Frequently Asked Questions

Somewhat confusingly, red algae is actually a form of green algae that gets it red colour from large quantities of carotenoids. Carotenoids are what give many foods their orange or red colour.

The algae thrives on damp, porous surfaces like rocks, trees and houses. Left unchecked, they will multiply and if the conditions are right will combine with fungus to form lichens.

Algae are capable of photosynthesis and produce the sugars that other biomass live on.

When red algae is treated by Red Gable Cleaning, the cell walls are punctured and the red carotenoids come flooding out. This is why a building will typically look worse for 24-48 hours after our treatment. All the staining caused by red algae will have disappeared within 4 weeks, often much sooner

Green algae is the term given to a large group of ancient and rudimentary plants. They thrive in areas that provide them with shelter and damp. Stone, concrete and most building materials provide an excellent habitat for algae!

Algae are capable of photosynthesis and produce the sugars that other biomass live on. By killing the algae we remove this food source and the other biomass dies and washes away.

When green algae is treated by Red Gable Cleaning the cell walls are punctured and this can cause the staining to look worse for 24-48 hours. This staining will biodegrade and be completely gone within 4 weeks.

Lichens are a combination of a fungus and an algae living together in a mutually beneficial way. The algae provides sugar and the fungus provides protection from heat and light.

Lichens on houses are typically yellow or white. They can grow on any surface. On the roof they can typically look like bird droppings on the slates or yellow staining along the ridge tiles.

Lichens produce an acid that dissolves the surface that they are growing on and helps them to attach very firmly. Some lichens can live for decades or even hundreds of years, surviving the extremes of Irish weather.

When lichens are treated by Red Gable Cleaning the algae is killed and the lichen dies. They are often very well attached to the surface and will take several weather cycles before they dry up and flake off.

Fungus most commonly shows itself on buildings as a very dark or black staining. This dark colour is from melanin, the same melanin that is in our skin and gives us a sun tan! It serves the same purpose which is to protect the fungus from the suns harmful ultra violet rays.

Fun fact: Fungus is genetically more closely related to animals than plants!

Often fungus is most prevalent where there is a leaking downpipe or overflowing gutter which keeps the area wetter for longer.

Fungus gets its food from dissolved minerals. They produce an acidic enzyme which dissolves the surface that they are growing on…your house!

They do not photosynthesise, but do combine with algae to form lichens.

When fungus is treated by Red Gable Cleaning it is killed within a few hours. However, the black staining is not water soluble until it has oxidised. This can take several months to happen if the staining is very severe.

No. Our system uses an eco-friendly biocide which kills micro-organisms naturally. Once it has killed the algae it is fully water soluble and biodegradable.

We do NOT recommend power hosing. This will damage every single thing it sprays. It removes layers of slate/tile/plaster/render/paint/etc. Power hosing sprays water at approximately 140 Bar, 2000 PSI but with our SOFTWASH water is applied at 2Bar 30 PSI.

Bleach will remove the colour of the algae and will kill some of it. However, the effects are not long lasting. Added to this is the fact that bleach is corrosive and harmful. Washing powder has been used to remove moss from tarmac. Again, this will have a limited effect and, like bleach, may stain the tarmac.

If a company says or shows the red staining being removed instantly they are using hypochlorite bleach in one form or another. Hypochlorite is extremely corrosive and will damage your property. Our SOFTWASH method uses a gentle biocide. There is no unpleasant smell and it will not harm any building product. It takes longer to work because it does the job properly.

In short, no! Your house is probably your biggest investment and one that should be cared for. We are not the cheapest but we are the best. You wouldn’t take your car to a carwash that used Brillo pads and bleach just because it was cheap! “We never charge more than we quote and we never quote more than a fair price”

Our SOFTWASH system can take several weeks to work fully. It will take even longer to remove lichens. However, the results can last for years. We have properties in very badly affected areas that are still spotless years after treatment. If your property is in a particularly damp and shady location, the algae will return more quickly. We cannot stop the algae from being in the air and the wind, no one can.

Yes. We are recommended by K-Rend. If you power hose your K-rend plaster you will create holes/scores/ where the water hits the soft render. We do no damage. K-Rend plaster will look like new in a matter of weeks.

Yes. Beautiful old Churches, Abbeys and Castles throughout Ireland are particularly susceptible to the growth of Moss and Algae along with Lichens. Many years of a build-up leads to discolouration of the old stone. SOFTWASH is ideal for such cases.

In some cases Insurance companies refuse to quote for commercial buildings with Moss on the roof. Moss behaves like a sponge and absorbs lots of water. When this freezes it expands and can lift or crack slates and tiles. This can cause huge amounts of damage, especially in high winds.

YES! Such was the demand for this environmentally & effective SOFTWASH Solution Biocide we are now happy to say the we treat properties in every county in Ireland. For now you can have a look at our Pros & Cons list for both our system & the outdated system.

Pros & Cons

Outdated Methods

Power Washing and Bleach
  • Quick result
  • Leaves live spores behind
  • Destroys finish & protective surface
  • Re-growth encouraged
  • Retains moisture
  • Shortens lifespan of surface
  • Retains dirt & grime
  • Severe chemical hazard
  • Harsh chemicals remain present
  • More expensive – false economy
  • Dangerous power washing at heights

Red Gable Cleaning System

Biocide Softwash
  • Kills organic growth
  • Re-growth inhibited
  • Protective surface finish unharmed
  • Less moisture retention
  • Lifespan of surface improved
  • Less dirt & grime retained
  • Appearance stays improved longer
  • Low environmental footprint
  • Less expensive – Improved economy
  • Safer High Access Operating System
  • Slower cleaning time i.e. not all growth and dirt disappear immediately