Ada Mobile Wash 309-4291 Powerwashing, house washing, deck cleaning in Grand Rapids, Ada, Rockford, MI

Let me guess.  You have a wood deck currently or have had one in the past.  Chances are very high (through no fault of your own) that it was not taken care of properly from the beginning.  You vow that you will never again build a ‘real’ wood deck that you have to take care of or are purposely neglecting the one connected to your home.  Why?  Because you just like everyone else DREAM of having one of those made of composite decking, synthetic decking,  low maintenance decking, no maintenance decking.  In other words, you want that magic deck.  Although things have gotten much better since the first generation of the stuff, in my experience this magic experience is still a long way off.

We have been in the pressure washing, power washing, deck sealing, deck staining and overall deck care business in Ada, Michigan and the surrounding Grand Rapids area since 1978.  Needless to say we have taken care of many wood decks.  Over the last few years as more and more people begin to own the fake wood, we have observed some things that you may find helpful.  And yes, they still need to be cleaned.  In my opinion, a lot more than the wood ones, albeit a light thorough cleaning.

I think the biggest trade-off is that the fake stuff never needs to be stained or sealed.  That is obviously the biggest selling point and what the bulk of people are after.  Now keep in mind that there are MANY different manufactures on the market and they are not all created equal.  But what we have observed is that most of the stuff fades drastically in the sun, especially on the southern and western exposures.  In other words, if the deck gets UV rays, it’s going to fade and not be the same color in a few years.  One of our customers installed a sizable composite deck that received sun on roughly one half and not on the other due to the angle of the sun throughout the day.  He now has a two-tone deck.  Most people might never notice this fading as it happens slowly, so it may not matter.

The biggest drawback is obviously the cost.  The stuff is expensive.  Expensive to buy and expensive to install.  The builders I have encountered generally say that the most expensive, heaviest, densest stuff is the best.  Most of the time this requires special fasteners and/or labor, which adds to the price.  Over the last few years, I think the most expensive kind has also proven to be the most colorfast.  It is also the most impervious to mildew build-up, though not immune (especially in shady or damp areas).

In my humble opinion, here is the reason that even the best plastic decking needs cleaning attention twice a season to keep it looking good.  Are you ready?  Because this material is slippery when wet, the manufacturers had to put a raised tread/texture on it to prevent slip and fall accidents.  This texture harbors small amounts of dirt and moisture.  Dirt is self-explanatory.  The moisture aids the growth of mildew.  Now I may be all wet (that’s an OLD power washer’s joke haha) but that seems to be what is happening.

The less expensive materials aren’t even worth considering from what I’ve seen.  They get infested with mold/mildew and become stained right down in the substrate.  They can be hollow and LOUD.  They can SaG between the joists.  They stain easily from grill grease, food, dropped popsickles, mosquito candle wax and tree leaves.

Grandpa always said “buy the best you can afford”, right?  Well, if you can”t afford the very best when it comes to composite decking which is going to be out in the elements in Michigan, I would say wait until you can.  In the meantime, please consider Ada Mobile Wash for all your power washing, house wash, deck wash and pressure washing needs.  Serving Ada, Cascade, Grand Rapids, Forest Hills, Belmont, Rockford, Caledonia and the Lakeshore.

Ada Mobile Wash 309-4291 Powerwash, House wash, Deck wash in Grand Rapids, MI

Recently while perusing the net on a recent search for information I came across an interesting site by a nationally syndicated columnist who has a very relevant home improvement site.  I’m not sure if I should name it here, but the site came up near the top of the rankings for my query.  I then googled a roof cleaning question and the site came up again at the top of the results.  Although the site looks very helpful for tons of DIY projects and such, I was a bit shocked at what the site recommended for roof cleaning. As you know, we have been washing roofs for years in the Grand Rapids, MI area, which includes the towns of Ada, Cascade, Forest Hills, Rockford, Belmont and Caledonia, Michigan.

We also do power washing of houses and decks to remove mold and mildew from siding and wood etc.  Since the algae line is just reaching us here in Michigan for roofs, we have done a lot more pressure washing of siding and wood, but the roofs with the black stains and streaks are getting worse and worse year by year.  Of course, we have done a lot of roofs, but WE NEVER USE A PRESSURE WASHER FOR THE ROOFs!  It voids the warranty and ruins the integrity of the shingle by removing granules at the least and can lift or tear shingles and inject water underneath at the worst.
And guess what? That is exactly what this home improvement site was advocating.  Granted, the site was cautionary and advised a test first.  And this gentleman admitted that it was his very own roof and that it was near the end of its life anyway, so if he ruined it, he would just replace it.  But most roofs with black streaks and stains aren’t this old and have much more to lose by using a power washer on it.  Have you ever cleaned out your gutters and noticed all the stone granules strewn all over?  And this is just from natural erosion from the wind and rain.  Imagine how many granules you would take off with a power washer.  Not smart.

Ada Mobile Wash only cleans roofs the correct way, and that is without pressure.  It’s what the shingle manufacturers mandate and it’s what the Roofing Association recommends.  It is known as non-pressure roof cleaning, no-pressure roof washing, soft washing, chemical cleaning etc. True professionals all across the country clean roofs this way, and the job is done more thoroughly and stays cleaner longer when done in this manner to remove the black stains, all without using any pressure.

Now,  we have some pretty steep roofs in Michigan.  Most modern houses here I would say have too steep of a pitch to walk on safely.  To try to pressure wash a roof like this would be extremely dangerous.  Yet I’ve seen pictures online of people trying it.  I’ve also read stories of people falling off and killing themselves.  Luckily, with the non-pressure roof cleaning method, we don’t need to walk that steep roof.  We have specialized pumps that deliver our cleaning chemicals all the way to the peak of even the highest roofs.  And Ada Mobile Wash does this safely from the ground or a properly placed ladder.

The ironic thing about that DIY site is that the guy is adamant against power washing a wood deck with a pressure washer yet advocates it for cleaning a roof!  Does it not seem rather obvious that a shingle with limestone granules stuck to it using adhesive would be a lot more delicate and a lot more prone to damage than a wood deck?  Ada Mobile Wash has pressure washed hundreds of wood decks over the years without any damage. Professionals all over these forums do the same.  To say that pressure washing a deck will ruin it is just incorrect.  Have I seen decks ruined by a power washer?  Yes, but in EVERY case it was done by the homeowner.  They rent a 3000 psi unit, put a zero degree nozzle in and place it 2 inches from the wood.  To really make a wonderful design, they wash sideways across the wood, against the grain in short little back and forth strokes.  Talk about raising the grain.

Unfortunately, as the years have gone by and the prices of pressure washing pumps have come way down, they have gotten into the hands of more and more people that want to try it and don’t know what they are doing.  When Ada Mobile Wash purchased it’s first house washing pump years ago, the pump alone cost three times what most complete power washing units on the market today can be had for.  Now every painter, college kid, co-worker, brother-in-law, neighbor and Tom, Dick and Harry has access to one.  In my humble opinion, this is the reason for the increased reports of damage and overall apprehension in certain circles for using pressure on wood.
Thank goodness God gave us two innate traits when we were born.  The fear of loud noises and the fear of FALLING. Otherwise, perhaps we would see all those homeowners crawling around on their rooftops trying to clean them?  I can hear the wailing of the ambulances now.

Ada Mobile Wash in Grand Rapids, MI uses safe and effective non-pressure roof cleaning techniques to remove those ugly black streaks and stains.