How To Whiten The Front Of My Gutters

You have cleaned your gutters and you now need to CLEAN your gutters. They look dingy or they have striping (called tiger or zebra striping) due to water and the runoff from your roof carrying asphalt from your shingles that have decomposed over time, maybe some organic matter from leaves as well. Now your home doesn’t look like it should.

Some of the methods mentioned are easy for a Do-It-Yourselfer. Some of these involve some contractor grade chemicals (that are also a bit on the pricey side) and are dangerous if you are not familiar with their use. If you try the home methods and they don’t work to your satisfaction and you want a bright white on your gutters, calling in Gutter Cleaning Companies in St Mary’s county is probably a lot safer (and might be cheaper, considering the equipment, chemicals, cleanup and effort you don’t have to do!)

Before you do ANY of the cleanings listed, please wear protective gloves and goggles. If you are on a ladder, a helper is very handy and a great safety measure. Using a ladder offset or stabilizer bar is also a good idea to keep your ladder steady when you are up near the roof. It is always good to avoid trips to the ER when possible.

Things around the house to clean and brighten your gutters without going to the store

TSP-PF & Bleach

  • 1 cup TSP-PF (Phosphate-free cleaner used for cleaning decks or siding)
  • 1 quart Bleach
  • 3 quarts Hot Water
  • advise protective gloves

Use a plastic sheet or tarp to protect vegetation because the solvent will harm plants. Then use protective gloves such as dishwashing gloves and with a clean rag or soft-bristled brush apply to the exterior surface of your gutters.

Cream of Tartar

Generally, this is used in cooking, but it also cleans. Use the cream of tartar and add water to make a nice paste and use it as a car wax on the outside of your gutters. Buff it on, rinse it off. It will even leave a nice shine!

Dawn Dish Soap & Bleach (for vinyl gutters)

  • Half cup Bleach
  • Dawn Dish Soap
  • 2 Gallons Water

Scrub the outside of your vinyl gutters with this solution but don’t let it stand more than 10 minutes before stirring it in your bucket and rinse off with your hose and sprayer attachment.

White Vinegar

If you want to clean the insides of your gutters from the muck, add some white vinegar and warm water to a bucket. Cap your downspout opening and pour your vinegar solution into the downspout and let it sit in there for an hour. After that, rinse it out and you will have squeaky clean downspouts!

Simple Green

Simple Green says on its website that it won’t hurt the finish on your aluminum, vinyl, powder coating, metal or plastic. It will clean dirt, grease, black streaks and mildew stains from gutters, eaves, siding, trim, window and door frames, and other building exteriors.

Jomax

You can buy this at most retail stores including Amazon. Just attach this to your garden hose and spray this onto your home and/or gutters. The prices are pretty reasonable on Jomax at about .$25 a gallon at Grainger.

Professional Options

Okay, you have gone through your home…but you feel that these solutions aren’t your solution. Some of these chemicals below are better from a contractor. There are professionals that will not only clean your gutters to their sparkling former glory but your home as well.  

Gutter Butter

Unlike Simple Green, this is NOT an inexpensive chemical. This is $90 for 5 gallons. This is for contractors who clean roofs/siding/homes on a regular basis. If you have a pressure washer and no polished aluminum, stucco, Dryvit, this might be for you if you are VERY gung-ho!

Krud Kutter

Another cleaner that will also clean siding, metal, vinyl, plastic and aluminum surfaces. Spray on, wipe off. At Home Depot. There is a DIY version in a spray bottle and a contractor concentrated version.

Bleach & Dragon Juice

If you have dark discolorations, and nothing you do is helping, one contractor in Connecticut mixes half Dragon Juice and half bleach and the stains vanish quickly. This is only for VERY dark black stains. Use every precaution when using these chemicals.

Dragon Juice is about $72 a gallon and it is a concentrated degreaser made for contractors.

Gutter Grenade F-13

This is a highly concentrated cleaner for use in power washers – normally used by professional contractors. This product is not expensive and is well-liked in the contractor community. At $22.93 a gallon with a mix of 50 to 1 or 20 to 1 ratio (that is 20 parts water to 1 part Gutter Grenade F-13) this is a VERY powerful solution. It is not legal in California for sale or use.

Gutter Zap

At $21.95 per gallon, this is also a concentrated and inexpensive contractor cleaner. However, this one is environmentally safer than Gutter Grenade. This cleaner can be used with a pump-up sprayer or a downstream chemical injector. Rinse the dirt off with a pressure washer. 

Important Thoughts

Whether you clean your gutters yourself or hire a pro to do it, make sure your gutters are clean of leaves and debris and in good repair. This is a good time to inspect and check your gutters and your home in general and take care of those nagging repairs that you meant to get to. After that, cleaning your home will be like icing on the cake and your curb appeal will be much improved.

