Working around cedar shakes

I have a customer that wants me to clean his porch ceilings, soffits (painted exposed rafter tails), and clean the window trim around his house. However, the house itself is stained cedar shakes and he doesn’t want them cleaned this year. I’m concerned about using SH for the areas he wants cleaned and jacking up the cedar. I would appreciate any guidance. I sure don’t want to mess up 6,000 sq ft of cedar siding. Thanks in advance.

It doesn’t look like it has any organic stains. Just hit it with some Elemonator and don’t even worry about using sh. You have to be careful with SH on painted woodwork anyways. If the paint is cracking in any area it has a way of getting underneath and loosening the paint.

I’d refuse to wash just the soffit, window trim, and porch ceiling. Soap and dirt from the soffit and window trim is going to run right down onto the rest of the house so you’re basically going to have to rinse the whole house down. If you don’t charge him for it you’re basically washing it for free. Tell him it’s all or nothing.


I use elemonator with warm water 110 degrees or so on that, the Heat helps with that. Same with @marinegrunt don’t do just soffits.

@marinegrunt Looks like some mildew on the exposed rafters?? I agree on your all or nothing take, your gonna be rinsing everything anyway so your basically cleaning everything. @BvinR not that I’m nearly as experienced as many others on here but I have done a few of these. Customers wanted just soffit and trim cleaned. I charge a slightly reduced rate over my house wash price because I’m just rinsing the siding and not cleaning it. That being said what I did was to prewet all the cedar siding and then soap the soffit and trim while another guy comes back behind me and continues to rinse the cedar to remove any SH that runs onto it. As long as you keep the cedar wet and clean of any sh as soon as in runs onto it you will be fine

As @Innocentbystander would say, you would make more money by just walking away.


I did a painted house with stained cedar beam trim earlier this year, I refused to use SH and just went a little heavy on the surfactant. It worked fine. the beams were higher up than I wanted to be on a ladder.

Thanks everyone. I sent him a price to do it all ($1700) and an explanation of why. If that doesn’t work, I will respectfully decline. I appreciate the feedback and will let y’all know the outcome.

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