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pressure washing

Curb Appeal Ideas – Cleaning Exterior

Curb Appeal Ideas – Cleaning Exterior

Use these curb appeal ideas from Carlton Cleans to keep your house looking its best. Cleaning the exterior of your home is important because it adds to your curb appeal.

curb appeal ideas

Exterior Cleanliness

How often do you look at the exterior of a house and think, “that is one old home”? If the home exterior is not inviting, nobody will even consider looking at what you have inside, which could be where you plan to make your positive impression. A cleaner home is a healthier home, and everyone is trying to go green now. Over time your home receives buildup of mold, mildew, dirt, and grime. Each of these results in a much less attractive and less healthy home.

Exterior Home Cleaning – What’s Available?

After you have decided to use our curb appeal ideas and decide that your home needs to be cleaned, how do you clean your house’s exterior? Most people assume a hose will do the job. There are ways to do the entire exterior of a house with a hose, but it requires scrubbing and much more physical labor than you need. Also, scrubbing a house can only reach so much of the exterior. For those of you with plants and vegetation around your home, keep in mind that the cleaning chemicals used can affect them. Some of the buildup can get in deep crevices, especially on older houses. These can only be reached by a power washeer or pressure washer.

Curb Appeal Ideas

The best of curb appeal ideas is to clean your house’s exterior by power washing it. A good power wash can get in the deep crevices on some surfaces that you can’t reach with other methods. Pressure washing is perfect for cleaning brick, stone, vinyl, and other materials. As opposed to methods such as a hose with scrubbing, pressure washing can take significantly less time. Pressure washing houses restores them to looking like new again.

Focus on the Outside

If you’re considering selling your home, or just having some guests over, it will be of high value for you to use our curb appeal ideas and pretty-up the exterior of your house. Most people tend to ignore the outside of the house and just focus on the inside of the house. Cleaning the inside is important, but let’s be honest here: we see the outside before we even step foot on the inside.

Contact Carlton Cleans

Finally, it is a good idea to hire a professional to clean your home’s exterior. This is mostly because pressure washing can cause severe damage to your home and, more importantly, you if done improperly.













How to Clean Brick

How to Clean Brick

How to clean brick? Can brick be pressure washed?” Many homeowners of brick homes ask these questions. Brick can be pressure washed, however, great care is needed when cleaning brick. Brick requires a bit more care and attention than your traditional vinyl siding.
how to clean brick

Brick’s Greatest Downfall

Over time brick, as with all building materials, degrades and becomes dirty with mold, mildew, and moss. Brick is commonly ignored when cleaning the exterior of homes because of its greatest downfall: degradation. The mortar holding the bricks together can crack. The bricks can also become cracked. Generally, brick holds up strong for a lifetime.

As brick ages, it becomes more fragile. You can visibly tell the difference between a new and clean brick wall versus an old and dirty wall. The color fades and it becomes vulnerable to damage from high pressure power washers.

How to Clean Brick: The Carlton Way

When Carlton Cleans cleans brick and mortar homes, we make sure the brick has no cracks in the mortar. Before power washing can begin any cracks must be patched. We keep a good distance between us and the home and we do not use high pressure when power washing.

Detergents

Unlike most surfaces, brick requires a detergent to do all of the heavy lifting. A power washer will remove everything from the surface; however, it will also enlarge cracks and chip pieces out of the brick. How to clean brick the correct way is to use a lower pressure to prevent cracks and chips. Using lower pressure unfortunately means less power while cleaning. Detergents break up the grime and dirt enough to remove it with a quick, low pressure power wash.

How to Clean Brick: The Carlton Way

We use a strong detergent that’s specifically designed to clean bricks. A professional power washing company will know what detergent is needed to clean your home.

Brick is Resilient, Even When Cleaning

Power washing is an effective way to clean, but with bricks lower pressure can leave behind some resilient dirt spots that refuse to come off. After a thorough cleaning, bricks tend to have heavy dirt spots that don’t come off easily. A good scrubbing with some extra detergent may be necessary.

How to Clean Brick: The Carlton Way

Once the brick is cleaned, we examine the whole surface to ensure it’s as clean as it can get. If there’s a spot that doesn’t quite match the rest of the wall, we’ll scrub it off. Extra detergent may be necessary to eat away at the dirt and grime.

