We are an exterior finishing company specializing in installation
and maintenance of gutters and siding in the Vancouver Lower Mainland.

What to Expect from a Roof Inspection

Even if you keep an eye on the roof to see what it’s up to with every seasonal change, there might come a time when your roofing system needs the attention of a professional roofing contractor. For instance, a certified roof inspection might be required before selling your home. The following is a brief guide outlining what you can expect after calling a contractor for a roof inspection.

There’s No Charge

Many roofing companies provide a free estimate. The company will typically schedule an appointment. On the agreed-upon day, the contractor will come to inspect the roof, resulting in an estimate listing what needs fixing. The attic is often a part of the roof inspections – they will check for moisture and insulation issues. The estimate should also include cost breakdowns for materials and labour.

Should be on the Roof

It’s recommended for a homeowner to conduct regular roof inspections with binoculars. But for a thorough roofing inspection, the contractor should be on the roof. He or she will examine how all parts of the roof are working together; age and current condition of the roof; and whether the roof will need replacing now or in a few years’ time.

What a Roof Inspector Looks For

The main purpose of a roof inspection is to assure its structural integrity and to identify potential problems and current issues that will become worse if not addressed. A roofing contractor will check for:

  • improper installation of roof components
  • condition of existing shingles
  • condition of flashings around structures on the roof like vents, skylights and chimneys
  • whether or not fascia flashing/drip edge flashing needs to be added
  • appearance of mold/mildew or other signs of trapped moisture under roofing tiles

Don’t forget that the gutters are part of the roof too. Water coming off the roof needs to be properly channeled away from the house. Keeping gutters free of debris ensures that rainwater freely flows through the gutters and into the downspouts. A roof inspector will alert you to any potential gutter systems problems that require attention.

Summer Roof Tips

Out-of-sight-out-of-mind is a dangerous game to play with your roof. Exposed to the elements 24/7 year-round, it can take a beating. Summer is an ideal time to get your roof in shape.

Cleaning Off the Roof

Keep the roof free of debris. Just like the gutters, a roof can be a great collector of leaves, pine needles, twigs, balls and other miscellaneous unexpected items. When using a broom or a rake, don’t press down.

Helpful hint: Don’t use a pressure washer – it can dislodge the granules from roofing tiles, force water in behind fascia boards and soffit panels, and do further damage to worn shingles.

Inspecting the Roof

Since a roof’s temperature is often higher than ground and air temperatures, this can make an asphalt roof more susceptible to damage when walked upon. Plan to conduct your roof inspection early in the morning or use binoculars first.

Look for:

  • debris build-up in valleys and around flashings
  • loose roofing shingles
  • loose flashings
  • damaged shingles
  • damaged shingles around roof protrusions such as dormer windows, skylights, etc.
  • stained shingles, soft spots, and wet patches that don’t dry up 36 hours after a rainfall
  • worn, damaged and/or water stained soffit and fascia

Helpful hint: After inspecting the roof, if you do need to make any repairs, plan on getting them done while the weather is still cooperating. Roofers and gutter contractors tend to be less busy during the summer months.

What are the Gutters Up To?

Inspect the gutters for any damage like dents, worn hardware, or leaking seams. Also look for leftover nests, evidence of insect infestation, and other signs of life (plant or animal) in the gutter system, including the downspouts. If you discover any residue, dead blossoms, and twig bits in the gutter channels, rinse out gently with a garden hose.

Helpful hint: Trim back any trees growing close to the house. This will help reduce the amount of debris deposited into the gutters or onto the roof.

Adding New Elements

Hire a contractor if you are thinking about adding a skylight, some dormer windows or decorative-detailed fascia. Depending on the project, cutting into the layers of a roof or piercing its surface with nails can prove challenging to even an experienced do-it-yourselfer.

Helpful hint: Get three estimates from roofing contractors – it will help you decide on who will be the best fit for your project.

Bring Style to Your Backyard this Summer

The backyard should be a place where you can relax, enjoy the company of friends, and spend some downtime with family. But if it’s missing that wow factor other yards in your neighbourhood seem to have this summer might be the perfect time to bring style to your backyard.

