Month: August 2010

That is NOT how to clean moss of your roof!

First time home buyers are fantastic.  Never before have you had to do any kind of maintenance on the place that you were living.  If there was a problem you just called the landlord.

Now, you are going to be in charge of an ENTIRE house!!  It can be intimidating, especially after a good home inspection!  Not to fear you first timers, there have been lots of people in your shoes and many with even less technical understanding of the maintenance issues that plague your new home.

In the Salem, Oregon area one very common issue that will require attention is moss growth on your roof.  To be fair, this is not a life and death issue, however with less than a few hours of attention a year this issue can be effectively controlled.

Moss tends to grow in the shady sides of the home.  Mostly this has to do with the 8 months or so that your roof will stay wet in these areas.  This constant moisture creates an ideal location for algae population.  If moss is allowed to flourish unchecked it can create little pockets that catch and hold moisture.  Also the moss can actually begin to lift the shingles.  All of this catching and lifting will slow the water that is running down the slope and the longer water is on your roof the shorter the life of your roof will be.

Ok, we know that moss is not good but how do we control it?  Moss killer.

Moss does not like reactive metals like zinc and copper.  Commercial available moss killers like, “MossOut or any of the other sprays or powders are best.

  • The moss control measures that do not work or maybe work too well, at the expense of the life of your roof are: Strips of zinc that claim to leach onto the roof and kill moss continually.  These strips are good only in theory and only tend to protect about two feet of the down hill roof surface.
  • Also, moss will die if treated with laundry detergents, however laundry soaps have surfactants (read: de-greasers).  Composite shingles are made of asphalt (read: grease!).  These detergents can quickly chew holes in your roof!!
  • Power washers.  Please, please DO NOT power wash your composite shingle roof.  The idea behind killing moss is to prolong the life of your roof.  You will quickly shorten the life of the roof you are trying to prolong by blowing it to smithereens with a well meaning power washer.

That is NOT how your sliding glass door is supposed to lock!!

There are things that well trained and practiced home inspectors can find on homes over and over.  Many times these are issues that relate to components that are or have worn out.  Water heaters are a great example because

there is not a whole lot you can do to prevent them from wearing out (short of changing the anode rod).Other things relate to the difficulty of proper installation.  Sliding glass doors for instance, many people that can read a level and drive a nail with a hammer can install a sliding glass door.  However getting the door to latch properly takes a higher level of patience and/or skill.

The wall plate must be in a precise position to allow the lock bolt to clear as the bolt is thrown.  If the wall plate
is too high, the bolt will come in contact with the wall plate and not open fully.  You have probably seen the sliding doors that you must open the lock partially while the door is open, then close the door, and finally close the latch.  While this does get the job accomplished it is not proper.
If the wall plate is too low the latch will not engage at all and the door can be opened with the lock fully engaged.  This is seen less often but is also not proper and a stick in the door should not be relied upon! 

The wall plate could also be in the wrong position side-to-side.  This is likely the cause of most of

the installation defects that I encounter.  If the position of the wall plate will not allow the bolt to clear properly and up and downadjustments do not improve the situation the plate may need to be shimmed to allow proper operation.
Once the wall plate is in the right spot to allow you to close the door, then throw the bolt and have the bolt engage it is time to install the 3” or better “security screws.” This is another item that I see missing over and over.  The long screws tie the whole door frame to the wood frame of the home.  This is much better than relying on the vinyl frame and provides a more stable lock. 

Hearing about contractors that state, “this is how the door is designed to lock,” is the worst and I must explain to my client’s that it is time to find a new contractor.

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Jim Allhiser President/Inspector

“Always on the cutting edge”

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