Outdoor Surface Cleaning Blog

It's more than clean, it's Renew Crew Clean

Soft Washing and Renew Crew’s Alternative

From time to time we receive a few questions from homeowners on a method of cleaning outdoor surfaces called soft washing. We at Renew Crew don’t offer soft washing due to our company’s goal of cleaning and protecting all surfaces in the most environmentally friendly way possible and soft washing, in most cases, doesn’t reflect our goal.

So what is soft washing? Soft washing uses strong chemicals to clean exterior surfaces instead of cleaner and water pressure like we do. Many soft washing companies use industrial strength bleach called sodium hypochlorite to clean the surfaces. This type of liquid bleach is twice as strong as household bleach. We at Renew Crew pride ourselves on not using bleach on exterior surfaces because it is known to kill most living things, including plants and we don’t want our work to negatively impact a clients’ landscaping. Some soft washing companies will have an extra person on each crew to continuously rinse everything so the plants won’t be affected.

Bleach also doesn’t clean away the mold and mildew on the surface, it just kills it. After learning this, it reminded me of when I had my roof cleaned several years ago. The service provider told me that they would kill everything on the roof, but it would stay on the surface until a heavy rain. Knowing what I know now, he used a soft wash method. While the mold and mildew were killed and a lighter color on my roof (my house smelled like a pool for a week), it didn’t look clean until two weeks later when a heavy rain finally washed it away. At Renew Crew, we use a low gauge pressure wash to rinse away everything on the surface not only to make it look better, but it also allows us to know that everything is gone before we go on to protect the surface.

The biggest differentiator between Renew Crew and other pressure washing companies is that we take our cleaning to the next level by protecting the surfaces from the harsh outdoor elements. We aren’t confident that we can do that in an environmentally way by soft washing the surface.

If you have any questions, please contact your local Renew Crew office.

A Labor Day barbeque to celebrate the end of summer

Next weekend is Labor Day, the symbolic end of summer. Kids will be going back to school and nights will begin to get shorter. Bid farewell to the 2013 summer nights with a great barbecue! Here are some ideas to get your planning started.

Prepare what you can in advance. One of the hardest things about hosting friends and family is that you are busy! Your loved ones are there to spend time with you, so think about what you can prepare the morning (or night) before the party begins. One of our favorite dips, for example, is better when it sits for a few hours before eating. All you need is a can of black beans (rinsed and drained), 9oz of corn, 1 chopped tomato, 1/3 chopped red onion, 1 chopped scallion, 1 tablespoon olive oil, juice from two limes, and 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro. Mix everything together and refrigerate for at least an hour. Serve with tortilla chips. It’s a great summertime salsa that can accompany most dishes!

Have a game. While I enjoy sitting outside on a nice day enjoying the company of friends and family, sometimes having something to do makes a get-together a little more interesting. Consider having some type of game set up on your yard that guests can enjoy throughout the day. Or, if you enjoy a little competition, make some sort of championship out of it. Games like bocce, ladder ball, corn hole and lawn darts all make for great games and can be modified for different ages!

Keep the decorations simple. It’s Labor Day, so personally I say bring on the red, white and blue, but that doesn’t mean your outdoor décor needs to be overly complicated. Large super centers as well as grocery stores will have numerous options for napkins, plates and cups. If you have a blue and white checked table cloth, use some red napkins and cups and you are perfectly patriotic! If you want to throw in some stars and stripes, buy some of the mini paper flags and stick them in the surrounding garden, or even in the dessert!

Have something sweet. Speaking of dessert, it’s a must for any party. One of my all-time favorite desserts for a barbecue is the s’more. If you don’t have a fire pit or charcoal grill, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy this delectable treat. You can make mini fire pits just for the barbeque! Go to your nearest home improvement store and pick up a few small terracotta pots. Line them with foil and place a few pieces of coal inside and there you have it, the perfect place to roast some marshmallows.

