Is It Really Necessary to Clean Your Roof Twice a Year?

You just got a brand-new roof installed on your home and it looks amazing. But you want to keep it that way, right? Cleaning your roof twice a year is something that is relatively easy to do and will help extend the lifespan of your home. If you neglect to clean debris or moss, moisture can become trapped and start to damage your roof and shorten its lifespan.

Your roof is your home’s first line of defense against the elements, so it is incredibly important to maintain it. Every spring and fall, you or a professional should get up on your roof and check all areas to make sure that there is nothing that needs to be repaired immediately. Assuming there’s nothing that needs an emergency fix, here’s what you can do to clean and maintain your roof.

How Do I Clean and Maintain My Roof?

Your roof is made up of various areas where debris can get stuck and algae can grow. These areas need to be inspected with particular care:

●     Ensure that debris is removed from around the chimney and gutters

●     Look for moss or algae buildup

●     Check all caulked areas to ensure that caulking is still in good condition and not peeling

●     Check your shingles to ensure that granules are still in place and that the shingles themselves are not warped, missing, or broken.

Here’s how to perform some more hands-on maintenance when required.

 Keep Leaves and Debris Out of Valleys and Gutters

When you live in an environment that gets all four seasons, there is never a time when there is nothing to clean off of your roof. Leaves, branches, twigs, and animal waste all have a tendency to build-up on our roofs during the summer and fall, and during winter we end up with the dreaded s-word: snow. Being proactive and keeping your roof clear of these things will help elongate the lifespan of your roof.

Clearing debris off your roof can be a daunting job, so there are some things you should and should not do:

●     Use a low-impact water hose or leaf blower to clear leaves and branches. You could also use a non-metal rake to gently brush off debris.

●     Have someone with you when you venture up on the roof. Being up on a roof clearing debris can be a dangerous job, so having someone there with you can ensure your safety.

●     Do not use a high-pressure water hose or a metal rake, because these items can cause damage to your roof.

Roof Cleaning Products

Sometimes the roof ends up with a build-up of algae and/or moss on it, although shingles on newer roofs usually have algae resistance built right into the shingles. Moss, a green, rootless substance, is known to grow on roofs in moister climates, along with algae, a black, streaky substance. There are solutions out there on the market that you can buy to help get rid of moss and algae but you need to be careful with what chemicals you use.

One way to safely clean these substances off of your roof before they cause damage is with a 50:50 solution of bleach and water. Apply the solution onto the areas of concern and let it sit for 15-20 minutes. Once time is up, spray it off with a low-pressure water hose.

Keep Trees and Branches Away From Your Roof

Trees are gorgeous and helpful for the environment in a countless number of ways. But honestly, they are no good for your roof.

Trimming trees back about 10 feet from your roof will help to keep your roof clean, and free of damage, algae and moss. Branches that rub against the shingles on your home can and will damage them much faster. Also, the water that gets caught there thanks to the tree will not only hurt your roof, but can start leaking down into your home, creating even more damage.

Another issue with trees being too close to your roof is that it gives way for those little outdoor creatures to make their way up and find a place on or in your roof to make a home. Of course, this is possible even with not having nearby trees branches, but why give critters a helping hand onto your roof?

 Schedule Yearly Roof Inspections to Catch Any Problems Early

Your roof is your home’s protection. Taking care of your roof is of the utmost importance to allow it to last as long as possible.

When it comes to cleaning your roof to protect it from all of the hazards that life may throw at it, you can complete that job yourself if you wish. But if you want to make sure that it is done correctly and that your roof is 100% safe, getting a professional in is definitely recommended.

Roof inspections are important as your roof ages so that you know what to expect and when to expect it. After your roof is 10 years old, you should be getting a yearly inspection just to ensure that there isn’t anything happening to your roof that you can’t readily see. And after 20 years, it is time to start getting quotes together for the cost of a replacement so that when it is time to do a complete replacement, you are prepared for what is to come.

If you are in the Lansing, Michigan area, Brunette Home Improvement is here for you and your roof. We want to ensure that every roof is safe for all of our neighbors and friends. We are available to come in to assist with roof clean up, as well as inspections and quotes for replacement. We want to make sure that you get the most out of your roof!

Ice Dam Removal and Prevention

It’s that time of year again when we have to worry about the build-up of ice and snow on our roofs. This build-up of ice is called an ice dam. With the amount of snow that we get here in the Mid-Michigan area, everyone needs to know how to protect their roof from this accumulation.

