The Awnclean Story – Celebrating 30 Years in Business
Since we are celebrating 30 years in the cleaning business this year, we thought we should write The Awnclean Story so we can share with everyone how we got here. We hope you enjoy learning about how we grew our business and became experts in commercial cleaning, including pressure washing, concrete sealing, awning cleaning and window cleaning.
Have you noticed dark stains on your roof? Do they seem to be getting worse?
These dark stains are caused by actively growing algae. Unfortunately, Florida’s high humidity and warm climate provide the perfect conditions for algae and mold to thrive.
Because of the angle of the sun, the north and west sides of your roof stay wet from the morning dew for longer periods of time. The south and east sides get sun earlier in the day and dry out much quickly. Then, as algae grow on the shingles, it holds the moisture and causes the roof to stay wet even longer.
Trees also help the algae grow by providing shade and preventing the sun from drying off the roof. If left untreated, algae will eventually cover the south and east sides of your roof, too, even when exposed to the sun.
Pressure Wash vs. Soft Wash Roof Cleaning
Cleaning your roof on an annual basis removes the destructive mildew, dirt, air pollution, tree debris and other contaminants that can age your roof surfaces and cause this ugly discoloration.
Awnclean cleans single, or multiple-story building roofs made of asphalt shingle, terra cotta and concrete tile, standing seam metal, vinyl membrane, and more.
Our “soft wash” process means no damaging high pressure is used in the cleaning of your roofs. All surfaces are pretreated with an algaecide treatment, followed by a gentle rinse to remove debris build-up.
Our team members are experienced, trained, full time employees with extensive experience working on roofs.
All safety precautions are taken to safely and properly clean your roof.
All plants are deeply watered and covered for added protection. If required, other areas will be covered for full protection.
Awnclean’s cleaning processes are manufacturing approved.
Awnclean’s Cleaning Maintenance Program
Awnclean also offers a Cleaning Maintenance Program for business owners so you can take one more thing off your “To Do” list. Call us today and ask us about how you can save by signing up for cleaning on a monthly, quarterly, triannual, biannual, or annual basis.
Ongoing Safety Training at Awnclean
In ongoing safety training sessions, Awnclean’s entire field and operations teams participate in two hours of monthly training to make sure everyone stays safe on the job.
Even though almost everyone on Awnclean’s team has been doing their job for 10+ years, the ongoing sessions are meant to prevent complacency on the job and to continually get everyone to remind themselves of where they’re at and who’s around them, especially when they’re 80 stories up, hanging off the side of a building.
In the most recent safety training session, led by Dean Detjean from Provinsur, some of the areas covered were:
Proper way to wear a harness
Safety equipment and proper usage
Working on roofs and hanging off sides of building
Rescue procedures and planning
Team awareness of plan
Scissor lift and boom lift safety
Working around power lines
Each session ends with an open forum with discussion about concerns and challenges on individual jobs and suggestions for improving safety on the job.
Awnclean’s Operation Manager, Todd Henry, also visits job sites on a regular basis to check on the crews and make sure they’re correctly following all of the safety procedures.
Commercial Window Clean and Restoration
Rainy season is almost here. It’s certainly a blessing because the rain lowers the pollen levels, but it also becomes a hassle trying to keep the exterior of your buildings looking clean.
Business owners and facility managers always want to make sure the interior and exterior of their buildings shine. They want their customers, tenants, and anyone who visits the building to be impressed by its spotless appearance. Clean windows are a good way to make a great first impression.
Hard water can stain your windows with calcium build up. Awnclean offers a special window cleaning and restoration service to make them sparkle, just they way they did when they were brand new.
Awnclean will walk through your property with you and discuss the best methods to keep your exterior looking its best. No matter where the windows are located, we will use aerial lifts, professional rope access and descent systems, and building maintenance units to get to them.
Window cleaning is just one of the regular maintenance tasks that Awnclean’s professional team can take over. We can also set up a regular washing schedule to keep your windows, as well as the rest of your exterior surfaces, looking their best year round.
Call us today! We clean it all!
Commercial Pressure Washing Jobs
Pressure washing seems like it would be easy, but it isn’t, especially if you want to do it quickly, correctly, and safely. That’s why our commercial customers call Awnclean to take care of this regular maintenance for them.
