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How to Pressure Wash a House

How to Pressure Wash a House

pressure wash a house

How to Pressure Wash a House

As the owner of Neptune Clean, and highly trained Jedi-Washer, I often hear homeowner confessions of failed DIY home cleaning attempts. The conversation always begins with “I have my own pressure washer but…” followed by the problem they encountered.

I always encourage homeowners to save money where they can. Heck I’m an avid DIY’er so I can’t blame them for wanting to take care of a simple exterior house cleaning project.

One common mistake homeowners make is using too much pressure to wash their siding to remove organic contaminants like mold, mildew, and algae. Using “high pressure” can damage siding. It can also force water under vinyl siding, into soffits, or under door and window jams.

Brick is more forgiving of course but wood siding like cedar is more fragile than vinyl. What homeowners don’t realize is that professionals rely on cleaners and each of these siding types require a different type of cleaner.

before mailbox clean
Soft Wash Docks Piers

My first pressure wash a house tip:

Professionals use a “soft wash” method to apply a cleaning agent rather than actually pressure washing a house. The most common cleaner is a diluted blend of sodium hypochlorite (bleach) and surfactant detergents.

The mild soap is applied with a low-pressure spray to all the surfaces of your siding. The soap does the work (not the pressure washer) and removes the organic material. All you must do after a short dwell time is give your home a good rinse.

Here’s my second pressure washing tip:

Hydrate all the plants and grass around your home to protect them from the cleaning agent. A thin coat of water fills the cells on the surface of leaves reducing exposure to the cleaner. If left unprotected, direct exposure to cleaning agents may burn leaves and grasses.

Here’s my third pressure a house tip:

Before cleaning your home, cover anything you don’t want exposed to the cleaning agents like copper light fixtures, door handles or exotic wood doors. Sodium Hypochlorite will accelerate rust on iron or the patina on copper. Also tape electrical outlets where they meet the siding to reduce the chance of tripping a GFCI circuit breaker.

Here’s how to safely clean home siding yourself:

Most homeowner level pressure washers have a downstream attachment that allow you to “softwash” your home. You can purchase house siding cleaners from the big box home stores. They sell it by the gallon, and it works well with the downstream feature of your pressure washer.

Here’s my fourth pressure washing tip:

Your downstream attachment uses a venturi effect to draw cleaners into the flow of water going to your hose and nozzle. It’s typically at a 4-1 ratio. That’s 4 gallons of water to 1 gallon of cleaner it draws.

So, if the cleaner you purchase recommends diluting your cleaner 4-1, you simply drop the downstream pickup tube from your pressure washer into the cleaner and you’ve got a 4-1 ratio you’re spraying on your home.

 To begin pulling soap through your pressure washer, all you do is change the pressure washer’s nozzle to the black “soap” tip. Next, drop the downstream hose into your soap mix and begin applying the cleaner to your home using your pressure washer. The soap may take a minute to travel the length of hose you’re using so be patient.

Let the mix dwell for 20-30 minutes and then rinse it clean. Of course, that is if you have a single-story home. This is a pressure washer capability problem. Many consumer level pressure washers don’t have enough power to reach the second story gable ends. You may have to purchase a professional soap shooter tip to reach these heights.

Another common problem I encounter is customers using high-pressure to clean their wood decks.

 Here’s my fifth pressure washing tip:

Never use high-pressure on your wood decks or fences. Many consumer level pressure washers can produce up to 3000 PSI or pounds per square inch of pressure. This is not only dangerous to a person but can rip into the wood’s fiber shortening its life.

Professionals always use cleaners to do the heavy lifting for them. I use oxygenated cleaners and surfactant mix on wood. It’s works great to remove mold, mildew, and algae growth.

You may have read that Sodium Hypochlorite also works on to clean wood. This is true, it does remove mold, mildew, and algae but there’s a downside. Deck cleaners containing bleach harm the woods lignin which is the organic substance that binds the cells, fibers, and vessels of the wood.

