Why is Wall Render Presenting Problems Today?

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Rendering is the process of applying a premixed layer of sand and cement to exterior, and sometimes interior, walls to achieve a smooth or textured finish.

In the past three decades or so, self-finished renders have become extremely popular:

  • Architects liked the variety of finishes they offered – smooth, textured, mica sparkles, and colour pebbles to name a few – that were not so easy to obtain with paint.

 

  • Householders liked them because of their easy, low maintenance – they need no painting, just a light clean every now and again.

 

  • Builders liked them because there was no more hanging around waiting for paint to cure before completing the building.

 

As well as many practical benefits, the benefits don’t stop there. Render also has great waterproofing and fire rating qualities that protect buildings from adverse weather and general wear and tear, so it’s no wonder why it has become so popular.

With this being said however, whilst wall render offers many advantages, there is a common misconception that they are completely “non-maintenance.” Modern render is incredibly hard wearing and may last 20-30 years without a problem, if applied correctly, however, this doesn’t mean that they won’t need some kind of regular cleaning.

Modern Problems with Render

The main problem with wall render is that it tends to get a build up of biological growth on its surface, mainly red or green algae, black marks from fungi and other contaminants. If you’ve ever seen a building or house that has patches of discolouration on its surface, then you know what we mean.

What many people do not know, is that this build up of algae is actually not primarily due to the render itself, but rather due to the introduction of modern wall insulation. As wall insulation has improved over the years, this has reduced the amount of heat moving through the walls and into the render. Therefore, in colder and damp conditions, the render has now become a prime material for microbial growth which stains the surface, meaning that they need to be cleaned with high-quality biocide much more frequently than they used to – usually every three years or so depending on where the property is located.

Remember those patches of discolouration we mentioned? In the patches where growth isn’t occurring, these are areas where the insulation is not so effective and heat is getting through to dry the render. These are usually areas where there are radiators or patchy cavity wall filling.

render walls with algae on them

How to Maintain Your Render

Although this growth is a problem with rendered properties, regular cleaning and preventative measures to minimise the growth again are available.

Soft Washing

Soft washing is the process of using eco-friendly chemicals and a low-pressure wash, which is excellent for cleaning a variety of modern exteriors, from render, brick and natural slate to concrete and slate roofs, even brick drives and concrete paths! As well as being the best cleaning method to use, it also offers two other major benefits:

  • It gives fast, predictable results without damaging the surface, and these results can last for years.

 

  • It is a cost-effective cleaning method that restores your exteriors to their former glory.

 

clean render walls

Although it can take a few months for the effects of the biological cleaning to fully cleanse the surface, once restored, exteriors will only need a bi-annual or tri-annual treatment to keep surfaces looking great for longer!

So, although modern insulation causes this problem with rendered buildings, this is a problem that is solved with a good clean. Algae is stubborn stuff and can grow anywhere in the right conditions, therefore nip it in the bud before it spreads and have your surfaces treated to delay it growing in the near future!

What we can do for you….

As specialist cleaners, we feel that a job well done is most important. If you need any advice or further information about render cleaning, feel free to give us a call.

Need more cleaning inspiration or advice? Check out our other blogs…

How To Spring Clean Your Garden: The Ultimate Guide

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They call it Spring cleaning for a reason: to get ready for the Summer! The same goes for our gardens and outside areas because once those clouds part and the sun begins to shine, we practically live outside. With the season quickly approaching and days filled with BBQs and sunbathing always on our minds, many of us want to get the garden ready for all of what’s to come. While many of us feel this way, however, we often don’t have the time to do it all or don’t even know where to start!

One thing is for sure, you don’t need anything new! In fact, when a cleaning job is done right, it can bring the life back into your outside areas and make your garden look new again anyway. To help you make your garden and outside areas look as good as new, here are a few ways that you can give them the ultimate spring clean that they deserve!