Awnclean has the right equipment and training to significantly improve the image of driveways, patios, walkways, roofs (shingle and tile), and just about every exterior surface around your business.
Because high-pressure washing can cause damage to roofs, some surfaces, and plantings, it’s important to know when to use a soft wash cleaning process. We pretreat surfaces with cleaners and algaecides, followed by a wide fanning rinse process at low pressure to safely clean roofs without incurring damage to the shingles. This soft-wash technique also prevents water from being forced behind siding on a building, which can cause issues later on for the building owner.
Recently, Awnclean cleaned the roofs on 11 buildings at the Sheraton Vistana Resort in Lake Buena Vista.
On another job, we removed all of the gum on a sidewalk in front of a business.
Choosing an Awning Cleaning Service Company
When choosing an awning and canopy cleaning company, the most important criteria should be if the vendor is professional, experienced, and knowledgeable in the different techniques and chemicals used on different types of awnings and canopies.
Awnings and canopies are expensive and can be easily damaged if cleaned incorrectly. There are some backlit, “eradicable” vinyls that can be destroyed if exposed to the wrong chemicals.
The cost to clean an awning is a small fraction of the cost to re-cover it, so regular maintenance pays for itself in the long run.
Awnclean evaluates many different aspects about an awning or canopy when estimating the cost to clean it. This may include:
The type of stains (environmental dirt, mold, mildew, rust, tree sap, roofing tar, paint and/or bird droppings)
The type of fabric
The location and how difficult it is to reach it
The age and condition
The type of UV protectant, sealer or water repellent that is required
Awning Cleaning Maintenance Programs for Business Owners
The many details in the day-to-day activities of running a business can sometimes be overwhelming. This is why it makes sense to set up a regular maintenance schedule for your awnings and canopies. If you don’t, before you know it, this important investment may have to be replaced at a significant cost.
Before setting up a maintenance program with an awning and canopy cleaner, you must first give yourself some guidelines. These include:
Your budget. Get several bids to determine realistic pricing for your area of the country. Just make sure you are comparing “apples to apples” between what is included in the maintenance. If you are setting up a national awning-cleaning program, pricing levels can vary dramatically throughout the country. If you go with a flat rate for all your locations, this will reflect an averaged price.
The type of cleaning you need. Make sure that you are using an awning cleaning company who will hand clean, not pressure wash, your awnings.
Regularly scheduled or as-needed basis? If you decide to clean your awning and canopies on an as-needed basis, invariably this maintenance will be forgotten until they are beyond repair. With a regularly scheduled cleaning program, you will never have to worry about your valuable awnings and canopies falling into disrepair because of dirt, mold and/or mildew.
Once you have determined these factors, please give Awnclean a call so we can help you protect this important investment.
Cleaning Chemicals for Awnings and Canopies
The Material Determines the Type of Cleaner and Sealer
It is important to educate yourself about the different fabrics and vinyl that are used for constructing awnings, as well as the different weights of these materials. This is vital because different materials will require different types of cleaners and techniques. In general, the better the fabric, or heavier weight, the better it will hold up to environmental abuse.
If possible, contact your manufacturer to find out what material was used in making your awning, and the brand name, if possible. This information will help your service contractor, choose the right cleaners and sealers to do the job properly.
Choosing the Right Awning Cleaning Chemicals
Once you know the material of your canopies and awnings, the right chemicals and tools can be determined. There are four to five established, tested lines of chemicals designed specifically for awnings that are recognized in the industry as good, effective products.
Top-quality cleaning chemicals will typically work on both vinyl and fabric awnings. However, vinyl awnings and fabric awnings each require specific sealers that are not interchangeable. What works best on one awning may not work as well on the next one. Vinyl awnings should be sealed with every cleaning. Some higher quality fabric awnings can be sealed annually as the sealer lasts longer on thicker material.
Awnclean keeps many different kinds of cleaners and sealers on hand to make sure we are always prepared for each unique cleaning situation. This preparation also applies towards the equipment we use, including different kinds of sponges, brushes, extension poles and good quality, stable ladders. All of our crews are also equipped with pressure washers. While we do not pressure wash awnings, a pressure washer is a great tool to get water where we need it for a low-pressure rinse. Awnclean’s cleaning process always includes both the exterior and underside surfaces of the awning and canopy unless specified otherwise due to underside lighting, speakers or other electrical equipment that could be damaged by water.