Final Stages: Protecting the Brick

how to clean brick

Once washing is finished the brick should be nice and clean. It’s now time to protect the brick from future damages. There are 2 stages to protecting your brick that you should take note of:

  1. Use a sealer. A brick sealant can save your bricks and mortar from cracking in the future. This will remove the step of patching cracks next time you have to clena.
  2. Future cleanings. The best way to maintain your bricks natural beauty is to have a professional evaluate and clean your bricks. It’s easy for us to say “It’s brick…It’ll hold up.” Brick is just as vulnerable as vinyl siding. Power wash brick whenever it starts looking dirty. A buildup of mold can lead to future deterioration. It is best to clean mold before it causes problems.

Contact us to power wash your brick today!


 

 

5 Outdoor Spring Cleaning Tips

pressure washingSpring has officially arrived and it’s time for spring cleaning. This past winter was harsh and has probably caused quite a bit of damage to your home’s exterior. Between fall’s leaves, winter’s snow and ice, and spring’s pollen, you could probably use some outdoor spring cleaning tips.

  1. Cleaning Up the Siding – The siding of your home is what the majority of people notice when they first look at your home, and the primary color of your home is directly influenced by the color and condition of the siding. In rare cases, the siding may need to be replaced, but that’s only necessary if it’s damaged or missing. In other cases, a quick power wash will do just fine. Power washing your home is a quick, easy way to bring your home back to life and give it that color that it was lacking.
    A power washer can reach where hoses and sponges just can’t. The power that comes from the tip of the pressure washing hose is around 3000 PSI and can even get those moldy spots underneath the panels that creep out unexpectedly.
  2. Yard Work – We all dread the thought of cleaning up the yard, but just picture the results! Giving your yard that beautiful view back can make all the difference in the world, especially when you have guests over for a cookout. It’s a good idea to trim your trees as well to clear out any spots that may be blocking your view. Clean up the leaves and check for bald spots in your grass. If you find any bald spots (you likely will), then just plant some more grass seeds there and help it grow back. Keeping a healthy yard is one of the most time-consuming and tiresome parts about spring. At least you only have to do this part once a year, though.
  3. Deck Cleaning – Clear off the deck of any furniture and other objects and get ready for a hard scrubbing. We recommend not pressure washing your deck to preserve its health and keep it in good shape, because a pressure washer can damage the wood fibers. Instead, grab a brush and some wood cleaner. Once it’s all soaked up and scrubbed down, it’s time for some deck stain. Staining your deck can preserve it for the months or years to come. Deck staining can protect against heavy foot traffic, severe weather conditions, pet scratches, and general wear-and-tear.
  4. Clear out the Gutters – Oftentimes we forget about the gutters because we can’t actually see what’s in them. Hop on a ladder and head up there to see what we’re talking about. It can get pretty nasty, but it can also cause damage to your home if not cleared out regularly. The best way to do this is the old fashioned way: rubber gloves and a trash bag. Once you clean the vast majority of debris out of the gutters, the water should wash the rest down. Feel free to test and observe your gutters by spraying the hose up there and see where the water goes.
  5. Clean the Windows – The windows are always there and can get pretty dirty and cloudy if not cleaned regularly, especially during the beginning of spring. Winter moisture builds up around the edges and can even create a mold residue. To make matters worse, pollen stacks up on top of it all in the spring. Always be sure to keep your windows clean and sparkling, just like the rest of your house.

Spring Cleaning Checklist

In order to keep your home in top-notch condition, it’s important to keep it maintained. Here’s a quick checklist of the most important things to do:

✓     Clean out the gutters of debris

✓     Power wash the siding and other exteriors of your home

✓     Scrub and stain your deck

✓     Trim the trees, if possible

✓     Clean up the yard of leaves and other miscellaneous debris

✓     Clean your windows to give them a sleek shine

How to Choose a Pressure Washer

Summer is quickly approaching and I think we are all ready for a break from the cold weather! Summertime is a time for family and friends to get together, have fun, and hang around outside. Many people tend to have cookouts on Saturday or Sunday afternoon, which requires a lot of preparations. Cleaning up beforehand is usually one of the longest parts because the house still needs to be cleaned as well, even though it’s not indoors (I hope). If you think you’ll be someone who will host a cookout this summer, then you should be considering cleaning the exterior of your home.

