Benefits of Exterior House Cleaning

Yellow house exterior with spring blooming rhododendronHarsh elements, whether natural or man-made, can cause the appearance of your home to deteriorate over time. Dirt, pollutants, smoke, mold, and mildew can all build up on the exterior of your home making it look dingy and aged. Not only can regular cleaning of your home’s exterior keep it looking fresh and new, it can also save you a lot of time and money in the future.

Why Pressure Wash your Home Exterior?

Home value: Pressure washing is considered one of the cheapest ways to boost the value of your home. Realtors recommend pressure washing when you put your house on the market in order to increase your sale price.

Curb appeal: First impressions are important. In the case of your home, the exterior is not only the first, but also the last thing people see when they come to visit. Whether you’re preparing to sell your house or just trying to make it less of an eyesore, pressure washing the exterior and cleaning windows can greatly improve its appearance.

Prevent Decay: Regular cleaning prevents decay and premature aging which can lead to lower value. While a neglected exterior can lead to problems if you decide to sell, regular maintenance can significantly reduce the amount of time and money you will have to put into home improvements.

Safety: Keeping your home exterior clean can keep mold and mildew at bay. Mold thrives in damp, warm, and humid environments and can quickly build up on the exterior of your home. Exposure to mold can cause serious health issues such as respiratory problems or fungal infections. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “Mold can enter your home through open doorways, windows, vents, and heating and air conditioning systems. Mold in the air outside can also attach itself to clothing, shoes, bags, and pets can and be carried indoors.” Whether or not you’re allergic to molds, exposure can irritate your eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs. Learn more about the health risks and symptoms of mold exposure at WebMd.com: Moisture and Mold Problems: Preventing and Solving Them in Your Home.

Avoid leaks: Leaves and debris build up in your gutters preventing water from flowing through. Overflow from clogged gutters can do damage to your siding, landscaping, or roof. Avoid future costly repairs by cleaning your gutters every spring and fall.

Why Hire a Professional Exterior Cleaner?

Time: Exterior cleaning is a time consuming and physically challenging project. Unfortunately, most homeowners don’t have the many hours of free time involved in a full cleaning. Hiring a professional will allow you to spend your free time relaxing while your home gets an exterior facelift.

Knowledge: There are quite a few details that need to be taken into account when preparing to pressure wash your home. Different pressure washers have different abilities, certain types of surfaces could be damaged if not handled correctly, and different types of stains should be treated differently. Hiring a professional will ensure the proper equipment and/or cleaners are used and avoid damage which could lead to expensive repairs. If you decide you’d like to do it yourself, this article from Lowe’s can help you with preparation- Pressure Wash your Home Exterior>>

Our exterior pressure washing service is CLEAN & GREEN, using environmentally friendly products as safe for your landscaping as they are for the Chesapeake Bay. And best of all, our exterior cleaning includes hand washing of exterior windows and full clean out of your gutter and downspouts. Contact us today for help with your home exterior needs! Click here for a printable Special Value Offer!

Fall Decorating Ideas: How to Make Your Home Feel More Like Fall

The temperature is dropping fast, and the days are getting shorter and shorter. The days of fun in the sun are over, and soon we’ll be bundled up for the winter. Here are some simple fall decorating ideas to make the idea of being cooped up inside much more inviting.

 

Fall centerpiece made with pumpkin, flowers, and leaves

There are many ways to decorate your home for the fall without spending too much time or money. Beautiful centerpieces can be made easily using pumpkins, apples, leaves, or deep colored or dried flowers. Warm up your home with these Fabulous Fall Decorating Ideas from Southern Living.

 

 

fall colored leaves

Fall is a time for beautiful warm colors. Freshen up your rooms with some autumn inspired paint colors to go with your fall decorations. This blog by HouseBeautiful offers some great examples of paints inspired by autumn leaves, pumpkins, and red apples.

 

 

fall simmer pot

There’s nothing like the smell of fresh apple or pumpkin pie to make you feel warm and fuzzy inside. But who has time to bake every day? Candles and potpourri are just a few easy ways to bring the smell of fall into your home. Homedit offers this list of 11 Different Ways to Bring the Scent of Autumn Into Your Home.

 

fuzzy warm plaid blankets

 

Even if it’s not cold enough for them yet, bring out the warm and fuzzy blankets to give your home a nice cozy feeling. Drape them over the backs of couches and chairs or place them in baskets that are out in the open.

 

We are here to help with any of your interior painting needs! Visit our Home Page for a special value offer! We wish you all a warm and happy fall!

Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

front door with colorful ivy in fallThe leaves are changing, the air is getting cooler, and the smell of pumpkin spice is in the air. Fall is officially here and, with winter right on its heels, there’s plenty to be done around the house. Without proper maintenance, the winter cold can wreak havoc on your home, not to mention your wallet. Avoid potential problems with this fall home maintenance checklist.

