Power Washing: Prevention, Maintenance, and Safety

Hello my happy homeowners! I have been asked by a lot by my clients what is the recommended amount power washing that should occur. I figured I would use this post to answer that question and others that come our way.

We use a power washing process called Soft Washing. Soft Washing, is a gentle power washing processes that effectively cleans your home and also helps with these three things: prevention, maintenance, and safety. Our customers have asked us so many questions regarding this. How does power washing do all three of these? How often should I power wash? What about those websites that claim power washing is bad for your home? I am here to help!

Soft Washing a home is a preventative measure for the exterior of your home. Unless, 100% of your home exterior is in the sunlight ALL the time, I can guarantee that there are some shady spots where mold is likely to grow. Soft washing will kill the mold, mildew and algae that is growing, trying to grow, or even thinking about growing. Mold spores are microscopic, so just think of how many spores are on your home once you do see it! It will also remove other organic material from the siding, creating a beautifully clean home exterior. By cleaning your home, at minimum once a year, you are preventing the growth of damaging substances on your home. We recommend have your home cleaned once a year, either in the spring or the summer. By doing this, you are protecting your home for the year. So by the the time Old Man Winter has left, you are ready to protect your home once more!

Soft Washing a home is a way of maintaining the exterior of your home. The weather can do some crazy things! Wind brings up dust, leaves and dirt. Rain and other moisture can cause mold and algae. Washing your homes exterior helps maintain the appearance of your home. It also gives your home “curb appeal”. By maintaining a clean exterior, you can actually add 5 to 10 percent to the value of your home!

Soft Washing a home is a way of keeping your family and pets safe! Believe it or not, just because mold is growing on the outside of your house, does not mean it can’t make its way inside your home! What a scary thought! Mold spores are airborne initially and can become airborne again. If they are growing on your homes exterior, they can make their way inside your home through an open window, open door, small child, or family pet. Soft washing kills the mold and keeps it off! No one wants mold around their family or pets.

Let us help you prevent damage, maintain a great appearance, and keep your home safe!!

East Coast Powerwashing is fully licensed and insured. We actively participate in the Power Washing of North America PWNA Association. We recently received PWNA Environmental Certification. We are certified by the Power Wash University for House/Building Washing. Additionally we have been award Angie’s List SUPER SERVICE Award 7 years in a row.

You Will Always Find Someone That Can Do It Cheaper...

find+someone+cheaper.jpg

This meme has got to be one of the truest memes in this business. You can find someone to do it cheaper, but this blog post will show you why you shouldn’t.

When it comes to power washing your home, driveway, patio, deck, fence, pool deck, or any other surface that may need washing, it is important to ensure it is done right. There will always be people with personal power washers, purchased at the local hardware store, who can complete a job for a “bargain price” but it won’t be a professional job by a professional company. AND, a ton of things can go wrong that will cost you a lot more money in the long run. If you want it done right the first time, then hire a professional company - one that is properly licensed and insured. A professional company will invest in the best commercial equipment and proper training for their employees. They will also participate in their Professional Association through membership and convention attendance. They will seek certifications. They will be up-to-date on such topics as the best cleaning techniques and environmental practices.

Throughout this post, there will be pictures of what can happen when power washing is not done correctly. We often get called to repair the damage done by an inexperienced power washer who lacks the right equipment and knowledge to get the job done correctly. Sometimes we can help. Sometimes the damage is too extensive. We have seen it all! Word of caution, these are hard to look at. If you are squeamish in ANY WAY, look away. Just kidding, they only make professionals squeamish. Enjoy!

Siding.jpg

Siding

This first picture is vinyl siding. Those dark lines are the damage that a regular, hardware store bought DIY power washer can do. Sometimes, people have said, “for that price, I can get my own power washer and do it myself.” If that is the route you want to take, this is the possible outcome you may get.

siding 2.jpg

More Siding

Once again, this was done by the neighbor, gardener, family friend, who used a personal machine. Streaks, stripes, and scratches are a possible outcomes when going with this option.

deck.jpg

Wood Decks

This is what happens when power washing is put in the hands of a novice. As said prior, these are POSSIBLE outcomes. But why risk it when it can be done correctly the first time!

Concrete.jpg

Concrete

This is a small concrete patio. However, this can happen to any, I repeat, ANY concrete surface. Sidewalks, walkways, driveways, pool decks, all of them. When concrete is not washed with the correct tools and cleaners, this is a possible outcome. As my teacher used to tell me, “do it right, or do it twice!”

driveway.jpg

Driveway

This was done by the homeowner or neighbor. By using the incorrect tools to complete the job, the job is done incorrectly. Let the professionals handle this!

