Why is there foam in my gutter??

Today I received a call from a homeowner who had a GAF roof installed about 5 months ago by another local company. Every time it’s rained since the roof was installed, he finds foamy water in his gutters. He was a little concerned as to why this is happening and whether it would hurt his plants, so he called the company that installed the roof and was simply told “this is normal”.

Unsatisfied with this answer, he started calling around and reached me. In the few years I’ve been here, I’ve never heard anyone mention this issue. I apologized that none of our roofers were here at the moment for me to ask, but suggested he contact GAF directly.

Since I prefer to give helpful answers rather than pacify clients with “it’s normal”, I couldn’t just leave this alone even though he was not our client. I also felt it was important for me to know the answer for anyone else who may ask, so after some unfruitful searching online, I decided to ask our rep at Owens Corning.

He replied that during the manufacturing process for all shingles, a soapy water is used to cool the shingles and prevent the bundles from sticking together. Sometimes too much is applied and it leaves a heavy residue. Then when it rains for the first time after installation, it foams up and looks like your shingles are being washed. This is nothing the homeowner has to be concerned about as it will not stain surfaces or harm plants, and should only happen the first or second time it rains. (The homeowner said this has happened during every rain for the last 5 months, but it’s been a relatively dry spring so it may just not have rained heavily enough to have washed it all away.) He also informed me that in very rare instances, the copper used in shingles to prevent algae can cause the water to foam.

I called the homeowner back to tell him what I’d learned. He had already contacted GAF who will be sending an inspector out, but he was very surprised and thankful that I’d taken the time to call him back with answers. I told him it was a new question for me so I wanted to know the answer, and wanted to make sure he got the answers he was seeking. He said he appreciated this and wished the people who installed the roof would have told him this.

It felt really good to have an opportunity to provide him with answers after his roofer couldn’t. I did not initially have the answers he needed, but was able to get them within minutes of asking our rep. I work with a knowledgeable, wonderful crew, and our company has formed great relationships with our vendors and manufacturers. I am surrounded by the best team I could ever ask for, which in turn helps me provide better service. It’s things like this that make me love working here.

-Shannon Gassaway, Office Manager

Are your expensive gutter guards failing you?

With so many styles of gutter guards to choose from, it can be hard to decide which will work best. There are several designs that, in THEORY, should be quite effective in allowing water to flow into the gutters without bringing debris in with it.  As popular as they seem to be in our area, we often find the solid surface gutter guards not living up to their reputation.

These are designed so water will flow off the roof, curve around the nose and into the gutter, while debris just falls off the front of the nose. During light to average rainfall, this theory holds up pretty well. But with a heavier downpour, the high volume of water tends to bounce off the solid surface and splatter to the ground, rather than flowing into the gutter as intended (thus negating the purpose of having gutters in the first place).

Some of the other design flaws we see are:

  • They have a higher profile than mesh screen style guards. This is fine if you WANT to look at your gutter guards, but we find most people would rather their gutter guards be more of a hidden protection system than a focal point of their home.
  • Smaller debris is light enough that it will still flow along with the water around the nose and into the gutter.
  • Depending on the bracket system, there can be inconsistencies in the size of the opening along a run, thus allowing a larger gap for debris to enter.
  • After a decent build-up of debris accumulates in the gutters, they can be very difficult to clean out.


If your current guards are proving to be rather ineffective, it may be time for some new Leaf Solution gutter guards.  This low-profile, micro mesh gutter guard doesn’t have gaps for debris to sneak into.  The design helps to slow the flow of water and direct it down into the gutters where it belongs, rather than letting it splash all over you whenever you walk by.  Unless, of course, you enjoy that sort of attention…


Call Gold Country Roofing today and let us help you end your gutter protector issues once and for all!


Overlay vs. Tear-Off

Thinking about a new composition shingle roof?  Wondering whether to opt for an overlay or a tear-off?  Although each roof must be evaluated individually, there are some general guidelines to help make an informed decision.

What is a Roof Overlay?

The new shingles are applied over the existing layer of shingles.  While overlays save on time, labor and disposal costs, they can only be done if certain conditions are met.

What is a Tear-Off?

First we remove all the old shingles from the roof.  Then we inspect your roofing deck (the wooden base over your rafters) and replace or seal it as needed.  We then completely re-cover your roof with new underlayment and shingles from top to bottom.

Which option is better for you?

If there are already two layers of shingles, an overlay is NOT an option, as Nevada County only allows up to two layers.

If you only have one layer, the existing roof is in good condition, lays flat (no bumps or rolls) and has no leaks or any problems with the underlying roof deck (soft spots), then an overlay may be the best option for you.

However, a tear-off will probably be necessary if:

  • The condition of the existing shingles is so rough and distorted that it would not be practical to flatten all raised areas enough for the new roof to lay flat.  Installing shingles over existing shingles that aren’t flat can make the new roof look bumpy and make it harder for the new layer of shingles to form a seal.

  • The roof structure shows signs of sag across the ridge or truss lines.  If the roof does not look straight and feel solid, there may be structural defects.  Shingles are heavy, and adding a new layer over an existing roof adds weight to the rafters and to the structure in general. Older roofs, sagging roofs or substandard rafters may not safely bear the additional weight.

  • If spongy areas are noticed when walking on a roof, or an inspection of the deck reveals rotted/warped wood or large gaps between the deck boards.  Any rotten or damaged boards must be replaced before applying the new shingles.  Deterioration can occur when there is delamination in the plywood due to glue failure.  Dry rot is wood rot caused by certain types of fungi and if it isn’t taken care of, it can spread. If there is any suspicion of bad decking, then a full tear-off should seriously be considered, as these conditions are not always evident until the roofing is removed.

