Evergreen FAQs

1. Are you licensed, bonded, and insured?
2. Do you wear shoe-covers and use drop-cloths when doing the interior windows?
3. I have UV ray film on my windows. How will you clean it?
4. Do you use razor blades?
5. I have stickers. Can you remove them?
6. Do you move objects away from the windows before cleaning them?
7. Do you do construction cleaning?
8. How often should I have my windows cleaned?
9. Why are my windows foggy?
10. Won’t steel wool scratch my glass?
11. I need to replace some windows or skylights. Do you have any recommendations?
12. Are there any surfaces you don’t pressure-wash?
13. How often should I have my flatwork pressure-washed?
14. How do you clean roofs?
15. What types of roofs do you clean?
16. I’ve heard you should never pressure wash a roof. Why does your company pressure wash roofs?
17. How often should I have my roof washed?
18. Do you clean with air-compression?
19. Do you clean the downspouts when cleaning the gutters?
20. What about all the debris on my roof? Won’t it just run down into the gutters after you’ve cleaned them?
21. Can you clear an underground drainage pipe if my overflowing gutters are the result of an underground blockage?
22. Should I install a leaf-filtration system (sometimes called “gutter guards” or “gutter filters”) on my gutters?
23. Do you serve my area?

1. Are you licensed, bonded, and insured?
Yes, on all three. Here’s a link to our file at the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.

2. Do you wear shoe-covers and use drop-cloths when doing interior windows?
Yes. We use drop-cloths over carpeted areas and furniture that is not easily movable. We also wipe up any drips from hardwood and tile floors. And we always wear shoe-covers when entering a home.

3. I have UV ray film on my windows. How will you clean it?
Exposed UV ray film is becoming a rarity these days in the Seattle area, but we still find it on some older panes. It can only be cleaned with soap and squeegees. No abrasive should ever be used on it no matter how dirty it is. While we are pretty good at spotting it, we really appreciate being notified of its existence before beginning a job.

4. Do you use razor blades?
We use razor blades sparingly and never on tempered glass, which is often covered with microscopic fabricating debris. These tiny bits of glass debris come from the rollers used in the manufacturing process and are easily nicked off by razors, leaving scratch marks behind that are especially visible in sunlight. Modern tempered glass is usually marked as such in a corner and are placed (per construction code) in places where the glass could easily be broken. It is found in and near doors, over bathtubs, in showers, on staircases, in skylights, on any pane near to the ground, among other places.

5. I have stickers. Can you remove them?
Yes. We will remove a few stickers free of charge, but will need to add an additional charge for more than that.

6. Do you move objects away from the windows before cleaning them?
If the objects or furniture are easily movable and present no risk of breakage we are happy to move them for you and replace them. If there are many small objects in front of the windows, it really helps us do our job more efficiently if they are moved beforehand.

7. Do you do construction cleaning?
We no longer take on new construction window cleaning, though we can make exceptions for existing customers.

8. How often should I have my windows cleaned?
We recommend having them cleaned no less than once a year, but many customers have us come more often. A common request is to have the interior windows cleaned only once a year and the exteriors cleaned twice or quarterly.

9. Why are my windows foggy?
Fog is a common problem in double-paned thermal windows. When they are made, the gas between the panes is sealed in. If the seal breaks, the gas leaks out and moisture leaks in causing fogging in the window. Unfortunately, the best remedy for fixing this problem is to replace the window. However, before you go throwing good money away, first check with the installing contractor or manufacturer to see what warranties exist on your windows. Many of the high-end brands come with decent warranties.

10. Won’t steel wool scratch my glass?
Steel wool (#0000) or brass wool is used by most premier residential window cleaning companies to remove all those bits of organic material missed by every other scrubbing device. Steel wool is softer than glass and cannot scratch it. It also has the huge advantage over razor blades in that it rolls over any microscopic fabricating debris that might have been “cooked” into the glass during manufacturing (see the next FAQ for more on this). Sand, dirt, and concrete particles can scratch glass when trapped on anything dragged across the glass (whether a squeegee, steel wool, or a rag). This is why we use fresh steel wool, squeegees, and rags on each job. Be advised: while steel wool and brass wool will not scratch glass, other cleaning abrasives like SOS pads will absolutely scratch it and should never be used to clean it.