  • Pressure wash exterior siding and windows to avoid bacteria growth caused by dirt and grime.
  • Check exterior paint for peeling or chipping. Touching up paint before temperatures drop will help extend the life of siding and trim. Lower humidity and cooler temperatures make fall ideal for exterior painting.
  • Inspect and replace weather stripping around doors (including the garage) to keep the heat in and the cold air out.
  • Check caulking around doors and windows and re-caulk as needed. You may want to replace especially drafty windows.
  • Inspect your roof for loose or missing shingles and replace as needed to avoid leaks.
  • Clear gutters and downspouts of debris. Clogged gutters can cause more serious problems such as flooded basements, cracking foundations, or damaged paint and siding.
  • Clean and inspect decks for cracks, loose boards/railings, or nails that are popping up. What may seem like a small problem could lead to a dangerous situation in icy conditions. If your deck hasn’t been refinished in the last 12-18 months, you may want to consider doing so to protect it from winter’s elements. Learn more about How to Keep Your Deck Looking New.
  • Inspect driveways and sidewalks for cracks. Temperature changes that occur in the winter months can exacerbate small cracks. Sealing these cracks early will prevent potential accidents while extending the life of your driveway or sidewalk.
  • Clean and store yard equipment to protect them from rain and snow. Drain fuel from gas operated equipment. Check snow equipment to ensure it is working properly and organize so it will be easily accessible.
  • Turn off valves to exterior faucets making sure to drain pipes completely. Drain and store hoses. Wrap water pipes that run along exterior walls with heating tape to prevent them from freezing.
  • Clean and cover air conditioning units to prevent rusting.
  • Have your furnace inspected and serviced to ensure efficiency. Furnace filters should be changed monthly. Fireplaces should also be inspected and cleaned to prevent chimney fires.
  • Inspect washer hoses for bulges, cracks, or splits. These should be replaced every other year.
  • Inspect dryer exhaust tube and vent to make sure they’re clear of lint or birds nests. Exterior vent door should close tightly when not in use.
  • Clean/replace humidifier elements. Humidifiers should be cleaned regularly to avoid bacteria growth.
  • Check carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms to ensure they are working properly. Replace batteries as needed. A carbon monoxide detector is especially important in a home with oil or gas-burning appliances. 

Contact us today to learn how we can help with your exterior maintenance needs including painting, pressure washing (including gutter cleaning and window washing), and deck cleaning/refinishing!

Protecting Your Deck: How to keep your deck looking new

Deck stained with semi-transparent stainYou design a beautiful deck to accentuate your home. You build it using the best wood, and add the perfect furniture. Then a year later, your beautiful deck doesn’t look so fresh and new. Nature’s elements and everyday wear and tear can affect even the most durable types of wood if they’re not properly treated. No need to worry, Exquisite Painting can bring your deck back to life at an affordable price. If you’d like to tackle it yourself, keep your deck looking like new by following a few simple steps.

Why protect your deck?

  • Wood that isn’t properly treated is susceptible to damage from the sun and rain. UV radiation can cause wood to fade and dry out which can cause water retention and lead to rot. Applying a quality deck finish with UV inhibitors can help keep your deck looking new.
  • Mold and mildew can easily grow in damp areas. Keep your deck mold free by keeping it clean of wet leaves and debris. Pay special attention to shady areas.
  • Extreme temperature changes can cause wood to expand and contract which can cause shifting. Keep an eye out for potential problems such as loose boards/railings or nails that are popping up. Fixing these problems at the first sign of them can avoid a much larger (and more expensive!) project in the future.

Sealing your deck

Decks should be refinished every 12-18 months. If water soaks into the wood instead of beading, it’s time to refinish. There are a variety of different types of finishes, learn more about how to choose the right type for you at Doityourself.com. Follow these simple steps for refinishing:

  • Before you seal your deck, you want to make sure it’s clean. Remove old sealant, and use a deck cleaning solution to remove all dirt and mildew. Be sure to rinse the deck very well to remove all chemicals.
  • Allow the deck to dry completely (approx. 48 hours depending on weather) before applying new finish.
  • Apply the finish evenly to the wood using a sprayer, roller, or paintbrush. Be sure to follow the product instructions such as how many coats to use and how long to wait in between.
  • Allow the finish to dry for at least 24 hours before using it. Just because it feels dry to the touch doesn’t mean it can’t be damaged.

We, at Exquisite Painting, would be happy to help with your deck cleaning/refinishing needs! Contact us for details! Visit our home page for 20% OFF ALL exterior cleaning and painting!

Spring Cleaning Checklist

Beautiful houseMemorial Day weekend typically marks the start of the summer season, but there’s still time for some last minute spring cleaning before summer goes into full swing! After spending the winter cooped up in the house, this beautiful weather is a welcome change! There is so much to do this time of year and it can be difficult to juggle work, family, and weekend barbeques, however, putting some time and effort into spring cleaning can help prepare for the summer and avoid last minute disasters!

