What Is Artillery Fungus?

Our number one question that we get asked all the time is “What are those tiny black spots on our vinyl siding?” I’m here to tell you those tiny black spots are called “shotgun fungus” also known as Artillery Fungus. The scientific name is Sphaerobolus Stellatus.

This fungus gets it’s name because it expels from it’s fruiting bodies like a cannon. The mature spores can fire masses in the air up to several feet! This can reach second story vinyl siding – yikes! These tacky spores latch on to surfaces and are not only a nightmare but next to impossible to remove.

So where does this fungus come from exactly? The main culprit is infected mulch. Artillery fungus thrives in cooler, moist, and shady areas. If you notice artillery fungus on your siding, the infected mulch is not far away.

Unfortunately, Allbrite doesn’t have a recommendation for removal of the fungus. Pressure washing does not remove the spores. If a company tells you they can remove the spores RUN! That’s a fast track to damaged siding. The best solution is prevention. Especially if you have white vinyl siding. If you must have mulch by your siding, we do recommend to routinely check your mulch. If you start to notice black spots, remove the mulch immediately.

Soft Washing vs. Pressure Washing

What is the difference between soft washing and pressure washing?

It’s simple to nail down the difference between the two exterior cleaning methods.

  • Pressure washing is the use of high-pressure water spray on a surface to remove mold, mildew, dirt, grime, mud and more.
  • Soft washing is a low-pressure cleaning process with the use of chemicals on a surface to remove and break down lichen, mold, algae, bacteria, moss, dirt and more.

Soft washing is an alternative cleaning process for delicate surfaces such as roofs or vinyl siding. Allbrite’s team is trained in both pressure washing and soft washing methods to deliver you professional and knowledgeable service. To learn about the benefits of an Allbrite soft wash cleaning, click here. 

Benefits of Allbrite’s House Washing

When hiring a contractor it’s important to always get 3 standard estimates. Then compare each company and what they have to offer in order to make an informed decision based on your budget and needs as a consumer. 

When comparing Allbrite’s house washing service to other contractors in Maryland remember that our house wash includes the brightening of gutters and the cleaning of the downspouts, the soffits, siding, flashing, windows (rinsed), and shutters if present. 

Yes, you read that right — Gutter Brightening is included in our house wash!

 

We have a saying at Allbrite – think of your home as a face. The windows are the eyes and the gutters are the teeth. We aren’t going to wash the face of your home without brushing the teeth of it as well. 

With each house washing service, we hand scrub every gutter to remove the oxidation staining which removes the black streaky lines and faded coloring. 

There’s a difference between cleaning gutters and brightening gutters. We can clean your gutters the same way we will clean your siding (this will remove the mold, mildew and algae that’s on the face of the gutters) but that will not remove the black streaks.

Removing the black streaks is a separate process and requires more detail but it’s always included in our house washing service.

If you have any questions about our House Wash, check out our FAQ House Washing  page.

Benefits of our House Waxing

Did you know we offered extended warranties?

Allbrite offers a product called Sparkle Brite which is a wax product. We apply this product to your home after the initial house washing. Sparkle Brite is warrantied for two years against any organic growth – mold, mildew, and algae from that initial cleaning.

About Sparkle Brite – it’s a polymer wax and makes the surface hydrophobic. “hy·dro·pho·bic – tending to repel or fail to mix with water.” Similar to getting your car waxed after a car wash.

Sparkle Brite might not be for everyone. However, if you have a north facing side of your house that gets green organic growth quickly, it might be beneficial for you.

If you opt to have our Sparkle Brite applied to your home and you notice organic growth within two years since we washed your house – WE WILL COME BACK TO CLEAN YOUR HOME AT NO CHARGE!

If you have any questions or would like to know more, please give us a call at 410.781.4044.
Our family is here to help!

Fence Restoration Project Day 2

We’re back here at this fence we cleaned on Tuesday getting ready to stain/seal it. We are using a natural tone cwf-uv stain, you can find this at any local Home Depot.

 

We’ve done a little prep work, got some of the sanding done and laid tarps down along with tapping off other areas that need to be covered. The process of staining isn’t necessarily hard rather tedious. If you plan to stain your fence or wood surface yourself, it is much easier with two sets of hands. Order some pizza and grab a buddy to help you conquer your project.

Our process is to spray the first coat on the fence, back-brushing that coat into the wood so it’s fully saturated, then come back at a different angle and spray a second coat of sealant on. Finishing off with back-brushing that last coat of sealant into the wood. This particular fence project used 30 gallons of sealant by the time we were finished. Glad we were able to finish before July 4th for this customer!

 

What can we help you wash?