Also, whatever you do, do it safely. No point in having a nice looking house if you are in a hospital room and can’t enjoy it. So make sure you use a ladder in good repair, an offset or stabilizer on your ladder, gloves, and goggles and have a helper nearby. 

If you use a contractor, offer them a bottle of water, they are saving you a ton of work!

Check out our next blog post about What’s The Best Time of Year to Clean Your Gutters?

How Much Should Gutter Guards Cost In 2020

Depending on the type and amount of gutters you have on your home, gutter guards (or gutter covers) could run from a couple hundred to a couple thousand. There are variables. Are you installing yourself? Are you hiring a pro? Is this a reverse curve system or a foam insert? 

This will hopefully give you a general ballpark of what you are looking at cost-wise. Kings power washing will consider what you are installing and what it generally costs if you do it yourself vs a professional installation.

Angie’s list suggests that gutter guards and gutter covers will cost between $7.50 & & $10 per linear foot installed. The average home has 200 feet of gutter, so that would average out to $1500 to $2000 for a professional installation. This is for basic systems. 

(All prices quoted are at the time the article is written.)

Mesh gutter guard pricing

This is usually the most durable and effective option. But that means a higher price tag. From the Amerimax Home Products Lock-In Gutter Guard (pack of 25) at $68.37 on Amazon to Gutter Guard Mesh 16ft x 6in Black Plastic gutter covers easy to install at $8.25 also on Amazon, there are many types of DIY options. (You can see that it will be hard to compare apples to apples because packaging will vary greatly.) 

If you are looking for a professional installation, micro-mesh will probably be your first choice, as they are the better option. Some will run close to $459 just for the gutter guard (Raptor Gutter Guard Stainless Steel Micro Mesh, Contractor Grade for 192ft.) Add labor and other materials on top of that.

Bottlebrush gutter guard pricing

One of the most problematic options for gutter guards is the bottle brush gutter guard. Problematic for those with pine trees or maple trees or trees with lots of seeds. Trees with large leaves? This may be a solution for you – it is also one of the most inexpensive. It does require more maintenance (shake it out twice a year) but if you only have large leaves or debris to worry about, this will work for you. This is a very easy DIY and starts at a very easy $18.25 for the GutterBrush Simple Gutter Guard on Google and this is easy to buy online or at almost any retailer (Walmart, Ace Hardware, Home Depot and many more). The highest price I saw this product for was $106.45 at Walmart – same product. Do your own search for your area.

Screen gutter guard pricing

The cheapest I found this product was at $2.16 for a 3ft Snap Gutter Filter at SHC Supply online. Although a much better alternative at Midland Hardware: Amerimax Mill Hinged Gutter Guard $2.49 for 3ft and made of galvanized steel.

One of the more expensive options was the GDM Flexxpoint Gutter Cover System which was sold in 22’ all the way to 5100’ lengths.  Made of aluminum and available in 4 colors, the short length (22’) is $39. It still wasn’t very expensive per foot and had fewer drawbacks than other systems.

Foam inserts or guard pricing

Gutterstuff was the name in foam inserts. If you want the top foam, be prepared to spend around $500 for 200ft of EZ DIY installation. This brand had UV protection, a moss blocker, fire retardants, and a lifetime warranty. This is Very Easy to install, just clean your gutters and put the foam in – literally nothing gets in your gutters but water. Until tiny dust particles or mud or something small gets in there, but that is easy to take out and shake off. Very easy to maintain and clean.

For less expensive versions of foam inserts, there is Gutterstuff (standard) $32.20 for 32ft. A dollar a foot.

Reverse curve gutter guard pricing

This one is hard to price because it varies widely due to contractors and professionals setting their own prices on the materials and labor. This particular gutter system is not available for DIY so cannot be priced that way. Your best bet is to contact a company and ask. Having said that, they will sell you hard on their product. Be sure that this is the right one for you and your home.

Gutter Helmet makes ONLY reverse gutter guards

Gutter Topper has a variety of guards, so they may be able to make one work for you.

Now that you have an idea (mind you, only a ballpark figure) of what you are looking at, you may have to think about whether or not gutter guards make sense for you financially. It might be cheaper for you to hire someone to clean your gutters twice a year than put in a gutter guard and have to clean that, anyway. What it comes down to is managing finances and managing the water around your home. 

It might be prudent to consider the choices of gutter guards, whether or not they will work for you, and what your landscape is. Maybe one guard will work for one part of the house but not another. Maybe you don’t need gutter covers all-around your home. Maybe you need to trim your trees. Consider all your options before making a purchase.

Check out our next blog post about How To Whiten The Front Of My Gutters

Best Brands of Gutter Guards for 2020

Do you need gutter guard installation help? Let the professionals do their job in protecting your home from water damage and giving you less maintenance. Every system has its good points and drawbacks, and it varies depending on your needs. Keep in mind, staying off the ladder is the goal. (Always clean gutters before installing any of these).