Spruce up your space. We all want our homes to look great when we have company over, but sometimes our outdoor spaces don’t get the attention they may deserve. Go outside and take a look. Does your grass need to be mowed? Do you have some branches that would be better if trimmed back a little bit? Is your outdoor living space clean? Sweep off any loose debris that may be covering your space. If you have some more embedded dirt, consider hiring a professional pressure washing company to clean your deck, patio, etc. We at Renew Crew, do more than pressure wash with our 3-step process and would be happy to answer any questions you may have on the best way to make your outdoor spaces look new again.

Happy Labor Day Everyone!

Lichen on Your Wood Deck? Get Rid of it.

Are you not sure what that green, crusty looking stuff on your deck is? Most likely it’s lichen, a combination of fungi and algae. If you don’t like the look it is giving your outdoor structure, do yourself a favor and get rid of it!

Lichen is found in most parts of the country and is made 90% of fungus and 10% algae. Normally it has a green/grey color but it can be yellow, red or even blue depending on the type of algae. Lichen normally grows in damp, shaded areas. With most of the growth occurring in the spring and fall, it can grow on both horizontal and vertical surfaces.

Lichen won’t damage your deck, fence or other wood surface. Alga is photosynthetic meaning it creates its own energy through sunlight. Because it can make its own energy, lichen doesn’t need to take nutrients from whatever it is growing on. That’s why you will often see lichen on structures that aren’t alive, like wood decks or stone walkways.

Just because lichen isn’t damaging the structure of your space, doesn’t mean that you should definitely keep it. Because of its grayish/green color, lichen can make your outdoor spaces look old and weathered. Additionally, it holds moisture and become unsafe to step on. It can be extremely slippery depending on its size and the amount of lichen in the area.

Take a look at this deck with built in benches in Johnson County, Kansas. Doesn’t it look terrible? The bench doesn’t look like a nice place to sit and enjoy a glass of wine, does it? I know I wouldn’t want to sit on that for fear of my clothes turning green. While some homeowners may have taken the amount of lichen as a sign they needed to replace decking boards, or even the entire structure, this homeowner luckily called Renew Crew of Johnson County. Renew Crew’s three step deck cleaning process not only got rid of the lichen, but also the mold and greying wood fibers from the entire space.

Talk about an after shot! The deck looks brand new! Lichen doesn’t need a harsh cleaner or chemical to kill it, but our environmentally friendly deck cleaner is able to eliminate the lichen and loosen any dirt as well as any dead grey wood fibers. The foaming cleaner clings to the surface allowing it to do its job and loosen the organism’s grip on the deck.

After allowing the foam to penetrate, Renew Crew uses a low pressure wash to rinse everything away. If you were watching the process, this is where you would see the largest difference.

The last step in our process is applying a protectant to the space that stops the wood from looking weathered again too quickly. For this project, Renew Crew of Johnson County used our Cedar color finish.

If you have questions regarding cleaning your decks, or any other outdoor surface, please contact your local Renew Crew office.

Hold Your Hoses: Steps to Take before You Do Deck Cleaning

Many homeowners assume that pressure washing is a do-it-yourself job. While a few cases can be, there are definitely times when hiring a professional is the best option. These can include the cleaning of the exterior sidings, and even the concrete driveway. Whether by a professional, or yourself, proper deck cleaning methods should be taken, and there are a few ways the area should be correctly prepped.

Inspect the deck.

Cleaners such as Renew Crew should have one primary concern: to ensure the object being cleaned is safe. Inspection of the deck is a very important first step, especially if the deck is 20+ years old or elevated. In case of an elevated deck, the foundations need to also be inspected by knowledgeable authorities.

In conjunction with this step, an expert will have to determine the type of material the deck was made of. This is important information because it will help choosing the right cleaning method. For instance, using pressure washers on unvarnished wood can be a mistake as this can cause splinters to fly, injuring anyone nearby. In general, this material is tough to work with, and should be treated with care. Using incorrect water pressure can cause damage that will be irreparable.

Clear the deck.

Loose objects such as chairs and tables should be cleared from the deck when cleaning commences. Anything that could move or fall over during the cleaning process should be relocated to a safer space. Your thorough power washing can only occur when obstacles are removed, and the deck is free of interruptions to the process.

