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Judge Services
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We wash a lot of houses and we always stress to our customers that we never use high pressure on the side of a home. Like the above link says, it can cause serious water damage.
To me, the real soft-wash method, is using soft-bristle brushes to scrub all surfaces.
Here is our process:
- Pre-rinse an area with power washer
- Apply house wash solution (could be bleach or alkaline based, depending on the stains)
- Then we SCRUB EVERYTHING (siding, soffit, gutters) with big, soft-bristle brushes on extension poles
(on big houses this means a lot of ladder climbing and using 16ft extension poles)
- Final rinse with fresh water to removal all the debris loosen by the brushes

I think brushing is an absolute necessity to get the house as clean as possible. It's not the easy way, but it's the right way.

www.judgeservices.com
 

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I have never used a brush to scrub the whole house, that seems like a lot of work. If I were to do that I would have to charge more and I think its unnecessary for most homes, for me I like to do a low pressure washing, until I find a wasp nest lol, but then I just use a broom to get the cob webs and anything I see that the power washer didn't get. Seems to work good so far.

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Gatlin Painting & Remodeling
 

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I have never used a brush to scrub the whole house, that seems like a lot of work. If I were to do that I would have to charge more and I think its unnecessary for most homes, for me I like to do a low pressure washing, until I find a wasp nest lol, but then I just use a broom to get the cob webs and anything I see that the power washer didn't get. Seems to work good so far.

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Gatlin Painting & Remodeling
We use "truck wash brushes" on roller extensions and it's not that bad. We've had homeowners contact us, wondering if there were any outfits around who did soft washing. They have had bad experiences with one of the many unskilled power-washing outfits out there.
 

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We wash a lot of houses and we always stress to our customers that we never use high pressure on the side of a home. Like the above link says, it can cause serious water damage.
To me, the real soft-wash method, is using soft-bristle brushes to scrub all surfaces.
Here is our process:
- Pre-rinse an area with power washer
- Apply house wash solution (could be bleach or alkaline based, depending on the stains)
- Then we SCRUB EVERYTHING (siding, soffit, gutters) with big, soft-bristle brushes on extension poles
(on big houses this means a lot of ladder climbing and using 16ft extension poles)
- Final rinse with fresh water to removal all the debris loosen by the brushes

I think brushing is an absolute necessity to get the house as clean as possible. It's not the easy way, but it's the right way.

www.judgeservices.com
There is no way I could argue that brushing would be superior (in the final outcome) to just applying chems and rinsing but not really that much better. Not enough for what I would have to labor bill and lose jobs for.

If you brush, you have to brush every inch or those missed spots will stand out like a sore thumb. That's a LOT of tedious labor and increased liability and safety issues! We are talking about an outside surface. That slightly superior wash is going to last through the next 1-2 rainfalls then the difference would become moot.

In today's value conscious market I would love to compete against a company that brushes houses. I'll beat the bid by at least a 200%-300% (while billing $250/hr for a 2-man crew including materials) and without taking a white glove and running against the siding or sills, there will be almost no aesthetic difference. In the time they do one house, my crew has done 3-4.

It comes down to the same thing as in painting. One guy may spend three times as long making sure the job is 98% perfection and another guy will do a fantastic looking job doing 90%. It is exponentially more expensive to get that extra 8% that the majority of customers will not even notice.
 

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Judge Services
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There is no way I could argue that brushing would be superior (in the final outcome) to just applying chems and rinsing but not really that much better. Not enough for what I would have to labor bill and lose jobs for.

If you brush, you have to brush every inch or those missed spots will stand out like a sore thumb. That's a LOT of tedious labor and increased liability and safety issues! We are talking about an outside surface. That slightly superior wash is going to last through the next 1-2 rainfalls then the difference would become moot.

In today's value conscious market I would love to compete against a company that brushes houses. I'll beat the bid by at least a 200%-300% (while billing $250/hr for a 2-man crew including materials) and without taking a white glove and running against the siding or sills, there will be almost no aesthetic difference. In the time they do one house, my crew has done 3-4.

