Deck Cleaning: The Best Ways to Care for Your Wooden Decking

A wooden deck adds beauty and value to your home, and it’s a great way to enjoy some outdoor entertaining.

When it comes to good maintenance and care, it’s important to practice a few proper deck cleaning methods.

Before you head outside to hose down your deck, read this helpful guide so you know more about the best ways to keep your wooden decking beautiful and squeaky clean.

Prep the Surface

When you’re ready to do a little deck cleaning, it’s crucial that the deck is free of any excess debris. The finish on your wooden decking will break down over time and from exposure to the elements.

Annual cleaning and an application of sealer will keep it looking good as new. Before you start the process, you need to eliminate mold and mildew that can cause your deck to rot.

Remove all furniture and pots off the deck, then sweep it thoroughly. If there’s anything stuck between the slats of your deck, use a putty knife or screwdriver to remove it, then sweep it away.

After all the debris is gone, it’s time for quick washing. If you have an attachable jet wand, use that to rinse your deck off thoroughly.

Make sure that the flow of water is strong enough to wash all of the dirt and debris completely off the surface of your deck. Just make sure it’s not too strong or else it could damage the wooden boards.

Deck Cleaning Methods

You can clean your deck a number of ways, but store-bought deck cleaning products are ideal. Read the directions thoroughly to find out if the product you choose requires your deck to be wet before applying the cleaning solution.

It’s best to wash down your deck on cloudy days so the sun won’t evaporate the cleaner and the water. As you apply the cleaning solution, use a paint roller, a large brush, or a stiff-bristled broom to work the cleaner into the wood.

Let the mixture of cleaning solution and water sit on the surface of your deck for the allotted time frame per the instructions. Don’t let the cleaning solution pool or it could cause discoloration.

Once you’re ready to rinse, start the process from the bottom, working your way up as you spray the rails with clean water. After you’re done rinsing it clean, let your deck dry for at least two days before you apply any sealer.

You can rinse the deck using a hose with a nozzle sprayer to get better coverage. Take your time and use sweeping motions until the entire deck is rinsed clean and no more cleaning solution is visible.

If you prefer, you can use a power washer to clean your deck, but just be sure it’s dialed to the appropriate setting. If the setting is too powerful, it can cause serious damage to the finish of the wood.

Sealing Your Deck

To truly practice proper deck cleaning, you should seal your wooden deck at least once every two to three years. Adding sealant will keep the deck looking new and protect it against serious damage like mold or water penetration.

You can find deck sealing products at most home improvement stores and they come in a range of different finishes. A clear sealer will let the natural wood grain show through, while sealants with stains give your deck a fresh touch of color.

The type of sealant you select is entirely up to you, but it’s important to make sure that it matches your current deck’s color and style as closely as possible. If you want to change the color of your deck completely, go with a sealant that includes an opaque stain.

When you’re ready to apply the sealer, wear gloves, eye protection, and a mask to stay safe. Pick a period of two days when you will have clear skies and reasonably moderate temperatures that aren’t too extreme.

Start by sanding your deck with 80-grit sandpaper. Look for any protruding nails or screws and replace them as needed. If a nail is only sticking out a little bit, you can hammer it back into place.

Applying Sealer

You should apply your sealer or stain using a paint roller. Cover three to four boards at a time as you go. When you stain or seal the railings, use a smaller roller to get into cracks and crevices.

As you apply the sealer, make sure it does not puddle or dry out. Attempt to apply two thin coats rather than one thick coat for the best application.

Keep an eye on your deck throughout the year and try to keep it free of any debris and dirt. With regular sweeping and a quick wash-down, you can keep a wooden deck clean without too much effort.

Stain or seal your deck every few years to keep it in great shape and looking its best. Always follow directions carefully on any deck cleaning and deck sealing products.

A Clean Deck is a Happy Deck

With a few simple deck cleaning practices, you can ensure that your wooden deck will stand the test of time. Keep it free of debris and mold, and wash it regularly for best results.

Apply a stain or sealer every few years to maintain and preserve the beauty of the wood. Regular maintenance will keep your wooden deck in great shape as time goes by.

For all your window washing, power washing, and gutter cleaning needs, contact us today.

Clogged Gutters? Here Are 7 Tell-Tale Signs Your Gutters Need Cleaning

clogged gutters

The average homeowner needs to budget between 1 and 3 percent of their home’s value just to maintain their house. But if your home has clogged gutters, that budget could skyrocket.