Clean the deck.

Now that everything has been removed from the deck, pre-cleaning can start. This involves sweeping off dust and dirt and removal of branches, leaves or rocks. Anything that could come in between the deck and the pressure washer should be taken care of. Using water to accomplish this may hinder the process of professional pressure washer cleaning, so stick to the broom for this step.

Though professional cleaners can easily complete this step, homeowners who take that first step give the impression that responsibility is something you value. Additionally, completing this step ahead of time clears the way for professional cleaners to get right to work, if you are choosing a company like Renew Crew for your needs. By prepping the deck for cleaning, the task can be completed more quickly and certainly more thoroughly than you planned in the beginning.

Why It's Better to Work with Commercial Pressure Washing Professionals

Taking care of a building’s exterior aspect is not a walk in the park. There are different building materials meshed together to create a wonderful exterior – but those exteriors pose problems when it comes to pressure washer cleaning. Spraying the concrete with a pressure washer can affect nearby glass or stone, causing cracks or marks.

Your best bet as a homeowner is to hire professionals in commercial pressure washing. Companies like Renew Crew are built for just these types of problems. Special foams are used, together with special washing solutions, in order to rinse all the dirt and stains from materials with rough surfaces, without the damage that might be incurred otherwise. There are even additional visual benefits:

They know what they’re doing.

Along with the practiced skill of a professional, there are other advantages involved, such as the experience and valuable equipment to get the job done right. Not only that, but these people are knowledgeable in the federal regulation requirements surrounding the use of pressure washers. The Clean Water Act is one regulation that needs to be respected, as it requires that wastewater never be a supply source for pressure washers, and cannot be let into street drainage systems.

They work faster.

Professional washers work smartly in teams, allowing the process of cleaning to be done more quickly and efficiently. While this can depend on the size of the building, the team effort provided by these professionals leads to faster results compared to those produced by individuals not skilled in this area. A reliable deck pressure washing company employs only the most seasoned professionals, with a proven track record in residential and commercial projects.

They value customer convenience.

Since professional cleaners understand that the cleaning process should not disrupt business as usual, they are able to schedule times that work well for the clients. Human contact with a pressure washer should never become an issue, and with the expertise of professional cleaners like Renew Crew, it never will. Furthermore, since the interruptions will be few when they schedule their cleaning, the job will get done even faster.

Even though commercial cleaning methods may vary from residential cleaning methods, the expertise and practiced skills are required just the same. Cleaning companies like Renew Crew belong to a specialized class of businesses that can provide this kind of service and dedication.

Stop Floor Chipping and Cracking with Protective Concrete Sealing

Concrete is considered a solid, durable construction and building material, but it does have its limitations. For example, the strength of concrete is not as high as other options, allowing for the possibility of cracking far more often than one would like. Additionally, this type of material has a tendency to shrink with age, complicating the structure of buildings requiring exact alignments.

House owners that must contend with these kinds of damages should be aware that preventing this damage is not in their control. Concrete is known for this. There is, however, a solution! A protective concrete sealing can be applied by homeowners to make your surfaces secure. This sealant will help restore concrete surfaces, and keep the material from getting any worse.

Sealants for concrete will prevent stains, cracks, and corrosion by protecting the surface. A wall of sealant creates a water-tight layer, blocking dirt, water, and other materials from ruining your building materials. These sealants can also assist the surface of concrete in fighting stress, such as cracks or chips, and also prevents against weathering.

Moisture is the most notorious enemy of concrete, able to affect the concrete’s temperature from the inside. The switching of hot and cold temperatures can create warping or tears in the material. Concrete in cold climates must endure the freezing and thawing of material, contributing to shrinkage and also inviting the moisture to sink deeper into the concrete.

Dirt, oil, grease and other chemicals are also enemies of concrete, staining and damaging the material with their own tactics. Those stains can seep deeply into the concrete, making it very difficult to get it out. Cleaning of these stains can cause issues such as chipping, since rough force is required to remove the stains, not counting the harsh chemical makeup that will affect your surfaces.