Lastly, part of the maintenance is repair. Most awning cleaning companies are not equipped to do major repairs such as re-sewing torn awnings, fixing damaged frames hit by freight trucks, or repairing light fixtures. Major awning repair is best left to the manufacturer. Awnclean can usually patch small holes or slices if they are fairly minor. We also do annual light bulb changes for large back-lit awnings, which in the long run saves on expensive electrician visits and helps lower electricity costs.
How Often Should Awnings and Canopies Be Cleaned?
Protecting Your Awnings and Canopies
We are often asked, “How often should I clean my awnings?” This will depend upon the awning material and location, but as a general rule, awnings should be cleaned three to four times per year for maximum lifespan and beauty.
Awnings located near highways, airports, busy restaurants (due to the grease expelled through the duct work), and under a heavy tree canopy may require more frequent cleaning, as will awnings experiencing high mildew growth, bird droppings, or staining from roof runoff. In some large cities like Los Angeles, retailers clean their awnings every month due to the extreme air pollution.
In our 28 years of experience cleaning awnings and canopies, we have learned there is no such thing as a self-cleaning awning, no matter what you may have been told. Awnings with factory-applied clear-coats like 3M or Tedlar can be cleaned less frequently in a pinch. These clear-coated awnings still get dirty; the material just won’t get damaged as quickly.
Awnings and canopies in Florida and other tropical climates are particularly prone to mildew problems, bugs, and sun burn. Hot, dry areas will have fewer problems with mildew growth, but will have more problems with sun exposure and a dusty appearance. Awnings inside of malls get dusty and can be damp-mopped. The exception is in food courts where there will be a greasy buildup that requires heavier cleaning.
Your awnings and canopies are a big financial investment and they make a big statement on your building or home, for better or worse. What do your awnings say about you?
You can learn more about awning and canopy cleaning here.
The Lifespan of Awnings
What Ages Awnings?
If not maintained, the average awning starts looking dirty within several months and, depending on its material, can develop permanent staining within one or two years. By years four and five, most awnings will look filthy, may have sunburning along the upper surfaces, and the material will likely be weakened.
The flat top surface of awnings and the stress points, such as the curve from the vertical face to the horizontal top, will age the fastest. The vertical face of an awning is usually less sun-damaged, but may suffer from roof runoff, i.e., water that pours off the roof of the building and onto the awning creating black lines. The most destructive elements to awnings are sun exposure, air pollution, mildew, bird droppings, and roof runoff.
Another surprising factor in awning longevity is color. Red awnings age faster from sun damage due to the weakness of the pigment. Dark blue and dark green awnings are generally longer lasting.
It is especially important that red, white and yellow awnings get cleaned regularly and sealed with sealers with UV protectants. This will help protect against sun damage and staining to which these colors are more susceptible.
Awning cleaning and sealing can significantly extend the life span of all awnings, adding years to their useful life. Hiring a professional awning cleaner to keep the awnings cleaned and sealed and looking their best will end up saving the business owner thousands of dollars.
Why It’s Important to Keep Awnings Cleaned and Sealed
Awning Maintenance Made Easy
Although awnings have been around in some form or another for hundreds of years, awning cleaning services are a relatively new concept. As retailers, restaurant chains, and other businesses spend more and more money on eye-catching, showy awnings, they have begun to realize the importance of protecting these investments. Regular awning cleaning and sealing not only extends the life of awnings, it keeps awnings looking great. Businesses now understand the message it sends to their customers when their awnings are dirty, mildewed, and full of bugs.
Companies go to great expense to put up awnings for any number of reasons: signage, improving curb appeal, brand image, or perhaps simply protection from sun and rain. Regular awning cleaning is important in protecting that investment and making sure the awnings do what they were put there to do.
Unfortunately, many awning owners stop noticing their awnings after they have been up for a while. Sometimes it takes having to go through the expense of a re-cover before their eyes are opened to the importance of awning maintenance.
Awnings are a major investment for most businesses and they make a major statement about the company. Hiring a professional awning cleaner is just good business to make sure the awnings always look great.
Awnclean has been cleaning awnings of all shapes and sizes for almost 30 years. Give us a call so we can talk about cleaning your awnings, too.