Different types of gutter guards

Mesh gutter guards

These are made of metal with tiny holes. They keep out debris while letting water in. They can be installed on a wide variety of gutters so they are easy to use. These are one of the most durable options.

Bottlebrush gutter guards

They are round and look like cleaning brushes. Because they fill your gutters, they keep large debris out, the spikes allow air circulation and water to flow through. Brushes need to be at least cleaned once a year (more if you have pine trees) by taking them out of the gutter and shaking them out. They can and do trap pine needles.

This system is purchased from $20 to $300 – so relatively inexpensive.

Screen gutter guards

Made of metal or plastic, they are easy to install and found in most hardware stores. They are effective at filtering finer debris out of your gutters. However, as with bottle brush guards, pine needles also get stuck in this type, so this needs monitoring. Also, metal guards tend to rust and will leave drip stains on your home, so the plastic may be chosen to avoid this issue.

Foam inserts or guards

These are foam inserts that fill your gutters to keep debris out but let the water filter through. They are made with polyether or polyurethane foam and this is a simple install. Some brands claim up to 25 years or more on these inserts. Generally they don’t last that long.

Reverse curve gutter guards

This style of gutter guards are over a century old, and still, require someone experienced in this type of installation to do it. Do research before you hire help, this is not a simple install. Other considerations are difficulty in removing reverse curve guards to clean and maintain gutters, curves do accumulate debris and need to be cleaned, they form large icicles in winter, and it is visible from the ground (aesthetics). However, they do work, depending on your situation, this may be a great option.

What brands should you look at?

Leaf Filter Gutter Protection

This is a small mesh gutter guard – professional installation only with a lifetime warranty. This brand includes end caps to keep animals from nesting. Not only is the largest brand in the country, but this brand also promises top-end service and product – however, the subcontractors are uneven in the executing of the installations. Sometimes the installations can void the warranty so do due diligence on your contractors.

Gutterglove

This is a small mesh gutter guard – they have professional and DIY options. The professional options have longer warranties. The DIY options are available at all the big retailers, Amazon, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Sam’s Club & Menards.

This would be one of the more durable options because of the type of gutter guard.

Gutter Helmet

These are reverse gutter guards – aluminum covered in Kynar paint. They are professional installation only with lifetime warranty. They have an optional heat ice reduction to combat icicles and ice dams. This company will stand behind their product, if your gutters clog, it is faulty installation and they will send a technician out to inspect and fix the problem. If the gutter guard was properly installed and still gets clogged, Gutter Helmet will clean your gutters for you.

FlexxPoint

These are screen gutter guards that are aluminum and come in 4 colors. They are a DIY installation and have a 40-year warranty. They are sold through Amazon. The gutter guard isn’t flat and helps the water go into the gutter while letting the leaves go over it. This system boasts a budget-friendly price of $84 for 102 feet.

Gutterstuff

These are foam inserts, gutter guards. They are made of polyether foam. You can choose coatings for the foam for different purposes, such as fire retardancy or UV protection. They are a DIY installation and they claim a 3 to lifetime warranty depending on your choice. They are available through Amazon, Home Depot, Lowe’s, Walmart, Ace, True Value and their webpage. 

Raindrop Gutter Guard

These are screen gutter guards (Raindrop calls grill) made of polypropylene (plastic). They are a DIY installation and have a 20-year warranty.  Their overall rating is very high, however, the gutter guard will still allow for seed pods and pine needles to infiltrate the system. If you do not have pine, maple, and locust trees, this will be a great choice for you.

Rhino Gutter Guard

These are stainless steel micro-mesh gutter guards which are only sold through authorized dealers and professionally installed. They offer a 30-year warranty. This product does keep small debris out of your gutters (seeds, small leaves, etc) and has downspout shields and end caps to keep animals out.

Gutter Topper 

This company has a variety of gutter guards for you to choose from. They are all professional installation only. They have a guard for different situations. In checking with GuildQuality, many contractors recommend this company.

  • Gutter Topper – reverse curve guard
  • The Leaf Terminator – screen guard
  • The Solution – mesh guard
  • Versatile Solution – mesh guard
  • Needle Guard – micro-mesh guard
  • Top Guard – reverse curve guard
  • Hott Topper – installed with gutter topper guard
  • Ice Dam Solution – installed with other gutter guards

E-Z Gutter Guards

This company also has different gutter guards geared toward the DIY market but they do have a webpage to have them installed professionally. They have gutter guards for K style gutters and also for half round. The diversity of finishes includes powder-coated galvanized steel, mill-finish aluminum, painted aluminum, and copper. 

Before you decide on a brand, think about the types of trees you have and how close to the house they are. Maybe trimming the trees would help with some of your gutter issues. Think about your climate and ask someone you respect whose home is well kept what they would recommend. Asking someone who is wanting to sell you something that their advice is – well, you know how that turns out.

