Pressure washing your home is an important part of keeping your home well maintained and now that summer is here and patio time is in full swing, you may be thinking of doing some pressure washing around the house.
A question you may ask yourself is whether you should do the pressure washing yourself, or hire a professional. The equipment for this job is easily accessible to homeowners through renting or even borrowing. This is convenient, but what people may not realize is that pressure washing is much more than just pointing the nozzle and spraying.
These are some of the items to be aware of when pressure washing:
The way you approach the job depends on what type of surface you are cleaning, what kinds of stains there may be and what area of space you’re working in.
- Concrete: A forgiving surface that can withstand higher pressures.
- Wood: A less forgiving surface when pressure washing. To avoid damage, it’s important to keep the pressure washer wand distance from the wood consistently 12 or more inches away.
- Vinyl: Keep the pressure lower to avoid puncturing the vinyl membrane.
Water Flow and Pressure
Knowledge of water flow in gallons per minute (GPM), and pressure (PSI – pounds square inch), is crucial to do a good pressure washing job. Without knowing what kind of water flow and pressure you need to be using for the job, you can severely damage your home, or even yourself.
Most consumer grade pressure washers are 1500-2500 psi which are ideal for cleaning vehicles, boats, decks, and homes. To adequately clean concrete, higher PSI ratings such as 3000-5000 are ideal, but these machines are typically commercial grade. To find out what PSI and GPM your machine has, refer to your owners manual or near the engine on the machine.
Pressure Washing Techniques
There are many techniques and tricks for cleaning certain surfaces that take a lot of practice to master. With a professional service provider, you are guaranteed to have a job well done with no streaks, missed spots, or damages.
Here are a couple of scenarios in which the type of surface, water flow/pressure, and technique will matter and affect your results:
When pressure washing concrete, the distance you keep from the surface is important to consider depending on the stain that you are trying to remove. For tough stains such as paint and gum, your distance from the concrete would have to decrease to ensure proper removal. Additionally, using eco-friendly sustainable detergents, such as Orange aPeel will help remove stains while being gentle on the environment. If the stain is simply green mold/dirt, it’s okay to increase the distance from the wand tip to the surface.
If you are considering pressure washing your wooden deck, you will want to use the appropriate nozzle tip (the higher the degree tip, the bigger the water fan sprayed) and adjust the pressure depending on the type of wood you’re about to clean (hardwood vs. softwood).
**Pro Tip: When washing wood, lower the pressure of the machine and increase your detergent concentration until you find a mix that cleans the surface with minimal pressure.
Pressure washing yourself will be less expensive if done properly. However, if it is not done correctly, then you may be looking at added costs to have the job done all over again or having to repair damages. Learn more about our pressure washing services here.