Gutters Blog archive for Interstate Roofing, serving the Portland & Vancouver metro areas. We do residential, commercial and repair: call 503 684-5611

Are Your Gutters a Fire Hazard?

An unexpected source of dry fuel.

Rain gutters doesn’t seem like something that would catch fire. After all, it’s made of plastic or metal and designed to collect water. The problem is that many open gutters hold pine needles, leaves, and other tree remnants. During droughts, such materials can become very dry; a single spark could ignite this debris and set the entire trough ablaze.

How It Starts

Did you know your gutters might hold a fire hazard?

It’s possible that a small fire in a nearby building or vehicle could produce sparks that reach your home. However, wildfires have a greater potential to put gutters at risk. Strong winds can carry embers more than 5,000 feet and deposit them at random. Despite the moist climate of the Pacific Northwest, wildfires have become a serious problem in Oregon and Washington.

Over 750,000 people reside in Oregon’s wildfire-prone areas. A recent blaze near the Columbia River Gorge spread across the state border, according to Oregon Live. Three houses in Washington suffered damage as gusty winds scattered embers throughout the area and carried smoke over an interstate highway. Such fires have also been known to occur in major cities like Portland, OR, and Vancouver, WA.

What Can Happen

When the debris in a gutter ignites, it could result in serious structural damage. The fire could easily spread to your home’s roof or siding, and it could also set adjacent trees and bushes ablaze, especially if the trough falls down. Unlike metal units, plastic gutters can melt or burn under these conditions. This increases the risk that your home or nearby vegetation will catch fire.

Safety Measures

You can take a number of steps to prevent your gutters from becoming a fire hazard in dry weather. One way to minimize the danger is to replace plastic or vinyl parts with metal components. Regardless of the trough material, keep in mind that regular maintenance is crucial. Portland Fire & Rescue urges residents to remove all flammable debris that accumulates on roofs and gutters.

If collecting rotten leaves isn’t your idea of fun, think about purchasing a low-maintenance aluminum or steel gutter system. Interstate Roofing offers professional rain gutter installation in Washington and Oregon. We have provided local homeowners with top-notch products for over 25 years. Our covered troughs feature built-in screens that keep debris out. For more information on our products and services, visit us online or contact us today.

Who’s Hiding in Those Clogged Gutters?

Keeping your gutters safe for humanity.

What can clogged gutters mean for the safety of your home?When was the last time you took a look into the depths of your home’s gutters? If it has been a while, you might not like what you find. That’s because gutters that aren’t properly maintained have a tendency to become harbors for unwanted organisms like mosquitoes, nesting critters, and microbes. In a moist, relatively mild climate like ours, this problem is especially pronounced. What will you find in your gutters?

A Haven for Mosquitoes

If your gutter is so clogged with leaves that it fails to drain properly, the standing water that’s left behind can form an ideal habitat for mosquito larvae. Mosquitoes tend to spawn during warm, moist periods in which there’s plenty of standing water to be found. During the spring, it’s particularly important to keep your gutters clean in anticipation of frequent rainstorms. Otherwise, your summer could be derailed by swarms of mosquitoes in your backyard.

Gross! Fungi and Mold Love Cluttered Gutters

Fungi, mold, and other microorganisms also love standing water. Some of these microscopic critters use left-behind organic matter, including leaf litter and plain-old dirt, as food sources to grow their colonies. Once these colonies mature, they can send out spores that can cause serious respiratory problems for sensitive individuals, including those with asthma. To make matters worse, these growths are extremely unsightly.

Gutter Scum: Problems With Algae

Blue-green algae can cause similar problems. As one of the simplest forms of life, all it needs is standing water and ample sunlight. Although algae doesn’t typically affect folks with respiratory problems, it can be harmful to ingest in any quantity. Moreover, algae can permanently stain and discolor your gutters, roof, and other structural elements of your home.

Cute or Devious? Nesting Creatures Can Cause Big Problems

Nesting critters like birds and squirrels enjoy making their homes in the debris and detritus of poorly maintained gutters. Over time, they can seriously interfere with your enjoyment of your home. In particular, squirrels can burrow into your attic, chew through insulation, and expose your pets to disease. Woodpeckers and other birds can damage your home’s exterior as well.