The first thought in your mind will be a hose, and hopefully the next thought will be a pressure washer. Now pressure washing is, as with most home improvements, possible to do yourself…but it’s not recommended. Pressure washers can be dangerous if used improperly, and will produce the best results if done by a professional. If you want to show your house off (or impress the step-parents!), make sure your house looks it’s best in time for your barbecue. So, you want to pressure wash your house, but now you want to know how to choose a pressure washer. There are 3 main factors to look for:

  1. Quality of Their Work. Most pressure washing companies have a website that shows their past work in some form of a gallery or blog. Check this page for some evidence of them. It’s likely that if they do not have something like this on their site, they don’t want you to know. Look for signs of dirt, mold, mildew, and any other form of grime you can find. Green and brown are common colors, but it’s easy to tell what the color of the house is supposed to be, so find any marks that stand out. On top of quality is speed of the company. In general, most pressure washing businesses are somewhat similar in speed, but if they are done too fast, they likely did a poor-quality job. Quality is extremely important in your quest for the perfect power washer, followed by what everyone always checks for: the cost.
  2. Cost of the Pressure Washing. As always, set a budget and stick to it. Call up some pressure washing companies, compare their prices and find out which one looks best to you. Keep in mind that if the price is too good to be true, it is. If a company charges what you consider to be too much, see if they do more than just pressure washing. For example, they may charge a decent price for power washing the siding, but offer a full-service gutter and siding cleaning for double that of another company that would do both the gutter and siding separately.
  3. Reputation of the Company. When you windle your choices down to one or two, it’s time to do some real research. Check out the company’s reputation on Google and find some reviews. Make sure the reviews you’re reading are real people. If the first review on the page is 5 stars, all around perfect review but the other 8 are 1 or 2 stars, then the first review was likely a fake. Just try to keep an eye out and see if the company lives up to what they claim to be. Make sure you check more than one review site to get a more rounded view.

Sometimes figuring out the seating arrangements, who is invited, and how to choose a pressure washer can seem daunting, but choosing a pressure washer is painless. After you’ve chosen a pressure washing company, you’re ready to figure out the menu without worrying about your house and deck’s cleanliness!

What is the Best Way to Remove Graffiti

The main benefit of living in the city is that everything is close, no matter what or who you may need. If you need to go to the store, there is likely a grocery store within 10 minutes from your door. Unfortunately, the city also has many downfalls, which to some are the reason they avoid it. If living in the city was anything close to what people made it out to be, nobody would live there. One of the problems with living in a city is vandalism; more specifically: graffiti.

Some people view graffiti as art, while others view it as bored teens defacing property. Regardless, the owner of the property is never pleased to find it spray painted on the side of their wall. In some cases the graffiti removal job can be so large that doing it by hand would be more than a hassle: it would be a pain…literally. So if you fall into this category you may be wondering how to remove graffiti from your building.

Removing Graffiti – Method 1

Removing graffiti is generally not as simple as grabbing a hose and washcloth and washing it off like it’s a water soluble marker on a whiteboard. Spray paint is meant to be permanent, but permanent is a loose term, especially in the case of graffiti. In order to remove graffiti you need to have some form of power. The first way, and often the most common, is to buy yourself some graffiti remover, which eats away at the paint, making it easier to wash off. Using this method can be tiresome and takes a long time. Most of the time when someone decides to spray your wall, they are not looking to spray this small section of it. No; they want the whole thing! If you’re like me, method one is not the best way to remove graffiti.

Graffiti Removal Services – Method 2

Removing spray paint can be as easy as washing it away. “But I thought scrubbing was not the best way?” It isn’t. Today we are fortunate enough to have graffiti removal services from businesses that revolve around power washing and pressure washing. Power washing the graffiti is the best way to remove the graffiti, and the best way to clean concrete. Not to mention it’s more environmentally friendly than cleaning chemicals. Removing graffiti from concrete with a pressure washer is extremely fast when compared to your alternatives, but comes with its own risks. Pressure washing can cause you injuries if used improperly, which is why it’s best left to the professionals. After all, they do it for a living!

Whether you are a business owner, resident, or property manager, if you live in a city, you will most likely have to deal with this unfortunate circumstance at some point in your life. Removing graffiti can be a tedious chore, or a minor inconvenience, depending on your method of removal.

If you are interested in Maryland pressure washing services, including graffiti removal services, house and siding cleaning, and deck cleaning, then contact Carlton Cleans today!

