CURB APPEAL: Algae Attacks!

DIY or hire-a-guy, don’t overlook this effective step to refresh your home’sThis is what algae looks like exterior.

Removing algae from your home is like fighting off a zombie horde, it just keeps coming back. In the Vancouver area we see over 161 rainy days per year. This wet environment, combined with cloud cover provides the perfect environment for zombie/algae growth on your home. How to defeat this relentless foe?

Algae are simple organisms that rapidly grow in moist environments and produce their own food. They are extremely beneficial in many ecosystems and help to support life on Earth but are less than ideal on the walls of your home. Luckily, algae in of itself is fairly simple to remove, however you may find the purchase cost of equipment or working from ladders to access all the exterior surfacing on your home reason enough to call in a pro. For those DIY’ers up to the task, prepare to get dirty.

Make your plan
Before you start killing zombies cleaning, there are a few things you need to do to prepare first.

Cover sources of electricity. Either shut off power to exterior lights at the breaker, or cover fixtures with plastic sheets and duct tape. Also make sure all windows are shut tight.
Prepare the workspace. Ensure all lawn furniture, kids toys are moved out of the way. If plants can’t be moved, cover them with plastic
• Stock up Like any good zombie attack you’ll need to stock up on supplies.
• Weapons Solution: 1 cup tsp, 4 litres of bleach, 20 litre’s of water. You can strengthen the solution if needed, but this is a good place to start.
• Gear Put on some grubby clothes you don’t mind getting ruined, eye protection and gloves are a must too.
Tools Ladder, long extending pole with a brush (possibly a pressure washer, more on that later)

Start your attack
With your solution mixed and your goggles on, start by scrubbing at the bottom and working your way up. Rinse as you go. This is very important as you don’t want the solution to dry as it can leave the siding spotty looking. When rinsing, be thorough and rinse all the way to the ground, each time until you’re done. For an extra bonus, scrub the exteriors of your gutters and downspouts.

You might find this tedious and slow and think using a pressure washer is a great idea, but its use comes with a word of warning. Your siding is designed to shed water down your house, standing from an low vantage point and spraying up with a pressure washer can easily force water behind your shingles, rot the underlay and encourage mold growth. Aside from that, its very easy to be inconsistent with the spray pattern, come too close and chip or crack the siding. If feel its worth the risk to pressure wash, here are a few tips.

• Use very low pressure, the lowest amount that does the job.
• Never spray at an upward angle. Ladders will be required, use a short pressure wand and maintain 3 points of contact with the ladder
• Start from the top, and work in sections equal to your reach
• Spray away from doors and windows

Congratulations! You have successfully beaten off the algae attack. Saved the day, won the girl (or guy) and did your part to make your neighbourhood a nicer place.

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