Check out our next blog post about How Much Should Gutter Guards Cost In 2020

How To Safely Clean My Own Gutters

It is Saturday and you are really looking forward to climbing the ladder and seeing the gunk that has collected on top of your roof and your gutters! Fear not! We are going to get you safely up and down that ladder in one piece.

Need help removing leaves from your gutters? Aside from cleaning your gutters twice a year, early spring (after the winter to check damage from ice and whatnot) and after the leaves fall, another time that is good to check your gutters is after large storms such as hurricanes or unnamed storms that have caused damage. This is the first defense of your home and it needs to be taken care of by gutter cleaning companies.

If possible, try to do this chore when the weather has been dry and on a sunny day. That way the leaves are dry and your job is MUCH easier.

Now the title is how to SAFELY clean your own gutters. In that light, here are some guidelines:

  • Wear safety goggles or glasses
  • Wear boots with hard soles
  • Wear long sleeves and jeans (or similar)
  • Be awake (your brain is important safety equipment!)
  • Have a helper

Equipment:

  • Ladder (with stabilizer or offset)
  • Gutter scoop
  • Garbage bag

Tip: Make sure you place the ladder on a stable ground every time. Do not place it on gravel or landscape rocks because the ladder may shift causing injury.

Tip: When you are up on the ladder, if you see debris on your roof, chances are it will end up in your gutters at some point. If you can, take a broom and sweep your roof carefully so you can scoop up the debris and put it in your trash bag. Use careful controlled motions and do not walk on your roof unless it is safe to do so (better if you have a helper with you).

If you have a one-story home

A folding ladder, garbage bag and a gutter scoop (at a local hardware store) are all you really need. (I would also suggest some hard-soled boots to hold down leg fatigue on the ladder, but that is just me, those rungs can get to be painful when you stand on them awhile.)

Set up comfortably close to the gutter and scoop through the gutter with your scoop and place your debris in your garbage bag. (The bag really saves you time from cleaning up afterward!) 

DON’T – overreach when you are on a ladder! This may cause over tipping… and that will result in ER visit. A couple of feet either side of you is usually good enough, then move your ladder and pick up where you left off.

There really isn’t much to it, but keeping your gutters clean is so beneficial when you think of all the dollars you save not having to repair your home from damage (if you don’t do it!)

If you have a two-story home or a home with a steeply pitched roof

Look for something called a ladder stabilizer or offset. You can find this at the local hardware store. Attach to the top part of your ladder and it will land on your roof OVER the gutter so you don’t damage it while you clean. It also (as the name implies) stabilizes your ladder very well. In this case, walk your ladder carefully up before placing it on your roof over your gutters and you have a nice wide area to clean before you have to climb down and move your ladder.

Now I would highly recommend if possible have someone out there with you as a safety precaution. At the very least, maybe you can take turns going up the ladder. If you have to do it alone, wear boots (those rungs are rough on your legs) and carry a cellphone. If you get tired, take a break. Better to rest than go up a ladder tired when you are not used to it. ER visits are pricey.

Can I clean my gutters with a leaf blower?

Now you may be saying, this is all fine and dandy, but I don’t have a ladder. I live in a one-story home and I have a leafblower. Can I clean my gutters with a leaf blower?

Well, you can. If you have the right attachments. Is it faster? Depends. Do you have to clean up afterwards? Then no. But if you feel the need for power tools, then break out the leaf blower, attach a tube that can reach your gutter and then make a u-turn at the end to point down to the gutter so the leaves will blow out. Basically your attachment to your blower will look like a “J”. Point the hook end to the leaves and they will scoot right out of your gutters like a tiny tornado is pushing them. Cleaning up is up to you – but if you want to use more power tools, you could just use the lawnmower and chop up the leaves and make mulch for your lawn.

Ok, all your leaves and debris are clear, now you have to check your downspouts. If your hose will reach, this is a good time to use it to see if your downspouts are running clear. If you have a blockage, this is a good time to use that plumber’s snake you have in your garage or basement so you can clear those leaves and dirt. Then try the hose again. To prevent large clogs in the future, you can install screens on top of your downspouts to block leaves.

If you don’t have a hose, you will have to use a bucket of water, and the principle is the same. Water has to pass through – that is what makes the work on the gutters worth all the effort. You are saving your home from water damage.

Now you have water through your gutters and downspouts… everything is in good working order. Or is it? Why is there pooling water? Looks like you need to adjust the grading on your gutters or downspouts. Detach the hangers and adjust a small section at a time until the water drains properly. If you adjust too dramatically the whole system may fall and then it is very time consuming or costly to fix.

Time to check your hard work. Run water through your gutters and downspouts and make sure everything is in working order. If you see a problem, it is easier to fix now, than a repair bill later. Add gutter hangers if needed, check the ground to make sure everything drains away from the house.

