Professional Exterior Cleaning Services FAQ

Gleam Team Cleaning Services are a professional exterior cleaning company who specialise in cleaning house and building exteriors and other outdoor areas and hard surfaces such as patios, driveways, paths and garden decking. We are based in Maidstone and operate throughout Kent, London and the south east.

We use a combination of high power pressure washing / jet washing and low pressure soft washing so we have a suitable way of cleaning all areas of your home or business safely and effectively. This includes:

In which areas do you provide exterior cleaning services?

We operate across the south east region and offer certain services throughout the Home Counties. For example we now offer roof cleaning in Essex and all the south east. We also provide exterior house and building cleaning, render and wall cleaning and other large projects all across the south east region including Surrey and Sussex. Please contact us for further details about whether we work in your area.

This post is intended to answer some of the frequently asked questions about our exterior cleaning services by customers wanting to know what we do, how we do it and why we may advise one method of cleaning over another. Importantly, this FAQ section will also give you an idea of what some services may cost you. Wherever possible we believe it is best to give our potential customers some clear guidance on how much a service will cost, for example a price per square metre to clean, resand and seal their block paved driveway. (this is currently £6 per sq m) or roof cleaning costs.

We believe in transparency with our pricing and unlike other cleaning companies we are happy publishing prices when we can and have nothing to hide. We know that we are always reasonably priced and deliver great value for money.

What is pressure washing?

Wikipedia defines pressure washing as:

Pressure washing or power washing is the use of high-pressure water spray to remove loose paint, mold, grime, dust, mud, chewing gum and dirt from surfaces and objects such as buildings, vehicles and concrete surfaces”

The terms pressure washing, power washing and jet washing are used interchangeably by most people but generally speaking they all refer to the same thing, which is using water at very high pressure to clean dirty outdoor areas like drives, patios, paths, paving, concrete, resin bound surfaces and pool areas, decking, commercial yards and car parks. Water is fed to the pressure washer from an outside tap, and the machines we use can also draw water from another source e.g. a barrel, and the machine has a pump that expels the water at very high pressure to clean away dirt, moss, algae and other types of staining. It can be messy work but is a great way to restore and rejuvenate dirty paths, drives and patios.

Although power washing is very effective the high pressure water can be too strong for some surfaces and for those we recommend soft washing.

Pressure washing FAQ

Do you need access to an outside electric socket? No, we do not. We use commercial grade petrol powered pressure washers and don’t require electricity.

Are your machines more powerful than my Karcher? Yes they are definitely significantly more powerful than any electric jet washer made for domestic use. Our machines are built for continuous commercial usage and made to deliver much more concentrated cleaning power. The 2 key factors that determine a machine’s power are the water flow rate it uses and the amount of power the machine has which is usually measured in HP – horsepower, PSI, bar rating and watts (electric machines only).

Our pressure washers have a water flow rate 2 or 3 times higher than the best domestic jet washers and produce 4000 PSI. This is approximately equivalent to 275 bar which is more than double the power of the Karcher K4 and in excess of 100 bar more than any Karcher K range machine. Or to put it another way, we use powerful machines for a superior cleaning service.

Do you need access to an outside tap? No we don’t but an outside tap does make things easier for us. Our pressure washers can be tap fed or draw the water from a standing source like a drum or barrel and the pump then generates the power. However, we can only carry limited water so another tap is preferable but not essential.

Can your machines operate in the rain and bad weather? Yes they can and we will still carry out power washing services on rainy days as it doesn’t affect the quality of cleaning.

Our pressure washer buying guide for domestic users has further information.

What is soft washing?

Soft washing is the low pressure more gentle alternative for cleaning fragile building materials that might be damaged by high pressure water. It involves the low pressure application of specialist outdoor cleaning products to gently and effectively clean and remove black algae, red and green algae, lichen spots, moss, dirt and other stains. It is perfect for cleaning:

Soft washing FAQ

What products do you use? We use specifically designed soft washing products for professional use. We use a range of products developed by soft washing experts Benz Softwash.

Are they safe for people, pets and the environment? Yes they are. We would exclude people and pets while applying and once dried they are completely safe for children, pets and other wildlife to touch and walk on. All products are biodegradable.

Are the products formally approved? Yes they are by the UK and Irish governments. Their products meet all necessary requirements and are approved in the UK by The Health and Safety Executive.

Does soft washing remove algae, lichen and moss? Yes it does. Soft washing is designed to clean and remove all types of biological spores and staining including black / green / red algae, black lichen spots, moss and mould.

Is the black staining algae or dirt? Much of the dark staining common on rendered walls, building exteriors, brickwork and roof tiles is actually an algae. It looks like dirty marks but is in fact a species of aldae prevalent in the UK whose scientific name is gloeocapsa magma.

Is soft washing better at remove algae stains? Yes it is. Pressure washing only removes surface dirt but the soft wash products we use also absorb into the surface of porous materials like render, brick and roof tiles. This means they kill the algae spores lurking beneath the surface and prevent recolonisation.

Do soft washing products have a lasting effect? Yes some products do. For example, Benz Bio Cleanze is a long lasting biocide that continues to have an ongoing cleaning effect and provides residual protection against biological spores. It stops recolonisation by black spots and other algae for at least 12 months.

