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Archive for the ‘house cleaning’ Category

Not every surface requires a pressure washer, especially since our Soft Wash method give a longer lasting clean than standard pressure washing. We treat the organic material on the house as a pest, so we eradicate it! Just because one cannot see the organism growing in the siding crevices, doesn’t mean that it isn’t. Our solution breaks down the dirt and grime and we are able to just rinse it away. The solution will not harm your plants and tends to last longer than standard power washing.  Check out the pictures of houses we’ve cleaned just this year in Easton, a lovely historic town on Maryland’s Eastern Shore.

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Morgan C. Booz

AccuWash, LLC

410-482-4367

accuwash1@gmail.com

Roof Cleaning Maryland

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The National Cleaning Expo (NCE) is in Tampa, FL again this year. This large industry event pulls pressure washers, vendors, and distributors form across the entire United States.  Held at the lovely MainSail Suites near the Tampa Airport July 27 – 30th, each room comes with a full kitchen and dinning room.  There are always a lot of giveaways, but the best prize is the pressure washing skid. Only one key opens the lock to this prize and keys are given out the entire expo. It pays to be there the entire time! The expo is free if you stay at MainSail Suites, and only $30 if you choose to stay somewhere else.

Benefits:

Certifications: Roof Cleaning, Paver Sealing, Wash Water Control and Wood Restoration

Demos: Vendors and Cleaning Professionals show you how to do it!

Speakers: Free Information from those who know

Panel of Experts: From fleet washing to marketing your business, bring your questions.

We will be there on Wednesday, July 27th and Bill Booz will be presenting as well (Topic TBA) Hope to see you there!

Morgan C. Booz

AccuWash, LLC

410-482-4367

accuwash1@gmail.com

Roof Cleaning Maryland

My profiles: Facebook Picasa WordPress Twitter

 

 

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Sodium percarbonate (secret OxiClean ingredient) is used by the best deck cleaners to fully pull out all that dirt and grime. Otherwise known as oxygen bleach, Sodium Percarbonate is also used in color safe bleaching laundry products. My husband wears long sleeve white shirts for work and the cuffs always hold the most dirt. Since we use this chemical solid to clean wood decks, I decided to do a little testing to see if I could save money by buying direct instead of the branded products from the grocery store.

First, I washed the shirt in a normal wash – with just laundry detergent. The cuffs were cleaner, but the grime was still apparent. Then, I made a paste of 1 Tablespoon of sodium percarbonate and 1 Cup of hot water. I let the cuffs soak in this mixture for 20 minutes. Finally, I  mixed a 1/2 cup of sodium percarbonate in hot water to dissolve it and added a washer full of cold water along with my normal amount of laundry detergent. After 30 or so minutes, the shirt cuffs were as good as new!

Next time, if I soak the cuffs right away, I could probably just leave them in the hamper till I wash a full load of laundry. Time to buy some sodium percarbonate from my own business to keep in the house!  A good friend of mine uses OxiClean to remove stains from her porcelain kitchen sink, I will have to share this with her as well. Safe and effective cleaning solutions – Yay!

Morgan C. Booz

AccuWash, Owner

410-482-4367

accuwash1@gmail.com

Roof Cleaning Maryland

My profiles: Facebook Picasa WordPress Twitter

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We like to say, “Buyer Beware,” but a lot of consumers just pick what is cheapest. This can royally screw the pooch, so to speak. Check the manufacturer bulletins before proceeding with any home improvement. When it comes to cleaning your house, deck or roof; not every surface can be cleaned the same way. Make sure you hire the most knowledgeable company. In this article, I examine two technical bulletins: Ashpalt Roofing Manufacturer Bulletin (ARMA) Trex Deck Cleaning Guide and the Dryvit Technical Bulletin.

Ashpalt Roofing Manufacturer Bulletin

The Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA) is a trade organization made up of roofers in North America. They spearhead the research and development within the asphalt roofing industry and as such, has created a cleaning bulletin for informational purposes. ARMA works with shingle manufacturers, lobbyists, the EPA local government to help the asphalt shingle industry grow and thrive.Formed in 1915, ARMA has been involved in the fire resistant shingle trend in the 1970s and the recyclable shingle movement of the 1990s.Today, asphalt shingles make up about 80% of American roofs.

