Fri, 22 Sep 2023

What to Do When Pressure Washing Your Home

27 Oct 2022, 22:24 GMT+10

pressure washing a deck in Dublin

It takes some forethought and expertise to get the outside of your house clean, but the results are well worth it.

Pressure washing is the next best thing to waving a magic wand over your home's exterior, making short work of years' worth of mildew, soot, filth, and grime. This method is great for cleaning conventional materials including stucco, aluminium, steel, wood, and brick. As a routine maintenance measure, pressure cleaning can be performed once every few years. It's also required prior to painting the exterior of a home.

However, you can't just hook up a garden hose to a pressure washer and start spraying water to do this. Skill is also required for pressure washing. You might ruin the siding or paint if you spray too forcefully. In reality, fibre cement siding or bottle-dash or rock-dash stucco should not be washed with high pressure.

Pressure washing a house can be dangerous if not done correctly and is physically exhausting. If it's been a while since you've pressure cleaned your house, you're probably in for a long day of scrubbing by hand and bending and stretching to reach every corner. In the event that your home has more than one story, and you are not comfortable working from scaffolding, it is recommended that you hire a professional. If you own a one-story home, however, you can follow the instructions below to pressure wash it and improve its curb appeal.

First Things First

Power washing is best done on a mild day in the spring or fall, so make sure to check the forecast. It's best to avoid doing laundry while the sun is at its hottest in the summer, as this can cause the cleaning agents to dry before you've had a chance to properly remove them. Your home will soon be sparkling clean again if you use the right cleaning solutions, scrub hard, employ good technique, and give everything a good rinse.

Picking the Best Pressure Washer

Clean boats, sidewalks, decks, and houses with the high-pressure water spray produced by a pressure washer. The force exerted by the liquid inside is expressed in pounds per square inch (psi), which is a standard unit of measurement for pressure. Pressure washers are available in both gas and electric varieties, with the gas variant being the better choice for more demanding tasks and harder surfaces because to its higher maximum operating pressure. Gas pressure washers are more convenient for cleaning hard-to-reach locations because they do not need to be plugged into an electrical outlet.

The representative at the rental shop can advise you on the best pressure washer to use for your task. (You should also check the machine's handbook to make sure the psi is appropriate.) The rental agency should also show you how to attach the extension wand and how to change nozzles on the spraying wand. It's important to remember that many pressure washers weigh over a hundred pounds, and that they take up a lot of space. It's possible you'll need a friend and a truck to transport the pressure washer.

How many pounds per square inch does my home's siding require?

The minimum psi pressure for various construction materials varies. Pressure washers in a 1,200 to 1,500 psi range are ideal for use on painted, soft-grain wood siding, stucco, and aluminium siding. To further protect the stucco from gouging and nicking, a spray nozzle with an angle of 25 to 30 degrees is recommended. Use a machine with a pressure rating of 2,500 to 3,000 when power washing vinyl siding or other tough, unpainted materials like brick, stone, or steel. Fibre cement siding should not be washed with a pressure washer because doing so could potentially void the guarantee. If you insist on pressure washing this cladding, remember to keep the water pressure below 1,500 psi and the nozzle size large.

Tips for Staying Safe While Pressure Washing

  • If sprayed directly into the eyes, the water from a pressure washer can easily inflict permanent damage, such as blindness. Never use the device irresponsibly by spraying a friend or rinsing your hands and feet.

    The combination of water and electricity can be lethal. Tape over or cover exposed exterior outlets to keep water out. Avoid working near any overhead power lines that the extension wand could hit.

  • Put on some goggles. Dirt, rock, wood, and anything else that the water strikes can become dangerous projectiles.
  • To avoid getting wet while using a power washer, never stand on a ladder. Even with a companion holding the ladder, you could be thrown off by the recoil of a washer. Because of the risk of rebound, scaffolding is routinely used by experts. If your property has more than one story and you still want to do the work yourself, you will need to rent, borrow, or purchase (for around $200) a 6-foot rolling, lockable-wheel scaffold. This, along with your reach and the 12-foot extension wand, would allow you to reach and clean at heights of up to 24 feet.

Pressure Washing Your Home: 7 Easy Steps

If you want to clean the outside of your house without using a pressure washer, you can start by spraying it down with a regular garden sprayer and then move on to the next step.

The first thing to do is to cover the plants and secure the doors and windows.

Cover your landscaping with drop cloths or plastic sheeting to keep the rain and snow off your shrubs, plants, gardens, and lawns. If your home has leaky windows or doors, seal them shut and protect your belongings by taping them or covering them with plastic. Using duct tape, fasten everything bedding and clothing.

Second, gather your housecleaning supplies.

Mildewcide, obtainable at home centres or from the location from where you rented the equipment, should be diluted in water in a 5-gallon bucket as specified by the manufacturer. It is recommended to dilute the mildewcide-detergent solution by nine parts before adding bleach. Add this mixture to the garden sprayer.

Third, have your pressure washer ready to run by attaching the right nozzle to it.

When you're done with the garden sprayer and scrubbing, turn on the pressure washer you set up. Find the pressure washer's hose mount near the machine's rear. Connect the spigot outside to the other end of the garden hose, and then secure the hose to this mount.