Hiring capable pressure washing companies like Renew Crew is the best option for cleaning and protecting your concrete surfaces. With an array of supplies such as a pressure washer, safe chemical solutions, and sealants, homeowners can obtain a smoother and “like-new” look to their concrete surfaces. Additionally, these surfaces will be resistant to weather and every day use issues.

Despite the seemingly tough exterior of concrete, this material can certainly fall prey to nature’s elements. Monitoring the condition of concrete surfaces and calling professional business to repair and maintain them is a requirement for homeowners who want to keep great-looking concrete surfaces. This material is used every day, and should be given the care that it merits.

Bring the Color Back Into Your Outdoor Spaces

We all like things that look new, right? I know I do. Faded clothes don’t get worn as much. Outdated spaces are underappreciated. And old outdoor living spaces look dirty. Color is a huge part of the appearance of your outdoor living space. Bringing renewed color to a deck, porch or patio make you want to sit outside more and enjoy your existing spaces.

By its natures, outdoor living spaces are exposed to harsh elements like rain, snow, dirt, dust and the sun’s ray. You may not think of the sun as an enemy to exterior surfaces, but it is. The heat from the sun dries out both wood and concrete. The wood fibers will turn grey and begin to splinter, while the concrete will look faded and dry.

At Renew Crew, we can breathe new life into all of your exterior surfaces. You’ve seen how our wood cleaning and protecting process can take an old deck from this:

to this,

but you may not be aware the difference that concrete sealing can do.

We have several different finishes for patio pavers, with the most popular being the natural look or the wet look. All concrete protectants should bring the color back into your stone. Take this stone walkway for example; it doesn’t look terrible (this was after it was cleaned, but before it was protected), but it does look flat. There is very little color variation on the surface.

Now look at the after picture. This walkway was finished with our “wet look” concrete sealant and protectant. Do you notice the richness in the color? The homeowners (and their visitors) can now appreciate the deep greys of the walkway. Although the pictures were taken at different angles, I personally think the deep color makes the landscaping’s greens and pinks pop. Overall I think it has a deeper look than before.

If your outdoor living spaces are looking tired, dry and just plain “blah,” contact your local Renew Crew office. Our trained technicians can make your decks, porches, fences, patios and other outdoor living spaces look new again.

Strip Stubborn Floor Stains with Effective Concrete Cleaning

Concrete is a resilient material used in building, a course material, and is a major component in many architectural and outdoor structures. Buildings made from concrete last for decades, even centuries, and can withstand most weather conditions. In addition, concrete is easy to produce, as aggregate material and cement takes little resources and energy to bind together.

Though its advantages are many, especially in construction industry, this material has a very obvious flaw. The surface of concrete is very porous, making it difficult to get stains such as oil or grease out. There is, however, a solution: concrete cleaning services can be obtained from pressure washing businesses such as Renew Crew.

Despite how smooth this material may appear, concrete is porous, and therefore it can soak up dirt and liquids. Stains from grease, colored liquids, mildew and oil will be visible for many years because of its permeable nature. The color and filth itself will be there, posing not only aesthetic issues, but health-related ones.

To strip ground-in stains such as these, deep cleaning is necessary. Some cleaning products, however, come with risks. To avoid risky products, the only option would seem to be chipping off the stained portions of your concrete! Just below that is the option to spend hours scrubbing those stains into submission, leaving you with a sore body, and an only semi-cleaned driveway.

There are options for comprehensive cleaning that won’t damage the surfaces of your concrete material. Hiring a professional pressure cleaning company to complete this seemingly impossible task is the right choice. With pressure washers that shoot specified streams of pressurized water, warmed and combined with cleaning solutions, these professionals can easily get your concrete back to its beautiful pre-stain glow.

Don’t have nightmares about trying to scrub set-in stains off your driveway, let a professional pressure washing company strip the dirt and grime away with ease. Your concrete will gleam, and you won’t have even the slightest hint of damage.