Help! Remove haze & streaks on windows from powerwashing


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Old 12-26-07, 11:52 AM
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Unhappy Help! Remove haze & streaks on windows from powerwashing

We had a contractor powerwash soffits and gutters to prepare for painting. Two days later, in bright sun, we noticed milky streaks on the windows. They apparently didn't rinse properly. I tried windex (outdoor) and it didn't work. I tried regular windex and rubbing with a cloth--didn't work.

The contractor says he will try a "detergent" to get it off, but if it doesn't work then he will use a "wax" and a "buffer" to get it off.

I can't afford a mistake (trying to sell my house!), so what detergent is safe? Is this advisable--wax and buffer on windows? What do you use to clean them after they have been waxed and buffed?

Thank you!
B.Keller
 
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Old 12-26-07, 01:09 PM
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Just add some vinegar to water and use crumpled newspaper. You can add a teaspoon of dishwashing liquid if you like (this is the detergent he's talking about). You could also substitute ammonia for the vinegar.
If you've paid the contractor to clean them and he didn't do a good job, I'd just let him do it. He'd be using a glass wax which is safe and will come off next time they're cleaned.
 
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Old 12-26-07, 02:56 PM
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I suspect that deteriated paint residue got on the glass. I'd be suprised if a good detergent doesn't remove it.
 
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Old 12-26-07, 05:52 PM
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I wouldn't mess with it - this is the contractor's problem, make him fix it.
 
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Old 12-26-07, 10:29 PM
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Paint residue more than likely......BUT if this were my home i would not let anyone take a mech. buffer to my windows. Elbow grease would be the best way. One slip up, dirty pad, too much pressure....and replacing the windows will be next.

Have them rewash with a detergent...applying it and scrubbing it with a soft brush and giving the chem good dwell time will work.
 
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Old 12-27-07, 08:00 AM
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Thanks!

Thanks to all of you for such a fast response! Yes, it's the contractor's problem, and he will have to fix it. I hope they can get the stuff off and windows don't have to be replaced. That would be a can of worms . . .

Cleaning windows was not part of the contract. Paint residue might be some of what's on there, but on one side of the house where it's the worst, it's simply the solution that was used.

No water was ever used to rinse. How I know is when our water supply is used, it leaks and goes all over the driveway--it doesn't dry out for about 4 days (we live in a damp area). One of the guys had to show up while we were gone, spray the solution and leave.

In any event, I will test a very small spot with Shadladie's suggestion. I will pin them down on what they intend to use and how they intend to do it. I am hoping that the wax/buffer they talked about is glass wax and elbow grease. I agree no mech. buffer should touch the windows and I won't let them.

I wanted to be sure I was thinking in the right direction before I talk to them next. I'll let you know how it goes. Thank you all SO much!
B.Keller
 
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Old 12-27-07, 01:15 PM
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How did they pressure wash your house without using your water supply?

To adequately clean a house for painting, you need to do more than apply a cleaner. It also has to be rinsed well!! Cleaner residue can affect the new paint's bond with the substrate.

When I pressure wash a house, I normally don't clean the windows [unless agreed upon beforehand] but cleaning/rinsing the siding, soffit, etc. also includes rinsing the windows and any brick. It isn't uncommon for the windows to have water spots after cleaning the house.
 
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Old 12-27-07, 02:24 PM
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Thanks for your note--

Pre-mixed.

This is probably Too Much Info, but so you can understand: this part of the job was done on 2 different days -- the first day, the man in charge of powerwashing worked on one side of the house, took his time, was up and down a ladder, rinsed things and it took practically 1/2 a day to get that side done. There are some streaks on a couple of those windows, but not bad.

Almost a week later he came back, with another guy who followed him in his own truck. What was left to be done was pointed out to the helper. They were behind, so I assumed our contractors had OKd the helper, but as it turns out, they had not OKd him.

After pointing out what was left to do, the men got in their trucks and left. The new guy was given the other man's plastic pump with the small wand on it (like for pesticides). That is what was being used for applying the solution.

We figured they would come back another day since it was late already. We had errands to do, so we left. We were gone for little over 1 hour. In that short time, only the helper returned with the solution (pre-mixed in the pump) and just squirted it on the soffits /gutters and left. He didn't powerwash anything. I know this because I have confirmed it with our contractors.

We didn't notice until late the next day that one section of guttering looked clean and remarked that they must have returned to finish the job-- after it taking 1/2 day to do the one side of the house, I said 'no way' they couldn't have possibly finished.

The day after that, it was a sunny day and I noticed the haze and drip lines on the windows and tried to get it off with no success.

We had no intention of having windows cleaned--didn't think we needed to worry about that. It's worse than just water spots-- it's a milky, hazy mess.
 
