How does a roof with dirty black streaks create a business opportunity? Find out how this McHenry Country-based company got off the ground and discover how it can ensure a fuller life for your roof.
You may be looking at those black streaks on your roof and thinking they’re just dirt; but actually, they’re a sign of living algae colonies that are damaging your shingles.
“Most people mistake the black streaks on their roof as dirt or jet fuel,” says Monica Zylinski, owner of House Shampoo Inc., a roof and exterior cleaning contractor in McHenry. “It’s actually a growing colony of algae. If left untreated, an asphalt roof could lose up to half of its service life because the algae and lichen feed on the limestone in the shingles.”
Algae is most noticeable on the north and east sides of your home, where there’s less sunlight and more moisture. Algae attracts lichens, which attach themselves to all types of exterior surfaces. Over time, they loosen the protective granules on asphalt shingles or burrow into the cedar, thus exposing the underlying materials to the elements.
“This airborne spore floats and basically attaches itself to sources where food, light and water are available,” Zylinski says. “It can be found on virtually every exterior feature.”
These stains look dirty and unattractive on your home, and in excessive amounts they can actually pose a health concern to children, older people and those with allergy sensitivities or upper respiratory issues, says Zylinski.
House Shampoo began when Zylinski purchased an eight-year-old house whose roof was covered with black streaks. Zylinski, who has several years of business development experience, partnered with Gary Rogers, a 40-year veteran of the roofing and exterior trades. Together they developed a custom cleaning solution.
“We wanted to properly clean this roof, so we spent the next few months developing the House Shampoo proprietary solutions that we use today,” Zylinski says. “The roof was cleaned that spring and from that point forward, we drilled down on developing our brand, logos and the other details needed to create the service footprint for this company.”
Now, the pair are sharing their expertise and unique solutions with homeowners around the suburban area and beyond.
Before beginning a job, experienced crews determine whether a roof requires a good cleaning or simply needs replacing.
“We don’t want to clean a roof that needs to be replaced,” Zylinski says. “We want to clean a roof that needs to be cleaned, so you need a certain level of expertise to identify the correct course of action to take with your property.”
In one visit, House Shampoo can eliminate algae from a roof, thus expanding the life of cleaned surfaces. The application keeps algae growths at bay for several years.
“Some people see the black streaks coming down their roof, and they don’t like how they look, so they might think, ‘Maybe we’ll have to replace that roof pretty soon,’” Zylinski says. “Those are the people who should be calling us. When we send out a staffer to look at your property, you’re talking to someone with 40-plus years of experience in the roofing and exterior trades and who is regarded as a seasoned expert.”
House Shampoo treatments can restore a roof such that it looks brand-new, thus enhancing its appearance. It’s pretty handy for homeowners looking to attract potential homebuyers.
“Most buyers like the idea of walking into something they don’t have to touch for a while, and a roof can be a real quirky thing because of the huge expense to replace it,” Zylinski says. “If there’s even a hint that it’s failing, that can discourage a buyer before they’ve even seen the inside of the property. Investing in a roof and exterior cleaning is money well spent. It will improve your home’s curb appeal and help to get it sold faster.”
House Shampoo uses its environmentally safe, proprietary solutions to thoroughly clean and restore all types of surfaces. The solution is applied using the same low pressure as a garden hose, and it’s safe to use around garden beds, ivy or other landscaping.
“Our solution is so customizable that we can set it up so it’s used in different strengths, depending on the target and condition of the surface we’re cleaning,” Zylinski says. “Roofing and siding are always going to be treated with a low-pressure type of solution treatment, so there’s no need to worry about damaging these sensitive features or voiding warranties.”
Zylinski says House Shampoo’s process is much more effective than pressure washing, because the company’s solutions work in a different manner.
“Pressure only makes sense when used in combination with our solutions, and only on hard, durable surfaces,” she says. “The results we achieve last longer, and your property looks simply pristine when we leave.”
Zylinski says one of the best parts of the job is finishing a project and seeing the shocked look on a customer’s face.
“Customers don’t fully appreciate how drastically their property is transformed when they go through the House Shampoo cleaning process,” she says. “One of the really fun parts of what we do is finishing and having customers run at us, throw their arms around us, and say, ‘Oh wow, wow, wow.’ Getting that reaction is really gratifying and, honestly, there aren’t many industries where you have the privilege of experiencing such exuberance from your customers.”