Believe it or not, gutter clogs can do some serious damage to your house, putting you and your loved ones at risk for mold if you’re not careful. The best thing you can do is get those clogs removed as quickly as possible.

But how can you tell when it’s time to schedule a cleaning? Watch for these tell-tale signs.

1. Water Flows Over Them, Not Through Them

Your gutters work to direct runoff and excess water from your roof to a designated drainage area. When they’re not clogged, they catch the runoff from rainstorms and snowmelt.

From there, the water runs through the gutters and away from your house.

The next time it’s raining, take a moment to watch where the water’s flowing. If it’s falling over the edge of your gutters rather than flowing through them, it’s time to have your gutters cleaned.

This is the easiest way to prevent major damage either to your roof or your home’s siding.

2. You Notice Sagging Along the Gutter Channels

Fallen leaves may seem light on their own. But they’re not the only things that collect in your gutters. Sticks, roofing materials, dirt, and debris all settle in the gutter channel over time.

When enough debris collects inside your gutters, it starts to get heavy fast. And when that debris gets wet, it gets even heavier.

Over time, you’ll likely start to see the gutters sag under the weight. You may also notice that the gutter channels start to pull away from the side of your home.

This is a surefire sign that you need a good gutter cleaning. Once the debris gets removed, you may be able to reattach or reshape the gutters to fully protect your home.

Keep in mind that if the damage is severe, you may need to replace your gutters entirely

3. Pests and Birds Hang Out in Your Gutters

Clogged gutters are a safe haven for pests, birds, and unwanted rodents. The decomposing debris and leaves create both warmth and moisture, turning your gutters into the perfect nesting spot.

Head outside and pay attention to what the wildlife is doing. If you see birds perched on your gutters more often than not or notice squirrels burrowing into them, have them cleaned immediately.

Leaving the clogs in place puts your home at risk for pest infestation and roof damage. Both of these issues are incredibly expensive to deal with. Cleaning your gutters, however, is incredibly affordable.

4. You Notice Puddles Around the Base of Your House

Remember that designated drainage spot mentioned earlier? It’s important because it protects your home’s foundation from water damage and cracking.

If you notice puddles collecting around the base of your house, it’s likely because you have clogged gutters. When your gutters are full of clogs, water has no choice but to fall over the edge of them.

This then creates puddles at the base of your home which, over time, can soak into the concrete foundation. If left unchecked, you’ll likely start to notice cracks and water damage.

Though your homeowner’s insurance policy may help cover the cost of repairs, it’s far better to prevent them in the first place.

5. There’s Green Stuff Growing in Your Gutters

Plant matter collecting in your gutters traps moisture and starts to decompose, turning into an ideal planting mix. This gives any seeds that fall into your gutter system a perfect place to sprout and grow.

Pay attention to the look of your gutters. If you notice any green popping out over the edge or see green trails of algae collecting on the roof or your siding, schedule a cleaning immediately.

Though it can take time for these issues to do damage, the sooner you get your gutters cleaned, the better off your home will be.

6. You Notice Icicles During the Winter

Icicles may add to a festive ambiance when the temps drop, but they’re not the best thing to have along your roofline. They put you and your loved ones at risk for injuries when they fall. But they can also be a sign of some serious clogs in your gutters.

If snow and ice can’t melt off your roof and into your gutters, it flows over the side. And when the temperatures are low enough, that melting ice will re-freeze, forming into icicles.

When you notice icicles, schedule a gutter cleaning. This will help keep your property and your family safer even when the winter weather gets bad.

7. You Can’t Remember the Last Time They Got Cleaned

Ideally, you should have your gutters cleaned at least twice a year, once in the spring and again before winter. But life happens and sometimes, it’s easy to forget about those infrequent maintenance tasks.

If you can’t remember the last time your gutters got cleaned, it’s time to schedule an appointment. Chances are that you have enough buildup inside your gutter system to cause a clog if it’s not removed quickly.

Even if your gutters aren’t clogged, they could have weak points or minor damage that need to get fixed for the system to work properly. During the cleaning, you’ll find out if everything is still in good shape.

Do You Need Help with Clogged Gutters?

Clogged gutters may not seem like an emergency, but the sooner you get them cleaned, the better. But that doesn’t mean you should try to do it yourself. Instead, leave the cleaning to the pros.

After a professional cleaning, you’ll have the peace of mind knowing that your gutters are in good shape and can safely direct water away from your house.

