Gutter Forcewashing Vancouver WAAt Forcewashing we want our customers to be ready for winter with a list of key tasks that you can start doing now. So while you’re enjoying the leaves falling, take your time through the list and let’s get prepared for winter together!

Interior Winter Checklist

  1. Check your heating and air conditioning system in your home
    • Have a professional come out and check the system to make sure you are ready for winter. Make sure that you have a spare filter on hand.
  2. Clean your chimney and order firewood
    • Have your fireplace cleaned and inspected by a professional chimney sweep.
    • Order your firewood.
    • Review old wood left over from last season, if it’s rotten you will need to remove it; if it is still in good condition, move it to the top of the pile so it is used first.
  3. Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
    • Because we tend to close up our homes pretty tight during the winter and use our fireplaces or wood stoves more it’s important to make sure that all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in good working order.
    • Change your batteries to new ones if you haven’t done that in a while and use the old batteries on other battery operated items in your home that are less important.
  4. Time to switch from cooling to heating on your thermostat
    • A livable temperature for the home should be set, but remember that between 50-55 degrees will help to prevent pipes from freezing when the weather drops.
    • If you are able to schedule your temperature, consider shifting to a lower temp when you are not home and a higher one when you are.
  5. The Attic Check
    • We have something in common with critters of all kinds and that is when it’s cold we seek warmth and an attic is very attractive to critters. Because of this, it’s important to do a few extra steps in making sure your attic remains critter-free.
    • Walk around the outside of your home and check your gable vents and make sure they are intact. Having a screen placed behind your gable vent could help to prevent critters from entering.
    • Make sure that there are no holes in your soffit and fascia. This can be a critter doorway.
  6. Get an energy check of your home
    • Hire a professional person to come in and perform an energy audit of your home. This will identify areas in your home that need some TLC to keep your home comfortable and utilizing the energy to its best performance.
  7. Check the seals around your windows and doors
    • For your exterior doors, make sure you can’t see daylight around your exterior doors, if you can, consider hiring someone like a handyman to apply foam insulation around the doors.
  8. Get your winter gear out!
    • Air out or dry clean your winter coats and gear.
    • Restock any salt or deicer.

Exterior Winter Checklist

  1. Check the exterior wood of your home
    • All of the wood trim on the exterior of your home needs to be protected from the elements such as trim around your windows or exterior doors. If you find trim that is rotted, it will need to be replaced by a professional; staying on top of things by keeping your wood painted and caulked is a good idea. If you find cracking caulk or paint that is chipping away, scrape it away and redo it.
    • Check your deck by pouring water on it to see if the water beads up and your deck seal is good. If the water is absorbed into the wood, it’s time to clean and seal your deck.
  2. Clean your gutters & Downspouts
    • When gutters get backed up they can overflow and the water can run down your home which can cause the deterioration of your exterior to speed up.
    • Forcewashing can help here by cleaning out your gutters and removing all the debris. At the same time, we can make sure your gutters are in good working order!
    • Make sure that downspouts are emptying away from your home, if needed add downspout extenders.
  3. Concrete or Asphalt Driveways and Patios
    • Time to get the moss out of those driveways and patios – nothing is worse than having a moss covered driveway or patio and then it snows or worse ices….that makes for one very slippery surface. Call Forcewashing and we will remove that moss on those surfaces.
    • Inspect your concrete or asphalt driveways and patios for cracks. Filling any cracks before you apply a sealer is key. A mason worker could assist with filling the cracks, and they will use the best approach and product to limit further cracking.
    • While you’re looking at your patio, cover the patio furniture; just make sure that they are nice and dry so that you won’t develop moisture when it is covered.
  4. Pool and Sprinkler Shutdown
    • If you have a pool, this is the perfect time for repairs if they are needed. We suggest hiring a pool contractor to inspect and shut down your pool system for the season.
    • Sprinklers or drip irrigation systems should be shut down for the winter. As part of this you will want the lines to be blown out – hire a professional for this, it’s worth the extra money and will prevent broken lines when you turn it on in the spring.
    • Outdoor water faucets are usually unprotected which means if we don’t drain them the water can expand and that could cause all sorts of problems. Shut off the water valve to your outside spigot, open the exterior spigot valve and let the water drain out.  You won’t get every drop, but what’s left if it freezes will be able to expand without breaking any pipes or seals. Leave the water shut off to that faucet until you need it again in the spring and don’t forget to empty and store your garden hoses!
  5. Check your trees and bushes
    • Check for any branches that are dying and have them removed. While you should not trim your tree during the fall, if there are branches that are brown and dying or that are too close to your home or on your home you need to have these removed. Weakened or dying branches when frozen can easily fall causing damage to your home.
  6. Reverse your ceiling fans
    • If you have a reverse switch on your fan, after turning on your heat consider reversing your ceiling fan to force that warm air down. Remember, warm air rises!
  7. Check your roof!
    • It’s the best time to get your roof ready for the winter by removing all the moss and debris that it has on it. This helps to maintain a healthy roof and expands the life of it.
    • At Forcewashing when we clean your roof we are also looking for loose or missing shingles and can fix those for you.
  8. Garden tools and Mower
    • Clean and sharpen the gardening tools before putting them away, this will ready them for spring when you pull them out.
    • Your lawn mower should have an empty fuel tank if possible, check your lawn mower’s manual for cold-weather storage steps.

