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12 January 2022

Squeaky Clean

Having the exterior of your property professionally cleaned once a year may seem like an unnecessary expense, but a sparkling clean house not only makes a great first impression for prospective tenants, it is also preventative maintenance, which can save you money in the long run.


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We speak to Simon Mansfield, Operations Manager at one of the Chemwash Auckland offices, who explains the house and building wash process, what to expect when you book in to have your house washed, the best time of year, the added benefits, and of course, the cost.

What services do you offer?

We offer a full range of exterior cleaning services, not just the walls of the house. These include roof wash and treatments, internal gutter cleaning, decks, paths, driveways, exterior furniture, spa and pool covers, shade sails – if it's outside, we can clean it.

Is everything cleaned using the same process?

No, but primarily we complete what's known as a 'soft wash', where we apply a cleaning solution to the area we are washing, leave it for a short time to activate, then wash it off using a low-pressure rinsing system.

Another cleaning option for our clients is our moss, mould & lichen treatment. This is highly effective on all types of roofs including iron, clay and concrete tile surfaces; it also is a great option for concrete and certain types of decking. While the results are not instant, like the soft wash, the treatment is a gentle option and provides protection against further growth for 12 months. 

Our team are specialists in applying treatments on roofs that are difficult to access or where traditional soft washing techniques are not recommended.

What chemicals do you use?

Our secret 'eleven herbs and spices' detergent formula was developed by a leading industrial chemist to be safe and effective for use in the environment. So, it's biodegradable, as well as being safe for pets and people. Usually, the run-off won't affect you're your plants or affect your swimming pool water either unless we're cleaning a particularly dirty deck right next to the pool. But, again, I would make the homeowner aware of this when I come around to the property to quote.

Are the system and the products you use suitable for all types of cladding – for example, oiled cedar?

Yes, they are. All of our technicians are trained to understand what’s required for every type of substrate. So, for example, for a-cedar house, we would use a milder detergent and back the [water] pressure right down along with a different application pattern in order not to mark the cedar. This is one of the reasons you need highly experienced technicians, not any-old-company cleaning your largest asset! We custom mix the different detergent and water pressure for each property we attend. 

Many of us live in homes that have rattly old sash windows. Is there a danger of water seepage in these older-style houses?

Quite possibly. We do our best to avoid aiming the nozzle into the cracks, but it's hard to prevent seepage completely when you're using water, even at a low pressure. To avoid any issues, we get on the front foot and highlight this in an email along with our quote. Then, just before we come out, we send a text encouraging people with older joinery or any area that might leak to put down towels around those areas, to ensure water doesn't come through. 

With a lot of these older homes, even with very low-pressure water, such as a garden hose, you're going to get water leaking in through the windows or under doors. If people are really concerned, we ask them to be at home during the wash. That way, you can monitor things from the inside. Generally, however, it's not an issue with some forethought.

What about flaking paint?

With our soft-wash system, it's not normally an issue, but if you do have very flaky paint, it's usually an indication that you probably need to paint your house. That said, when I come around to give a quote, I will usually mention if I notice any [loose paint], and I'll also mention it to the guys before they come around to wash the house.

On that topic, if you are planning to paint your house, is it a good idea to have it washed beforehand?

Absolutely. We do pre-paint washes for many painters, as our equipment is purpose built. All paint manufacturers will require that your house be washed before it's painted for warranty. This is to stop any bubbling or lifting caused by contaminants on the surface of the existing paint. That's before the painters sand the old paint back, but no longer than two weeks out from them starting the job.

How often do you recommend that you wash the exterior of your home?

Once a year is our recommendation. If you leave things for two, three, four years, then the wash becomes more difficult and takes longer and is, therefore, more expensive. If you have your home washed regularly [annually], there's usually no need for you to do anything in between washes. 

One thing to note is that if your home is in a high salt-spray area, manufacturers’ warranties may require you to have your property washed every six months. However, for most properties, we recommend once a year. This will ensure that the paint is kept in good condition. Contaminants, such as grease, dirt and grime, sitting on your paintwork will increase how quickly the surfaces will age and oxidise. So, it's good to get all that stuff off to increase the lifespan of the paint film. 

Resene says their exterior paint is good for seven years, but the reality is, if you wash your home regularly every year, you may get ten-plus years out of your paintwork – which can be a significant cost, especially if you are a landlord.

Typically, how long does it take to wash the exterior of a house?

It very much depends on the number of services required. Anything from a couple of hours for a basic house wash, right up to the whole day, if you opt for a full range of cleaning services.

What is the best time of year to have your house washed, and why?

Spring. It's the end of winter, so no more leaves, which are one of the leading causes of dirt, especially on the roof. Also, you get to enjoy the full benefit of a clean house over Christmas and the summer months.

Finally, how much does it cost to wash a house?

Auckland properties are vary tremendously – cladding, storeys, ages, sizes, so it is very difficult to estimate pricing without individual details or a site visit. A rough guide to a house wash-only for a traditional villa could be between $290-$400+GST. If it has an extension, then it will be more likely upwards of $400+GST. Unlike many of our competitors, who quote over the phone or online only, we offer a service where I visit every house to check it out personally – either with the homeowners or I arrange a time I can have a quick look on my own. We can also put together a comprehensive annual maintenance programme that incorporates gutter cleaning, roofs, decking, concrete, windows and house washing.

Special Offer for Ray White subscribers

Chemwash Auckland are offering a 5% discount for all their services for 2022. Customers will need to identify themselves as Ray White clients with the code RWDAM15. Due to the nature of Chemwash territories being individually owned and operated, this offer is only avaible to our office, we are contactable on the details above. Contact cbd.west@chemwash.co.nz or 09 818 3752 to organise a quote.

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