One of the benefits of owning property in a planned community is the commitment among neighbors to maintain their property in a neat, attractive, and well-landscaped condition to enhance the overall beauty and aesthetic appeal of the community. A well-kept home appearance increases property values for everyone.
Mold and Algae on Concrete Surfaces
The high humidity of Florida creates a recurring outdoor maintenance problem: mold and algae on concrete surfaces.
Molds are types of fungi and are everywhere in the natural environment. Molds produce “spores” that are spread through the air and can also be spread by water and insects. Mold grows and multiplies wherever there is a suitable place to grow, a nutrient source, and moisture. Concrete, with all its nooks, crannies and pores, is an excellent mold incubator.
Green algae can be found in shaded areas where there is moisture, such as surfaces on the north side of buildings, under the shade of a tree, or under the roof of a concrete patio. Green algae can make a surface very slippery.
The gray or black streaks or splotches found on concrete are black algae. Black algae grows on outdoor surfaces such as concrete or roof shingles, and thrives with moisture and sunlight. Black algae can live on sidewalks and roofs that are exposed to intense sunlight due to the pigmented protective dark color that protects it from the sun.
What You Can Do – Cleaning Concrete Surfaces
Cleaning concrete surfaces enhances the “curb appeal” of your home and helps prevent the slippery surfaces that could cause accidents. Periodic and routine cleaning of the concrete surfaces also makes the job easier after the first cleaning. If you don’t care to tackle this project yourself, there are commercial cleaning companies that can be hired to provide this service. Cleaning concrete surfaces is accomplished in three steps:
Step One: Clean your sidewalk, patio, or pavers by sweeping or vacuuming to remove any caked-on dirt or debris from cracks and crevices.
Step Two: A homemade cleaning solution of ¼ to one cup of liquid bleach per gallon of water with a few drops of liquid soap, or a commercial solution found in home improvement stores, will work. Follow package directions when using a commercial product. Soak the area with your solution and let it set for 10-15 minutes to kill the mold and algae. For best results, scrub the surface with a hard-bristled scrub brush. As an alternative to scrubbing, use a pressure washer. Some pressure washers have a detergent tank for spraying a cleaning solution that is safe for your machine. Never put bleach in your pressure washer.
CAUTION: Detergent and bleach runoff can damage or kill plants near the work area. Use a diluted bleach solution (not full strength). Cover plants or route the runoff so it doesn’t come in contact with the plants. Before you begin, put on rubber gloves and avoid inhaling bleach fumes. Always use eye protection when using a pressure washer, as the force of the water could blow back debris or cleaning solution into your face.
Step Three: After scrubbing, rinse with water from a garden hose, or the pressure washer, to remove the cleaning solution and any remaining mold/algae organic matter.
Part of your home’s “curb appeal" includes the appearance of the street curb around your home. Include cleaning (pressure washing) the street curb when you clean concrete surfaces. Cleaning your sidewalks, driveway, and street curb is a recurring task in humid Florida, but the results always enhance the overall beauty of your home.