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Apex Exterior Washing

Why Mold on Vinyl Siding is Dangerous to Your Home

Mold on Vinyl Siding

How Mold on Vinyl Siding is Dangerous to Your Home

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No one wants to have mold on their vinyl siding. It is harmful to friends, family, and pets, and doesn’t look good or smell good. Mold can be hard to spot, especially if you aren’t regularly inspecting or maintaining all areas of your home. Mold tends to grow in dark moist places such as basements, bath and sink areas, and on the exterior of your home near your roof and gutters. Identifying the areas where the mold is most likely to grow will be the key to keeping your home mold free.

How Mold Gets on Vinyl Siding

Mold flourishes in moist areas that don’t get much sunlight. This is why it grows more on the north side of your home since it is shaded for most of the day. Since mold is a fungus, it feeds on organic material such as dirt and dust. If there is dirt and debris on your siding, you are essentially inviting mold to grow. Warm temperatures and humidity also play a role, so southern states have a lot of molds. For example, we serve the Charlotte area, where there is a lot of humidity and temperatures get as high as the mid-’90s in the summer months. You will see a lot of homes in that area with mold, mildew, and algae growing on the siding, roof, or both.

If you live around a lot of trees, there will be more shade and more organic material to help mold thrive. Gutters also add to the equation because they collect leaves, dirt, acorns, and all sorts of other things that mold can feed on. If your gutters get clogged they hold a lot of water and are almost guaranteed to have mold in them. When gutters have mold, it can spread to other areas of your home including your roof, fascia boards, and siding.

Mold can also get underneath or behind the panels on your vinyl siding. One of the main causes is too much water pressure being used to clean the siding. This is why it is important to only clean the siding of your home with soft washing because it uses lower water pressure. High-pressure water either gets pushed behind the panel or it damages the siding making it easy for water to get inside. If water gets behind your panels, it can be devastating because you can’t see behind them. You may never know you have a problem until something catastrophic happens.

What Happens When Mold Gets on Your House

First of all, mold doesn’t look good on the side of your home. More importantly, the dark color of mold attracts heat to the vinyl siding which can cause it to deteriorate and erode the paint. If the mold has been there too long before you clean it off, you may see some permanent discoloration in the areas with the most growth. 

The biggest problem with mold is not what it does to the exterior of your vinyl siding. As long as the mold is only on the outside, you should be fine as long as you can eliminate it completely. The real problem is if the mold gets behind your siding because then the structure of your home becomes exposed. Mold feeds on wood, drywall, and insulation. As it feeds on these materials, it reproduces releasing spores through your ventilation system. This is extremely harmful to anyone living in the home and can lead to severe illness and respiratory issues. Once mold makes its way inside the home, it is basically impossible to get rid of. You will most likely have to replace all of the structures affected by the mold.

Need House Washing in the Charlotte, NC Area?

Call Apex Exterior Washing today for Roof Cleaning, Soft Washing, Pressure Washing, and Gutter Cleaning

How To Get Mold Off of Vinyl Siding

To get mold off your vinyl siding, you will need to apply a product that sanitizes the surface 100%. There are products available at local home and garden stores that appear to get rid of mold, mildew, algae and anything else on your home’s exterior, but all it does is knock off the surface layer. Bleach based products are going to be your best option for eliminating mold completely.

If you use a bleach based product, you have to be careful. If you have landscaping close to your home, you will need to take extra precautions. The plants could die from absorbing too much of the bleach if you don’t make sure to dilute the bleach as it falls from the siding or the roof. As long as you spray all the plants before, during, and after treating the siding with bleach you will be fine. This is especially true since vinyl siding typically only requires a 2-3% mix for most cleanings. Even at such a low concentration, it is better to be safe and go ahead and spray your landscaping with water.

Mold on Vinyl Siding

How to Prevent Mold From Getting on Your Vinyl Siding

The best way to prevent mold from getting on your vinyl siding is to use a preventative treatment once or twice a year. There are products you can buy that prevent mold from growing for six months or a year. Simply apply the product your siding and you shouldn’t have any issues as long as you follow the instructions correctly. Another option is to have a professional exterior cleaning company come out and do a house wash once per year. This will cost more than a DIY job, but you can be sure the job is done right. Homeowners who handle the job themselves typically use a product from Lowe’s or Home Depot which is not as effective as the products used by cleaning companies. A professional is also more likely to identify further issues that could save you a great deal of money down the road such as rotten wood or mold behind your panels.

Conclusion

Everyone has to deal with mold growing in or around their home at some point. You will either have to be proactive with preventative maintenance, or you will have to deal with mold once it starts to grow. It is almost impossible to avoid it completely because it travels through the air and you can’t really detect it until it has grown enough to cause problems. To protect yourself, inspect the outside of your home regularly. When you walk out to the car or around the house to take the dog out, look at your house from time to time to make sure everything looks good. Have an exterior cleaning company come out and give you a quote on what it would cost to do a yearly house wash. Making sure mold does not invade your house is vital, and worth investing in.

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Why You Have Black Streaks on Your Roof and How to Get Them Off

Why You Have Black Streaks on Your Roof and How to Get Them Off

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If you step outside and take a look at your house, or take a look at other houses while you are driving down the road, you will see that many of them have black streaks on the roof. A lot of people are busy, and the hustle and bustle of life turns days into months and months into years. One day you look up at the roof and realize it needs to be cleaned. You might see leaves, sticks, and other debris, especially if you live near trees.  All of those things are easy to identify and you know where they came from. If you see black streaks, however, you may not know what they are, where they come from, or how to clean them. That is what this post is going to be about.

