An Ounce Of Prevention Is Worth A Pound Of Cure

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With the fall season under way, the harsh sunlight of summer has ended and the leaves are fast falling from the trees. But how harmful is a little bit of sunlight and a few falling leaves?

Very harmful, according to Bob Schindler of Schindler Enterprises in Quogue.

“At this time of the year, you need to be cleaning your gutters and power washing your homes,” he said during a recent telephone interview.

This is the perfect time of year for both jobs, agreed Frank Martuscello of LRM Construction in Calverton.

“This kind of stuff should be done for your home, especially on the East End because of all the salt in the air that stains your home,” said Mr. Martuscello during a recent telephone interview.

Though some gutter cleaning and power washing might seem like simple and unimportant tasks to complete for the home, that is quite the opposite, both men said. Mr. Schindler and Mr. Martuscello explained that gutter cleaning is a vital chore that should be completed at least once a year.

“When leaves fall off trees and into gutters, they clog them,” Mr. Schindler said simply. “If they are clogged, rain water can no longer travel through them and keep off your home.”

This can lead to rainwater damage on an outdoor deck or the water can even travel down into a home’s basement.

Mr. Martuscello agreed that keeping gutters clean is very important, and even though his primary job focus is not supposed to include that task, he usually ends up doing it anyway.

“If the gutters are full of leaves and we are power washing, all the water gets stuck,” he said. “So we end up having to clean the gutters sometimes before we can even power wash.”

Gutters can also oxidize, said Mr. Schindler, and they would need a special solution to fix this. He reported that gutters appear to have black streaks on them when they oxidize, but by applying a special cleaning solution, they will return to their original state.

Power washing the house is also a very important yearly task, Mr. Schindler said. Sunlight might not seem harmful, but over a long period of time less of it in fall and winter can result in mold and mildew on the sides of your home, and the harsh light of summer can turn shingles gray and dingy. He said that he uses two different steps for power washing homes: revitalizing and simply cleaning,

“Mold and mildew will eat away at your home,” said Mr. Schindler, adding that many houses on the East End can be particularly susceptible. “Especially if you have a home with cedar shingles.”

The mold on these shingles ends up using the wood as a food source and slowly rots the shingles, Mr. Schindler reported. But those without wood siding on their homes should also consider an annual wash, he said.

“Many homes have vinyl outsides and the difference with that is you won’t have to revitalize the siding like you would with cedar shingles,” said Mr. Schindler. “But you do have to clean them still.”

For gutter cleaning and power washing, the cost depends on the size of the home being cleaned. Average prices for gutter cleaning are approximately $200, the experts agreed, and $375 for power washing.

When it comes to home maintenance, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, both Mr. Schindler and Mr. Martuscello agreed. The difference in savings between cleaning and replacing gutters and siding is worth it, they said.

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