We hope that you find these lists helpful, we recommend printing them and saving them as a good reminder for every fall season.  We hope you enjoy the fall season and look forward to working for you.

Preparing to Sell Your Home

Home sale prep in Vancouver WA

Home sale prep in Vancouver WAPreparing to Sell Your Home

One-tenth of a second is all it takes for a first impression to be cemented in our brains. That first impression makes a lasting mental image from which all other thoughts and feelings are born.

When you’re preparing your home for the market, curb appeal is vital. You want prospective buyers to see themselves living there as soon as they pull up to the house. Last year we wrote about ways to boost your curb appeal. Now let’s dig deeper into preparing the exterior of your home.

The Portland and Vancouver real estate market
Is the Portland real estate market slowing down? Are we following the national trends? If you’re thinking about creating curb appeal, then you’re probably also researching the Portland real estate market.

Portland is a city of change and adaptability. Home buyers of all types are fulfilled by the Portland real estate market. They want sweeping mountain views, artist studios, urban farmland, spacious floor plans, and ADUs. The property want list can be endless. And Portland provides.

Preparing your home’s exterior
While people living in Portland, or moving to Rip City, might appreciate a certain collective appeal when it comes to lifestyle, people want clean sight lines around the home. Everything from your roof to your driveway influences curb appeal, so let’s take a top-down approach to preparing your home for the Portland and Vancouver home shoppers.

Clean your roof and gutters
No one wants to worry about a roof when they’re going through the home-buying process. Put prospective buyers at ease by clearing debris, moss, and stains from your roof. Your roof cleaner will also be able to notify you of any roof repairs that may be needed, possibly saving you when it comes to the official home roof inspection.

Roof cleaning goes hand-in-hand with gutter cleaning. Even if you don’t have tall trees near your gutters, leaves, dirt, and other debris find their way into your gutters. Cleaning the gutters will not only improve property value, but it will also alert you to any blockages and leaks.

Refresh your home’s exterior
Repainting a home is a big deal, so refreshing the exterior may be a more reasonable approach. Hire a professional, or DIY. Bob Vila, an American home hero, shares some great tips on how to maintain and clean your siding. While you’re working on the siding, wash those windows inside and out.

Declutter the outside your home
Gnomes are cool and shoes hanging from trees hold memories, but prospective buyers don’t want to connect with your oddities. Stash the recycling bins, store the bikes, pack away your gardening supplies, and pick up small bits of litter.

Make your front door sparkle
If your home doesn’t need a new front door, then it most definitely needs to be washed. If your front door is painted, mix dish soap and warm water to scrub the door, then dry with a rag towel. If you have a stained door, use wax or polish to make it shine. Inspect your screen door to see if it needs to be replaced before you wipe it down.

Add color to your porch or stoop
Lush greens, pops of in-season flowers, and complementing containers can make any home feel lively and well-loved. Search websites for ideas that fit the style of your home and landscape.

Mow the lawn and lay fresh mulch
If it’s summer, consider watering your lawn so it turns green. If it’s winter, you’ll probably need to get out there when the grass isn’t too wet and give it a trim. Shape your shrubs, pull weeds, and add some mulch to make everything look maintained and fresh.

Remember the deck, driveway, and sidewalk
Pressure washing is what will get everything looking fresh. A pressure washer removes moss, debris, old paint, stains, and graffiti. It’s a finishing touch to your property and is worth the investment.

Sound like a lot? Don’t worry, make a list of your specific tasks and start working. Call for estimates from professionals and tackle the rest yourself. With this guide, the exterior of your home will be ready for the next Portland homebuyer.

