Is the exterior of your house grimy, dirty, and showing signs of age? You can restore the look of your home’s exterior to its best form by pressure washing it. Pressure washers are useful tools for homeowners and are more affordable all the time. However, before starting to pressure wash a house, you need to make sure that the material of your house is safe to be power washed.
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Power washing your home’s exterior is also necessary before painting. In order to make sure that the perfect application of the new paint job lasts, you must clean the dirty siding well. Cleaning siding boards can be pretty tiresome if done by hand scrubbing. A spray washer provides you with an easy and quick way to get this job done.
Continue reading to learn how you can prepare your house for an easy and effective power wash.
Types of Wash Suitable for Your Property
You can clean and wash your house in three ways; pressure, power and soft wash. Pressure wash includes forcing water with normal temperature out of the wand or nozzle at higher pressure than the regular garden hose. You can add a cleaning solution that will blast away things like mildew, dirt, grime and mold spores easily from your home. Power wash is similar to pressure washing but it uses heated water instead of standard water which breaks down anything sticky and can effectively wash off mold. In soft washing, you do not use high pressure rinse. It is a more eco-friendly cleaning solution. You use water from a regular garden hose and gently rinse to clean your house.
Preparing Your House For Pressure Washing
Water Down the Surrounding Landscape
Rinse the surrounding of your house with plain water and take care of the plants, trees and flowers near your home. Protecting your landscape is an easily overlooked part of cleaning your house. The cleaning solutions and chemicals you use to clean away the grime and remove dirt can end up getting on the bushes and other landscape plants and damage the plant life. If you water down the plants beforehand, the chemicals will not stick to the plants that are already soaked, gently reducing the chance of getting damaged.
Turn off the electricity of the room that you are cleaning and also the electrical fixtures on the house’s exterior. You will need to cover the lighting fixtures with plastic and seal them with tape to keep them dry and safe while cleaning. More pressure can break the glass of the fixture so you have to be careful to spray water from a distance. Also, cover air conditioner compressors, the patio furniture, and other electrical utilities in that area.
Make sure to wear proper safety equipment and employ safe operating practices. Wear eye protection such as glasses or safety goggles. For ears, wear ear protection as machines can be loud while working. Wear shoes that cover your toes as the pressure washer’s spray can be painful if it accidentally falls on your skin. Stand on the stable ground instead of climbing up on a ladder as the recoil of high pressure spraying can throw you off balance. If you are using one of the electric powered models, make sure all the electricity connections stay off the ground and dry.
Use the Right Pressure Washer and Accessories
Using the correct power washer and accessories and attachments according to your needs and your particular set up is crucial. Read the manufacturer manual of the model to make sure your pressure washing unit is suitable to be used on your home’s walls and siding.
If you want to wash your concrete driveway, you will need a surface cleaner attachment for this job. Surface cleaner attachment is a circular disc which makes cleaning the driveway a lot easier, safer and quicker.
For a wooden deck, pressure washing is optional. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions about the wood type to avoid any kind of damage to the wood. Use a fan spray nozzle attachment and run the pressure washer at a low setting for safe pressure washing.
For cleaning a two story or more house, you will need a pressure washing extension for your wand that will allow you to safely reach the areas higher up.
Also, make sure to use the appropriate detergents that are safe for your paint job and walls.
Use the Right Technique
Avoid top down spray at an upward angle as it can cause dirty water and dirt to run down the side of the house and it is easy to miss a section this way. Instead, spray in a horizontal side-to-side way with slightly downward angle.
Use a wide spray angle and low pressure to remove all the visible debris, dirt, eaves and insect nests. Also, you can use a scrub brush to pre-scrub the exterior to remove the unwanted stuff. Furthermore, have a look at these delightful vacuum cleaners for laminated floors.
When spraying gutters and roof overhangs, try to maintain a 45-degree angle to push dirt and debris away.
Do not power wash if your house has been painted with lead paint.