Do Rain Gutter Installation Right in the Vancouver and Portland Areas

If you’re unfortunate enough to find any of these unwanted invaders hiding in your gutters, you’ll want to take immediate action to correct the problem. Unfortunately, getting your gutters clean and tidy is only half the battle. You need to ensure that these necessary structures don’t become permanent habitats for household pests and harmful organisms. To learn more about what we can do to help, call us at or 503-684-5611 fill out our online contact form.

Can Keeping Up Appearances Keep Homeowners out of the Poorhouse?

Save money with these roof maintenance and cleaning tips.

Like any homeowner, you’d probably like your roof to last as long as possible. In addition to lasting for years, it needs to be kept in good shape to ensure that the underlying structures are fully protected at all times. The best way to make sure of this is by regularly inspecting, maintaining and cleaning your roof. By taking these steps every six months or so, you’ll not just be maintaining the appearance of your roof and home, you’ll be protecting your investment.

Top Roof Maintenance and Cleaning Tips

Every spring and fall, perform the following steps to ward off costly damages and to extend the longevity of your roofing system:

  • Seal Mortar and Caulking — Check mortar and caulking around joints and chimneys. If there are cracks or other signs of degradation, apply new mortar or caulking as needed.
  • Remove Debris — Debris on the roof can cause serious damage, and it can create the perfect breeding ground for mold, mildew and algae. Sweep it away or blow it off promptly.
  • Replace Shingles — Be on the lookout for missing, damaged or curling shingles and replace them as necessary. This is much cheaper than waiting until serious damage occurs.
  • Look for Rust — As you run across metal components on your roof, look for rust. Use a wire brush to remove the rust, and then prime and paint the spot to inhibit future growth.
  • Check for Algae and Other Growths — If your shingles are tinged green, algae, fungus or other growths may be occurring. Zinc and lead control strips are designed to help treat such growths, so invest in some to nip this problem in the bud.
  • Trim Close Tree Branches — Overhanging tree branches can easily damage a roof. Don’t wait until yours are too close for comfort. Trim them back early to avoid serious issues down the road.
  • Repair Flashing — Take a close look at the flashing on and around your roof. It should be securely affixed. If it’s not, remove the existing caulk, scrub the area thoroughly and reseal the flashing.
  • Remove Snow — If excessive amounts of snow have accumulated on your roof, its structural integrity may be in jeopardy. Invest in a snow rake and use it to safely remove the snow.

Hire the Professionals to Inspect and Maintain Your Roof

Do-it-yourself roof maintenance is smart, but it’s even smarter to have your roof professionally inspected and maintained at least once a year. Interstate Roofing provides affordable, high-quality roof maintenance services in and around Portland, OR. Visit our Maintenance & Cleaning page to learn more, or give us a call today at 503-684-5611!

Gutter Styles to Enhance Your Home’s Curb Appeal

If you’re looking to inject a bit of zest into your home, you’ll want to give a fair amount of attention to some of the smaller details. After you’ve added some lovely hedges and replaced the bad shingles on your roof, you’ll want to also upgrade your gutters. With a tremendous array of colors and styles to choose from, you can ensure that your home stands out brilliantly on the block. Your neighbors will find themselves scrambling to keep up with your handiwork.


If you’re primarily concerned with increasing your curb appeal, you should choose a color that dovetails nicely with the rest of the house. Aluminum gutters, for instance, can generally be purchased in many different tones. Though white, and brown are popular, black gutters will work well on homes that have dark roofs and siding panels.


A number of workable styles are available. It’s usually best to choose gutters that slope gently toward the sides of the house. This ensures that rainwater flows quickly toward the downspout. Clean-outs can be placed near the bottom of the downspout so that leaves and other debris do not flow into the ground drain. In situations where ground drains are not available, a stylish option is to place ornate splash blocks at the end of each downspout.


Aluminum, steel and copper are all great options. The most popular styles are 5K, 6K and 6” fascia gutters. They are all run as a continuous gutter on site. Copper is generally used on houses that are being classically restored. There are a number of reputable sealants that will keep copper radiant and shiny for several years.

Roof Repairs

If you’re intent on making your house the jewel of the neighborhood, you should strongly consider overhauling your roof before you install your fancy new gutters. A roof with partially peeling shingles will quickly become an eyesore. It will also have you dealing with leaks in the interior of the house during the next rain. With a new composition or cedar roof, you can increase the value of your house. With shiny new aluminum or steel gutters along for the ride, your residence will pop with sophistication.

If you’re looking for a roofing contractor in Vancouver, WA, or Portland, OR, contact us online or give us a call at 503-684-5611. We can guide you through the installation process so you get exactly what you want.