Spring Cleaning Checklist:

  • Clean out closets: Put away the winter clothes and sort through spring and summer clothes. Set aside anything that no longer fits to donate, store for younger children, or sell at a garage sale.
  • Clean out garage/shed: Clean and reorganize the garage or shed to make room for summer supplies. Organize the space so you will have easy access to your summertime needs such as the lawnmower, camping supplies, beach supplies, etc.
  • Outdoor maintenance: Check outdoor furniture, rooftops, siding, gutters, etc. for winter damage and make necessary repairs.
  • Outdoor painting: Check your deck, railings, door trim, and any other woodwork for chipping and peeling paint. Contact us for help! We are also available for deck cleaning and refinishing, exterior wood replacement, and decorative trim!
  • Inspect windows and doors: Check the caulking or weather stripping around doors and windows and replace any with signs of cracking, splitting, or peeling.
  • Pressure washing: Contact Exquisite Painting for your pressure washing needs! Our exterior cleaning includes hand washing of exterior windows and full clean out of your gutter and downspouts.
  • Check screening: Check screening on windows and doors for tears. Repair or replace any damaged screens.
  • Inspect HVAC systems: Clean or replace filters as necessary to ensure your cooling system is working efficiently. Clean dryer vents as well to avoid warm air blowing back into your home.
  • Freshen up indoors: Freshen up your rooms with lighter colors, curtains, linens, etc. Lighten up rooms with a fresh coat of paint or wallpaper! Check out this link for easy and affordable spring decorating ideas.

Here at Exquisite Painting, we realize that spring cleaning can be a bit overwhelming! We are available to help with your painting and maintenance needs! Visit our Services Page for a full list of our services or contact us for details!

Fall Cleaning Checklist: Preparing for Winter

 kids cleaning house Winter is quickly approaching, and there always seems to be so much preparation needed! With so much to do, it’s easy to forget some important tasks. Of course we realize this is an extensive list but we’re covering all bases. We offer this checklist to help you stay on track.

  • Wash all windows inside and out and wipe down window sills.
  • Vacuum or wipe down blinds.
  • Clean light fixtures.
  • Clean walls and ceilings- Use a damp towel or sponge and non-abrasive cleaner.
  • Clean/dust all furniture- Vacuum and clean upholstery, dust shelves, tv’s, etc.
  • Clean and organize all kitchen cabinets- put away appliances you don’t use daily. Plan ahead for holiday cooking while you organize.
  • Pull out refrigerator and dust off condenser coil. Sweep behind and under refrigerator.
  • Have hardwood floors touched up if needed.
  • Have carpets deep cleaned.
  • Get out extra blankets and clean all bedding.
  • Switch window treatments- Replace summer curtains with thicker drapes to help keep out the cold.
  • Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors- Buy new ones or replace batteries if needed.
  • Change furnace filter- Buy some ahead of time to prepare for the winter. They should be replaced monthly.
  • Clean or replace humidifier elements.
  • Check washer hoses and dryer vent- Make sure washer hoses are free of cracks and dryer vents are free of build-up.
  • Remove debris from gutters and downspouts.
  • Have chimneys cleaned if needed.
  • Check for drafts- Replace caulking or weather stripping as needed.
  • Clean patio furniture, children’s toys, etc. and put away in the garage or shed.
  • Drain and store garden hose.
  • Check exterior paint- Remove flaking paint and touch up where needed. (Please get in touch with us if we can be of any service!)
  • Check lighting- Replace bulbs as needed.

We at Exquisite Painting wish you a warm and worry free season!

Related Links—
How to Clean Upholstery
How to Clean Windows Like a Pro

Sources–
Organizedhome.com- Fall Cleaning Chore Checklist
MarthaStewart.com- Fall Homekeeping Tips
RealSimple.com- Fall Cleaning Checklist

Decorate with Beautiful Spring Colors

TulipsMarch 20, 2014– Are you fighting the winter blues?  Well, no more!  Spring is here!  Start by transforming your beautiful home by adding some spring colors to your home. The following article, by House Beautiful shows some very springy colors and offers some fresh decorating ideas.  Our personal favorite is the sunny yellows or the pale greens.

http://www.housebeautiful.com/decorating/colors/spring-decorating-ideas#slide-1
 

Spring Home Improvement Tips and Ideas

HydrangeasMarch 20, 2014–There is no better investment than home improvement and Springtime is the perfect time of the year to think about your home’s current and future condition.  We’d like to offer these “15 Spring Home Maintenance Tips” by US News.  Although written in 2013, this article covers it all…from inspecting your roof to draining your water heater.  We’re especially interested in #9 Repair any cracked or peeling paint…

US News Money – Personal Finance