Carlton Cleans Hot Water Pressure Washing Rig with Chemical Pump

This rig is used to clean all hardscape, driveway surfaces and exterior building cleaning. If you need cleaning services on a parking garage, apartment building to residential house Carlton Cleans, LLC is ready to provide an estimate in the Washington Dc area. We provide low water pressure cleaning and hot water high pressure cleaning when appropriate.

Components of Residential Curb Appeal Enhancement Offered by Carlton Cleans, LLC

Roof Cleaning: A low water pressure method of cleaning organic stains from the roof for increased curb appeal. This is especially valuable before listing the house for sale. In Montgomery County, MD  it is common to see stains and streaks on the roof. In Silver Spring for example, there are many wooded areas which in combination with warm wet weather mold, algae and fungus thrive. We provide a chemical cleaning with little run off to remove the organics. We also bag the down spouts and capture any run off during the cleaning. However, this is minimized by our low pressure application equipment which allow Carlton Cleans, LLC to apply the cleaning mix to the roof in low volume to kill the organics.

Exterior House Wash: Our house wash service is an application of our house cleaning mix, dwell and rinse with hot water. We provide cleaning of siding, brick and composite siding, We do not use the pressure washer close to the surface of the house. We apply the hot water far enough from the house to “shower” the surface” after the cleaning mix has pulled the dirt from the surface. The cleaning is performed by the cleaning mix and volume of water verses pressure. We provide an effective cleaning method with out causing damage to the surface.

If you are having your house painted than a house wash is a must service for better paint adhesion and longevity. Many painting companies will offer a house wash service prior to painting, however, they often do not provide a quality service due to lack of experience and proper equipment. House washing is a necessary evil to the painting companies and they rarely invest the necessary resources to the task.

Gutter Cleaning: Gutters typically need cleaned inside and out to maintain good water flow and keep the typical white gutters from turning black. The black marks on the exterior of the gutters are from air pollution, tree dirt and roof run off. The black marks are oxidized into the surface and can only be cleaned by hand with specific cleaners for the task because the oxidization layer as to be broken. The cleaners are strong and ladders are needed to access the gutters. We do not recommend home owners try to clean their own gutters.

Driveway and Sidewalks: We offer a chemical low pressure cleaning and high pressure cleaning depending on the situation and state of the surface. Hot water is used in the cleaning.

The Benefits of Professional Soft Washing or Low Pressure Cleaning

Pros:

No damage to the surface be cleaned.

Uniform cleaning with the use of cleaners specific to the surface and dirt type.

Cons:

None for the home owner.

For Carlton Cleans we spend 3-4 times longer cleaning than most competitors. Over all we do not mind. It allows us to keep every customer happy and provide properly executed scope of work.

Carlton Cleans provides exterior house wash, deck repairs/refinishing, patio and composite cleaning, commercial building and concrete cleaning, construction equipment cleaning and we provide hot water cleaning. Also, we have rigs with water tanks than can bring water to remote sites.

We do not use a pressure washer in deck refinishing or roof cleaning. We use garden hose pressure to apply cleaners and rinsing.

 

Deck Refinishing Techniques

Pressure washing and power washing have been the main method of cleaning decks.
The cleaning typically was done prior to staining or
painting to remove dirt, molds, algae and fungus. As professionals
began to specialize in deck cleaning chemicals were added to the
process for a more uniform level of cleaning and to allow the use of
low water pressure rinsing (less wood fiber damage). This process
is done by typically wetting down the deck to prevent the cleaner from
drying to fast than apply the cleaning mix, dwell and rinse. Dwell
time is important. The process is than finalized by spraying the deck
with a wood brightener to balance the ph for preparation of a finish.
This is the main method of professional deck cleaning.

At Carlton Cleans we changed the process by removing the
pressure washer from the process. The main reason we removed the use
of a pressure washer is even at low pressure with the use of chemical
cleaners minor damage to wood fibers can still occur and the chemical
strength generally has to be on the strong side to be effective.
Carlton Cleans uses scrub brushing in the place of a pressure washer.
We use a low pressure chemical sprayer to apply our deck cleaning mix
and hand scrub the entire deck. The process is finalized by applying
a wood brightener. The lower chemical ratio is better for the
environment and the technicians doing the work and still effective
because of the scrub brushing process. The scrub brushing is gentle
on the wood and is a very effective cleaning method. Of course the
process of scrub brushing is more time consuming than pressure
washing and high chemical ratio use. Carlton Cleans also applies all finishes by hand.

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