Lastly, if you are considering the benefits of the Owens Corning Preferred Protection Limited Warranty, a tear-off is required to qualify for the warranty.

The experts at Gold Country Roofing have decades of experience installing quality roofs, both overlays and tear-offs.  Contact us today for your free roof estimate, and we will give you our recommendation based upon the condition of your current roof.

Maintain your composition shingle roof

Your home is your most valuable asset, and your roof protects the structure and interior of your entire home.  Like everything else, a roof can’t last forever, but you CAN take steps to make sure it lasts for decades.  Skimping on your roof’s maintenance can result in expensive repairs.  Protect your investment (and your wallet) with these simple steps:


Don’t let D.I.Y = “oops!”

We often get calls from clients who are experiencing a leak or some other concern, only to find the problem stems from their attempts to install or repair something themselves.  While we understand their desire to take matters into their own hands, we advise you to proceed with caution.  Read your roof warranty carefully before attempting any repairs or installing any item that could damage your roof and/or void the warranty.  Third party entities, (for example, heat & AC unit installers), can also cause damage and void your warranty.   Protect yourself and your investment from costly DIY or third party mistakes.


Not everything should “go green”

Dust, debris, algae, “presents” from area wildlife… over time, this build-up not only becomes unsightly, but may also encourage deterioration of your shingles.  Keeping your roof clean is important and so is the cleaning method you use.  Harsh chemicals or excessive scrubbing can remove the granules, damage the shingles and even void your roof’s warranty.  Periodically blowing off your roof is a good way to maintain overall cleanliness, but if the build-up has gotten out of hand, the spray nozzle on your garden hose can often do the trick.  IMPORTANT: DO NOT power wash, and avoid spraying your roof at an upward angle that will force water up underneath the shingles.

Avoid a pile-up

With Nevada County’s plentiful foliage it doesn’t take long to accumulate a solid layer of debris on the roof.  Roof shingles are designed to shed water rapidly downward and off the roof, so when debris is allowed to collect, the shingles are not able to drain and dry properly.  Standing water leads to premature rotting of the shingles and growth of algae, and water tends to wick upward, finding its way up underneath the shingles and into your home.  NOTE:  When cleaning out your gutters, watch for any roof granules that have accumulated.  Excessive granule loss is a warning sign that your shingles may be reaching the end of their life.

Know what to look for

It’s not always easy to spot a problem until it’s become a big and costly one.  Sometimes leaks can be difficult to diagnose even for seasoned professionals.  However, anyone can keep an eye out for signs that their roof is in need of maintenance, repair or replacement, and take action now to avoid more expensive problems later.



Ceiling or Wall Stains, Mold or Mildew

Leaking shingles, skylights, flashing, water pipes or siding; inadequate roof drainage (improperly installed gutters or gutter guards, collection of debris, etc.); inadequate attic ventilation

Cracked, curled or buckling shingles

Inadequate attic ventilation; improper shingle fastening or felt application; movement in roof decking; indication that shingles are at the end of their life

Dark areas on shingles

Environmental (pollutants, vegetation, dirt, algae growth, etc.), or may be a sign that shingles have excessive granule loss

Decay of shingles or siding near roof; exterior paint near roof is blistered, cracked or peeling

Leaks; inadequate attic ventilation

Roof leaks on metal roofs

The most common cause of roof leaks on metal roofs are loose screws.  Here in the foothills of Nevada County, the change of temperature from winter and summer combined with temperature changes during the day can be substantial.  This temperature change exerts stress on fasteners on metal roofs.  This stress causes fasteners to back out or unscrew.  These screws often will lift along with the washers that seal the fastener, which provides an opening for water to enter.

The stress on metal roofs from expansion and contraction also will eventually cause the holes in the metal panels to enlarge.  This is the major cause for metal roof failure.

There are several strategies for repairing or maintaining a metal roof.

  1. Inspect metal roofs for loose fasteners and tighten regularly.
  2. Coat your metal roof with highly reflective coating to reduce the effect of temperature change.
  3. Seal  fasteners with a strong adhesive flexible caulking.

A professional roof coating job can add years to your metal roof.  Gold Country Roofing in Grass Valley, CA uses ER Systems coating products and systems to repair and maintain metal roofs.

When you remodel, start with the roof.

The top photo is of a job we finished in Penn Valley, CA.   The owner had just purchased the property and due to insurance requirements had to remove his wood shake shingles.  The bottom photo is the original shake shingle roof.

As part of his major remodel process Jeff Kenney chose Gold Country Roofing to completely re-roof 3 structures on the property.

Some of his comments included:  “Those guys just work non-stop.  You are very lucky to have a crew like that.  I’m sure happy that I went with you guys.”

In this economy it seems like more and more people are choosing to remodel in order to save money.  Now is the perfect time of year to take a look at your roof and see if it’s time to invest a little to save yourself a lot in the future.  Don’t wait until you notice water stains on your ceiling or you get dripped on in the middle of a storm.  If you have any questions or would like to receive a free estimate for your roof, don’t hesitate to contact us.


Summer roof maintenance tips

Here are are three ways to be smart about your roof during the summertime.

  • Don’t wait until winter – in Nevada County, winter freezing starts early!
  • Work early in the morning
  • Summer is the best time to apply coatings and butyl (rubberized sealant) patching material

Check back soon for more great tips on how save money (and save your roof)!