It comes down to the same thing as in painting. One guy may spend three times as long making sure the job is 98% perfection and another guy will do a fantastic looking job doing 90%. It is exponentially more expensive to get that extra 8% that the majority of customers will not even notice.
I take too much pride in my work to be OK with only giving only 90%. Perfection is elusive! But it is something I'm chasing all the time and am constantly reminding my helpers to strive for. You're right, "the majority of customers will not even notice", but it's the ones that ARE going to notice that we try to stay one step ahead of. Same goes with painting.

The reality is that we will always get those nooks and crannies as clean as possible, cleaner than any competitor. The only way someone will get them just as clean, without scrubbing, is by blasting water/chemicals into those nooks and crannies until they come clean. This greatly raises the risks of water damage.

And yes, we do "you have to brush every inch or those missed spots will stand out like a sore thumb". Which just proves my point, that if you don't brush at all, you're purposely leaving a layer of filth. With that said, not brushing sounds more like giving it 75%. And I'll compete against that all day long.

Scrubbing isn't the easy way, it's the right way!
www.judgeservices.com
 

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I take too much pride in my work to be OK with only giving only 90%. Perfection is elusive! But it is something I'm chasing all the time and am constantly reminding my helpers to strive for. You're right, "the majority of customers will not even notice", but it's the ones that ARE going to notice that we try to stay one step ahead of. Same goes with painting.

The reality is that we will always get those nooks and crannies as clean as possible, cleaner than any competitor. The only way someone will get them just as clean, without scrubbing, is by blasting water/chemicals into those nooks and crannies until they come clean. This greatly raises the risks of water damage.

And yes, we do "you have to brush every inch or those missed spots will stand out like a sore thumb". Which just proves my point, that if you don't brush at all, you're purposely leaving a layer of filth. With that said, not brushing sounds more like giving it 75%. And I'll compete against that all day long.

Scrubbing isn't the easy way, it's the right way!
www.judgeservices.com
I can respect that. I would never assume to tell someone how to do their work as long as its profitable. That's usually where the big difference lies.. the profit. I don't do what I do professionally as a hobby or ego motivator. I do it to make money.

Based on experience, perfection is not just elusive, it is not achievable. You will never sign a contract for an industrial job where the spec sheet merely says "perfection". You are given a set of minimum standards that, in effect have been deemed "good enough". Those standards may be very high, but they won't be perfection. In the case of a residential job who sets the standards? For me it is the homeowner. In give or take 5000 projects over the last 15 years, I had one customer tell me that perfection was the goal and that he wold fine-tooth comb over every detail and make us come back if if it wasn't to his satisfaction. That job was $4500and took three days. The job could have been done in one day for $1,300 and 99.9% of people asked would see very little difference. We are talking about climbing to the back side of a chimney to remove a rust spot the size of a dime. That spot probably reappeared a month later.

I charged the right money for that job. There is no way I could offer that level of cleaning unless the average homeowner of a vinyl 2100 s.f house was willing to pay $950 to have it washed. I would go out of business.
 

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For the record. I do not intentionally leave a layer of filth as you stated. I would put any of my houses against a brusher. They are clean. I set a very high standard as well. Brushing removes oxidation and that is what sticks out like a sore thumb.

From Angies List: (and not done to "perfection")

Hire Again:
Yes


Approximate Cost:
$1,400.00

Home Build Year:
1964

Description Of Work:
Power washed the entire outside of the house and our brick patio (edit: we also did her front roof)

Member Comments:
Ken was very professional. He answered calls promptly,and was reliable. When he came at the appointed time he walked the property with us and carefully explained what materials he used and how the process would work and what we should expect. He was very knowledgable and educated us. The house and patio came out beautifully! Visitors to our home have noticed and are very complimentary. We received lower quotes but couldn't be more pleased with the experience and outcome. Our property looks like new!
 
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