If you’re worried about the state of your gutters, schedule an appointment with our experienced team.

7 Advantages of Clean Windows

7 Benefits of clean windows

7 Advantages of Clean Windows

Windows play a vital role in any home in terms of beauty, fresh air quality, functionality and energy efficiency. Regardless if you do it yourself or hire professionals, clean windows offer several advantages.

Let the Light Shine In
Taking time to clean your windows or hiring professionals is an easy way to enjoy the benefits of more natural sunlight. When windows are dirty, they limit the mood lifting light that can enter a room. It’s simply more enjoyable to look out of clean windows.

Curb Appeal
Sparklingly clean windows make a big difference when it comes to curb appeal. This is particularly important if you are trying to sell a home or business. Dirty, grimy windows can make any home or business look less attractive and a bit run down.

First Impressions
Regardless if it’s a home or business, clean windows always support a positive, good first impression. In conveys to visitors a sense of pride, responsibility and commitment to details.

Improved Energy Efficiency
When windows are left dirty for long periods of time, glass and insulation performance can become compromised. During cold Chicagoland months, many home and business owners seek ways to reduce energy costs. One way to do this is by keeping windows clean. This allows for greater sun exposure, which can provide better natural healing and lighting.

Catch Potential Issues Early
Washing windows offers the perfect opportunity to inspect panes, seals, caulking and possible drafts. By catching and addressing issues early, homeowner and businesses are likely to avoid more costly expenses down the road.

Window Longevity
Regularly window cleanings can help extend the life and function of your home or business windows. Dirt and debris on windows can cause irreversible damage. Also, over time, the outside window glass can become infused with contaminates such as hard minerals, acid rain, oxidization, paint, caulking, and other materials.

Improved Air Quality
Believe it or not, dirt and grim on windows can negatively affect the indoor quality of your home or business. Also, if your properties air quality seems stale stagnant than usual, a window cleaning may help.

My Window Washing offers gutter guards installation services along with professional and affordable window washing, gutter cleaning and power is washing services. Call 1.800.941.2790 to schedule your appointment.

Streak Free Guarantee: 7 Reasons to Have a Professional Window Cleaning

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7 Reasons to Have a Professional Window Cleaning

With the ability to get the job done quickly and effectively with a streak free guarantee, discover why homeowners should have a professional window cleaning.

Keyword(s): professional window cleaning

Do you have dirty windows? Cleaning the windows is one of the most neglected chores in households across the country. Hard to reach window panes can be a real nuisance to keep clean, but few things make as big of an impact as dirt-free windows.

A professional window cleaning can make a huge difference in the appearance of your home. Even if you keep up the rest of the home well, if you have dirty windows, it can ruin the whole effect of a put-together place.

Let’s take a look at 7 reasons why you should allow a professional cleaning service to do the job:

Keep Bugs from Gathering

If you go too long without having your windows cleaned, bees and hornets can set up shop behind the shutters or alongside the screens. Wasps are known for nesting near storm windows, while ladybug colonies prefer to gather in window channels.

Having a bunch of bugs gathering near your windows makes it hard to use them the way you’d like. With the help of a professional window cleaning, the bugs will be washed away, and along with them, any mess they leave behind. Keep your family free from bug bites in their own home and backyard, and keep your windows looking clean with professional window cleaning.

Professional Window Cleaning Extends the Life of Your Windows

A home’s windows often get neglected, but windows that are kept clean and repaired last longer than those that aren’t. During a professional cleaning, your windows will be cleansed of corrosive contaminants that can break down window sealing, eat away at screens, and cause a grimy film to form.

Lime deposits are not only unappealing to look at, but they also make window panes more vulnerable to cracks and chips. Plus, windows covered in limescale bring down the look of the whole house. By hiring a professional to clean your windows, you’re protecting them from wearing down as quickly.

Save Yourself From Buying Extra Supplies

You might think that all it takes to get the windows cleaned is a store-brand window cleaning spray and some paper towels, but there’s more to it than that. First of all, newspapers or paper towels can actually make your windows smudgy by smearing dirt and dust around the windowpane.

A professional cleaning company uses special cleaning equipment and techniques. These might include non-abrasive cleaners and cleaning poles to leave the windows sparkling clean. Instead of heading out to the store to buy a bunch of products to clean your windows, allow cleaners to bring their own equipment and get the job done right the first time.