Pressure washing Professional always use a two-step process when cleaning wood. After rinsing the wood surface clean, apply a wood brightener to restore the wood back to it’s natural color.

Here’s how you can do it yourself:

Applying wood restoration cleaners is a little different than washing your home. All you need is a quality pump-up sprayer. Follow the directions on the wood cleaner you purchase for the correct dilution mix and application methods. WARNING: Oxygenated cleaners will produce oxygen increasing the pressure in your sprayer so purchase one with a pressure relieve valve.

Add the cleaner to the pump-up sprayer and pump it up. Spray the entire wood surface and let dwell as directed by the cleaning agent’s directions.

After the oxygenated cleaners have done their work, you can rinse the surface with a pressure washer using a low-pressure tip or simply increasing the distance between the nozzle and the surface you’re rinsing.

Applying a wood brightener is usually done exactly like the cleaner but read the directions on the product you purchase to make sure. Lastly, admire the new beauty you’ve uncovered through all your hard work

Lastly, if you’d like Neptune Clean to clean your house for you, click this link to get an instant quote.

Bill Seith

Owner of Neptune Clean LLC

Mossy Roof Cleaning by Neptune Clean

Mossy Roof Cleaning by Neptune Clean

When I speak to home owners about Roof Cleaning I’m very open about the fact that the black streaks we normally treat is harmless and doesn’t effect the life of the shingles. The algae causing the black streaks on your roof is actually a cyanobacteria called Gloeocapsa Magma.

Moss or lichen on the other hand will cause damage to your roof if left untreated.  Moss on a roof is caused by lots of moisture and lots of shade. The moss spores arrive on your roof carried by wind or animals and can easily spread throughout neighborhoods. Unlike algae, moss can be detrimental to asphalt shingle performance.

Moss can thrive on roofs because it’s a non-vascular plant that obtains water through its leaves and not through a root system. Here in North America, moss tends to grow on north facing roof planes that receive less direct sunlight and stay damp longer than south facing planes.

In addition, trees that overhang a roof constantly shade any sunlight and our humid coastal climate helps to holds in moisture and acts as a food source for moss. All these conditions create the perfect environment for moss. Cutting back trees is recommended if you have moss growing on your roof. This will let some sunlight in and prevent it from growing back once cleaned

According to the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association, Moss can cause the leading edges of the shingles to lift or curl, which increases the risk of shingle blow-off during wind events. In severe cases, moss build-up can cause lateral water movement resulting in moisture damage to the roof deck or may even cause leaks.

The most effective method of cleaning algae and moss from a roof is with a strong antimicrobial mix of six percent liquid chlorine bleach and water. Cleaning moss from a roof requires more work then cleaning the algae causing black streaks normally encounter here in Hampton Roads Virginia.

Moss has to be manually brushed to remove the larger chunks before treating with the potent antimicrobial cleaning solution. This means we must access the roof increasing danger to employees and consequently, increasing the price. This is especially true for steeper roof pitches. Some applications may even require a man-lift.

Next we apply a strong antimicrobial cleaning solution with a softwash sprayer and allow the solution to dwell on the roof surface for 15 to 20 minutes, and then rinse thoroughly with low pressure water. We’re sure to take proper precautions to protect landscaping and surrounding areas from the cleaning solution runoff.

Do you have moss or those unsightly black streaks ruining the appearance of your home? The sooner you take care of it the cheaper the cost so don’t wait, if you see moss or lichen growing on your roof, call your Softwash Super Hero.

We’ll get a quote out to you instantly to bring back your home’s natural appearance while also protecting your largest investment.

 

Call Neptune Clean today: 757-384-0411

Neptune Clean Is In The Top 30 Pressure Washing Blogs!

Neptune Clean Is In The Top 30 Pressure Washing Blogs!

Neptune Clean Blog has been included in Feedspot’s Top 30 Pressure Washing Blogs on the web. We’re honored Feedspot has taken the time to review our articles and include us in their top 30 Pressure Washing Blogs. We created our blog to deliver meaningful content that helps homeowners understand what it takes to keep their home clean even if that means helping them do it themselves.

