customer is the best customer."
What is the
difference between pressure washing and mildew removal?
As its name
implies, pressure washing involves the use of pressurized water
to remove dirt, sediment, and other contaminants from a surface.
Pressure washing is most appropriate for concrete, pea gravel,
bricks, and other masonry surfaces.
Pressure washing can also be used to remove peeling paint in
preparation for painting, though extreme care must be exercised
to avoid damage to the substrate.
Mildew removal involves an application of chlorine and
detergent, often with the use of a pressure washer (though at
The chlorine will kill mildew and the mold spores which cause
mildew, and the detergent will loosen the accumulated dirt which
provides nutrition to the mildew.
Many companies attempt to remove mildew by pressure washing. Not
only can this force water into the house (particularly around
doors and windows), it does not provide sufficient cleaning.
While high pressure water will remove most visible dirt and
mildew, residual dirt and mold spores will quickly lead to
renewed mildew growth.
I make a distinction between these two cleaning methods because
they are appropriate for different surfaces.
My house is only
three years old and it is covered in mildew. Should a paint job
last longer than that?
a paint job should last longer than three years. However,
exterior paint requires regular maintenance to maintain its
appearance and extend its life.
The mildew growth you are experiencing is not uncommon in
Houston, particularly on new homes. Builders frequently use
paints which do not contain a mildewcide.
The composition of the paint, combined with our climate and
omnipresent mold spores, makes mildew an inescapable problem in
Your paint may be in fine condition. I would recommend cleaning
the exterior of your house, and then inspecting the paint. In
addition to being unsightly, mildew can also destroy the paint
film. Regularly cleaning the exterior will not only improve the
appearance but extend the life of your paint as well.
Most of our shower is tiled. The ceiling
and a small section above the tile have painted sheetrock, which
frequently mildews. In addition, the paint flakes off regularly.
What can we do?
Unfortunately, not much. Condensation from the shower is
collecting on the painted surfaces and causing both problems.
The damp, warm environment is perfect for mildew, and as the
moisture penetrates the paint film, it causes a loss of
adhesion, resulting in the flaking.
The addition of a mildewcide to the paint may help, but it will
not eliminate the mildew problem. Improving air circulation in
the shower may also help, but this may not be possible or
Regularly cleaning with a mild bleach solution will kill the
mildew, but will most likely contribute to the peeling problem.
Using a satin or semi-gloss latex paint will help with both
These paints develop a harder finish, which will deter moisture
penetration. They are also a little more mildew resistant. This
is most likely going to be an ongoing problem, due to the design
of the shower.
My Home is mostly
brick and I really don't like the color. Can bricks be painted?
Yes, but special preparation is required.
The bricks should be cleaned to remove dirt, algae, and mildew.
A masonry primer should be applied to seal the bricks. If they
are extremely pitted or uneven, a block filler may be needed to
fill the indentations. Bricks present some unique problems
compared to wood.
The porosity of the bricks and the alkalinity of the mortar can
adversely affect the appearance and adhesion of paint.
For example, highly porous bricks which are not properly sealed
will absorb paint unevenly, resulting in a spotty appearance.
On older homes with significant damage to the bricks and mortar,
painting can greatly improve the appearance. Caulk can be used
to fill cracks, and once painted, are much less noticeable.
An elastomeric coating can be used to provide a water proof
barrier which will bridge any hairline cracks which subsequently
My house is about 50
years old and has been painted many times. Some areas look fine
but others are peeling terribly. What causes this?
are probably a number of causes. Areas exposed to the afternoon
sun, generally on the West, take a real beating. The intense
heat causes the paint film to expand. If the paint film cannot
expand sufficiently, cracks will develop and moisture can get
under the paint film and cause even further damage.
On an older home, it is most likely that oil based paint was
used at one time. Because oil base paint continues to harden
over time, these layers of paint will be extremely brittle. Each
layer of paint will expand at different rates which will
contribute to the stress on the paint film. In areas where the
old paint has been removed down to bare wood, adhesion is
probably much better than those areas with multiple layers of
paint. This too can cause problems as the edges of the old paint
curl, allowing for moisture penetration.
The most effective long-term solution is to completely remove
all old paint. However, this is obviously a time-consuming, and
consequently, expensive endeavor.
I got three bids for
painting my house. Two estimators walked around the house, took
a few notes, and handed me a price. How do you determine prices?
painters still use the "eye-ball" method, i.e., they rely on a
visual inspection and their experience to determine the labor
and materials required for the job.
While they may be fairly accurate, it is easy to overlook
certain factors. The result may be a price which is inaccurately
low. When the painter realizes this, he may be tempted to cut
corners or generate additional charges to offset the loss he
I have developed a more scientific approach to estimating. In
general, each type of surface will take a specific amount of
time to prepare and paint.
By determining the quantity of each surface, I can calculate the
time required for the job, as well as material requirements. The
same holds true for virtually every service we offer.
This system allows me to accurately identify the costs
associated with the job. In addition, we monitor production
rates and material prices and make adjustments when necessary.
Rather than guess about labor and materials, we quantify the
work to be done. While my estimate is not 100% accurate, it does
eliminate the guess work, which results in more accurate
When we approved
your estimate, we were told it would take 3 weeks before you
could start. Why does it take so long?
primary reason is our work load. However, we also take into
consideration other factors, such as the type of work. A
particular crew may be better suited for certain types of work,
which may delay the start of your job while they complete other
work scheduled for them.
It has been suggested that I hire additional crews to reduce the
waiting time. While this is true, it may also result in hiring
less desirable painters. Rather than compromise the quality of
our services, I prefer to maintain quality and perhaps
occasionally lose a job because of the back log.
Of course, we are always looking for good painters and
supervisors. But "good" in our context means more than just
being a skilled craftsman. I look for individuals with sound
characters, which greatly reduces the potential labor pool.
In addition, because our business is somewhat seasonal-- the
winter months are generally slower-- employee turnover would
greatly increase. This would have a negative impact on morale,
and ultimately, on quality. In the long term, stability and
quality are interrelated.
By keeping turnover to a minimum, my crews know what I expect of
them, and I know their capabilities. I do not need to
continually train new crews. Everyone-- myself, my crews, and my
How long does it
normally take you to give an estimate?
can generally get an estimate to a customer within 24 hours of
inspecting the work. More complex jobs or work which will
require some research-- e.g., to find the best coating for a
particular problem-- might take a little longer.
Most of our estimates are generated on a computer. The number of
materials we use and the variety of surfaces we prepare and
paint makes it virtually impossible to determine an accurate
price without a computer.
The computer allows us to include and consider all of the
variables which will influence the time it takes to complete the
job. For example, our computers are programmed with production
rates, material usage rates, material pricing, etc. When we
enter the proper quantities into the computer, we can accurately
determine the labor and material requirements for the job.
Other variables, such as access problems, are then factored into
the price. We then write the estimate, detailing the work to be
completed and, after review and approval by the estimator,
submit the estimate to the customer.
Call Jahluka at 386-227-6150
click here to request an estimate.