The cause of an ice dam is pretty straightforward. Poor insulation and lack of ventilation in attic spaces can cause the roof deck to warm up and melt the accumulation of ice and snow. The melted ice water will then run down the roof and will cause a build-up of ice along the edge of the roof. This can interfere with the flow of water and possible cause damage to the roof itself.

Which Ice Dam Prevention Methods Are Best?

Ice dam prevention is possible, and there are several methods to try. One way is to keep your attic properly insulated. An R-value of 60 is recommended for the Lansing area’s climate. Warm air escaping from the attic melts the ice on your roof. Close up the attic bypasses to prevent some heat from escaping.

You also need to have appropriate ventilation in the attic. Have a minimum of 1 square foot of vent per 300 square feet of ceiling area. Half of these vents should be low on the roof and the other half should be higher up on the roof. Refrain from blocking these vented areas with insulation, as this can lead to the attic area heating up again.

Another thing to consider is a baffle system. These allow you to make sure that the ventilation area is unobstructed. This keeps the air pathway through the attic space continuous. A baffle system will also allow you to put insulation in the attic without the worry of blocking the vents and ending up with an ice dam.

How Can I Protect My Roof from Ice Dams?

One way of protecting your roof is by adding an ice and water underlayment, also known as an ice and water shield. This is a waterproof membrane that will protect the most susceptible areas of your roof from water damage. These membranes are usually made with polymer-modified bitumen, which has an adhesive backing for easy installation.

Safe ice dam removal is also extremely important. Obviously, going up on an icy roof yourself is not the safest plan, but there are ways to get rid of that ice. One way is to take a nylon stocking and fill it with calcium chloride ice salt. If you place this stocking along the ice dam, it will create a channel through the dam, allowing the water to runoff your roof.

Heat steamers represent another form of ice dam removal. These machines use a very high-temperature pressure water stream. It is not recommended that you do this as a DIY project. Make sure you reach out to a professional like Brunette’s to assist with this task, as the high temperature of the water can harm your roof and you.

Heat tape is commonly used to prevent the formation of ice dams as well. Heat tape is coated electrical wires. They are designed to be placed along water pipes to ensure that they do not freeze and burst. But they can also be used on roofs along the roof edge to minimize ice dam formation in the gutters.

How Do I Know What Is Best for My Home?

The best way to know what is best for your roof is to consult a professional. Have a professional roofer come to your home to inspect your roof. They will be able to tell you exactly what your roof will need to ensure that you don’t end up with an ice dam.

Make sure to get a detailed quote from the specialist who does the inspection. This will help you understand exactly which areas of your roof are at risk and what needs to be done to prevent any winter damage.

If you are having problems with ice build-up on your roof in Lansing, Michigan, make sure you reach out to Burnette Home Improvement. Our trained and skilled professionals will come help with an emergency ice dam situation or help you prevent the situation from happening in the first place.

Call or email Brunette Home Improvement today at 517-327-1005 or

Insulation … How much is enough?

When researching insulation, you might end up scratching your head wondering what all these numbers stand for. We’re here today to clear up the confusion.

Insulation’s ability to slow down heat’s inevitable escape from your home is rated on a scale known as the R-value. The R stands for “resistance.” The higher the R value, the more insulating the material.

But what R-value do you need? You don’t want to overpay for insulation, but you also don’t want to end up overpaying on your heating and cooling bills because your insulation is inadequate. So, how much insulation is enough for your home?

Here’s an explanation of common R-values and their uses in different climates.

R-60 - The Ideal R-Value for Colder Climates

Typically about 20 inches of blown in fiberglass insulation in your attic equals an R-value of 60, which is recommended for most homes in colder climates.

R-49 - You're Still in the Comfort Zone

About 16.5 inches in your attic is equal to R-49 insulation value.

R-38 - You're on the Verge of an Upgrade

About 13 inches of older insulation is equal to an R-30 value.

R-19 - Definitely Under-Insulated

An R-19 value is approximately 5 to 11 inches deep in your attic. 


Most homes 30 years or older have approximately 6″ or less of insulation resulting in an R-Value of R-13.

Contact Brunette Home Improvement to find out how you can reach an R-60 value, which is appropriate for the climate of the Mid-Michigan area, and begin saving money.