Patio and dining furniture in a garden

How to Spring Clean Your Garden

Clean from Top to Bottom

If you’re planning on cleaning everything outside, it makes sense to start with things that are higher up. For example, if you wanted to clean your patios but then end up doing your gutters, you’re just going to have to clean those patios twice, so start at the top!

Roof Cleaning

Many people don’t think of cleaning the roof of their house or even think it’s necessary, but it is actually surprising how many benefits it offers.

Over time, moss build up can damage your roof, as each piece of moss absorbs water that gradually increases the weight that it holds. When it’s particularly windy, this moss can also become dislodged, either falling into and blocking your pipes or falling onto your patio and causing algae to grow there. So, to start off your spring clean of your garden, why not start with the roof? An unlikely source of grime!

You really must hire a professional to clean your roof, as the correct equipment must be used and Health and Safety guidelines adhered too; it is dangerous up there. Sometimes a simple power wash is all that is needed to remove contamination but that depends on the type of contamination. Also, not all tiles are suitable to be power washed. After a wash, it is important to ask for your roof to be treated after cleaning to delay re- contamination, so if in doubt seek advice!

Gutter Cleaning

Gutters are another element of the house that are unseen and therefore people believe that they ‘don’t need cleaning,’ but this couldn’t be far from the truth. 

As gutters perform the vital function of transporting waste and water away from a building, they are areas where organic growths thrive. If these are left to build up over time, this can cause damage to the inside of your house and therefore bigger problems which will cost a lot more to fix!

There are many DIY methods for unclogging and flushing out your gutters. With professional cleaners, they can easily use a ‘SkyVac’ system which allows them to do this job easily for you in even less time, and all from the ground! Again, the trick is to delay regrowth, so they will need to be sprayed with an environmentally friendly biocide to kill off any existing moss or algae etc. still present after the gutters are cleared. You can save money by booking an annual clean of your gutters, so ask your cleaning company for a quote.

A sparrow sitting in a gutter

Render Cleaning

If you have rendered walls on your house and algae or fungi has started to grow and discolour the surface, cleaning these will make an amazing difference to the look of your garden! 

Our top cleaning tip? Don’t clean it yourself with bleach! Bleach may fix the problem quickly, but trust us when we say, it won’t last and can cause a weakening of the render. Getting your render or pebble dash cleaned by a professional is the best way to go; they will clean and treat the surface with approved biocidal products, not only making your house look great but helping to keep this look last longer! 

Clean Your Windows (and don’t forget the frames!)

Unlike the components above that are usually abandoned, windows are something that we can actually see so they tend to regularly get cleaned! For a complete spring clean of your garden, we recommend cleaning all of your windows, including your conservatory glass, AND the frames! Many DIY cleaners just do the glass itself, but doing the frames as well, regularly,  makes a whole lot of difference and a pristine overall finish.

Professionals recommend cleaning your windows with pure filtered water, that’s right, no cleaning solutions or chemicals! You won’t believe it until you see it, but you’ll be rewarded with a sparkling finish!

A plant on a window sill

On to Your Timber

Cleaning our decking is often a task that is dreaded, but it really shouldn’t be! Plus, our eye is often drawn to decking as it takes up a large portion of the garden, so a clean decking really makes this job worthwhile. Algae builds up on garden timber causing it to become dark, and if left untreated, this will cause the wood to rot. While this can be left unnoticed on our fences and sheds, when it comes to decking, this can be dangerous.

Our solution? Wash all the grime off using a brush, and then follow this up with a biocidal treatment to keep it looking amazing for longer! Although tempting, the trick is to avoid treating timber with oil, varnish, or paint. 

For more help on cleaning your decking, check out our article: Get Your Deck in Ship Shape for the Summer!

And Lastly Your Surfaces

Last but not least is your patios and pathways, the perfect way to finish off your garden! Algae build up here can be especially slippery, so these should be cleaned as soon as possible to prevent any accidents. 