One of ARMA’s publications it the “Algae Discoloration of Roofs,” where the explain what is growing on the shingles and recommend treatment procedures. Gloeocapsa Magma grows on many surfaces, asphalt shingles being an important one, causing dark discoloration and unsightly streaking. Some advancement in algae resistant shingles has been made, but just like gutter guards, each house is its own micro-environment. That means that the pitch, location and age of the roofing material all contribute to how bad the infestation will get. Algae resistant shingles are more expensive than regular shingles and come with a thick warranty detailing ways the manufacturer will not reimburse you if the Gloeocaps magma grows on the roof. ARMA recommends a cleaning method they call temporary and suggest buying algae resistant shingles.

Now, I would compare the cost difference between shingle types and get a quote from a reputable roof cleaner to see which path is right for the house. We live in nature and as such, cannot completely keep life from forming on dwellings. Between the wind and the rain, a shingle roof will only last about 25 years. ARMA is in the business of helping roof shingle manufacturers, not in keeping those shingles free and clear of algae. There must be a community or organization of roof cleaners that has cropped up to tackle this problem!

Dryvit Bulletin: Cleaning and Maintenance

A step down from the roof, after the gutters, are the house walls. Whether it is vinyl, wood, metal, brick, stucco or composite, the long term appearance is due to care and maintenance. Dryvit is a relatively new coating with an acrylic finish that does not require pressure washing. In fact, Dryvit specifically recommends that no pressure is used to clean the surface as high pressurized water can strip away the protective coating. Dryvit helps to insulate a building, which is good for the environment and your pocket.

Trex Deck

One of the most popular decking alternative, Trex Deck is a composite material that holds up better than wood. Like any porous material, it will trap moisture, dirt and grime. Unlike other manufacturers, Trex supplies a detailed cleaning guide based on the type of stain/dirt. They specifically do not recommend the use of a pressure washer or sandblasting as this will put lines in the material.

For More Information

Visit these links for more information about the manufacturers profiled in this article.
Roof Cleaning Technical Bulletins
List of Technical Bulletins from various manufacturers under research page.
Drvit Bulletin: Care and Maintenance
Direct link to the Drvit Technical Bulletin
Asphalt Roofing Manufacturer Association
ARMAs Website
Trex Deck
Trex Decking Website
Morgan Clickner

Office: 410-482-4367

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Dirty Roof – What is that Stuff?

Gloeocapsa magama is growing on your roof – just because you can’t see it yet, doesn’t mean it isn’t there! Asphalt, tile or metal roofs are not immune to this invasive pest that appears to be dark stains creeping up a roof. Gloeocapsa magma is a species of cyanobacteria. Cyanobacteria are an ancient line of photosynthesizing bacteria, which photolyze water generating oxygen gas. Ancient cyanobacteria were ancestral to the chloroplasts of all plants on earth. We live in nature and nature keeps trying to take back over – look up sometime and you will see the visual evidence. This bacteria grows like an algae on your roof, it feeds off of moisture and some calcium from those asphalt shingles. Then, moss and lichen feed off the algae, creating a nice little forest bed on your roof. Well, it isn’t that nice, not really.

 

Gloeocapsa Magma

The above picture shows an asphalt roof with an infestation of gloeocapsa magma. Comparatively, the picture here shows the same shingle type before infestation. Notice the difference? Those little rocks or granules help keep your roof in tip-top shape. A roof without any granules doesn’t keep the rain out and a new roof can cost thousands of dollars. So, the obvious next step would be to pressure wash that pesky algae off your roof, right? Very Bad Idea, Folks. While a pressure washer his good for striping wood for restoration, the last thing you want is to apply that technique to your shingles. The goal, here, is to kill the infestation and to leave as many granules as possible on the roof.

The first step is to do your research: Read your roof warranty – you do not want to choose a method that will void that warranty. If you have a warranty that includes treatment for this, great! It can be difficult to obtain a check, but it won’t hurt to call and find out. The ones I’ve read from ARMA and GAF both say the same thing – no pressure roof treatment. At this point, many consumers may start to get bids. I would do some more research first, just so you get exactly what is best for your roof. Visit the Roof Cleaning Institute of America, they have written the first 50 point standard on roof cleaning. There is a public forum where anyone can read up on techniques and then look at the work of local contractors.

It’s not just about price shopping, it is about getting what you pay for. A low-baller may not even have liability insurance, let alone some sort of guarantee. These are general called Chlorine Cowboys, because they spray Sodium Hypochlorite on everything, even those surfaces that will be ruined (i.e. Plants). At the same time, you don’t want to be price gouged, but know that quality and safety cost a little bit more. Check a few references as any decent roof cleaner will have a stack of satisfied customers and get a certificate of insurance that will give you extra protection.