Place to Sit

A backyard sanctuary starts with the perfect place to sit. Charming wicker furniture can transform an urban space into a beachfront refuge. Loungers by a pool or on a deck provide an inviting way to soak up some sun. A porch swing doesn’t always need a porch – it can be hung from a tree or a wide overhang.

You don’t need to buy new – chairs can be repainted or furniture such as stools and wood benches no longer needed inside can be repurposed for outdoor use. Update patio furniture with new pillows and seat cushions in bold colors, patterns, and different textures.

Place to Dine

A deck, patio, or grassy area is ideal for a patio dining set. Choose one that reflects your hosting style and the people who will most likely be using it. Is it just for your family? Are you in the habit of inviting friends over but also include anyone who peers over the fence? When entertaining a large group, select an outdoor table that can be extended.

Give some thought to the theme of your outdoor table and chairs. A rustic farm table or classic picnic table has a casual, country feel. Openwork metal dining table and chairs will lend a backyard a vintage appearance. To give your back yard dining area a tropical vibe, choose a patio set made from wicker or rattan.

Place to Relax

Amp up the style factor of your back yard with an outdoor spa. Hot tubs are available in a wide range of types, materials, colours and sizes. There are even portable models. Yes, it’s fun, but health benefits include reducing stress, chronic pain, and sleeplessness.

An outdoor spa not in the budget? String a hammock between two trees.

Place to Entertain

An outdoor bar shines the light on your bartending skills. It’s also a great way to store everything you need in one convenient place.

Create a conversation area with a built-in or portable fire pit and some really comfortable chairs.

Popular Siding Choices for Vancouver Homes

Choosing the right siding material for your home is a big decision. Siding, no matter what type, should do two things – look good and protect a home’s exterior from the elements. Popular siding choices for Vancouver homes braving our rainy winters, moody springs, and moderate summers are cedar shakes, aluminum siding, vinyl siding and fiber cement.

Cedar Siding

Cedar shakes and cedar shingles give lower mainland homes a natural appearance that is versatile, welcoming and long-lasting. When properly installed with the right kind of house or building wrap, cedar siding is ideal for our coastal climate. Real cedar, as opposed to products manufactured from composite or engineered woods, shakes and shingles are typically more expensive than aluminum or vinyl siding but is comparable in price with fiber cement siding.

Aluminum Siding

Aluminum siding is a popular siding material because it’s cheaper than wood siding and cedar shingles. It is also very durable and low-maintenance. It can be easily repaired by replacing damaged or colour-faded panels with new ones. This lightweight cladding material suits Pacific Northwest weather conditions because it is wind-resistant, rust-proof, and low-maintenance. Aluminum siding is also a popular choice because it comes in a range of colours and textures and complements almost all architectural styles.

Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding is the least expensive cladding material on the market. While it doesn’t rot or rust, it can become brittle with age. The color of vinyl siding is prone to fading especially when in direct sunlight for extended periods of time. However, that being said, vinyl siding is cost-effective, relatively maintenance-free, and well-suited to Vancouver’s temperate climate.

Fiber Cement Siding

Fiber cement siding is a good choice for homes in the lower mainland because it’s water-resistant and won’t crack, burn or rot. Made from cement, sand and wood fibers, it can be made to mimic almost any other siding material including cedar shingles, wood grain, and stone. It performs well in most climatic regions, from mild to extreme.

Damaged Gutters and What You can do about Them

Gutters are designed to withstand the elements, protect your home and be strong and durable. But as they age, they become vulnerable. Fortunately, the signs are easy to identify. If your gutter system is damaged, here is what you can do to prevent the situation from becoming worse.

Signs of Damaged Gutters

Damage to gutters occurs in a variety of ways. It can be as simple as leaning a ladder against aluminum gutters or as complicated as a tree crashing onto the roof during a storm. Common signs of damaged gutters are:

  • sagging
  • warping
  • dents
  • rusting
  • separation of seams
  • fading gutter colour
  • water stains

When Gutters are Damaged

If the gutter system hasn’t been cleaned in a while leaves, twigs and other bits of debris build up inside the gutter channel. As the gutters become weighed down they can sag and warp. If the gutter sections are held in place by brackets, these might pull away from the fascia, allowing the gutters to sag even more.