Sidewalk.jpg

Sidewalk

Need I say more? You’ve invested a lot in your home or property. Don’t give the job to amateurs!

Garage Door.jpg

Garage Door

This is my last one. Honestly, would any homeowner want their garage door to look like this? I hope not.

We charge fair and reasonable prices. It the price is too good to be true, there is a reason.

East Coast Powerwashing is fully licensed and insured. We actively participate in the Power Washing of North America PWNA Association. We recently received PWNA Environmental Certification. We are certified by the Power Wash University for House/Building Washing. Additionally we have been award Angie’s List SUPER SERVICE Award 7 years in a row.

What is That Yucky Stuff on my House?

Screen Shot 2018-08-09 at 8.32.17 PM.png

The yucky stuff that we most commonly see growing on the siding of a house is mold, mildew (mold in early stage), or algae. Homeowners often ask these questions: 

So, what is mold? Mold is a fungus that produces spores - light-weight seeds. Mold spores are smaller than a human hair and multiply quickly. Spores can travel through the air to attach themselves to surfaces. When landing on damp spots, they begin to grow. So when we have a lot of rain, beware. Damp, dark conditions are ideal for mold growth. Mold is a necessary part of the environment. Without mold, leaves would not decay and soil enrichment would not take place. While mold is necessary for the environment, it is not necessary for inside or outside surfaces of your home.

What is the different between algae and mold? The difference between algae and mold is that algae is a plant, not a fungus. Algae is merely a plant that enjoys sunlight and moisture. It is a naturally occurring, moss like plant, that is spread through airborne spores, like mold. However, algae will not damage your home like mold will, it simply looks bad and can bring down the curb appeal on a home. 

            How does mold grow? Mold requires moisture to grow. That moisture can come from excessive rain or lack of sunlight. That’s why you may see mold growing only on the side of your house not exposed to the sun. Mold can begin to grow on a damp surface within 24 to 48 hours of water exposure. Mold can also grow if there is a buildup of dirt. Fungus feeds on dirt and dust as well. Mold will continue to grow if steps are not taken to remove it.

            Is mold harmful? Yes, mold can be harmful to both your home and your health. Remember how mold is necessary for the decay of leaves? That is what it can do to the inside and the outside of your home. Mold eats away at surfaces and will eventually penetrate the surfaces. Almost all materials can be damaged by mold over time as mold feeds on organic materials such as wood, paper, fabrics, and even glue. Once the mold begins to eat away at these materials, it can cause rotting, decay and destruction of the surfaces. If not removed, in extreme cases, mold can cause enough damage to collapse of ceilings, walls, and even floorboards. The mold on the exterior of your home can enter your home through open windows and doors. Better to just remove it as soon as you see it!

            How can mold on the exterior of a home be harmful to your health? Mold is a health hazard and can affect breathing, especially if an individual suffers from asthma or allergies. Children, the elderly, and those already suffering from illness are particularly susceptible to mold-related health problems. Children, and even pets, are susceptible to having a reaction to outside mold if they play outside near the home. 

            What can I do about mold? East Coast Powerwashing offers a service called a “soft wash.” Soft washing does more than just clean the dirt and pollen that has been collecting on your siding all year long.  It also kills and removes mold that is growing. When we soft wash, we use a soap mixture that contains a detergent to clean the siding and bleach to safely kill and remove the mold. After we pre-rinse the home, we apply this mixture to the house allowing it to penetrate the mold spores, killing them at the root. Rinsing the home with a low-pressure rinse follows this step. This safeguards the siding from damage and removes any existing mold from the home. Doing this once a year will keep most homes mold-free. 

SOFT Washing Explained

siding.jpg

How We Soft Wash A House

By Kaitlin Black

The “soft” wash house wash has three steps using a softer spray: a clear wash, a soap/chlorine bleach mixture wash and a rinse. All three steps use a soft spray to remove surface dirt and grime from the outside of the gutters, the downspouts, the siding, window ledges and shutters.

The first step is to wash down the house with clear fresh water. The water will seep into the ground providing nearby vegetation with moisture.  This step will also remove surface dirt and grime.  

The second step is to apply our bleach and soap mixture to the house from the bottom up to avoid dirt and soap running down the house and onto the dry spots. This helps give the wash a nice even appearance once it is complete. Applying the bleach and soap mixture to the home surface works to kill and remove any mold, mildew and algae.  It also assists in breaking down any remaining dirt.   

The final step is to rinse the house. We begin at the gutter line and rinse the outside of the gutters. From there, we work down the side of the house. We continue much like reading a book, from top to bottom, left to right. Once all the soap is washed off one side of the home, we begin the process all over again on another side of the home.