The widely accepted treatment contains:
1. Sodium Hypochlorite – gives that visual result of making those black streaks disappear
2. Algaecide – does the hard work of killing off the algae, moss and lichen
3. Hydrogen Dioxide – water is used to dilute the solution
4. Surfactant – helps the solution “stick” to the roof so it won’t just rinse off
5. Other Ingredients – each company will have its own proprietary recipe

The first item scares a few of you, I understand. Sodium Hypochlorite (SH) or commonly called, bleach, envisions “bleached” items. Believe it or not, but SH is used in water treatment and can be used safely. SH, not the household variety, breaks down rather quickly when exposed into a salt compound. An experienced roof cleaner will be able to explain all the safety methods needed to apply SH and how it will not discolor your roof.

 

Environmental Impact

Flora and Fauna

If this roof treatment kills organic matter, what will it do to my yard?

This is a valid concern and one that can only be prevented by qualified roof cleaners. No pressure roof cleaning means that the chemical solution is applied in a very controlled manner. That being said, a few precautions are necessary to protect your plants. If you have gutters, the downspouts should be covered with bags so the draining solution is collected. If a mist of the solution kills the algae on the roof, imagine what a pool of the solution will do to the environment? Additionally, soaking the surrounding ground with water will create a barrier between the plants and the spray. Sometimes, a tarp is necessary for more delicate plants.

Sodium hypochlorite is a gas and a liquid, which means that safe application is tantamount to the bottom line. When you get your roof cleaned, keep all animals and people inside and make sure all the doors and windows are securely shut. After a few hours, the SH will break down into a salt compound that will not be harmful. The aroma will be of a pool in high summer, but that too will dissipate. If there is a spill accident, a pool of this solution can kill a patch of plants. If flooded with water right away, the plant/s may survive even though it may look dead. A misting that does not get immediately rinsed will produce dead spots on leaves/petals. This will not kill the plant, only discolor it for a time. Typical shrubs, trees and ground cover are hardy enough that only a spill will harm them.

Why not take a few pictures of your lawn, plants and roof the day before your roof is treated? That way, you will have proof of the state of your plants right beforehand.

 

The Roof Cleaning Industry

As of this article publication date, the roof cleaning industry is largely un-regulated. There is one budding group, The Roof Cleaning Institute of America (RCIA), that has put together a 50 point standard and is working on a certification process. This group is made up of roof cleaners who recognize the necessity to legitimize their industry. Their goal is to create a nation wide network of highly skilled, professional roof cleaning companies that all consumers will recognize. Right now, this is completely volunteer organization with a Board of Directors. For more information from the source of the industry, click on the RCIA Picture.

Good Luck and Let the Pros do the Roof Cleaning!

 

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Commonly asked questions for cedar roofs include does my cedar roof need replaced if it is growing moss or lichen?  The answer is not usually.  If a cedar roof is curling or falling off than this is the time to repair or replace it.  One of the benefits of a wood roof are that individual shingles can be replaced.  They do not always match the existing shingle but over the period of one to two years the shingle colors will usually start to match due to oxidation from sunlight.  In most cases wood roofs that have started to turn black, grey or are visibly growing moss or lichen can be treated with a cleaning process that kills the growth on the roof and the roof can be restored to near its original luster.

In the case of roofs turning black with the growth of gloeocapsa magma bacteria, the roof can generally be cleaned with a no pressure treatment process that does not require rinsing.  In the case of wood roofs growing moss or lichen the same treatment can be used and must contain a bleaching agent along with a fungicide and algaecide treatment. Some contractors will want to use a pressure washer or use a brush to remove the moss and lichen.  This can be done, but must be done at precise pressures by an accredited contractor.  In a case were a wood sealant is to be used after cleaning low pressure washing is recommended to remove any loose debris prior to sealant application.  In the cases were no sealant is wanted then Accuwash recommends that the infested panels or entire roof be treated with the above mentioned solutions and left for the rain to remove the dead treated substances on the roof.  Accuwash has found this to be the safest for the longevity of the roof.  For those seeking instant results moss and lichen can be removed or loosened with a pressure washer or brush.  Pressure washing to rinse a roof will generally add a very large amount to the cost of the service and poses a much larger threat to damaging the roof to treatment alone.  When left for the rain to remove the treated substances it will generally take two to three months for the moss and lichen to be completely removed from the roof surface.  This gentle, natural roof cleaning provides the safest method for removing the debris from the roof.  In most situations were a roof is growing moss or lichen the roof itself can still be salvaged as long as the shingles have not begun to split and deteriorate, usually recognizable by shingles falling off the roof from cracking, splitting and warping.

410-482-4367

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