 

✅Soft Wash Roof Cleaning
✅Gutter Cleaning
✅House Washing
✅Deck Cleaning
✅Concrete Cleaning

 

Give us a call to get a jump start on your next outdoor project!
410-ALLBRITE (410.255.2748)

Soft Wash vs Pressure Wash

Here’s a project we had in Ellicott City, Maryland doing a roof to road package. Roof to road means getting the whole exterior of your property cleaned up from all the nasty green, all the algae on all surfaces. We finished soft washing the roof and soft washing the patios prior to cleaning the fence.

This particular property had a huge wooden fence that goes all the way around the property. This fence hasn’t been stained or cleaned in at least 15 years. So naturally it looked old, gray and very much fainted. We are prepping the fence to be stained once everything is dry. We call this a restoration project! We plan to put a nice semi transparent, natural tone on the fence.

We get asked all the time – are you going to soft wash or pressure wash my fence? Well, it all depends on the outcome of the project. For instance, we will be sealing this fence so we will be pressure washing it to remove all of the organic growth, oxidation and bacteria. Ensuring the surface is cleaned and free of growth is important because it ensures the stain adhering properly to the surface, which in return helps your fence last longer. If we were to soft wash this fence we would have to use more soap, which equates to more chemicals, and could really dry out this wood. We don’t usually soft wash wood in general, however, it is an application method that can be used.

The process we are taking today is a three step process. 1. Apply soap, 2. Go over with a mild pressure and rinse everything, 3. Come back and apply a brightener, that brightener is going to bring the pH level of the wood back to 7 so it’s susceptible to take stain that way we know everything is prepared properly for when we come back to do the staining. It’s also going to brighten the wood. If you see now it’s old, gray and very faded. We are going to brighten this fence up.

If you have an outdoor space that could use some cleaning, give us a call to discuss your project. Our family is here to help!
410-ALLBRITE
(410.255.2748)

Dark Streaks on Your Shingle Roof?

Whether you’re a homeowner or building owner, proper maintenance and regular inspection of your roof can greatly impact the longevity, performance, and reliability of your roofing system.

Have you recently noticed unsightly black streaks on your shingle roof? The black streaks are known as gloeocapsa magma (algae) which is transported through the air.

The Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA) lays out a guide to algae discoloration and how to address it.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about our soft wash roof treatment!

FAQ – House Washing

When do I need to get my house washed? When the siding of your home is green. Our house wash cleaning service eradicates those infestations also known as mold, mildew, and algae. It’s like giving your house a bath.

Below are frequently asked questions about our house washing service. If you have a question that is not answered below, please do not hesitate to reach out. We are always happy to help.

    • Why is the green mold and algae worse on one side of my home?
      • The northern side has the least exposure to the sun and stays wet the longest. Algae, mold and mildew thrive in wet areas.

       

    • How often do I need to get my house cleaned?
      • Every house is different due to the many factors involved. As noted above, the northern side will get dirtier the fastest. If your home is surrounded by a lot of trees and landscape, it will get dirty faster. Our general rule is anywhere between 18 months – 3 years.

 

    • How much pressure are you using on the siding?
      • Our process allows us to use minimal pressure in comparison to using just high pressure alone. We vary our pressure tips according to the growth of algae, age of siding, etc. so it’s hard to say what exact pressure is being used as each property is different.

 

    • How can you reach the peak without putting a ladder on the siding?
      • We can reach about five stories without needing an extension ladder.

 

    • Is it safe for plants?
      • We water all plants prior to applying soap, after applying soap and do a final wash with a neutralizer for safe measures. The concentration level of the soap for house cleaning is minimal.

 

 

 

FAQ – Roof Cleaning

Roof cleaning has made it to the home maintenance list and it has become a necessity. Below are some frequently asked questions, if you have a question that is not answered please do not hesitate to reach out as we are happy to answer any questions you may have!

Our roof cleaning is done by using manufacturer’s recommendations only.

  • Will my roof leak?
    • We use a soft wash method that has been proven to clean and extend the longevity of your roof without damaging pressure. Our method will not make your roof leak. Your roof will only leak if there are pre-existing cracks or leaks in your roofing system.

 

  • Are my plants and landscaping safe?
    • We take proper precautions after our technicians run a property protection plan to keep all plants and landscaping safe. We keep plants wet before, during and after the treatment application. We also apply a plant fortifier at the end of the treatment.

 

  • Why are there still spots on my roof?
    • The areas of moss and lichen that are still left behind have a root system that has embedded itself into the shingle. The roof cleaning treatment will slowly break down the root system and deteriorate. All roof cleanings include a free 30-day follow-up.

 

  • How much pressure are you using on my roof?
    • Our roof cleaning pumps do not exceed 100psi.

 

  • Do you get on the roof?
    • In some cases, yes. If the roof is above a 4/12 pitch, we treat from the top of a ladder rather than getting on the roof.

     

  • How long does it last for?
    • We warranty our roof cleanings for 5 years.

 

What are the benefits of our roof cleaning treatment? Click Here for more information!