Pat yourself on the back, good job! 

Check out our next blog about Best Brands of Gutter Guards for 2020

What’s The Best Time of Year to Clean Your Gutters?

A lot of people wonder what is the best time to clean your gutters. The short answer is early spring and early fall – so, basically twice a year you should get your gutter cleaning service in southern Maryland. To explain a little more: Not everyone lives with one tree in their front yard.

If you have trees on your property… every 3 months may be a better estimate. Keeping your house and property well maintained is cheaper than repairing it.
Higher elevations have to watch for ice during the winters, so make sure that those pine needles are out of your gutters! Make sure your gutters can take the freeze and thaw of your particular climate.

Why should you clean your gutters?

Your gutters are basically a system of managing one of the most destructive forces of the planet from destroying your home. When you think about how water can erode rock into sand – and find places to seep into your house – this is actually a very good way of safeguarding your house. If you take care of your gutters, they will take care of your home for you.

Is this important? In a nutshell, yes.

  • During Winter: If water isn’t managed correctly with a clean and well-maintained gutter, it will drip on walkways, steps, and your front doorway. When the temperature dips, the clogged water will freeze and become icicles becoming a hazard that could hurt someone. The steps will be covered with ice because they can’t drain properly. The front door will be a danger.
  • Spring: Water can pool up and cause mold growth (and aggravate allergies and other health issues.) Pooled water is also a breeding ground for insects. This mold can end up in the house as well as outside.
  • Summer: Moisture from your gutters can also seep under the wood fascia and soffit boards and cause rot, which will make it easy for rodents and pests to enter the home. Summer is also a time of higher humidity, creating even more places for it to enter your home.
  • Autumn: If there are blockages in your gutters, this can create leaks that will eventually go to the roof and ceilings. This can cost a great deal to repair. Rain will have nowhere to go… so it will seep anywhere there is a space, eventually making cracks.
  • Summer: When water is not drained properly off the roof, it will pool on the ground – seeping into the basement and cause damage, mold, and flooding. Summertime in most of the U.S. is the time of the most rain. The rain, when not properly channeled away from the house will collect around the foundation where it will eventually find its way into the basement creating that “smell” that we all know. Working gutters can help prevent this.
  • Summer: Water can also cause driveway and landscape damage. Those cracks and even chunks of the driveway that are destroyed by water damage can be prevented if the water doesn’t run on the driveway. Blacktop is more susceptible to water damage than cement, but neither is particularly good with sustained water draining on it. And if you want a beautiful yard, don’t let your gutter dump out just anywhere, manage it to go away from your home, preferably down the street or somewhere where it won’t do damage.

If the Grand Canyon was caused by a little river, imagine how much damage it can do to your home if it isn’t managed correctly.

Now that you know it is important, knowing when to clean them is just as vital.
Cleaning them in early spring, after the winter thaw, can help mitigate the winter damage from ice freezing and melting and give you are a good idea of how the rest of your house is shaping up. It is a good idea to do a quick inspection at this time to see if there are any repairs you may need to do to get ready for the warmer months.

  • Check for mold
  • Check for cracks, loose brackets, broken pieces of gutter or brackets pulling away from the house
  • Check for blockages
  • Inspect your roof (since you are up there) check for loose tiles
  • Look for pools of water that might signal rot or broken wood, tiles or other material.
  • If you see dripping from your gutters, they aren’t draining properly

After autumn, do another inspection on your gutters to get ready for winter.
All this is conditional on where you live. If you are in the Southwest, chances are ice may not be a big issue if you are in Phoenix, but would be if you are in Flagstaff. So watch for the pine needles, they can also clog those gutters!

Managing water is crucial to the safety and longevity of your biggest investment, your home. Water can cause great damage or it can make things grow (like mold!) – but if it is managed well with a gutter system that is well maintained, your home will be well cared for and look better longer and cost less to keep up in the long run.

Read our next blog – How To Safely Clean My Own Gutters

Things To Know To Prepare For Power Washing

Power Washing is the use of high pressure water to remove loose paint, mold, algae, dirt, grime, and other contaminants that may be sticking to the outside surface of your property. Power washing is great for surfaces such as driveways, patios, sidewalks, and walkways. Soft washing is good for roofs, siding, decks, and other surfaces that may not be able to tolerate high pressure. More on soft washing later.

The terms “power washing” and “pressure washing” are usually used interchangeably. Sometimes even the pros do it without understanding that there is a difference. Both use high pressure water but power washing uses heated water while pressure washing does not. 

The surface that you’re cleaning is going to determine what method you use to get it clean. As usual, heated water cleans better but it’s not always necessary. Also, some things should be cleaned with added chemicals like baking soda, vinegar, and other commercial power washing detergents. 