A 15-degree spray nozzle should be used on tougher surfaces and at higher pressures. Reduce the pressure and use a 25- or 30-degree nozzle for softer surfaces. It's best to start at the top and work your way down when cleaning a two-story building; in this case, you'll need to use the extension wand to reach the upper level.

Scaffolding can be used to reach the second level, but it must be erected properly in accordance with the manufacturer's guidelines. Set up the scaffolding so that you can reach the siding from a comfortable working distance of 1.5 to 3 feet away, using the wand in one hand. When setting up the scaffolding, make sure the wheels are locked into place.

Four, working in 10-foot-wide portions, spray and scrub the siding from the bottom up.

You should spray the mildewcide solution on a single floor of your property. Scrub the siding gently but forcefully using a soft siding brush, starting at the bottom of the piece and working your way up. (If you start at the top, suds will run down the wall, making it harder to notice the filth and debris that has to be wiped off.) Washing a two-story house? Begin at the top and work your way down to the "floor" of the scaffolding.

Put on your goggles and give the cleaned area a test run under the pressure washer.

Wear protective eyewear once the initial area has been cleaned clean. Start the pressure washer after making sure the nozzle is at least three feet from the wall. Keep this distance if cleaning it off causes no damage. When cleaning stubborn grime, try moving in closer by 4- to 6-inch increments, pausing after each one to assess the effectiveness of the approach and look for signs of wear and tear. Maintain your most productive working distance and keep going.

Step 6: Wash the entire scrubbed area with a power washer.

Start power washing from the top of the scrubbed area once you've determined the proper distance from the siding. Start at the top and spray the overhangs and gutters. If you want to keep water from seeping under the siding, reach as high as you can with your arms without fear of being thrown off balance and tilt the sprayer down at a 45-degree angle.

Step 7: Rinse and repeat Steps 4-6 until the entire home has been cleaned.

When you've finished cleaning one area of siding, move on to the next part and repeat Steps 4 through 6 there until you've cleaned the entire house. Put away the cleaning supplies and equipment, roll up the drop cloths and plastic sheeting, and throw away the duct tape when you're done. Wait at least two days for the exterior to cure if you want to paint it later. If you haven't already, take a moment to look about your spotless house.

Do you know how much it costs to pressure wash a house?

On the plus side, water costs less than a penny per gallon on average. Numerous factors affect the cost of water, but if you use 250 gallons to pressure wash your home, you should expect to pay roughly $1.25. The price of water can be extrapolated for greater consumption.

Though costs may vary from region to region, expect to spend roughly $30 for a half day's rental of a pressure washer. Many of the other necessary components are probably already lying around the house, but if you don't have them, you can expect to spend around $200 to acquire them. That amounts to approximately $231.25. It's possible that you already have a hose, a bucket, and a brush of some kind for cleaning, but let's assume the worst.

Alternatively, hiring a professional pressure washing service can cost you anything from 10 cents to 80 cents per square foot. Before you start calling around for bids, figure out how much space you need.

Final Reflections

You may have thought pressure washing would be a breeze, but you've learned the hard way that proper technique and a lot of effort are needed to clean the exterior of your home without causing any damage. If you follow the directions attentively, you'll be able to get rid of all the dust and mildew in your home. Make sure you have everything you need before you begin; cover nearby plants, doors, and windows; clean the siding; and then use a power washer. You should wash the siding a few days before you plan to paint or stain it, to ensure that it is completely dry before you begin.

What You Need to Know About Pressure Washing a Home

Do you have some more inquiries? Having all the required resources on hand and a well-defined strategy in place are prerequisites for beginning this sort of endeavour successfully. These frequently asked questions (and their answers) will help you become thoroughly prepared for your pressure cleaning project.

Is pressure washing required before to painting a house?

Using a power washer to clean the exterior of a house before painting it is a good idea. Paint won't stick well to a dirty surface, so even if the exterior looks clean, it probably isn't. In addition, if you don't wash the house first, your expensive, time-consuming paint work will look terrible since the paint will trap all kinds of built-up dust and dirt.

What's the most effective method for cleaning a home's exterior?

You can either use one of the many premade or store-bought commercial solutions for washing the outside of a house. All you have to do is add some dish soap to a pail of hot water and stir until it's completely diluted. It is recommended to use vinegar for cleaning vinyl siding or painted homes.

Can stucco be pressure washed?

Most types of stucco can be pressure washed, but only if special precautions are taken to avoid damaging the surface. Use a smaller gallons-per-minute setting if your machine has one, and a wider spray radius to evenly distribute the water's pressure across the siding. Stucco that is easily damaged, such as bottle-dash or rock-dash stucco, should not be pressure washed.

The time required to pressure wash a home is unknown.

Depending on the size of the home, pressure washing might take anywhere from 30 minutes to three hours or more. It could take as little as an hour to clean a 2,500 square foot, single-story house.

Do you know how much it costs to pressure wash a house?

To pressure wash a 2,500 square foot house could cost as little as $200, depending on whether you already own a pressure washer or need to hire one.

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