Be Careful With the Pressure Washer
Be aware of your surroundings while using a pressure washer with high pressure spray. Be careful where you point and make sure to never point it at people, animals, electrical wires and power lines and anything that’s fragile.
Make sure that the doors and windows are completely closed before you begin washing.
Pressure Washing Your Home For Painting
In addition to good cleaning, you can use pressure wash for many other purposes. You will need to pressure wash your entire house before you touch up the paint or change the color entirely. Pressure washing your house before painting will remove dirt, grime, debris, mold and mildew giving you a blank slate to paint on.
Here are some use tips for you on how to pressure wash your house before painting.
Before starting the deep cleaning process, you will need to rinse the walls to remove debris and wet the entire surface. Clean walls will also help the new paint make a firm bond with walls and exterior which prevents paint peeling and you wouldn’t have to repaint it over and over again.
Best Pressure Washer for Preparing Walls for Paint
Pressure washers come in a wide variety. There are pressure washers for industrial use as well as for residential homeowner use. For prepping your house for painting, you need a pressure washer that is powerful enough to cut down the amount of cleaning time. Smaller units usually take about half a day to pressure wash a house depending on the size of your home and the nozzle you use.
A pressure washer with PSI of about 3000 and 2.5 GPM will be perfect for cleaning your house. Anything faster and more powerful than that can damage your falls and widen the chips.
To Stip Paint
High pressure rinse can strip paint off the walls. If you want to change the color of your walls, you might have to remove the old paint and a pressure washer is a great tool for that. But the amount of water it needs will be harmful for the siding. Check your home’s recommendations before you start using a pressure washer.
Handle Siding With Care
While washing the siding, you have to be careful as the water can be forced behind the siding and the wall if you spray it at an improper angle leading to mold and mildew problems. Moreover, siding and walls often have small particles that can be washed away with the high pressure settings which degrade the quality of the siding and you will be needing to replace it sooner than normal.
We are mindful of the air vents, exhaust vents in attic or crawl space, wall cavities and cracks around the windows and doors. Make sure to close or cover these spaces to prevent the interior of your siding from getting soggy.
Let the Sides Dry
Some sidings take more time to dry than others. You need to wait for a bit longer with wood siding as it takes considerably longer to dry than aluminum siding, vinyl siding or fiber cement siding. Wait to let all bare wood completely dry. You might have to wait for 24 hours to let the wood siding of your house dry completely to prevent moisture from getting trapped under the paint. You can start painting, once it is dried.
Keep Your Distance
Use a medium pressure green tip to spray the water from a distance as it will reduce the force with which it hits the wall. You can come closer to cleaning off stubborn stains and remaining deep down dirt. Cover every square inch of the area you are going to paint and don’t miss any spot. Get to know about the window cleaners.
Attach a low pressure tip for applying detergent solution. Spray the detergent evenly with the 40 degree tip in an upward motion. This wide spray pattern will evenly spray the soap on the surface.
After applying the detergent, you will have to wait for it to sit on the surface before rinsing it off with fresh water. Make sure to let it dry. If there is no direct sunlight or the weather is not too hot, you can leave the cleaning solution to settle for 5-6 minutes.
To wash off the detergent, start from where you started and follow the same pattern, spraying in an upward sweeping motion
A pressure washer brings many benefits and makes your job quicker and easier but it has to be handled with caution and used after proper research to avoid damaging your property inadvertently.
Kenneth Cutler is the founder and head editor at Clean My World. Based in California, he has been writing about home cleaning and cleaning appliances for quite some time and various major brands such as Miss Mill Mag and Lifestyle Magazine. Over the years, Kenneth Cutler has reviewed thousands of vacuum cleaners and other related home appliances and products. This enabled him to develop a unique insight into what makes a good vacuum cleaner. He keeps an eye on the market trends and USA regulations. Apart from talking about cleaning stuff, he likes to play music and enjoys live concerts.