by Terry Rogers
The dangers of mold and mildew on the inside of your home are fairly well known. Mold and mildew can lead to allergies and illnesses that may be difficult to treat. According to Andy Nitkowski, owner of Pro Wash Services, mold and mildew on the outside of your home can be just as dangerous.
“Mold and mildew are the biggest health risks to those with allergies but they can be dangerous to anyone,” Nitkowski said. “Not only is it dangerous for people, it can cause serious structural damage to your home. It not only affects your siding, but can appear on shingles, wood decking and even concrete. Mold will literally eat into painted wood. When it is cleaned, you may find that there is no longer any paint left on the wood. Not only will you need to paint, you may find you need to replace much of the exterior wood on your shed, garage or home as the mold has damaged it so severely.”
Black mold is common on shingles and can destroy the life expectancy of the shingles. Nitkowski explained that black mold not only grows and thickens, but it holds moisture which can further damage the surface. In this area, lychen is another type of mold that has an actual root system that can grow through shingles and wood. Lychen drops from trees and, although it will grow on vinyl siding, it cannot eat through the siding but will damage wooden surfaces.
“If mold and mildew are allowed to remain without cleaning, regular power washing will not remove it,” Nitkowski said. “We do offer a wood restoration service that is a non-sanding service. Instead, we use a cleaning and brightening option that is a two-step process that works on cedar siding, decking, fences, etc. to bring back the natural beauty of the wood.”
Nitkowski explained that he is getting calls from homeowners who say that their insurance companies are now requiring removal of wood from siding. In addition, many Homeowner’s Associations (HOAs) require that any mold that appears on the outside of a home be removed. Insurance companies are aware that many types of mold can cause significant damage to the home, requiring extensive repairs in order to bring the home back to its original condition.
“Many people think their home is just dirty and may be unaware that what appears to be dirt may actually be mold,” Nitkowski said. “If you have concrete outside your home with dark spots, it is possible it is actually mold. If it is, your kids may be picking it up on their shoes and carrying it into their home or getting it on their hands and wiping their faces, breathing in the spores.”
It is important to actually kill the mold, Nitkowski explained. Just washing it from the concrete, decks or walls will simple move the spores temporarily and they will return. Once a home has mold, it will return, but if it is treated properly, it will take longer for it to return.
“There are companies out there that offer a wax treatment that they say prevents mold from coming back,” Nitkowski said. “I don’t offer that service because I have researched it thoroughly and there is absolutely no evidence that it works. Instead, I’d rather focus on properly treating a mold infestation the right way and returning regularly to help prevent it from coming back. I mix up the cleaner on site depending on the specific job and the level of dirt and mold, the age of the home and the material where I am treating. I use a more gentle touch on older houses, using lower pressure, taking more time and varying the cleaner based on the home’s needs.”
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