Whatever method you use, there are several things that you need to know BEFORE you start power washing. 

Know when to power wash vs pressure wash vs soft wash

A good steam cleaning around the house is definitely a nice thought. Who wouldn’t want things squeaky clean? Power Washing is very effective on the most stubborn and hard to clean surfaces. But it’s not really the best option for everything. Power washing can be very harsh on certain surfaces. 

Pressure washing is good for most surfaces that can withstand the power behind power washing but don’t need the heat. Driveways, patios, sidewalks, and stone porches are great surfaces for pressure washing.

Soft washing is more for surfaces that need a gentle touch. Soft washing uses a pressure that can be compared to the pressure that comes out of a garden hose. This is a method that needs an appropriate chemical to do the heavy lifting while the soft water stream washes everything away. 

Know the difference in residential professional cleaning chemicals

Not all surfaces are the same and not all cleaning solutions are the same. It’s important to know what chemical is good for what surface so that you can indeed clean it instead of destroying it. The three types of chemicals used in the washing process are cleaners, sanitizers, and disinfectants. Cleaners remove dirt and other contaminants. Sanitizers kill most bacteria in 30 seconds or less and disinfectants kill all organisms within 30 minutes. 

Every surface is different so if you’re not a professional, stick with cleaners that are premixed and designed to clean certain surfaces. That way you’ll know exactly what to use for what surface you’re trying to clean. You can technically get anything clean with just pressure and water but added cleaners make things easier.

Know what to clean with pressure and what not to

Just like on the inside of your home, the outside can be just as complicated as far as knowing what to clean and what not to clean. 

Things not to wash:

Sandstone – This surface is too soft to power wash. You’ll end up just spraying grooves into it or wash it away altogether.

Painted surfaces – Pressure washers are good at removing paint… but they’re not good at cleaning surfaces that you want the paint to stay on.  

Aged surfaces – As things age, their surfaces get weaker. They also may have dry rot that would destroy it under the pressure of a pressure washer.

Stained wood – Just like painted surfaces, stain doesn’t really stand a chance under pressure. Unless you’re looking to strip and restain, keep the pressure away from these surfaces.

Power washers are dangerous

It may seem that the small stream of water that comes out of the nozzle isn’t very dangerous to humans but many people underestimate the power of the psi coming out. The pressure is enough to send debris flying and cause major damage to skin.

Safety tips:

  • Cover all outdoor electrical outlets. These should never get wet
  • Spraying another person could injure or kill them
  • Use property safety equipment such as gloves and goggles. If available, a full face shield is preferrable. 
  • Stay 5-6 feet away from whatever surface you’re cleaning.
  • Start with the lowest setting possible and increase the pressure as needed.
  • Make sure you know how to use each piece of power washing equipment that you’re going to use. 

Power/pressure/soft washing is a great way to keep the outside of your home clean. If you’ve never used a sprayer before, make sure you learn all you can about the equipment, surfaces to be cleaned,

Power Washing and Your Roof

Your roof is the first point of contact with a lot of weather and can take quite a beating. Things like rain, snow, and sleet come in contact with your roof first before it rolls down and out of your gutters (we hope!). It’s easy to forget the roof but it’s often the one thing around the house that needs cleaning the most.

Don’t assume that a new roof doesn’t need cleaning. Even roofs that are a year old have some accumulation of dirt and debris up there that can damage shingles. Having a new roof washed on a regular basis is key to keeping it looking and functioning like new for as long as possible. 

Soot and other contaminants may be more prevalent in areas that have heavier traffic, especially around industrial areas or airports. Properties in these areas definitely need washing on a continuous basis. 

Is Power Washing Safe For Your Roof?

Yes and no. Getting power washing service for your roof isn’t the problem. It’s the approach and the technique that gives it a bad reputation. We’re going to clear everything up for you.  

Power washing is not good for roofs. The pressure is too high and can cause lifting of shingles, damage to the structure, and even let water in where it’s not supposed to be. Using any kind of high pressure on your roof will greatly diminish your roof’s lifespan. 

Soft washing, however, is an excellent approach to getting your roof and gutters nice and clean. Soft washing is a pressure washing technique that uses a much lower water pressure and an environmentally friendly chemical to do the job. Soft washing is approved by both roof manufacturers and insurance companies. These are both very important as most manufacturers will offer a warranty and they recommend regular soft wash roof cleaning. 

Benefits of Soft Wash Roof Cleaning

Longer Roof Life

While power washing could damage your roof, leaving it completely alone can cause more harm than good as well. That’s another reason why soft washing is so popular for cleaning. Roofs are prone to contaminants such as mold, moss, and mildew that could cause significant damage. Keeping these and other dirt and debris off of your roof and out of your gutters can really help your roof to reach its full lifespan. 