11. I need to replace some windows or skylights. Do you have any brand recommendations?
While each homeowner will need to tailor any purchase to their budgeting and taste requirements, we do have some general recommendations from a maintenance standpoint:
a. Because of the all-too-common problem of leaky seals and foggy windows, make sure you get a solid warranty from a brand with the staying power to back it up.
b. Acrylic, vinyl, or plastic skylights (or windows) should always be avoided. Sometimes, particularly in skylights, they are installed for safety to protect against falling limbs. However, be advised that sap (and other matter) is impossible to remove without doing damage to the skylight. In our estimation, acrylic skylights are installed without any thought of future maintenance and within a few years are a big disappointment to most homeowners.
c. For cleaning access, screens should always be removable from the outside. Most are, but a few odd brands allow inside-only removal. These add time and cost to cleaning.
d. If you want more energy efficiency, pay the extra for argon (or krypton, xenon, etc.) thermal windows with low-emissivity coating between the panes. Don’t buy regular panes with a view to applying UV ray film after. Even the best film doesn’t clean well after a year or two. And if you do happen to purchase the film, it should never be applied to the window exterior.

12. Are there any surfaces you don’t pressure-wash?
We clean almost every type of surface with a few exceptions. There are some surfaces we won’t do owing to a high potential for water damage or others for which we are unequipped to do safely.

13. How often should I have my flatwork pressure-washed?
Some people like the clean look of annual pressure washing, but as with any type of pressure cleaning, it wears the surface over time. For those who want to spread out their pressure washing services to every other year or more, we recommend keeping the surfaces free of debris, rinsing it down as needed, and applying an outdoor cleaner such as 30-Seconds or Wet & Forget to keep the green away.

14. How do you clean roofs?
Please see our options here.

15. What types of roofs do you clean?
We clean most roof types: composition, aluminum, cedar shake, torch-down, pvc, and many types of tile. There are a few exceptions, however. We no longer clean soft aluminum tiles for example, due to damage liability. We air-blow cedar shake, but don’t wash or stain it. We also don’t clean roofs we aren’t equipped to clean safely or roofs in need of replacement or serous repair. If you have any questions about your own roof, please contact us.

16. I’ve heard you should never pressure wash a roof. Why does your company pressure wash roofs?
It is a well-known fact that pressure washers can do a lot of damage. A high-volume, high-psi pressure washer can actually bore a hole right through concrete without much problem. Knowing this has rightfully made most homeowners wary about having anyone pressure-wash their roofs. And a lot of contractors, who know less about pressure washers than they do about the potential damage they can do, insist that a pressure washer should never be used on a roof. But to that we say, abusus usum non tollit, that is, the abuse of something doesn’t negate its proper use. Just because knives are dangerous to children, doesn’t mean we don’t keep a few in the house and use them for preparing meals. We all know about knives because we all use them. Not everyone, however, knows about pressure washers.

The truth is that a commercial pressure washer in the hands of a well-trained tech is often the softest and best approach to moss removal, especially where the only other alternative is to use a wire brush. Because there is so much misinformation about pressure washing roofs and too many “cowboys” out there with pressure washers, it might be useful here to share one piece of knowledge our techs have about washing roofs that most people and many contractors* don’t. For example:

You might know that the type of tip used at the end of a pressure washing wand is one of the essential components in determining the outcome of a project. And you might also know that pressure washers come with a set of tips of varying degrees, from 0° to 40° plus a rinse tip. But did you know that those tips are sized to match your specific machine? If you own a 4-gpm 4000psi machine, you will have a set of four tips labeled 0004, 1504, 2504, 4004. The first two digits in each of those numbers tell you the degree of the flow of water from those tips: 0°, 15°, 25°, and 40°, respectively. The last two digits tell you the size of the orifice. In this case, 04, for the 4 gallons per minute (gpm) of water your machine is designed to draw. Now, if you were to replace these tips with size 08 tips on this particular machine, your pressure would drop substantially while you would maintain the same flow rate. You would now have a 4gpm 1000psi machine. In our case, we ordinarily use 8gpm machines at 3000-3500 psi for concrete, aggregate, and other hard surfaces. The tips we most often use are size 09 tips. When cleaning roofs, however, we use size 12, 15, or 16, depending on the roof type and condition to drop the psi significantly and eliminate the potential for damage.

This may be more than you wanted to know. And there are many other things a well-trained technician knows about pressure washing such as where to hold the wand in relation to the surface, pre-soaking with cleaning agents, what types of other tools can be used, when not to pressure wash, to name a few. All our techs are well-trained, smart, and experienced in cleaning roofs. If we offer the Roof Wash as an option for cleaning your roof, you may be certain it will be done carefully with minimal abrasion and the end result will be beautiful.

*In reality, many roofing contractors know that psi can be adjusted downward and that a pressure washer in the hands of a well-trained tech is most often preferable in cleaning a roof than rubbing it over with a wire brush. But, since they have no idea who’s going to be cleaning the roof or what kind of training they might have, they often simply recommend against pressure washing roofs for anyone except themselves.