Patio & driveway cleaning & sealing service FAQ

What types of drive and patio surfaces can you clean? We are able to expertly clean all paving types including:

  • block paving
  • paving slabs
  • resin bound drives, paths and swimming pool surrounds
  • PIC – pattern imprinted concrete
  • Indian Sandstone
  • limestone
  • other natural stone
  • concrete pavers
  • tarmac

What types of sealer are there? There are many products on the market for all paving types. The finishes include clear / invisible which have no effect whatsoever on the appearance and matt or low shine through to a wet look or glossy finish. There are also colour enhancers available for Indian Sandstone

Black limestone – can you give my limestone a black finished appearance? Yes we can treat limestone to make it black.

black-limestone-sealing-exterior-cleaning-FAQ
Limestone after sealing for black finish

What does paving sealer do? It provides a protective barrier and:

  • helps prevent oil stains and damage from other leaks from vehicles such as brake fluid and petrol
  • protects against BBQ fats and food and drink spillages
  • protects against fading caused by sunlight over years of exposure
  • prevents water entering the paving and sub base which can lead to sunken areas if they are waterlogged
  • helps maintain appearance and prolong the life of paving

Can you remove black spots from Indian Sandstone patios? Yes we can. Black spots are a species of lichen which is an organism consisting of an algae and fungi. They actually take root into surfaces such as driveways, paving, patios, natural stone, brick and roof tiles and this makes them notoriously hard to remove. Water pressure alone will not do it.

Lichen are commonly black or off-white in colour and shaped like circular spots. Yellow lichen can also be found on roofs.

Our driveway and patio cleaning service involves the removal of all lichen and algae. We do this by first applying a specialist soft washing product designed to kill these organisms and allow it time to get to work before we start pressure washing. After treatment lichen and heavy algae staining are easily removed and we always guarantee excellent results.

Block paving refurbishment FAQ

We specialise in restoring and refurbishing block paved driveways, paths and patios with our professional block paving cleaning, resanding and sealing service in Kent and London.

What does paving refurbishment involve?

  • We start by thoroughly power washing the area with our powerful pressure washer machines
  • When the drive or patio has thoroughly dried out we resand the joints with kiln dried sand
  • Then apply sealer to help stabilise (harden) the sand to stop it being washed away by rain and wind and to protect the blocks

Is it really necessary to resand paving joints? Yes it is. The sand creates friction between the blocks and helps spread the weight of cars and vehicles driving over it or parking on it. Without the sand the weight would be concentrated onto individual blocks that aren’t designed to sustain heavy weights on their own. This will lead to blocks breaking or working loose and this in turn has a knock on effect weakening the whole area. Jointing sand helps maintain the integral strength of block pavers.

Is it necessary to seal block paving? Sealant helps to harden the joint sand (usually referred to as stabilising the sand) and this makes it more resistant to the effects of weathering and heavy rain which can wash it away. It also helps inhibit weed growth by hardening the sand. Also, without sand in the joints they will soon fill with dirt and be a perfect place for weeds to grow.

Can you guarantee no weeds will grow in my refurbished paving? No we cannot do this because we have no control over the maintenance of the paving. If your driveway is neglected and dirt is allowed to accumulate then weeds will soon start to grow into the dirt, even on sealed surfaces. All paving requires occasional sweeping or washing down with soapy water or an anti fungicide product that can be bought online or in shops such as Wickes and B&Q. Simply pour a bucket of soapy water or water mixed with an anti fungicide over the paving and rinse it away with clean water from a hose to help maintain your paving.

How can I stop weeds growing? Apply a long lasting weedkiller with residual killing power lasting up to 3 months. Spraying the pavers during the spring and again in summer will help stop weeds growing. Ideally do this in combination with sweeping or washing down.

Does vinegar kill weeds? Yes it does because it is acidic. However, we do not advise using it because the acid could stain the paving.

How much does block paving refurbishment cost? Gleam Team will clean, resand seal your block paving for only £6 per square metre and this rate is reduced for areas over 50 sq metres. Please call us on 07581 681994 or email using the contact form for a free quote.

How long does it take? Weather permitting we would expect to complete the work over 2 separate days – 1 day to clean and returning another day to resand and seal.

Please see our block paving maintenance guide written by Gleam Team owner for more detailed information on looking after brick and block pavers.

The Gleam Team website blog has various articles that may be of interest discussing subjects including roof cleaning costs and methods, soft washing vs pressure washing, paving sealers, what is efflorescence and more. If this exterior cleaning FAQ doesn’t cover a subject you are interested in please get in touch and we will be happy to help.

Roof cleaning FAQ

We provide a professional soft wash roof cleaning and roof moss removal service in Kent and London and we also offer an exterior house, render and roof soft washing service in Surrey and Sussex.

Is it a good idea to clean and remove moss from roof tiles? Yes it is and is recommended by tile manufacturers. Moss, lichens and other organic material that builds up on roofs means your roof is permanently wet because of the moisture they absorb and retain. This can lead to damp entering your roof space and affect the structural integrity of the roof. This guide from Roofing Superstore provides more independent information.

What is the best way to clear moss from a roof? Manufacturers and other roofing retailers all agree that manual removal by scraping away the moss is the safest way to clean a roof.

Is it OK to jet wash roofs? No, this method is not advised by tile manufacturers because it can strip away the protective granular coating on tiles and reduce their lifespan.

How do Gleam Team clean roofs? We scrape away the moss in the recommended way and then clean the tiles using a very low pressure soft washing method. A moss inhibiting biocide is then sprayed on the tiles to keep then free of moss for at least one year – guaranteed!

How much does roof cleaning cost in the UK? According to various independent websites who give pricing information to consumers it can cost as much as £15 per sq metre around London and the south east. We offer a great value for money roof soft wash service with prices starting from only £300.

We hope this exterior cleaning FAQ has been of use. If you have further questions or would like a free quote for any of our professional exterior cleaning services please use our Contact Us for email enquiries, or call 07581 681994

References –

Wikipedia – wikipedia.org/wiki/Pressure_washing

Roofing Superstore – how-to-clean-roof-tiles

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