Increased Curb Appeal

There’s nothing like a clean roof to make your home look amazing. With a damage and contaminant free roof, your home’s value can increase dramatically. Having an attractive home exterior can also bring up neighborhood values. 

Protection of The Rest of Your Home

In a normal roof setup, water runs down your roof and into the gutters. The gutters carry rainwater away from your roof and down safely into the ground, away from the roof edges, your siding, and your foundation. 

When your roof and gutters aren’t clean, water can collect around your roof edges and sit on the shingles. With long term exposure to moisture, you’ll have to replace portions of or all of your roof in order to prevent or fix leaking issues. 

Saves Money in the Long Run

Think of investing in roof washing as a great way to save money later down the road. A filthy roof can lead to the need to replace siding, foundations, walls, ceilings, gutters, and even the roof itself. The cost of having your roof cleaned is a drop in the bucket compared to the thousands of dollars involved in replacing parts of your home when that damage could have been prevented.

During winter, snow usually brings debris with it such as leaves, twigs, and dirt. As snow melts, all of these things get left behind and can cause damage to shingles and tiles.

Understanding The Roof Cleaning Process

Cleaning your roof may seem really daunting. It’s common to know it needs done but not really know where to start or what process is the best.

As a Certified “soft wash” cleaning contractor, we DO NOT use any kind of high pressure to clean the surfaces of your property. The only parts we use high pressure to clean are concrete surfaces such as driveways, patios, and walkways. High pressure damages surfaces like shingles, siding, and wooden decks. The maximum pressure that we use in soft washing is about 40 psi which is about the average pressure of a garden hose. 

Every time we clean a roof, whether it be residential or commercial we follow the same process:

Multi-Point Visual Inspection

Before we do anything, a visual inspection will take place. This will identify any obvious problem areas that either need taken care of first or would prevent us from doing the cleaning altogether. Missing shingles, damaged venting, and excessive wear are things that we will bring to your attention. If we feel that there isn’t much life left to your shingles we won’t clean it. Even soft washing can damage a weak roof. 

Debris Removal

Believe it or not, we don’t just blast anything and everything off of the roof. We remove all loose debris such as leaves, branches, etc from the roof. Not only is it common courtesy, we don’t want to damage anything around your property with falling debris.

Roof Stain Removal

Next, we’ll apply an industrial grade cleaning solution to work on any algae and mildew that may be growing on your shingles. Those black streaks aren’t a reason to replace your roof. It’s a form of algae that can be removed with soft washing. 

Roof Moss, Lichen and Algae Growth

We have a chemical that will remove any moss, lichen, and algae that may be growing on your shingles. Once the roof is free of any loose particles the chemical is applied. Any green moss, lichen, or algae will turn white or light-yellow and begin to deteriorate. Then the roof will be lightly rinsed.

Roof Conditioning (if requested)

After time, the natural oils that were in your shingles gets washed away with repeated rain. After a few years, roofs start to lose their flexibility. Roof conditioning involves applying a bio-oil that kind of replaces the original oil. The longer we keep your roof functioning the way it’s supposed to, the longer your roof will last. 

Gutter Cleaning

The last step to cleaning your roof is to clean the gutters. If your gutters are clogged, water cannot run off properly and may even start to collect around the edges of your shingles. Debris needs removed to ensure proper water flow. 

The soft washing process has been fully approved by all shingles manufacturers including ARMA (Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association). The soft wash process is also recommended by all insurance companies.

Gas vs Electric Pressure Washers

With pressure washers, the jury is still out when it comes to whether gas powered or electric powered is better. Some people feel like gas is the only way to go and some people feel like electric is the best. Either way, if you’re in the market for one, you need to figure out which one is better for you. Here are some pros and cons of both.

Gas Powered Pressure Washers

One of the things that people love the most about gas powered pressure washers is that they can go wherever they need to go without worrying about being tethered to a power outlet. They do tend to be heavy, but these machines are usually on wheels that allow for ease of use. 

These pressure washers do require maintenance. The oil needs to be kept up and, of course, you need to purchase gas for it. With regular maintenance and some attention, gas powered power washers tend to last quite a long time. 

Gas power washers also tend to be more powerful than electric powered machines. Gas machines can clean up to 4000 PSI. Unfortunately, because they’re more powerful you end up paying more for a gas powered motor than you would for an electric powered motor. That, combined with the gas, oil, and detergents needed can cause the price to be a lot more than an electric power washer. 

Electric Powered Pressure Washers

When it comes to electric pressure washers, there are also pros and cons. One of the pros is that, though very powerful, they can remain very quiet. These are great for cleaning small items such as vehicles, patios, grills, pool areas, and bikes. Some electric pressure washers are up to 2000 PSI so they’ll definitely get the job done. 

Another pro is that electric machines are very low maintenance. Once you buy them, you don’t need to spend any more money on gas, oil, or replacing parts. 

