Have you ever wondered what that green stuff is on the side of your house? You know it’s ugly, but it is causing any damage? What is it exactly? And how can you get rid of it? According to Justin Trotta of Trotta’s Power Washing, this green stuff is, “Mildew forms, then mold forms, then algae, and that’s when it goes from gray to black to green.”
Let’s take a closer look at what’s causing the algae, why it’s bad for your home, and what you can do to get rid of it.
The Causes Behind Your Green Siding
Vinyl siding is pretty tough, but one of its major flaws is that it is prone to green mildew, algae, and mold growth.
In some ways, this growth is inevitable. After a certain amount of exposure, some green growth is to be expected. But there’s a difference between algae and mold. They look very similar. So similar, in fact, that it’s hard to tell the difference between them.
Algae may be brown or green. It’s generally easy to remove as it stays moist against the vinyl surface. Algae in and of itself doesn’t usually harm the vinyl, but it is unsightly and it can spread rapidly, especially in the warmer months.
Mold is a different story. Mold grows in areas where there is excess moisture and may result from a leaky gutter or drain pipes, another reason why it is so important to keep your gutters clean and free of debris. Unlike algae, mold can be very harmful, even if it’s only on the outside of your home. If you find mold, you must have it taken care of immediately.
The risk of leaving mold on your siding is that it will spread. It doesn’t take long for mold on the exterior of your home to get inside. All it needs is a crack or tear and it will spread inside and under your siding, potentially damaging the structure of your home. Over time, mold will eat away at the wood and drywall. Areas that are severely damaged may even collapse.
It takes a long time to get to this point, and it is completely preventable by cleaning the green stuff off the side of your home when it first appears. If not, you risk it spreading. If it spreads into your ventilation system, it can send spores into the air which can lead to significant health problems for you and your family.
It’s important to remember that mold and other green stuff outside of your home will not stay outside if you don’t get rid of it. It will find its way in eventually, bringing down the value of your property and potentially making you and your family sick.
Methods for Removal
There are multiple ways to get rid of mold and other green stuff on the outside of your home, including some home remedies.
If you have a small area of green stuff that’s isolated and in an easy-to-reach area, there are some things you can use to take care of it yourself.
Bleach. Use a mix of one part bleach to four parts water. Spray the mixture on the green stuff and scrub.
Mix a solution that’s about 30 percent vinegar and 70 percent water. Dip a scrub brush into the mixture and scrub away at the green stuff.
Oxy-Clean is a great alternative to regular bleach. Mix between four and six ounces of Oxy-Clean in a gallon of water. Then, spray on the green stuff and scrub.
Dawn or comparable dish soap is often enough to get rid of green stuff on your home, especially if you’re dealing with algae or mildew. Just add some Dawn to a bucket of water and scrub. Dish soap should be the first thing you try. If it doesn’t work, move on to some of the more powerful cleaning methods mentioned above.
Power Washing vs. Soft Washing
If you have a bigger problem than you can tackle with a scrub brush, according to Trotta, “You either need a cleaning solution or you need a power washing solution, a power washing pressurized water.”
One of the best things about vinyl siding is how easy it is to clean. A good soft washing can get rid of mold and make your vinyl siding look new again. You can do this yourself with an attachment on your garden hose, but it’s safer to hire a professional. According to Trotta, at his company, “We don’t touch anybody’s house with more than 500 PSI of pressure, which, just to give you an idea of your garden hose in a city spigot is going to be about 40 to 50 PSI.”
Most people have heard of power washing, but soft washing may be unfamiliar. The difference is in the amount of pressure used. Power washing uses water with a pressure of 2500 PSI, which is appropriate for hard surfaces like brick, concrete, and some types of stone.
Soft washing relies on a little bit of extra pressure combined with a powerful cleaner to get your vinyl clean. Per Trotta, “I don’t believe it is safe to power wash your siding, with a power wash. That’s why we use a soft wash.” Too much pressure can damage your siding, which is why soft pressure is the preferred choice.
Maintenance and Prevention
People often wonder how long a professional soft wash lasts. Trotta explains, “The easy answer to that is it’s going to last, if it came back in a year, last time, it’s going to last two years. This time, the problem is that no one’s willing to make any type of claim that that’s what’s going to do.”
In other words, the green stuff will come back, even after a soft wash. It’s not a one-time fix, but something you have to keep up with to prevent a buildup of mold and keep it from spreading inside your home.
If you’re sick of looking at the green stuff on your home and need professional help to get rid of it, get in touch with Justin Trotta and the team at Trotta’s Power Washing.