Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need my gutters cleaned?
If you can't remember the last time they were cleaned, then you probably need your gutters cleaned.
What happens if I don't keep my gutters cleaned?
As water drips on any surface for a length of time it can cause rot, mold, discoloration, and start damaging the house or surrounding landscaping. Costs can really start to add up when you have to replace siding, fasica board, landscaping, re-doing a foundation, etc...
How often do gutters need to be cleaned?
We recommend 2-4 times a year. Once during Spring/early Summer to make sure the gutters and downspouts are ready for the AK summer rain. A second time before leaves fall to make sure they don't get overloaded with debris/leaves. Then lastly after all the leaves fall to make sure the gutters are empty for winter. Sometimes cleaning them in the middle of fall can be beneficial too, depending on how many trees are around. The important thing is to make sure your rain gutters keep doing what they are supposed to be doing, which is draining water properly & directing water away from the property.
Do leaf screens work?
Yes and No. It is hard to say if leaf screens will help depending on the property. They do keep leaves, twigs, and bigger debris out. However, I have seen birch seed, spruce needles, and small debris make its way past the screen. I have also seen moss grow in gutters with a screen. Having screens on creates a dark moist environment which is a moss growing haven. The thicker the screen, the more likelihood moss will grow inside. We recommend screens if your house is surrounded by leafy trees. If your house is surrounded by spruce trees, then we would recommend a service contract. Leaf screens also prevent birds from leaving peanuts/other debris in gutters. If you notice lots of birds around your gutters, then birds are probably putting debris in them and we would recommend leaf screens.
What is the typical cost for gutter cleaning?
Smaller homes are around $100. The average house is usally around $200. Larger houses are in the $300 range. Some factors that can affect cost: pitch of the roof, how many stories, type of roof, ladder access, out of town, screens, and/or heat tape installed. If you have lots of different pitches and eaves, that can also affect price as it makes the job harder to tie off on.
Is fall protection required?
The simple answer is yes! Fall protection is most certainly required by law for anyone working at heights over 6'. The only time it's okay to not be tied off is when installing your fall protection or inspecting. Hiring someone who works at heights and is not tied off, using no fall protection, puts you as the homeowner at risk. We carry all the proper insurance, gear, and use proper technique when working at heights. As easy as cleaning your own gutters seems, it can be extremely dangerous. That is why a fall protection law is in place- to prevent any serious injury. Every employee who works here is throrougly trained in order to complete the job safely and effectively.
It it okay to pressure wash a roof?
That is a complicated question. I have heard both sides of this arguement from different roofing companies. After doing our own research, we found that it's far better to soft wash your roof. This method relies on using treatment over pressure. The pro of soft washing is the treatment will kill the moss, lichen, algae at the root, preventing growth for up to 2 years. However, this doesnt provide instant results and that is why we offer pressure washing at the homeowner's risk for those who just want the moss gone. Pressure washing is hard on the roof and can hurt it in the long run if done inorrectly. We have seem many damaging methods from many moss removal companies popping up. It is not wise to pressure wash a roof more than 1x in its life, if at all. Soft washing takes more skill and technique which discourages many contractors who typically prefer to do the "quick and easy" method. Unfortunately, they could be taking years off the life of your roof. I would strongly advise against pressure washing a roof over 10 years old. We offer both soft washing and correct pressure washing to meet your needs.
What is the process of getting work done?
Call or email us requesting an estimate any time! After we come by the property to give you an estimate and it's approved, we will get you in the schedule ASAP. We typically make our scheduling calls the following Monday. We do not provide specific job times as it is difficult to say how each job will go that day- some can take longer or less time than expected. On the day or the job, you will get a call when the crew is on the way to service your house. They call around 5-10 minutes before. Usually we require 50% down for jobs over $200 with any residential property. Exceptions can be made. An invoice will either be emailed to you with the option of paying online or if you prefer a hard copy we can leave one in the door. You also can pay on site the day of the job by; check, credit card, or cash. Should you wish to set up a service contract with us, call the office and we will take care of you.
What forms of payment do we take?
Forms of payment:
I think water is getting behind the gutter, what should I do?
When water is dripping behind the gutter and down the fascia board, it's important to get this addressed as soon as possible. The water will leave streaks down the fascia board and can cause rot, water damage, and hurts the homes curb appeal. Spit Shine can fix this by installing flashing/drip cap. Flashing is a piece of metal shaped in an "L" that tucks under the shingle and and comes out into the gutter. This piece of metal helps water flow into the gutter and off the fascia board. If this leak is not addressed quickly, the rotten fascia board loosens the fasteners that hold the gutter in place causing it to slip out and cause the gutter to fall off the house. Not a good problem to have!
How do you repair leaking seams, end caps, and/or corners?
First, we remove the old caulk if any remains. Then we clean the area and suck all the water out of the gutter. Once gutter is somewhat dry, we apply fresh caulking. Our caulk is a special kind of silicone-based caulking that is very effective. It can be applied even if it's raining, however, caulking seals much better when dry.
Is my downspout broken?
A common thing we hear is, "Water is coming out of the seams of my downspout, do I need to replace it?" The answer is most likely, "No, it just needs to be unclogged." This is generally a pretty quick fix that we do anyway when we clean the gutters. We always inspect gutters and downspouts to make sure they are operating properly.
Do you guys clean the rain gutters and the downspouts?
Yes, we do! When we clean the gutters, we clean out the rain gutters and downspouts and make sure everything is flowing properly. If needed, we will caulk minor leaking seams, bang in any loose nails, as well as tighten any loose screws for free. We are very thorough.