Keep Static Build-Up Away

When you use fibre-based cleaning products incorrectly, the rubbing motion can result in static buildup on the windows that attracts more dirt and dust. This can leave your windows even dirtier than they are when you began to clean them. Avoid the headache and frustration altogether and have a window cleaner use products and techniques that minimize the pesky static cling.

Keep Your Windows From Getting Scratched

Some people do irreversible damage to their windows when they clean them themselves. They might use scrapers to remove varnish, rust, or paint from their window panes, but if they don’t use the right techniques, they can end up scratching the surface of the glass.

Other things that can damage the glass include powdery scouring cleaners or certain, rough sponges. If you aren’t sure how to use these products properly, it’s best to hire a professional to do the job for you.

Avoid the Extra Work

Window cleaning is not an easy chore. Most people put it off as long as they can because they can. They can think of a million other things they’d rather do than spend half the day dragging a ladder around the house with a bucket full of water in tow. And there’s nothing like realizing you’ve left streaks behind or missed spots after spending hours washing the windows.

Save yourself the hassle and hire a professional to do the job for you instead. Professional window cleaners have the proper tools and experience to get the job done quickly and effectively so you don’t have to waste your time.

To Care for Your Specialty Windows

Cleaning standard windows can be tricky enough, but if you have specialty windows such as storm windows, stained glass windows, or windows that have been tinted, you might not know how to properly clean and care for them.

Professionals have the skills to clean them with the knowledge and care needed to protect them from damage. Without that know-how, you can damage your specialty windows and lose lots of money in the process.

If you have specialty windows in your home, don’t risk damaging them by leaving them dirty or trying to clean them yourself. Allow a professional to do the job the right way.

Contact Us to Clean Your Windows

Now that you’re aware of some of the many benefits of a professional window cleaning service, we invite you to contact us and schedule an appointment. We’ve been cleaning windows for over 15 years, and we’re proud of the work we offer our customers.

And not only do we clean windows, but we also provide professional power washing and gutter cleaning treatments, so you can have the entirety of your house cleaned in one visit.

We look forward to serving you and know you’ll be happy with the results!

Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

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Yard Clean Up
Mow, rack and manicure your lawn to prepare it for its winter hibernation. This is also a good time to drain your water system, shut off outside facets, store hoses and other equipment.

Clean and Reverse Ceiling Fan Direction Fans that spin clockwise push the air down, keeping the room cool. Conversely fans that spin clockwise distribute warm air. To change directions, turn the fan and wait until blades come to a full stop, find the switch and change the direction.

Remove and Inspect Air-Conditioners
As the days get cooler, it is time to remove, inspect and store your air conditioner(s).

Clean Your Gutters and Downspouts
Experts recommend cleaning your home gutters twice a year- usually in the spring and fall. If you decide to do it yourself, make sure all drainage areas are unblocked and consider installing gutter guards. Gutter guards reduce the amount of gutter buildup, offering protection and leading to reduce gutter cleaning needs, particularly if your home is near trees.

Wash Windows and Screens
Wash windows and screens. Wash your windows inside and out to will help keep your home looking good. Also, clean windows will allow more energizing light into your living spaces, while providing a more enjoyable view.

Winterize Windows
Before the cold weather hits, set aside a day to replace your door and window screens with storm windows. This is also a good time to add weather stripping to doors and windows to help keep warn inside and prevent cool air from seeping inside.

Inspect Roof
It’s important to check your roof for problems before cold weather hits. Check for loose shingles and make any necessary repairs before the late fall arrive.

Check Smoke Detectors
Replace the batteries in your home’s smoke and vacuum them with a soft brush attachment.

Power Wash Deck, Siding and Other Surfaces

Spring and fall are the best times to clean your home’s exterior surfaces.

Deck Cleaning and Inspection
Before the snow flies, it’s smart to clean and inspect your deck for any issues including warped boards, cracks, rot, mold and mildew. You may also want to test the seal by sprinkling water on the boards. If the deck absorbs the liquid, it’s time to reseal the deck.

Clean Dryer Vents and Exhaust Duct

Vents filled with dust and link present a house fire risk. Consequently, it’s important to regularly clean fan vents, the dryer vent and exhaust duct.

Inspect Fireplace
To ensure your fireplace is safe for use this winter, look up inside it with a flashlight. Make sure the damper is free of any obstructions such as branches, leaves or bird nests, and that it opens and closes correctly.

