Power washing is one of the best ways to keep a variety of surfaces on your property clean and free of organic material and other contaminants.
Doubtlessly, you've heard or read that you shouldn't power wash any surface, because the force of the water will damage what you are attempting to clean, including vinyl and other types of siding. At the same time, friends or colleagues have told you that cleaning siding and other residential surfaces through power washing is the way to go as it saves time and money, plus they have never had any problem with damaging a surface.
What should you believe? Is power washing really safe to clean a variety of surfaces around your home? The answer is: Yes - but it depends. Inexperience with using a power washer is usually involved in damaging surfaces. Here is what happened to Mike.
Using Too Much Pressure and Spraying at the Wrong Angle
Mike and his wife bought an older home just a few blocks off the Gulf of Mexico. The concrete driveway had numerous oil and chemical stains on it, while the home's vinyl siding had significant algae and mildew buildup in places due to its proximity to the ocean. Mike went to his local hardware store and rented a medium-duty pressure washer for the day. As a former college athlete, he figured he was strong enough to withstand the force of water exerted by the unit. Mike scanned the user manual, slapped some detergent on the oil stains and let it sit for a few moments while he put a nozzle that he thought would work on the driveway. Then he turned on the water and started washing.
"This is pretty easy," Mike thought to himself as he swept the wand back and forth across the driveway. Within a matter of moment, he could already see a difference: The stains were less visible though it took a lot more than expected to make the oil and chemical stains less obvious. He couldn't get them off completely but it was better than before, and he gave himself a mental pat on the back. Even though the driveway was still wet, he could see that the stains were diminished.
Note: Oil and chemical stains penetrate the concrete and often become permanent stains which takes some expertise to get removed. A professional pressure washing company knows what to do to get the best results.
After moving the pressure washer over to the side of the house that had the most mold and algae, he followed the same routine, putting detergent on the siding and then turned on the power washer. Everything seemed to go fine for a few minutes. When he once again sprayed back and forth he moved to a tough spot caked with algae and mold. It wouldn't come off, so he moved closer. It still wouldn't come off, so he tried moving the wand at a different angle. Still no luck. Suddenly, the board above the one he was working on started to come loose and water ran under the siding. Mike panicked for a moment and inadvertently aimed the wand at some nearby windows, one of which started to crack. What had started out as a successful cleaning project turned bad.
How Inexperience With a Power Washer Can Damage Your Property
Mike's first mistake was thinking that all he needed was to be beefy enough to handle the strong stream of water. Power washing involves much more than that. What Mike should have done is given his vinyl siding much more thorough preparation. When encountering algae and mold, apply a solution of bleach to the area and then scrub it off before cleaning. Always use the lowest possible pressure when cleaning with the proper nozzle. Mike used the same pressure for cleaning the siding as he did for cleaning his concrete driveway. A hardscape like that can withstand a greater force of water. Secondly, he used the same 25-degree nozzle - also a mistake. Vinyl siding needs a 40-degree nozzle, which sprays water over a wider area as the surface is more prone to damage.
Tips for Cleaning Vinyl and Other Types of Siding
Power washing won't damage the siding of your home in Clearwater if you follow a few simple rules like these:
Can Power Washing Damage Other Surfaces?
Again, the answer is yes, if you use the power washer improperly. Virtually all surfaces can sustain damage. Although you may have friends who have used a lower pressure power washer to clean a vehicle, it's best to avoid doing so. Using a power washer is apt to remove car paint. Not only is that a problem, but you should never power wash under the hood as you can easily dislodge engine components.
The same goes for many other types of surfaces. You can safely wash exterior walls like stucco, cement, wood and other exterior surfaces. Use caution when pressure washing wood: Work with the grain and don't use too high pressure or point the wand at one spot for any length of time as this can wash out the softer parts of the wood and leave an uneven and chippy surface. Hardscapes around pools, walkways and the like, along with soffits and gutters clean nicely when using a power washer. Brick and pavers that you may have in patios and walkways need a little extra care during a power wash as these surfaces are more fragile. For example: older brick ways can be brittle and the grout can get washed out easily.
When to Use Professional Power Washing Services
Many homeowners can readily rent a power washer to perform light exterior cleaning as long as they pay close attention to the pressure they use as well as the nozzle placed on the wand. However, there are some instances when you should perform a search for power washing near me in Clearwater to have your cleaning job done professionally.
One of those instances is power washing your roof. Getting up on a ladder is one thing but walking on a wet roof can be dangerous: Slippery when wet becomes a whole new meaning when you're high up on your roof. Not to mention the fact that if you have a terracotta or another type of tile roof, you can easily damage the surface. Power washing professionals will safely clean your roof through a soft wash, while also protecting surrounding landscaping.
Another tough job involves washing windows. Some skill is needed to clean windows without leaving streaks or watermarks, not to mention the possibility of breaking a pane with the force of the water. Therefore, we do not recommend washing windows with a power washer wand - we never do.
DPI Pressure Washing is Your Trusted Power Washing Contractor
If you feel you don't have the skill to power washing, DPI Pressure Washing is here to help. Contact us today at 813-991-7243 for your free quote.
Ella May + Luna Marie + Amelie Rose Munoz:
We like to help our Dad to promote his pressure washing and window cleaning business in Clearwater and Tampa Bay. Hope you enjoy this blog ;-).
Charlotta Munoz + kids