Our goal is to provide information that is based in fact without marketing spin designed to help us get new customers. If you noticed, our blog post titles mostly begin with a question and the article is written to answer that question in the most effective and factual way possible. If a homeowner learns enough from one of our articles to help them clean their own home, that’s OK with us. We just want them to get great results and be safe.

Because pressure washers can be dangerous, so one of the most important things we always try to convey about running a pressure washing business is to do no harm to ourselves or our customers’ homes and landscaping. A DIY homeowner needs to understand the same thing.

Water under pressures of up to 4000 PSI can do some real damage to skin. Worst case it can literally cut off someone’s finger if used improperly. The cleaners we use are safe for the environment but if used improperly, they can destroy plants or grass. The last thing we want is for a DIY homeowner to do is have a clean home and dead, brown grass because they used a cleaner in the wrong way.

I feel that’s why Feedspot put Neptune Clean in their top 30. For Neptune Clean, it’s always been about serving people, not about making profits. If you help enough other people get what they want, you’ll always get what you want.

Call Neptune Clean today: 757-384-0411

How Much for Pressure Washing Service?

How Much for Pressure Washing Service?

Pressure Washing Costs

How Much for Pressure Washing Service?

You’d think answering this question would be pretty cut-and-dry but as a small business owner, I’m compelled to tell you the whole story. Of course, our goal is to deliver a value proposition that exceeds your expectations. To do this, we’ve spent a lot of money before we earn a dime. Startup costs are a significant one-time expense while operating costs are an on-going financial burden that allows us to be available when you need us.

Before you happened upon our sweet Neptune Clean website, we spent a bunch of money and time creating it. This is also an ongoing endeavor as we strive to bring you new and meaningful content like this article. Then we had to spend money on advertising so you could find us. Before we can show up at your home and provide top-notch service, we had to get the proper supplies and equipment. Our cleaning technicians must be trained and get paid so there are training and labor costs. Oh, did I forget to mention the cost of licenses and insurance?

Pressure Washing Virginia Beach

All of these things factor into what we have to charge driving costs up. Luckily for you, the consumer, I have to compete with all the other pressure washing services in my market and remain competitive. This drives costs down. Also, the longer we’re in business and the Neptune Clean brand becomes more recognizable the less we have to spend on advertising bringing costs down.

Finally, the types of services you need will factor into pricing. It’s easy to clean vinyl siding which will cost less than cleaning gloeocapsa magma (roof algae) from your roof. Roofs are not as accessible; the cleaning solution is more expensive and quite frankly its dangerous. Decks and fences made of wood are harder to clean then most composite materials.

Ok I think you get my point when considering how much for pressure washing services.  According to Home Advisor, the average cost of having your home cleaned by a professional pressure washing service company is $288. Nationally, costs range from $187 to $388. The industry standard for calculating pressure washing costs is based on the square footage of your home. This cost can range between $0.15 – $0.75 per square feet.

Here in Hampton Roads Virginia, you can expect to pay between $0.12 – $0.15 per square feet. The factors that play into fine-tuning the cost down for our area are the homes construction material (siding type), accessibility, waterproofing prep-work, vegetation, and obstructions.

If your home is vinyl sided, easily accessible with limited plants and I don’t have to move anything before cleaning the price will be less. If your home is made of brick with custom made wood doors and brass doorknobs that need waterproof protection, the pre-work will drive the cost higher.

Lastly, technology has help to drive costs down a bit through the use of applications like Google Earth or Zillow. Nine times out of 10 we can provide an estimate for services without ever stepping foot on the property. Zillow provides fairly accurate square footage of your home as long as it was at one time listed on an MLS listing service. Google Earth is fantastic for measure the square footage of roofs or decks or the linear footage of gutters or fences.