Roof Maintenance – How to Make Your Roof Last

Roof Care Building Blocks Vancouver WA

Roof Care Building Blocks Vancouver WARoof Maintenance – How to Make Your Roof Last

If you read our post on the top 3 reasons why you should clean your roof you’ll know that replacing your roof is expensive. Not only is it expensive but it can also be a headache and a long process depending on the weather. Proper roof maintenance is the key to keep leaky and damaged roofs out of the picture.

If you’re like most people, you probably want to avoid getting your roof replaced for as long as possible. Look below to find some ways to take care of your roof and keep that replacement out of sight and out of mind for years to come.

Inspect Your Roof Regularly

See a patch of green stuff or unusual black streaks on your roof? Maybe it’s time for an inspection. In fact, you should be inspecting your roof on a regular basis, which includes checking your ceiling from inside the house to make sure everything is intact.

These inspections don’t necessarily have to be extensive. Just enough to see that there’s no build up of debris on your roof or parts of it wearing and tearing. You especially want to keep an eye out for rust, leaks and buildup of moss when examining your roof.

Regular inspections is great because it keeps damages from getting worse and you always know what to expect. If you think a more thorough inspection is needed, have a professional come in to take a look and address any issues.

Keep Gutters Cleaned and Up to Date

Making sure your gutters are cleaned avoids severe damages to your roof. If you decide to clean gutters on your own, make sure you aren’t cleaning from your roof. It’s dangerous and less practical.

It’s best to use a firm ladder, a bucket for debris and scooping tools like small handheld shovels (make sure you’re wearing gloves too). You can also use a hose to rinse everything out once the bulk of cleaning has been done.

Although a simple task, there is a risk of injury when cleaning gutters so consult with a professional if you feel uncomfortable.

It’s also best to make repairs to your gutters before damages get worse. This’ll improve the longevity of your roof and keep high gutter replacement costs away.

Don’t Let Snow Build Up On Your Roof

Roof maintenance also includes inspecting and caring for your roof in harsh weather conditions!

If you live in a place that snows during the winter, like the Portland and Vancouver areas, it’s best to keep snow from building up on your roof. The weight, moisture and cold temperatures of the snow can damage both the inside and outside of your roof. It can also damage your gutters when weight gets too heavy to hold.

If you decide to clear snow off your roof, do so carefully. It’s very easy to slip and fall. Also, don’t use sharp objects like ice picks to clear the snow. Instead use a snow shovel and slowly scrape away. To melt the snow use calcium chloride.

The Bottom Line

Your roof can last much longer than you think if you put in the effort to take care of it or hire someone to do regular inspections and roof maintenance. Don’t let the elements chip away at your roof.

Landscaping For Beginners – Best 3 Tips

Landscaping in Vancouver WA

Landscaping in Vancouver WALandscaping For Beginners Best 3 Tips

Landscaping for beginners can be a challenge. There are so many things to do and so many options to choose from. Without the right guidance it a may be difficult to make the right choices. As a beginner it’s best to go for low maintenance and simplicity.

Below you will find 3 tips to get you started on your landscaping journey…

Tip 1) Go Native

Gardening with plants native to your area is the best way to get started. These plants will adapt easily, are less likely to wither away and will flourish to make your lawn look great!

For the Portland, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington areas you’ll want to go with plants native to the Pacific Northwest. This includes plants like pearly everlasting, tufted hair grass, yellow marsh marigold and many more! Take a look here for a complete list.

Tip 2) Use Mulch

Mulch is a great way to prevent weeds, retain soil moisture for plants, and releases nutrients in the soil as it breaks down. Plus it makes your garden look neat and tidy, which is great for curb appeal.

Mulch is also a way to keep your yard smelling great. If you have little family members you won’t have to worry as much about them getting dirt on their clothes and making a mess.

Tip 3) Take Your Time and Be Patient

If you’re looking for advice on landscaping for beginners you may not be aware that patience is key with this activity.

It’s easy to get discouraged and give up when you don’t see your plants growing. This process often takes some time and is rewarding when you’re patient. While your plants are growing, develop other features of your landscape like sidewalks, gates, stepping-stones and furniture. Before you know it, you’ll have a blooming and enchanting lawn.

The Bottom Line

Getting started with landscaping is fun and doesn’t take much. If you’re a beginner, remember to start off simple, care for your garden and be patient. Everyone has to start somewhere!

