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Cleaning Tips

How To Clean Your Cladding

Water alone won’t clean your house properly.

Mould and mildew are the usual culprits when the cladding of a house becomes discoloured and dull. While cleaning with a pressure cleaner is relatively simple – water alone won’t do the job. Because mould and mildew are alive, it needs to be killed along with its spores to ensure it is removed and future growth is inhibited. To do this, we use a special treatment. To keep your cladding looking clean and at its best for as long as possible, follow these steps.

  • Purchase some strong bleach (allow approx. 20lts for an average size house).
  • Apply the bleach with a low-pressure garden sprayer using a 4-1 mix. If you have a lot of algae, use a stronger mix.
  • It’s absolutely essential to wear a respirator mask, glasses, nitrile rubber gloves and a raincoat with a hood.
  • With your pressure cleaner, work small areas at a time.

Now you’re set up, follow this guide:

  1. Using your pressure cleaner from a distance of about 1- 2 metres wet down the area you’re working on.
  2. Apply diluted bleach to the same work area and leave for 5 min.
  3. Using your pressure cleaner from a distance of about 1 metre clean off mould and bleach.
  4. From a distance of 1-2 metres, use your pressure cleaner to rinse off all residue from the surface.

Job done! If the above steps sound like a lot of hard work and you would rather enjoy your spare time on other things, then leave it to us and give us a call today.

Cleaning Your Concrete – Take Care!

Concrete is one of the trickiest surfaces for a DIY homeowner to take on. Given how porous it is, without proper commercial equipment, it is very difficult to clean properly. The other complication is how easy it is to damage concrete. Because domestic cleaners are not strong enough for a good result, they need to be held very close to the surface. This makes for a very slow going and big task, but it can damage the surface by carving crevices into it. Stencilled or stamped concrete have the added complexity of colour on the surface, which can easily be damaged without the correct technique and skills to clean it correctly. This can leave unsightly stripes and inconsistencies in the colour. Despite this, if you have a domestic pressure cleaner and plan to clean concrete yourself, we have given you some expert tips below. Before you start you need to:

  • Purchase some strong bleach (allow approx. 20lts for an average size house).
  • Apply the bleach with a low-pressure garden sprayer using a 4-1 mix. If you have a lot of algae, use a stronger mix.
  • It’s absolutely essential to wear a respirator mask, glasses, nitrile rubber gloves and a raincoat with a hood.
  • With your pressure cleaner, work small areas at a time.

Now that you’re all set up, simply follow these steps!

  1. Wet down your driveway or surface area to soften the contaminants (from a distance of 1-2 metres).
  2. Using your pressure cleaner from a distance of about 150mm – 200mm clean the concrete overlapping as best you can. The surface may not look perfectly clean at this point, however, you are opening up the surface so the chemicals can take effect.
  3. Apply a thorough coat of strong bleach over the surface. Once completed, you are ready for Step 4.
  4. Using your pressure cleaner from a distance of 150mm – 200mm re-clean the surface. If your bleach is strong enough you will find that the remaining stains will start to come away with ease.
  5. Using your pressure cleaner from a distance of approx. 1 metre rinse the whole surface.

There you have it! Stencilled or stamped concrete needs sealing periodically with a commercial grade decorative sealer. So if you are planning to clean a concrete driveway, walkways around your home or the footpath across the front of your property, then you should be prepared to spend a lot of hours on the project. Even though DIY projects can save you money, a concrete cleaning project probably won’t save you that much unless you already have the equipment and don’t have to go hire a pressure washer. It is usually advisable to outsource this type of work to a professional pressure cleaning contractor that is experienced in cleaning concrete and already has the right tools and equipment for the job.

Tips

Sealing plain grey concrete is a waste of money! Why do I say this? Unlike stencilled or stamped concrete plain grey concrete has no colour to protect. On the other hand stencilled, stamped or coloured concrete needs a barrier between it and your car or foot traffic and a couple of coats of decorative sealer will do the trick. If you don’t maintain your patterned driveway with sealer the chances are that eventually the colour will wear off in patches and will need open heart surgery to make it look good again.

What you will need

The decorative sealer we use is solvent based and comes in satin or high gloss. Here are a few tips on a DIY job. You will need 1 ltr for every 4m2 of surface area per coat. 20ltr will do approximately 80m2 per coat You will need some thinner for the first coat. Thin approximately 15% You will need a new 230mm roller and a solvent resistant roller cover. A roller extension pole A brush to cut in. Respirator, nitrile rubber gloves. A garden blower. Pitfalls – Don’t seal when the weather is cold, damp or really hot. In summer the best time to seal is late afternoon. In the winter the middle of the day is best. Leave at least 4 hours between coats.

This is how you do it!

Make sure you wear your respirator and gloves!! Firstly make sure the driveway is sparkling clean. Make sure it is very dry before you seal. Blow off all debris. Thin your sealer 15% for the first coat. Cut in with your brush. Your roller will fit straight into the 20ltre drum, load your roller then start rolling. Make sure to roll out the sealer thin, if it’s too thick it can bubble.

Clean Panels When They’re Dirty

The best time to clean your panels is when they’re dirty. That information is probably not a huge surprise to you. Maybe you’re thinking I could have skipped this step and gone on to something a bit more useful. But a lot of people do their cleaning to a schedule, like clockwork. And like some forms of clockwork, I think these people are cuckoo.  If your panels aren’t dirty it’s a waste of effort.  Even worse, cleaning panels can scratch them and reduce their efficiency.  So unnecessary cleaning can achieve the opposite of what you are trying to accomplish.

Rain Is Just Dandy For Cleaning Solar Panels

Moderate to heavy rain does an excellent job of cleaning solar panels.  Panels angled at 10 degrees or more will let rain will flow down them and wash them clean and most Australian roofs slope at 15 degrees or more.  Unless conditions are particularly dusty, if you clean your panels within a couple of months of decent rain you are probably wasting your time.

Monitoring Your Panels

If you have microinverters or DC optimisers, which allow you to track the performance of individual solar panels, then it is very easy to see when they may need cleaning. If an individual panel shows a sudden decrease in performance then that’s a likely sign a bird has left you a little message. That message is, “I shat on your solar panel.” If you can only monitor the total output of your system then you may be able to use it to guess when they might benefit from a clean.  But it is very hard to tell as wind and air temperature will affect how hot the panels are and cause the output to vary. The easiest solution is often to just look at the solar panels. If you can see them from the ground, this is pretty damn easy. And if you need a ladder to see them, well that’s obviously a bit more damn difficult. If your panels look spick and span they don’t need cleaning.  And if they are hard to spot under the mounds of bird droppings, then they could probably benefit from a wash.

Get Permission From Mummy First

At this point, before anyone touches a solar panel, to avoid accusations of being, “completely irresponsible”, I am supposed to inform you to contact your solar panel manufacturer and follow their instructions for cleaning them. In addition, you should always wear a helmet when driving a car, just in case. And only ever drive Volvos.  But don’t drive Volvos powered by petrol, diesel, or any kind of flammable substance. Because that would be dangerous and we wouldn’t want to take any risks now, would we?

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