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Old 12-27-07, 02:59 PM
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I almost always use a bleach solution in a pump up garden sprayer. It works best if you wet the surface to be cleaned with water, then apply the cleaning solution and either rinse with a pressure washer or a garden hose. Stubborn areas may take a 2nd application and occasionally scrubbing.

Rinsing is always a must!!! I find it hard to believe anyone would spray on a cleaner and not rinse it off

I'd suggest getting the contractor - the one you are paying, to have who ever, come back and wash and rinse the house correctly. I wouldn't be suprised if doing so would cure 90% of the problems with the glass.
 
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Old 12-27-07, 10:30 PM
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one word here...SUBCONTRACTORS

When agreeing on work, always ask the general contractor..will you be doing the work, your employees or a sub.

Sounds like to me the job took too long on the first day, they had no time on day #2 so the sub was involved and the sub either wasnt told correctly, didnt have the equipment or didnt care. This is my own thoughts here, but i thought it would be good to post this advice.. Always ask whos doing the work. Even if i bring in a sub for my work. Im on site, i generaly bring in a sub only if its a big job or something they have more experience in.
 
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Old 12-28-07, 03:07 AM
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Usually there is no problem using sub contractors - it is done all the time. I've done a lot of painting as a sub contractor and many times the general contractor wasn't on the job. GC's often have many jobs going and can't spend all their time babysitting the subs.

That is not to say that the GC isn't responsible! Ultimitely he is the one responsible and the one that the customer writes the check to. His main control over the subs is his pay check to them. it is up to him to make sure the subs do their job correctly and the customer is satisfied with the job.
 
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Old 12-28-07, 11:39 AM
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Yes, yes & yes!

Thanks for cautioning about contractors and sub contractors. We are using these people for several jobs. I could care less if they get extra help as long as it has been approved by the contractor and they know what they are doing. I knew we might not get the job finished before cold weather. So, I understand completely the need for sub contractors.

We did ask many, many questions about who would be doing the work, asked that they be sure we are home when working, etc. Almost too many questions. The fellow doing the powerwashing was behind at another job and just simply didn't tell the contractor that he was going to get a sub.

Yes, the solution was sprayed on and left with no rinsing. ARGH! I will suggest that they do that side of the house again. Might be easier than spend time rubbing windows, and it might take care of the problem. I'll let you know what happens -- how quickly something so simple can become so complicated!

B.
 
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Old 01-17-08, 12:59 PM
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Thumbs up Final Results

Hi, just following up. Here is what we did about our windows:

Contractor returned and washed one set of windows with dish detergent. First, with a soft brush which did nothing, and then with a stiffer brush which did nothing. He washed each window 3 times. We were hopeful because each time he rinsed, the windows looked perfect. As soon as they dried, though, the haze returned along with all the drip/spray marks.

He said he would come back another day with a buffer. Said it had been done before and it would not be a problem and it wouldn't be risky. I argued against that.

I decided before he returned with the buffer that I'd try all the ideas anyone had suggested hoping something would work. No results. I headed out to buy a product called "A-Maz" sold at a glass restoration/replacement store-- they were closed -- my luck!

I live way out in the country so I wasn't going home empty-handed. I went to Walmart and spent time studying every product they carried in the cleaning and automotive sections. I bought 4 products. Two finally panned out!

I started on the worst window, which I figured would probably end up having to be replaced. I worked on a tiny section and used 3M Rubbing Compound (NO BUFFER -- PURE ELBOW GREASE!); it seemed to work. I got brave and did the entire window with it and got almost all the stuff off.

Then, on the same window, I used 3M Shine Restorer w/Carnuba wax. That did the trick. I worried that maybe the product was simply "masking" the problem, but we've had rain and snow and when the window dries, it's clear.

On the windows that were not as badly messed up, I found that using just the 3M Shine Restorer w/Carnuba wax worked. Both products have an extremely fine abrasive in them which removes oxidation and water spots.

The compound was about $6 and the shine restorer was about $9 in comes in about an 8 oz. bottle. I've done all but 3 windows and still have 1/2 a bottle of the shine restorer left. If any of you decides to use either of the products, work in about 1 - 2 ft. sections with a pea-sized amount of the liquid on a clean, terrycloth towel.

I'm worn out with rubbing & buffing! What do ya think-- Should they pay me for time, labor & cost of products -- or hire me !?

Thanks for all the advice and comments here-- I appreciate it.
B.K.
 
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Old 01-17-08, 01:25 PM
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Are we still waiting for the contractor to return to clean the windows?

Thank you for sharing your research with us. I am impressed with the 3M Shine Restorer w/Carnuba wax.
 
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Old 01-17-08, 02:53 PM
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Ya, it is always nice to hear the outcome - especially when it's good

I can just about garuntee you the contractor won't pay you for your time and trouble but assuming you've not paid him in full yet - I'd try and negotiate a discount. Remind him that he didn't have to pay an employee or sub to fix what he was ultimately responsible for.
 
 

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