That being said, one of the cons is that they don’t last as long as gas powered machines. Some people say that they’re cheap and of lower quality. They money that you would have saved on gas and oil by buying an electric machine is spent replacing it when it wears out. Most pros say don’t expect to buy an electric power washer and have it last 10 years. 

Another downside is that the power cord may limit where you can go. Unfortunately, with power washers it’s not recommended to use an extension cord so they’re really not meant for whole house cleaning unless you have multiple outlets that you can use. 

Don’t let the cons deter you, though. Electric power washers are ideal for most cleaning jobs. Most jobs are small and don’t really require that much range of motion. They have the power to clean the dirtiest areas.

So which type is best?

This entirely depends on the consumer and what its being used for. If you only plan on doing big jobs every once in a while then a gas powered pressure washer may be the right choice. However, an electric power washer can be used really as often as you need to use it because it’s easy to handle. One isn’t necessarily better than the other and it really does come down to personal preference. 

Power Washing Basics

So you’ve finally decided that some exterior cleaning is in order. Just like the interior of our homes, the exterior needs TLC as well. Not only for aesthetic purposes but for the health of your family and any pets. But the whole process can be daunting and even intimidating. You may be wondering how power washing even works or is it even safe for surfaces and effective. Those are all valid questions and you should know the answers to them before you even get started! Whether you’re calling us at King’s Power Washing to come out and get it done for you or you’re embarking on the journey yourself, understanding what you’re getting into is paramount. 

What Is Power Washing?

Power washing uses a high pressure water jet to blast dirt and grime off of whatever surface its cleaning. 

The pressure cleaning is the actual machine that is used in pressure washing. It may seem like this is just a small service but more households need pressure washing than you may think. 

If you think of what a pressure cleaner does you can imagine what it can be used for and the benefits to households all over the country. With its high pressure water spray its able to clean large surfaces removing dirt, dust, mud, stains, grime, mold, and even tough jobs such as stuck on food and chewing gum. Pressure washers can even be used to remove graffiti from stone walls. 

What can be cleaned?

  • Exterior surfaces of buildings, both residential and commercial
  • Sidewalks, driveways, walkways, and patios
  • Commercial spaces such as parking garages, parking lots, and stadiums
  • Vehicles

Using a pressure washer is popular because it’s both safe and effective. It’s also one of the most cost effective ways to keep your property looking clean and fresh and can be used as often as needed. Commercial facilities, such as movie theaters, may need to be cleaned more often. Pressure washing is a great way to maintain property value. 

There are a few terms that need explained before we dive deep into the mechanics. The terms “power washing”, “pressure washing” and “soft washing” are used interchangeably a lot of the time. Some professionals may not even know the difference but there are slight differences that do matter. I will explain them below but for our purposes here, I will use them interchangeably.

Power Washing

Power washing uses a high powered jet that sprays warm water on the surface to be cleaned. The pressure and the temperature are what does the cleaning. 

Pressure Washing

Pressure washing is the same as power washing. It still uses high powered streams of water to clean whatever surface its being used on. The difference is that the water in pressure washing isn’t heated. 

Soft Washing

Soft washing is the different one. It uses the same equipment but the pressure is brought way down so that it can clean surfaces gently. Wish soft washing, a chemical is used to aid cleaning and is applied beforehand, allowed to soak and do its job, and then a pressure that can be compared to that of a garden hose is used to help rinse away dirt and grime. Soft washing is just as effective at cleaning, it’s just used more for surfaces that require a gentle touch such as decks and roofs. 

Whatever term you use and whatever method you use, power washing can be the answer to your outdoor cleaning needs. 

Benefits of Pressure Washing

Time

When you compare pressure washing to other forms of cleaning, some serious time is saved. You don’t have to use a pressure washer (and you probably haven’t up until now). You can always scrub surfaces and get them pretty clean but who wants to spend hours and sometimes even days getting a surface cleaned? 

Even better, when you invest in professional power washing, you save time gathering materials, preparing the correct cleaning solution, and you save time on the actual time it takes to do the cleaning. 

Cost

This may seem impossible since you do need to pay for power washing. Whether you do it yourself or you contact a professional, there is a cost that is associated with equipment and labor. But pressure washing can save you money in the long run on repairs and replacements.

Many homeowners opt to replace siding and roofing that are structurally viable but seem like they need replaced because they look awful. Unfortunately, companies that do the replacing don’t suggest that you don’t do business with them. They just do what you want them to do and don’t really offer up a solution that doesn’t involve them taking your money. 

Further, there are contaminants that, if left alone, can damage siding and roofing. Moss, mold, and mildew can be safely soft washed from a roof but if left too long, you may need to replace it after all.

If you would like to take advantage of the cleaning, time, and cost benefits of pressure washing, contact King’s Power Washing today. With years of experience and an amazing list of happy customers, King’s Power Washing can get even the toughest of jobs done.