Dents “cave” inward, reducing the amount of water flowing through that section of the system. The more pronounced the dent the more likely debris will snag creating clogs.

Fading gutter colour isn’t just about appearance. The colour of metal gutters, including aluminum gutters, is baked on. Fading indicates the finish has been compromised or weakened, allowing further damage to occur.

Rusting and the separation of seams are typical signs of a deteriorating gutter system.

Water stains on siding, soffit, and fascia might indicate overflowing gutters. If left unchecked, overflowing can cause soffit and/or fascia to rot. It can also be responsible for the appearance of mold or mildew on your home’s exterior.

Taking Action

When deciding on what course of action to take, first assess how severe the damage is. A small dent or a handful of pinholes due to rust can be repaired. On the other hand, if you’ve had to reseal leaking or separated seams five times in one season, it’s probably time to replace the gutter system. Any damage such as sagging, dents, or the separation of seams that obstructs the gutters’ ability to efficiently move water to the downspouts should be fixed as soon as possible.

Sagging, warping and water stains can be fixed by:

  • thoroughly cleaning the gutter system
  • reattaching or replacing loose nails or fasteners
  • checking the gutter slope and readjusting if required

Sections affected by dents and fading gutter colour can be replaced. Where there are too many dents or the colour has faded in three or more areas, consider replacing all of the gutters

How Healthy are Your Gutters?

You know you should maintain your gutter system to prevent any potential problems. But even if you do clean the gutters regularly, there are a number of factors that can impact their functionality and durability. How healthy are your gutters? Take MHC Gutters’ fun informal quiz to find out.

1. How old are your gutters?

a) 5 years or younger (5 points)
b) 5 to 15 years (4 points)
c) 15 to 20 years (3 points)
d) 20 years plus (2 points)

2. What kind of material is your gutter system made of?

a) Aluminum (5 points)
b) Copper (5 points)
c) Other metals (4 points)
d) Vinyl (2 points)

3. Do trees grow close to the gutters?

a) No, there are no trees growing near the house (5 points)
b) Yes, within 10 to 15 meters (33 to 49 feet) (4 points)
c) Yes, within 5 to 10 meters (16.5 to 33 feet) (3 points)
d) Yes, within 5 meters (16.5 feet) (2 points)

4. How often do you clean the gutters or have them cleaned?

a) Twice or more a year (5 points)
b) Once a year (4 points)
c) Once every 18 months (3 points)
d) Can’t remember the last time or don’t know (0 points)

5. Does the exterior of your home show any signs of the following?

a) Tiger stripes or streaking (3 points)
b) Insect infestations (2 points)
c) Mold, mildew and/or decay (1 point)
d) Shifting foundation or bald patches in earth around basement (0 points)

6. Select the answer that is most applicable to your gutters.

a) If the gutter system is seamless and includes gutter guards (5 points)
b) If the gutter system is seamless (4 points)
c) If the gutter system is made of metal and includes some type of leaf protection (3 points)
d) If the gutters are sectional and made of metal (2 points)

How did your gutters do?

The higher the score, the healthier your gutters are; the lower the score, they need some TLC! Healthy gutters protect your home, reduce home maintenance costs, and save landscaping from soil erosion.

Vinyl Siding – a Controversial Choice

Where functionality, aesthetics, and cost are equal concerns when building a home vinyl siding makes sense. But nothing seems to draw a line in the sand faster than the topic. It’s popular with consumers because it’s the most inexpensive cladding material available. However, it’s less popular with architects, builders, and other construction industry professionals because many feel that vinyl siding has more cons than pros. To help you decide if vinyl siding is right for your home here are the top four reasons it is a somewhat controversial choice.

Eco-Friendly

Opponents’ View

Nothing about vinyl siding could be considered eco-friendly. In the manufacturing of PVC (polyvinyl chloride), greenhouse gasses and carcinogens are produced. Sulfur dioxide, a by-product of vinyl siding production, is the main cause of acid rain and smog. Studies are inconclusive regarding toxicity during regular use but do consistently show that when vinyl siding catches fire or is subjected to intense heat, lethal amounts of toxic fumes are released.