Inclosing, we do a minimum charge we have to collect even for the smallest of jobs. This is because we have to cover the costs of showing up at your home. If we didn’t, we would lose money and go out of business. The best way to save is to take advantage of bundling our cleaning services. Have your home, roof, and driveway cleaned at the same time and we’ll through in the cleaning of your lawn furniture for free. Give Neptune Clean a call today to get a quote on how much we charge for pressure washing services for your home.

Neptune Clean: 757-384-0411

Can You Spot Clean My Roof?

Can You Spot Clean My Roof?

I get this question often and my answer is always the same. Customers ask me to treat only the section of roof that has the worst algae growth. In most cases it’s the north- or east-facing side of the home. I understand the question. Homeowners are always looking to save money and why treat the entire roof if only half of it has an algae outbreak. There’s only one problem.

Like I’ve mentioned in previous articles about Roof Cleaning, the algae causing the black streaks on your roof is actually a cyanobacteria called Gloeocapsa Magma. Once the bacteria become noticeable, the stains will continue to worsen as the bacteria colony grows with gravity pulling it downward resulting in smear-like stains running down your roof. The spores are spread through the air and deposited on your roof. This means that it can be present on the entire roof but may only thrive on the north- or east-facing sides. If you spot-treat what you can see, what you can’t see will soon spread to the recently treated areas. So, no I do not spot-treat roofs. If I did, my customers would be calling me back in a few short months to ask me why the black streaks are back.

Do you have those unsightly black streaks ruining the appearance of your home? Call the King of Curb Appeal to get a quote on bringing back your home’s natural appearance.

 

Call Neptune Clean today: 757-384-0411

Why is green stuff growing on the outside of my house?

Why is green stuff growing on the outside of my house?

Why is green stuff growing on the outside of my house?

Hampton Roads is home to lots of military folks who often become first-time homeowners while their stationed here. I often get the question; “why is my siding turning green”? The first words out of my mouth are usually, “welcome to Hampton Roads”. Well, if you’d like to know what’s growing on your home’s siding and roof, keep reading.

 The unsightly organisms that grow on the roofs and siding can be moss, algae, lichen, and sometimes mold. All of these can create black streaks, brown or greenish blotches on your home. From a distance, it’s hard for a casual observer to know exactly what it is so I’ll break it down to help you understand.

 Mosses are classified as plants and use photosynthesis which turns sunlight and water into food they need. Algae, according to the University of Florida, are in the plant kingdom, but technically they are not plants.

 Algae range in size from microscopic to meters long like what you see growing on the side of your home as the algae spreads causing huge green, unsightly patches. These organisms may look like true plants, but unlike plants, algae do not have roots or true stems and leaves.

 Algae, like Moss use photosynthesis as do lichens, which are combination organisms that have algae or bacteria living within a structure made of fungus, with the fungus dependent on the food the algae or bacteria make via photosynthesis. Mildew are solely fungi, also an independent kingdom from a botanist’s perspective. They get energy by feeding on organic matter where they live. They don’t use photosynthesis, so they don’t need sunlight that’s why you will most likely see mold or mildew living inside walls or crawlspaces where there’s plenty of moisture and no light.

 Our climate here in Hampton Roads is the perfect combination of precipitation and humidity for the growth of algae, moss, and lichen which is what you are most likely to find growing on the outside of your home.

Call or Text Neptune Clean Today! 757-384-0411

How to Remove Roof Algae

 Let’s begin on the top of your home. The most common type of roof algae, Gloeocapsa Magma or blue green algae protects itself from damaging ultraviolet rays by producing a dark pigmented sheath. The algae discoloration typically begins as small spots on your roof then quickly transforms into streaks on the roof plane. By the time the algae are visible, its likely been present for several months or longer.

 The safest way to clean roof algae is to simply call Neptune Clean! Removing roof algae is difficult even for the experienced DIY’er. Ladders are one of the leading causes of emergency room visits and walking around on a steep roof is the safest thing to do either. The only effective way to remove it is to apply a strong cleaning

Call or Text Neptune Clean Today! 757-384-0411