Exterior Cleaning Means, Methods, and Materials

Cities and suburbs can be dirty places – and unfortunately, getting that dirt off the façade of a building takes more than just a scrub-brush and a bottle of Mr. Clean. How a building is cleaned depends on two factors: what materials the building is made of, and the nature of the grime accumulated on it. There really is no one product that can clean every building. 

Know Your Grime 

In bustling metropolitan areas – including parts of the Garden State – roads are jam-packed with cars and trucks spewing exhaust into the air 24/7. This exhaust often sticks to the exteriors of buildings, and is a common cause of discoloration, staining, and general dinginess.  But not every grimy spot you see on a building comes from exhaust. 

According to Tom DeFrancesco, Vice President of J&T Mobile Wash, specialists in both building and vehicle washing, with locations in New Jersey and New York: “Emissions are the primary source of façade grime in urban environments. It’s especially tough on limestone.” Limestone was the primary façade material used in the second half of the 19th century, and is commonly found in major cities in the Northeast and Midwest. The effect of emissions-based pollution on limestone has been known for decades. 

In more suburban areas, “The most common types of stain and grime found on New Jersey buildings are algae,” adds John Doherty of Garden State Power Wash and Roof Cleaning in Manalapan. “So the cause is environmental. You see it more on the north side of buildings because that side gets the least amount of sun.”

Colm Fidgeon, President of Precision Power Wash in Somerdale, agrees that environmental pollutants is the number one source of most grime and grit on New Jersey buildings. “Mother Nature is the problem,” he says. “It causes all of the mold and algae, especially on roofs. I see lots of algae, the black streaks on New Jersey rooftops.”


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