Supporter’s View

Under certain conditions vinyl siding is very durable – the longer it lasts, the longer it is kept out of landfills. Technically it can be recycled. However, most vinyl siding ends up not being recycled because many depots don’t accept it due to its high handling costs.

Low Maintenance

Opponents’ View

The longevity and general appearance of vinyl siding largely depend on climatic conditions. While manufacturers maintain that vinyl siding can last anyway from 25 to 30 years, opponents claim that there is no conclusive proof because siding made of vinyl has been known to crack, fade or split within 10 years of being installed depending on environmental factors.

Supporter’s View

Considered to be low maintenance, since it doesn’t have to be painted or repaired, vinyl siding can easily be washed with a mild cleaning solution. While some detractors say vinyl siding can’t be repaired, it actually depends on the type. Some manufacturers produce vinyl siding panels that can be easily snapped in or out of place.

Appearance

Opponents’ View

Fake is fake – regarding older, historic, and landmark homes, opponents of vinyl siding cite inauthenticity as its greatest crime.

Supporter’s View

Since vinyl siding imitates other siding materials including stone and wood, it provides homeowners with inexpensive siding options. For those who own an older home, maintenance costs are automatically higher, so a siding material that looks like wood, is easy to install, and simple to maintain is an ideal budget-stretcher.

Installation

Opponents’ View

Vinyl siding is the number one choice of do-it-yourselfers. Detractors of this siding material point out that it needs to be installed properly in order for it to fully protect a house. Most opponents feel that DIYers and contractors not specifically trained and certified to install vinyl siding do not have the right skills, potentially allowing water to seep in and water damage to occur.

Supporter’s View

Vinyl siding is inexpensive and easy to install, relevant factors to someone with a large home. But the naysayers are right – vinyl as a siding material contracts and expands. While it’s fairly simple to install, the installer, whether a DIYer or a contractor, must be aware that if nailed incorrectly, during an expanding-contracting cycle, the siding could crack, bulge or warp.

Risks of not Repairing a Leaking Roof

It all starts at the top – if anything goes wrong with your roof, every other part of your home can be affected. By the time a roof leak drips actual water drops a homeowner or building manager can see, it’s been around for a while. Today, we’ll outline some signs of a leaking roof and the risks of not repairing it right away.

Signs of a Leaking Roof

Because a roofing system is complex, a leak can take anywhere from a few months to several years to be discovered. When a roof becomes damaged, it compromises its ability to properly protect your home. Check the roof periodically to see if a leak might be forming. Also look inside the house. Signs include:

  • water spots on the ceiling that spread only after a rainstorm
  • water damage to exterior walls
  • asphalt shingle granules in the gutters
  • damaged roofing tiles – cracked, curling or missing shingles

Reasons for Delaying Repairs

While the reasons for delaying repairs to your roof are perfectly valid, putting them off now will most likely cost you a lot more in the long run. Reasons for not repairing leaks as soon as possible are:

  • waiting until it’s worth repairing – it might appear to be only one or two small damp patches, but it’s not just about fixing; a good roofing contractor will find the source of the leak, and the longer you wait to call, the more difficult it’s going to be to find
  • not in the budget
  • roof is going to be replaced in two years anyway – not doing repairs now could cause structural issues that will impact the time and cost of your roof replacement
  • don’t have the time
  • it’s not raining – yes the weather is becoming nicer, but it won’t stay that way; contractors for roofing and gutters become very busy whenever the rain comes back

Consequences of Delaying Repairs

It’s not only about time and money. When a leaking roof isn’t repaired immediately, water damage can result in serious problems such as:

  • stained interior walls, ceilings, and damp insulation
  • damaged floors, furniture and electrical appliances and equipment
  • fire hazard due to damaged electrical equipment and wiring
  • appearance of mould, wood rot, and insect infestation
  • health concerns resulting from mould growth
  • higher utility bills
  • structural damage

Water is the number one enemy of any building, commercial or residential. Help your roof protect your home: inspect it regularly for missing tiles, damp patches and worn “tired” areas.

Why Invest in European Gutters?