To clean your surfaces, you should remove as much of the weeds and moss as possible first, before giving them a pressure wash. Although the wash will make the slabs look pristine, the important thing is to treat them after with a biocide. This will target the roots of the weeds and the algae spores that you cannot see so you won’t have to clean as regularly!

 

So there we have it! Everything you need to know to clean the whole of your back garden ready for Spring and the Summer to come! 

 

What we can do for you:

If you need any advice or want to know more about biocidal treatments, feel free to contact us. It’s amazing how much of a difference a good clean can make! 

01792 293937

info@strcleaningservices.co.uk

Get Your Deck in Ship Shape for the Summer!

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With summer just around the corner, we all want our gardens to be in top condition and that includes our decking. After all, it is the season for barbecues, sun bathing and general outdoor social gatherings, so who doesn’t want their decking to be sparkling?

With that being said though, a pristine deck does need to be annually maintained and this is where people fall down. We are all surely guilty of this though? We all want the dream garden, but many of us often don’t have the time or the knowledge for the upkeep. Well don’t fret me mateys! Here is everything you need to know to get your deck in ship shape for the summer.

A bench on decking outside

Why Is It Important to Keep My Deck Clean?

You may not think that cleaning your deck is that important, but it is vital for:

  • Your safety
  • To protect the wood and make it last longer
  • To make the wood look better for longer
  • To reduce future maintenance

Wooden decks receive constant abuse from the elements, so naturally over time, debris stores up and causes the wood to darken, discolour or rot. If decks are also covered in a layer of algae, they become a health hazard where you could slip or put your foot through the boards. This is not only dangerous, but rather defies the point of having decking in the first place. What should have been a place of relaxation and joy has now become a health risk, so what’s the solution?

Periodic cleaning!

Not only will this protect the deck and anyone who uses it, but it will also keep it looking its best for longer.

Don’t Clean Your Wood Deck with Bleach!

As humans, we naturally take the path of least resistance, so what solution do most of have to clean things? Bleach! While an ideal mould disinfectant for bathrooms and kitchen countertops, it poses major problems for cleaning wood.

Think of algae and mould like weeds. It’s no good getting rid of what we can see, as they will keep coming back; you have to kill their roots if you want to truly eliminate them. This is why bleach is such an ineffective cleaning agent for decking, as its properties prevent it from soaking into woo-based materials so it cannot get to the roots of the vegetative growth.

Although bleach may be an effective quick fix, in the long run it won’t solve the problem and it will cause even more problems, such as:

  • Structural damage
  • Discolouration
  • Environmental damage

Surely these reasons are enough to stop using bleach?

How to Clean Your Decking: What We Recommend

We recommend a method of cleaning that is great for all timber, including decking, fences and sheds. Ultimately, it will improve the appearance and life-expectancy of your timber, as well as making your garden a safe, slip-free zone!

The treatment that is best for cleaning your decking is:

  • An initial wash and brush – to remove the worst of the algae
  • A Biocidal Treatment – this gives long-term biocide protection against re-colonisation by algae spores

Although the initial wash and brush will give a neglected decking a new lease of life, it is the biocidal treatment that makes all the difference! The initial wash may get rid of the surface grim (or the visible parts of our weeds), but it is the treatment that kills the spores of the biological growths (the roots of our weeds!) that makes a lasting impact.

It might sound too good to be true, but gone are the days of treating decking with varnish or paint; a simple biocidal wash is more than enough to make your decking look healthy and last longer. Plus keeping it clean will prevent you from hitting the deck anytime soon!

With the winter months leaving behind a slippery coating of grim, it is never a better time to get those decks in ship-shape ready for the summer! If you haven’t got the time to wash and maintain your decks, then get an expert to do it! The most important thing is to get them cleaned and ready for you to sit and enjoy them in the warm weather.

What we can do for you:

If you need any advice or want to know more about biocidal treatments, feel free to contact us. After paying a lot of money for your decks, all we want is for them to look healthy and last longer to ensure your safety. 

01792 293937

info@strcleaningservices.co.uk