There’s a Zoo in Your Gutters

Improperly maintained gutters can be inadvertent homes for crittersWhen was the last time you took a hard look at your home’s gutters? Don’t look now: You might not be happy with what you find. Poorly constructed or improperly maintained gutters and roofs can serve as safe havens for all manner of creepy critters, including ravenous squirrels and messy birds. Fortunately, you don’t have to take this in stride. Learn more about protecting your gutters from pesky critters.

Which Animals Like Gutters?

Many different types of animals can be found in poorly constructed or loosely maintained gutters. Some of the most common include:

  • Nesting birds like cardinals and blue jays
  • Squirrels
  • Chipmunks
  • Snakes, lizards and other reptiles
  • Feral cats
  • Possums and raccoons

What Damage Do They Cause?

Nesting animals like squirrels and birds can cause devastating clogs that lead to flooding and permanent gutter damage. When leaves and other organic material build up in these spaces, water must find another way to the ground. This can lead to deluges that cause water to pool near your home’s foundation. Over time, such pools can lead to cracks or erosion that compromise the integrity of your foundation and may necessitate expensive repairs.

Moving Towards a Sustainable Fix

Getting rid of animals that lurk in your gutters is no easy feat. Although it’s not a sure fix, it may help to wait until a nest is empty and quickly trim the tree branches by which the unwelcome intruders access their “homes.” For a more permanent fix, consider installing a gutter guard or netting to prevent creatures of any size from making their way into your gutters. Certain types of siding may be more difficult to climb than traditional siding materials as well. Additionally, fixing your roof to ensure a tight seal between your gutters and shingles or tiles may help.

Roofing Contractor in Portland, OR: Getting It Right the First Time

You don’t have to accept the fact that critters will damage your gutters or set up shop along your home’s roofline. By following the advice that we outline above, you can go a long way towards preventing the sort of damage that may reduce your home’s resale value and render the property unattractive to prospective buyers. To ensure that you get the job done right on the first try, give one of the experts at Interstate Roofing a call at 503-684-5611, or learn more about our roof installation services.

Green Roofs, Gutters and Mindful Living

In recent years, unusual weather patterns, unexplained phenomena and erratic storms have deepened our consciousness for the environment. Many homeowners are embracing the new wave of green roofing in an attempt to take us closer to a greener and healthier planet.

Insulate Inside Out

Ordinary roofing might not provide your home with complete insulation during the hot summer and cold winter months. Not surprisingly, about 40% of conditioned indoor air can escape through the cracks and crevices in your attic. By switching to a green roofing solution, you’ll be able to lower your heating and cooling bills almost instantly.

Make the Most out of Natural Resources

A substantial amount of water is used to water lawns and gardens during the hot summer months. Save money on your water bills with indigenous rain barrels that collect the rain that hits your roof. You’ll also be able to prevent flooding and storm water runoffs.

Natural Lighting Can Lower Energy Bills

With attractive solutions incorporated into a green roof, such as solar tubes and skylights, your home will be supplied with ample amounts of natural sunlight. With well-lit indoor spaces, rarely will you feel the need for artificial lighting during the day.

Recycle Your Roof

Rather than ending up in a landfill, a green roof can be recycled in the most efficient manner, thus sparing you the hassle of having to dispose an average of five tons of debris.

Lincoln High School Green Roof

Interstate Roofing installed a green roof on Lincoln High School.

Harness the Power of the Sun

Solar panels can be a mindful and smart investment, one that can save money and reduce greenhouse gases at the same time. Benefit from clean and renewable energy by installing solar panels on your roof.

Reduce the Need for Energy Usage with Specially Designed Cool Roofs

Take advantage of roofs built with shingles that are incorporated with solar-reflecting granules. Available in cool colors, they are designed to keep your roof and home cool by effectively reflecting sunlight.

Do Your Part for the Community

Your roofing choices are more important than you think. By making green choices, you’ll make a positive impact on the community. Earth-friendly roofs can reduce smog and city heat island effect.

Now Is a Great Time to Embrace the Power of Green

It has never been easier than now to adopt smart solutions that have innumerable benefits. Not only does green roofing appreciate the value of your home, but you’ll be a part of the growing community that makes mindful choices for our planet. Interstate Roofing is reputable roofing contractor based in Portland, OR. Call today, and learn more about your various options in roof installation, siding, gutters and windows.