25 Oct

Clean Up the Mildew

Save Yourself from Large Repair Costs

mildew on building

It is amazing the damage that can be caused by mold, mildew, and algae.  This stuff is horrible, and can ultimately end up costing you thousands of dollars in repair costs if you do not take care of it right away.   I was recently contracted by a company to do some work around their shop, and I noticed the issue they were having and I pointed it out to them.  They were later so glad that I did because in the long run I just saved them so much money in repairs.

The shop I was working at doing some other minor repairs, I noticed was having some mold or algae growing on the outside of their building.  This was a natural stone building, so the visual effect of this algae actually looked pretty cool thus resulting in the owner not thinking too much about it growing there.    Once I pointed out to him that he really needed to clean it off, he luckily listened.

My good friend Zach Stevens owns a commercial pressure washing company in Houston, TX, so I called him up to ask for bits of advice on how to clean up this mess.   I am so glad I called him because I was thinking I would just go to the local Home Depot and pick up a pressure washer and go to town on this stuff.   Once Zach found out the type of stone used on this building he advised me to leave the cleaning to a professional so that I did not damage the exterior of the building leaving it prone to further growth and lack of protection.  He also said that I may not be able to remove the stains that could possibly left behind from the mold or algae that is growing on this building.

How Do You Remove the Algae For Good?                

One way to remove the mold and algae is like I mentioned before, with power washing.   The issue with this is that if you are not using commercial grade equipment, it is possible that the water may not be able to penetrate the smaller crevices, thus resulting in the algae returning quickly.   The other issue is that if you do not set your pressure properly you can also loosen the cement or mortar due to the power behind the jetstream of water coming out of the pressure washer.   So really when it comes to an important job like this one it is best to leave the pressure washing to a professional.

Another way to remove the algae is with the use of chemicals.  Again this method is best left to professionals that are trained to deal with this type of situation.  If you are not aware of the after effects of the chemicals, you can cause more damage than good.   For instance if you use a bleach or other harsh chemical, you for sure will be effective at eliminating the growth of mold or algae, but you could also cause damage to the building material as well as other organisms  in the surrounding environment.  Knowing the type of building material you are dealing with is a huge consideration when selecting a cleaning agent.   Materials such as limestone, granite, brick, stucco, and other natural stones all react differently to the chemicals.

Your professional power washing company should be using a cleaner or algae remover that is 100% environmentally friendly, but also tough at cleaning and killing the mold and algae as well.   When it comes to jobs like this, it is best to leave it to a professional and stick with the smaller jobs you know you can handle.   Preventing future damage is one thing, causing immediate damage is another and should be looked at with caution.

If you plan on not heeding this advice, and you want to do the job on your own, here is a video that will give you some differences in the types of pressure washers so you know which type to buy.