5 Ideas to Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal

Curb appeal in Vancouver WA

Curb appeal in Vancouver WA5 Ideas to Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal

We’ve all had the experience of passing a home that looks gorgeous and has great curb appeal. There was just something or many things about it that struck you and now every time you’re in the area you can’t help but to look at it.

What’s even better than admiring a well decorated home? Making your home look even better. If you’re into the DIY side of life, here are 5 things you can do to boost your home’s curb appeal…

1) Take Care of your Landscaping

This may seem obvious but mowing your lawn and planting can go a long way to making your home look spectacular. Often people think that landscaping can be expensive but if you’re creative, thoughtful and consistent it doesn’t have to be!

When landscaping, make sure to pick a theme or style like evergreen, Mediterranean or tropical. A personal favorite of the author’s is Zen garden!

2) Upgrade your Front Door

This isn’t emphasized enough when it comes to curb appeal. Think of your home as your kingdom and the front door its gates. Whenever someone is walking by or enters your home, your front door is often the first thing to be noticed.

Not only does it make your home look great and attractive but having a nice front door can also increase its value. A recent study has shown that upgrading the front door to a house increased its value by $8,000! So if you’re thinking it may be expensive you can expect to get your money back.

3) Organize and Hide Unsightly Objects

If you have items like hoses, garden pots and tires (hopefully not) lying around your yard clean them up and put them in their rightful places. You can also hide other things in your yard like A/C units, trashcans and recycling bins with surrounding them with wooden screens or panels.

You should try to make everything blend together and leave nothing sticking out like a sore thumb.

4) Update your Windows

Make your windows pop by adding shutters, window boxes for plants and trim. These things are easy to build or buy from the store and install. All can be designed to your liking and provide a finished look to your home.

5) Update Your Mailbox

This tip is simple but can make a lot of difference. If you have an old and warn out mailbox then it’s time for an upgrade. Go for something that really matches your home and its style.

The Bottom Line

Taking care of the little things can go a long way for your home’s exterior and curb appeal. Start today by following the tips laid out above and make your home the one you admire.

Proper Roof Care – 3 Things To Keep In Mind

Roof cleaning Vancouver WA

Roof cleaning Vancouver WAProper Roof Care – 3 Things To Keep In Mind

Roof care can be rewarding but also challenging and risky if the right approaches aren’t taken. You risk injury, damage, and other mistakes whenever you get on your rooftop to clean.

To help you avoid these things we have come up with a list of instructions for you to follow. Please use this list as a general guide and take any other precautions you feel are necessary.

1) Start by Choosing the Right Day

The good old weather forecast on your phone app or on the news can help with this. It’s best to check the weather before every getting on your roof, especially in place like Portland and Vancouver where weather can change quickly.

Ideally, you’d want to clean your roof on a sunny day with partially cloudy skies and little wind. You don’t want it to wet or too hot. Feeling comfortable while on your roof is one of the best ways to avoid injury. It’ll allow you to focus on your safety and doing a good job.

These conditions also allow your cleaning solutions to work without evaporating or washing away too quickly.

2) Move Surrounding Lawn Furniture and Items Out of the Way

Roof care can be both messy and toxic. It’s not uncommon for lawns to get littered with debris during a roof cleaning process. It’s also not uncommon for cleaning solutions to have chemicals in them that stain and corrode fabric.

It’s important to move any lawn furniture or items out of harms way to keep them looking nice. The last thing you want is to have a shiny roof but dirty furniture. Items also include cars in your driveway, garden gnomes, and swimming pools (of course you can’t move a swimming pool but covering it up would help).

3) Roof Care Safety

If you are at all skeptical about your ability to be on your roof make sure you have the proper safety equipment. This includes having a sturdy ladder, shoes with a good grip, soft kneepads and gloves.

A quick tip with your ladder: always make sure your ladder is on steady ground like a concrete sidewalk or wooden platform. Never lean your ladder against gutters.

The Bottom Line

You want to make sure the conditions are ideal for roof care. Make sure to do all the organization beforehand and buy all necessary equipment. No expense is too much to ensure the safety of your home, your family and yourself.

Moss Removal Matters – Eliminate Moss Growth on Your Roof

Mossy Birdhouse Vancouver WA

Mossy Birdhouse Vancouver WAMoss Removal Matters – Eliminate Moss Growth on Your Roof

While sometimes it may look pretty, moss has the potential to cause severe damages on your roof. Mosses are small, green, flowerless plants that lack roots and seeds. Because moss lacks roots, they generally grow best in shady and wet areas. Moss removal is important for saving you time, money and stress.

