Did you know that the algae, mildew, mold, lichen and bio-film that grows on the sides of buildings and roofs isn’t just a cosmetic blemish, but left unchecked it can actually destroy your property’s exterior coatings? The waste of these biological decomposers is primarily acidic based and slowly erodes away paint finishes and even stone & masonry products. Decomposers are what turns rocks to sand and helps to convert leaves to dirt. Its really just nature at work, these decomposers are just doing their job.
Most major manufacturers of siding, roofs materials, and even paints have a recommended procedure and frequency of cleaning of their products, to help extend their life and reduce the impact of the decomposers. However, cleaning methods is where “one size” does not fit all, each manufacturer has a different process they recommend. For example, Behr Paint’s cleaning procedure differs from Sherwin Williams. Georgia Pacific vinyl siding has very specific pressure and chemical requirements for cleaning their products, and the list goes on. Many manufacturers even require a cleaner of their own creation be used, such as in the case of
some roofing products.
The internet can assist you in your search for the proper cleaning methods. If you don’t know the specific manufacturer of the item you are cleaning often times you can find some generalized cleaning instructions on the web. We always preach responsible chemical usage and recommend starting at lower than the suggested strength and percentages. Be very careful with either high alkaline or strong acid usage, these can discolor and damage surfaces that are not tolerant of their usage.
Its so very important to understand what type of soil or stain is being treated/cleaned. First the wrong type of application may actually set that stain in place and make it unremovable, and secondly that stain could be a result of underlying issues such as water intrusion, excessive moisture, or even a leaking pipe. Using bleach on a rust stain will not only provide you unsatisfactory results, but as an oxidizer of metal, it could actually exacerbate that rust issue and accelerate the decomposition of the metal component which is causing the problem to begin with!
Remember also any professional cleaner you hire to perform these services should make a site visit to your property to physically inspect the surfaces you are wanting clean to determine who the manufacturer is and what the best plan of attack will be. This will help to ensure the best possible results and least amount of potential damage.
Ray & Tonya Burke are the owners of Spray Wash Exterior Cleaning here in Tallahassee and can be reached at 850-320-6364 or at www.spraywash.com. Need cleaning outside of the Big Bend area? Find a professional cleaner at our membership directory at