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Pressure washing transforms and maintains

Crisp lines, the smell of newly sawn planks, the warm color of the wood in the daytime hours — a new porch or deck not only creates great space for outdoor living, it can also add value to a home.

As with most things, maintenance is the key to longevity, whether that refers to health and regular doctors’ visits or keeping an engine tuned and a vehicle on the road long after mile 100,000 has passed. Decks and porches are no different.

“On an unstained deck, the moisture and the mildew will actually start to deteriorate the lumber — it’s not foolproof just because it’s pressure treated. The more mildew and moisture that accumulates on the surface, the quicker it will rot,” said Parker Bateman.

Bateman started Bateman Builders in 2017; half of the work he does is construction and the other half is pressure washing decks, porches, home exteriors, windows and more. This year, he’s seen a jump in business, which he believes is a direct result of COVID-19.

UNDER PRESSURE: Parker Bateman, owner of Bateman Builders, pressure washes a deck. Bateman says roughly 50% of his business is cleaning decks, siding and roofs. (Vail Stewart Rumley/Daily News)

“Everyone’s been stuck inside with COVID. People are staying home and realizing that ‘This deck is dirty’ and needs to be cleaned, or ‘This needs to be replaced,’” Bateman said.

While many homeowners are using the stay-at-home opportunity to take care of the little things around, and outside, the house, Bateman said a clear cleaning schedule can prevent problems down the road.

“Usually the house, as preventative maintenance, should be pressure washed every year, and a deck, probably every other year, if it isn’t stained. But once it’s stained and sealed you can go five-to-six years without worrying about cleaning it,” Bateman said.

(Vail Stewart Rumley/Daily News)

Bateman has also branched out into the field of roof revival — cleaning up what appears to be dirt. Those dark spots and streaks on roofs are not dirt; it’s actually a blue-green algae called gloeocapsa magma, which has the ability to form a protective dark pigment to shield it from the sun.

“People think it’s the shingle deteriorating, but it’s not,” Bateman said. “It’s algae.”

Bateman said a different type pressure-washing is involved to remove the algae — a very low pressure — and the algaecide used is safe for the environment.

“You apply it and it eradicates everything, and it’s biodegradable. It turns back into salt in the sun, because it’s sodium-based,” Bateman said.

The result is a sooty, streaky roof transformed back to its original condition.

BEFORE AND AFTER: The results are immediate and obvious after a professional job pressure washing vinyl siding or removing algae from a roof with a biodegradable algaecide. (Bateman Builders)

“A few hundred dollars and a couple of hours, and we make it look brand new,” Bateman said.

While pressure washing may seem like a simple process, Bateman said some exterior surfaces can be tricky.

“Cleaning the outside of your house seems like it’s a very easy DYI; it’s like, ‘What can go wrong?’ But you can do some irreversible damage,” Bateman said.

Considering that a basic pressure washer operates at 1,500 psi, it can easily tear up the caulking around window sills or force water behind vinyl siding. Vinyl siding also presents another challenge.

“When vinyl is in the sun, it oxidizes and puts a chalky film on all of the house. You can’t see it, really, on beige or white, but if you hit it with a pressure washer, it will absolutely remove it. It will look like someone just scribbled on the walls of the house, then they have to use a commercial degreaser and brush the entire house to remove those marks,” Bateman said. “Sometimes it’s best to leave it to the professionals.”

For more information, visit Bateman Builders on Facebook.

(Bateman Builders)