European gutters are distinctive, beautiful to look at yet highly functional. Manufactured for both commercial and residential buildings, a euro-style gutter system will complement most architectural styles. While definitely high-end, there are some very good reasons to invest in European gutters.

Gutter Profile

European gutters have a distinct profile that is timeless yet contemporary. The most popular shape used on over eighty percent of North American homes is the K-style gutter profile. Unlike standard gutters, a euro gutter system is half-round, with the bead turned outward, increasing visual impact and curb appeal.

A typical European gutter profile is deeper than standard half-round gutters, making it capable of handling comparable volumes of water to K-style gutters.

Longevity

Although it might seem that our climate is one long rainy season, the lower mainland actually experiences significant climatic fluctuations, anything from severe windstorms to temperatures that dip below freezing to random bouts of heavy hail. Because European gutters are generally made from heavier gauge metals, they are durable and long lasting, able to withstand the elements.

Different Types of Euro Gutters

Manufacturers of euro gutters offer a number of options for the homeowner looking to invest in a European gutter system. When deciding what will best protect your home, consider the amount of local annual rainfall, the thickness of the gutter material, the architectural style of your home, and curb appeal/resale value.

Sectional: Sectional gutters are available in pre-cut lengths, typically 10-foot sections, but can vary from one manufacturer to another. When installed, they are soldered together. Technically, the seams can be seen, but are usually hidden be half-round brackets.

Seamless: Seamless half-round European gutters are manufactured on site at the time of installation, and only have seams in the corners of the gutter system. When viewing the gutter system from the ground, no joints are visible, creating a smooth expanse that is pleasing to the eye.

Solderless: Fabricated to fit to together when installed, solderless European gutters are sectional but have the appearance of a seamless gutter system.

Materials for European Gutters

While copper is certainly the most popular euro gutter material, European style gutters are available in a variety of different metals, including thick-gauge aluminum, galvanized steel, and zinc.Steel is becoming more popular due to its strength. Strong and corrosion-resistant, galvalume gutters are made of steel and coated with a mixture of zinc and aluminum.

Steel is becoming more popular due to its strength. Also gaining in popularity, galvalume gutters are made of steel and coated with a mixture of zinc and aluminum.

Give Your Home Exterior a Facelift this Spring

Spring heightens our senses and inspires us to refresh our homes, both inside and out. It’s a time when we shake off the gloomy days of winter and get our backyards ready for summer entertaining. Here are some low-budget ways to give your home’s exterior a facelift this spring.

Windows

Cleaning the windows, interior and exterior, will make your house smile. It’s surprising how much light gets blocked out by even a light film of dust or grime.

While you’re out there anyway with the sudsy pail of water wipe down window sills and trim. Examine window and door frames for peeling paint, warping, cracks or gaps. If you need to fill in gaps and cracks with caulking you can do the repairs now or plan to make them in the fall before winter comes back.

Front Door

A new front door can change the whole appearance of your home. It doesn’t have to be “new.” Painting the door a bold blue, red or yellow is an economical way to brighten the main entrance to your home.

Underutilized Areas

Transforming the underutilized areas of your property can greatly improve your curb appeal. Adding outdoor furniture to a bare porch turns empty space into an inviting place to relax in warm weather. Park a bench next to a flowerbed or in front of a birdbath and a patch of lawn becomes a place to enjoy the view. Container gardens are an excellent way to beautify an entry door, deck, patio, plain fence or cement steps.

Landscaping as Camouflage

Don’t have time to paint the fence? You plan to replace the siding in the next two years, but in the meantime, the stained and dented section is very noticeable. Planting shrubs or flowering bushes can hide flawed areas of a home exterior. Camouflage air conditioner units, tanks, trash cans and pool equipment with fencing panels or outdoor screens. Use trellises and flowering climbing vines to bring spring colour into your backyard.

General Cleanup

The appearance of your property will be greatly improved with a general cleanup. Power wash hardscape elements such as a flagstone sidewalk, a concrete driveway, a fire pit, a wood deck or a paved patio. Use a power washer on siding and gutters with caution.

Remove dead plants, trees and any sections of shrubs that have become withered. Rake the lawn to get rid of leftover storm reminders like bits of twigs and decayed leaves.