Common signs of moss growth on your roof are black streaks and grass-like substances growing in the cracks of shingles. Since moss doesn’t have a root system, it grows by collecting and holding water in its leaves. This collection of water is what ultimately damages your roof and calls for moss removal services.

Now, if you aren’t afraid of being on your roof, there are a few things that you can do to prevent moss growth. Here are the 3 that Forcewashing recommends…

1) Remove Shady Areas on Your Roof

Moss loves the shade. It thrives in dark and cool areas. While there are some cases where you simply cannot help but to have shady areas on your roof, we would recommend doing your best to eliminate it.

Common cases where something can be done are trimming any nearby trees, taking down tenting near your home, and removing any unnecessary add-ons to your roof like overcompensating window shades or satellite dishes in darker areas.

A plus side to trimming trees that are near your home is that you’ll also avoid leafy debris falling on your roof – taking care of two things at once!

2) Use Store Bought Roof Cleaners to Impede & Eliminate Moss Growth

There are also several store bought solutions out there that can prevent moss growth! These work best for moss removal in areas of your home that are always shady and damp. Take a look at the list below…

Spray and forget outdoor cleanersSpray & Forget

This is a solution for removing, moss, mold and mildew off roofs and other surfaces as well. The name really says it all you simply spray and forget. No rinsing or pressure washing is required. It’s eco-friendly, biodegradable and is safe on all exterior surfaces.


Wash safeWash Safe Industries – Roof Wash

A professional roof cleaner specifically designed this product for cleaning roofs. To use, you simply mix it with water and spray it on your roof then you use a wire brush to gently scrape the moss away. This product does require some work to use it, but it’ll be worth seeing your roof shine.

3) Ensure Your Roof is Always Cleaned of Debris

Another leading cause of moss growth is debris on your roof. In order to further prevent moss growth you should keep it clean on a regular basis. This does mean going on your roof and inspecting regularly (maybe every 1-2 months) but it’s worth not having the headaches of a mossy or damaged roof later.

The Bottom Line

There are many ways to take care of moss growth on your roof. However, it can be unsafe and Forcewashing would not recommend going on your roof if you are uncomfortable or afraid to do so. It is best to contact a professional who specializes in moss removal and can get the job done safely.

Top 3 Reasons for Treating Your Home With Roof Cleaning

Well treated homes in Vancouver WA

Well treated homes in Vancouver WATop 3 Reasons for Treating Your Home With Roof Cleaning

A dirty roof is an eye sore and can mean unwanted damages with severe replacement costs. Upon costing a lot, roof damages and moss can be harmful to you and your family, making roof cleaning essential.

For those living in the Portland and Vancouver areas in the Pacific Northwest, mossy roofs filled with debris are no uncommon occurrences. But that doesn’t mean you should blend in with the crowd.

There’s no dispute on whether or not you should avoid costly roof repairs. Below you will find the top 3 reasons to keep your roof clean.

1) Freshen Up Your house and Make it Shine

Roof cleaning is hands down one of the best ways to boost your homes curb appeal. Think about houses that are for sale. Would you rather choose one with a mossy and debris filled roof or one that has been freshly cleaned and polished to perfection?

Also, those unappealing black stains, caused by moss growth, on your roof would be stripped away by a professional cleaner. Roof cleaners like Forcewashing uses a zinc sulfate solution after cleaning your roof, which keeps it safe from moss growth and black stains for at least a year.

2) Roof Cleaning is Much Cheaper Than Repairs

Of course, this is an obvious statement but it can’t be emphasized enough! Roof cleaning costs typically range from $200 to $550 while roof replacement can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000.

Of course this depends on the size of your roof and house but it would take about 20 roof cleanings to meet the cost of one roof replacement. To put this into perspective, a 900 square foot roof can cost $5,500 while a roof cleaning can cost $260.

3) Protect Your Family From Getting Sick

You may not know this but moss and debris on your roof can cause unwanted mold and bacteria to enter your home. When your roof is left untreated for long periods of time, moss and algae start to form under your roof’s shingles and in cracks.

When this happens, the inside of your roof becomes damp and starts to mold. This bacteria spreads through your house and can cause sickness. Plus no one likes the bitter smell of mold.

The Bottom Line

There are many reasons to keep your roof clean but here is the top 3. It’ll make your home stand out, especially in places like Portland and Vancouver where mossy roofs are found frequently. It’ll also keep your wallet happy and your family safe!