Black Streaks on the Roof Come From a Cyanobacteria Known as “Gloeocapsa Magma”

Contrary to popular belief, black streaks on your roof are not algae, mold, or mildew. These black streaks come from cyanobacteria known as “gloeocapsa magma.” This particular form of bacteria travels via airborne spores that are carried by the wind until they attach to a roof or other surfaces. Over time, the bacteria accumulate, especially in areas that are dark and moist. For this reason, homeowners often notice the black streaks on the north side of their roof first. In addition to dark and moist areas, humidity and higher temperatures promote further growth. This is why southern states in the US tend to see a lot of gloeocapsa magma growing on roofs.

What Happens When You Have Black Streaks on Your Roof

Once gloeocapsa magma is present on your roof, it will continue to grow and spread through photosynthesis. This bacteria has the ability to protect itself from UV rays by creating an outer coating with a dark pigment. Although the bacteria is protecting itself from the sun, it is simultaneously attracting more heat to the roof because of the dark pigment. As gloeocapsa magma spreads, the overall temperature of your roof increases.

In the southern US, summer temperatures can reach 100+ degrees Fahrenheit. On a 100 degree day, asphalt shingles could be as high 160 degrees Fahrenheit, and that is without the added heat caused by gloeocapsa magma. When you take the black streaks into account you could be approaching 180-200 degrees if not higher. Temperatures that high will destroy your shingles and degrade your roof. You will find that the overall temperature of your house increases, and your electricity bill will be higher. In Charlotte, NC  where we serve customers, homeowners could save as much as 20% on their energy bills by getting their roof cleaned.

Need Roof Cleaning in the Charlotte, NC Area?

Call Apex Exterior Washing today for Roof Cleaning, Soft Washing, Pressure Washing, and Gutter Cleaning

How to Get Rid of the Black Streaks on Your Roof

There are many different products and tools on the market for removing black stains on your roof. Some of them simply don’t do anything to remove the stains, some of them get rid of black stains but don’t kill the bacteria completely, and others get rid of the stains and eliminate the bacteria for good. Generally, the cost of the products and the equipment needed to do the job reflect the end result.

The recommended way to remove the black stains from your roof and eliminate the bacteria completely is by using a bleach based product. Some products require one application and others require many more because the bleach mix is not as strong. The stronger mixes do a better job of eliminating the black streaks but if you aren’t careful you could harm the landscaping around your home. 

Cleaning a Roof as an Exterior Cleaning Company

If you hire an exterior cleaning company, a stronger concentration of bleach will likely be used to get rid of the black streaks. Most pressure washing companies use a 4-6% sodium hypochlorite mix to clean a standard roof. Roofs with more growth may require a higher percentage and vice versa for roofs that are mostly clean. Standard practice is to spray down all plants before and after treating the roof with a bleach based mix. Additionally, you should always have at least one person on the ground spraying all plants and landscaping around the house where the mix is running off the roof. As long as this is being done, your landscaping is fully protected from any harm. Alternatively, some pressure washing companies place sprinklers around the house to keep water on the landscaping.

Cleaning a Roof as a Homeowner

If you are going to try to clean the black streaks yourself as a homeowner, it is safer to use a ready made roof cleaning product from a home improvement store. This is because most of the ready made products won’t damage your landscape and can be used with just one person. Products that might harm your plants would require a second person to be spraying the plants with a garden hose to dilute the water before it could kill your plants.

How to Prevent Black Streaks on Your Roof

Just like there are many products for removing black stains from your roof, there are products for preventing black stains. Some of the products are actually good for both. If you want to apply a preventative product yourself, there are many ready made options at your local home and garden store. In most circumstances, your best option is going to be hiring an exterior cleaning. This will save you from having to climb a ladder or walking around on the roof. 

A professional will also be able to get the job done much quicker and without damaging your roof, gutters, or other parts of your home. Most pressure washing or exterior cleaning companies offer maintenance services that cost much less than if you call them when you have a major problem or a lot of mold, mildew, algae, or bacteria growth. Additionally, they can clean your gutters, chimney, and other things while they are on your roof if you want them to.

How Much Does it Cost for a Company to Clean a Roof

Roof Cleaning is typically priced based on sq footage, hourly rate, or with flat rate pricing. Other factors such as the amount of landscaping surrounding your home, steepness of roof, number of stories, and type of material will also affect the total cost. A standard 2,000 sq foot, one story home with average slope asphalt roof will cost around $600. That ends up being around $0.30 per sq foot and you can expect the job to take anywhere from 2-3 hours. Most exterior cleaning companies won’t get a ladder out for less than $600 because of the risk associated with the job.

Conclusion

No one wants to have black streaks on their roof. It negatively affects curb appeal, destroys your roof, and hurts the insulation of your home driving up electricity costs. As bad as they look, blacks streaks can be removed fully and the only way they can come back is if new spores land on your house and start to grow. Making sure the roof has been fully sanitized instead of just knocking off the surface layer of bacteria is key. At the end of the day, hiring a professional is the best way to get the job done right and doesn’t cost too much when considering the cost of home products and what you are spending on your electric bill while the black streaks are on your roof.

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