Do you install gutters?
We do not install rain gutters. However, we do install downspouts and will rehang any gutters that have fallen off due to; broken screws/nails, earthquakes, rotting fascia board, wind storms, etc...
How do you remove Ice dams?
We use an Arctic steamer, one of the only steamers in Alaska. This machine utililizes steam and hardly any pressure. This is the most safe and effective method to remove ice from a roof. This also is the recommended method by American Pressure, Inc. The difference between a hot pressure washer and a steamer is that a hot washer is using a lot of pressure. This method can be extrememly dangerous when removing ice dams. A steamer is using virtually no pressure. A machine is a washer if the gun has a trigger whereas a steamer gun does not. So, if you hire someone to remove any ice, the safest option for your home is an arctic steamer. First we will secure anything on the ground to protect your property from falling ice. Once on the roof and tied down with fall protection, we cut small grids into the thick ice and shovel it off the roof.
Does Spit Shine offer yearly contracts?
Yes, we offer three different annual contract options. We have the bronze, silver, and gold options. You can get up to 15% off with free leak proofing and small repairs included with our gold option. The contracts start year to year and go up to 5 year contracts. You no longer have to call to have your gutters cleaned. You can select any service we offer to be on your contract. We also offer the curb appeal special which includes: house siding wash, decks and patios wash, window washing, gutter cleaning, and moss treatment (if needed). We restore every bit of curb appeal we can. This is a great option if you're trying to sell and want your house to look good and sell fast. This is also an amazing contract option in order to keep your home maintained throughout the years without the hassle of scheduling.
Do I need to be home any time during the process?
No, we do not require anyone to be present at any point during the process unless you would like to be there! However, it does help if you remember to have any gates unlocked so we can access all the gutters. We get that people are out enjoying the summer, working long hours, and/or traveling around Alaska. Nobody wants to have to stick around to get their house serviced. We do, however, need a signed estimate form which you can sign while we're giving the estimate or email/text us a copy of a signed form at a later date. This signed estimate gives us permission to be on your property and protects you as well as us!
Do you guys throw the debris on the ground?
Believe it or not, some gutter cleaning companies do this. They throw all kinds of nasty debris on the ground or in the driveway. You will be happy to know Spit Shine does not do this! We first scoop everything into buckets from the gutter and then empty the buckets into trash bags which we haul away. We also are very detailed in our clean up, making sure when we're done you won't even know we were there.
Is Spit Shine licensed, bonded, and insured?
Yes! Spit Shine is insured in every way possible to make sure we are covered and also that you and your home are protected. Trust me I pay the insurance bill! If you'd like to see any copies please let us know.
How do you guys get up to the roof?
We use ladders, whether it's step ladders or extension ladders depends on the access and job. We have ladders that go up to 40', easily reaching the houses and buildings in Anchorage.
Do you guys have all of your own equipment and tools?
Yes we carry everything we could possibly need to do your job. This may seem like a silly question, but I have been asked this dozens of times.
Will you let me know if something is wrong with the roof or gutters?
Yes, anything we notice while doing the job is written down and put on your invoice in the notes section. We do a full inspection while cleaning the gutters of your gutter system. As for the roof we will tell you of anything we notice, but remember we are gutter guys not roofers!
What kinds of debris do you find in gutters?
This is a funny answer, because the most common thing we find out of the ordinary leaves, twigs and moss, is peanuts. Birds and Squirrels love to leave peanuts in your gutter and clog up the downspout. Please don't feed these animals or they will keep coming back. Other things we've found in gutters are; birds, needles, gloves, all kinds of toys, chicken bones (believe it or not!), and some other things i'd rather not say.
How long have you been in business?
We have been in business for 10 years.
How long does a gutter cleaning take?
Gutter cleaning really varies by a lot of factors, but in short with residential it's usually 30 minutes to sometimes 6 hours. Commercial is usually 1 day to 7 days which depends on how many units/buildings there are.
Do you offer Senior Citizen discount? Military discount?
We offer discounts for single parents, senior citizens, and military. Usually the discount is 10%.
Once hired, how long does it take to get the job scheduled?
We do scheudling every Monday, and we usually are about 2 weeks out with job times, so call as soon as your thinking about getting it done. In September we get booked for the season very quickly. June and July we typically are less busy and only about a week out.
What is Soft Washing?
Soft Washing is a low pressure application of a blend of chemicals designed to clean the infected surface without damaging it. Soft washing is an alternative to pressure washing in many cases and is much more efficient and safe than traditonal pressure cleaning. Pressure washing voids roof warranties and removes a lot of the granules on the roof which decreases the overall life span. Our process is guranteed not to damage your roof and to protect your roof 4-6 times longer from another infection than if you were to just remove the moss.
When should I have my roof cleaned? What causes organic growth on my roof?
When you start seeing black streaks on your roof or any discoloration that is the time to get your roof cleaned. Those streaks are called Gloeocapsa magma and this is a bacteria that infects the roof. Shingles have fillers in them to help reduce costs, unfortunately this reduces the quality of the shingles and one of those fillers in limestone. Limestone is a food source for moss, lichens, algaes, and bacteria and so it grows unhindered on roofs. Obviously this is not good for the roof and the roof needs to be cleaned to stop the infection. This food source a long with a damp/dark envrionment makes a prime spot for moss to grow and we all know in Alaska there a lot of dark areas.