17. How often should I have my roof washed?
The best option for the life of your roof, whatever type, is to never wash it (or brush it, for that matter), but to maintain it regularly by blowing off the debris and treating (i.e. killing) the moss. However, this might not cut it for aesthetic preferences, especially if maintenance has been long-neglected. Aluminum, rubber tile (faux slate), and thick concrete tile may be washed every few years as needed without causing leaking or reducing the life of the roof. And those who simply must have their composition roof looking completely new in a very short period of time (e.g., the house is going on the market), washing may be the best option. If you have questions about your own situation, please don’t hesitate to ask one of our techs.

18. Do you clean with air-compression?
We use air-blowers (leaf-blowers) to remove loose debris from roofs, and we use high-volume, low-pressure pressure washers to clean roofs that require cleaning, but we don’t use compressed air on roofs. We want to provide excellent service to our customers and haven’t been convinced yet that air-compression cleaning does a great job. Unlike water, compressed-air leaves a lot of dirt behind, yet it is still quite hard on the roof. If a roof must be cleaned and made to look like new, pressurized water in the hands of an experienced tech is the way to go. If routine leaf/debris removal is required, a regular commercial backpack blower is all that’s needed to get the job done.

19. Do you clean the downspouts when cleaning the gutters?
Yes. We make sure every downspout is clean, often using snakes and hoses. If the clog is bad, we may need to take the pipe apart and put it back together. This is included in the basic gutter-cleaning price.

20. What about all the debris on my roof? Won’t it just run down into the gutters after you’ve cleaned them?
If there isn’t much debris on the roof, we will sometimes include an air-blow with the gutter cleaning and it will be listed on your estimate. If it’s not listed, and you think you need it, tell us. We’ll be happy to add that service.

21. Can you clear an underground drainage pipe if my overflowing gutters are the result of an underground blockage?
Yes! We now have the equipment to handle many underground blockages up to a hundred feet. However, this is a different service from gutter cleaning and will be listed on quotes and invoices as a separate line item. If you are interested in this service, please let us know.

22. Should I install a leaf-filtration system (sometimes called gutter guards or gutter filters) on my gutters?
Our overall feeling about leaf-filtration systems is that they are a bad idea for most homeowners. The good systems tend not to be cost-effective and the mid- to low-quality systems cause more problems than they fix and will likely need to be removed after a few years. Still, we recommend you do the math and find out for yourself:

a. Find out how much money you would spend on gutter cleanings for the time you intend to remain in your home. For example, say you plan on retiring and moving elsewhere in 10 years. If your gutters need to be cleaned once a year and if they cost $160 per visit (the cost for an average home), that’s a total of $1,600. You might add on a few hundred to account for rising prices.

b. Then find out the price of the various leaf-filtration systems, installation costs, the guaranties on each (if any), and any value added to your home if you were to sell. Add to this any regular gutter maintenance costs that remain once the LFS has been installed. (Warranties on these systems only promise that the gutters won’t clog. They don’t guarantee that rain won’t run over when leaves and needles cover the filters. This is a common problem. If you have an LFS installed, just know that you will often still need to brush or blow off the debris). Then make sure to account for the time-value of money ($1,600 paid toward an LFS today is more expensive than $1,600 paid out for gutter cleaning in $160 annual payments).
A high-quality LFS that really works and has a clog-free guarantee (like Leaf Filter) can cost thousands of dollars and will probably add no value to the home on the sale. A mid-quality system from a lesser-known company may cost less and may even come with a clog-free guarantee, but they don’t tend to work as well and look out for the hidden danger that the company may go out of business and will not be able to back it’s guarantee. Again, these add little or no value to the home upon installation. Low-quality systems, such a self-installed screening or cheap foam inserts can really save you a lot of money initially, but they tend not to work in the long run, give no guarantees, and they often have to be removed after a few years because they’ve created more problems than they’ve solved.

c. Make a comparison. What’s the best overall decision for you? Most people, after running the numbers will find that a leaf filtration system doesn’t add up. But for some, particularly those who intend to keep their home for a great many years and have relatively little leaf fall around their home, an LFS may be the way to go. Here are a few major brands to check out: Leaf Guard, Gutter Glove, Leaf Filter, and Rain Filter.

23. Do you serve my area?
This list is not all-inclusive, but here are many of the cities and neighborhoods we serve:

Bellevue
Bothell
Brier
Clyde Hill
Des Moines
Edmonds
Hunt’s Point
Issaquah
Kenmore
Kirkland
Lake Forest Park
Lynnwood
Medina
Mercer Island
Mountlake Terrace
Newcastle
Redmond
Renton
Sammamish
Seattle
Shoreline
West Seattle
Woodinville
Woodway

Plus Gutter Cleaning, Roof Cleaning, & Pressure Washing