Chimney Cleaning and Heating System Maintenance
Before the cold hits, ensure your home’s furnace, boiler and/or chimney are properly cleaned and are functioning correctly before you use them. If necessary, hire professionals to conduct the inspections and cleanings.

Energy Audit
A savvy way to keep energy costs low is to hire a qualified energy auditor to evaluate the current level of your home’s energy. Following the inspection, the auditor will make improvement recommendations which may include weather-stripping, Energy Star appliances, insulation and more.

My Window Washing offers professional and affordable window washing, gutter cleaning and power is washing services. Call 1.800.941.2790 to schedule your appointment.

Power Washing Tips

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Why power wash your home’s surfaces? Overtime your home’s siding, sidewalks, deck and other surfaces accumulates dirt, mildew, mold and stains. This not only impacts your abode’s appearance; it can also impact indoor air quality. Power washing can remove allergen in and around your home Moreover, left unaddressed exterior grime buildup can lead to significant stains and damage. Finally, power washing is the best way to prepare surfaces for paint, stain, sealing or refinishing.

Power washing is the most effective way to clean your home’s surfaces, including siding, decks, patios and sidewalks. Most who try power washing soon discover it’s far more challenging than it might appear. Power washing requires the proper equipment, cleaning solution and techniques. Without the right approach, it is easy to unwittingly cause expensive and unsightly damages. Consequently, inexperienced power washers may want to consider hiring professionals. For those who seek to tackle power washing tasks, here are some tips.

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Learn About Power Washing
Professional power washers already know how to properly clean a home’s exterior surface. Those who seek to do it themselves will face a time-consuming learning curve. Usually different surfaces require different techniques and perhaps different cleaning solution. It is important to take time to learn and practice the correct technique before you start blasting your home and any other exterior surfaces. Begin by seeking information from reputable sources online or via a library.

Practice the Right Technique
Power washing might look easy, but it requires practice, time and skill to do it right. If you use the wrong pressure at the wrong distance you may end up removing more than dirt. This risk is particularly high when it comes to wooden surfaces such as decks, patios and outdoor wood furniture. It’s also crucial to use the right nozzle at the right pressure with the correct technique at the appropriate distance.

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Be Safe
Power washing can be dangerous to users and the surrounding area. Make sure to take proper precautions which includes using eye and hearing protection, since the machines are loud, and water/dirt will be spraying all over the place. Any beginners should securely hold the power washer in both hands in order to maintain maximum control. Never, ever point or spray anyone or anything other than the surface to be cleaned. Finally, take time to cover, remove or protect in delicate items such as potted plants.

Use Feather Strokes
Properly power washing your home’s exterior surfaces requires using the right technique, which usually involves using feather strokes. Feather strokes involves overlapping areas with strokes beginning and ending at the right place. This helps to avoid visible lines. Also, when it comes to power washing a wooden deck or other wooden surfaces, work apply make the feather strokes with the grain and with the length of your deck’s wooden boards.

Use the Right Cleaning Solution
Power washing with just water will be less effective and lead to the mere spreading around of surface dirt, mildew and mold. It is important to use a good power washing cleaning solution. However, applying the wrong type can also be ineffective at best and may even cause damage, particularly to wood surface such as patios and decks. Therefore, make sure to use the right cleaner and carefully follow the directions.

Avoid Full Blast Pressure
This is not the time to put the pedal to the medal. The easiest way to cause damage is by power washing at full blast, particularly if you aren’t an expert. It can lead to unattractive marks and scaring. Also, the damage can be much worse if the full water blast hits any known or unknown loose boards or hardware, splinters, rot, and other.

Let Surfaces Dry
If you plan to paint, seal or stain any surface after it has been power washed, make sure to give it enough time to completely dry. This is particularly important when it comes to wood decks. It can take several dry days before it is totally dry. If you jump the gun, and the deck isn’t completely dry (inside and out), moisture will end up trapped inside the wood which can weaken the boards and lead to mold growth.

Hire Professionals
For most homeowners, the easiest and quickest way to power wash your home’s surfaces is by hiring professional power washing experts, such as My Window Washing (yes, they do more than wash windows!). Not only does this eliminate the learning curve, it also ensures the use of professional execution with superior results.

About My Window Washing
My Window Washing offers professional and affordable window washing, gutter cleaning and power washing services. This includes washing and sealing concrete patios, driveways, walkways, garage floors and more. Call 1.800.941.2790 to schedule your appointment.