Maintaining the exterior of your home is as important as keeping the inside clean and tidy. Pressure washing a house is one of the most effective and efficient methods. Pressure washing makes it easy to remove dirt, mold, and other debris that has accumulated on siding, concrete porches and patios, fences, garages, decks, stucco surfaces, and more.
This article will explore how to pressure wash a house properly, with tips for proper preparation to get optimal performance from your pressure washer. We’ll outline what type of detergent to use, safety considerations when using a pressure washer, and more. So if you’re ready to give your house a thorough cleaning that will make it sparkle like new again, read on.
Top Reasons To Pressure Wash Your House
Pressure washing your house can seem daunting, but the results will be well worth the effort. Here are our top reasons why you should pressure wash your house.
Maintain Property Value
Pressure washing can help maintain or even increase the value of your property. It removes debris from siding, decks, driveways, patios, walkways, fences, and more, making them look newer for longer. Cleaning not only maintains the value of these items but will also enhance the overall appearance of your home. Regular pressure washing is an inexpensive way to protect one of your biggest investments — your home.
Increase Curb Appeal
The appearance of your home is one of the first things people notice when they pass by or visit you. If it’s dirty, they won’t have a great impression. When you pressure wash your house, you ensure it looks its best and has maximum curb appeal all year round. A clean home will give you peace of mind when guests visit and show prospective buyers that you take care of the property if you ever decide to put it on the market.
Cobwebs can accumulate over time on windowsills and corners of homes due to spiders and other insects that inhabit our outdoor environment. Pressure washing can easily remove these webs and any dirt or debris on your home’s exterior walls or window sills.
Improve Your Health
Lastly, pressure washing can improve the health of those living in or around the property. When left untreated, you’ll remove mold spores that cause respiratory illnesses such as asthma attacks or even chronic lung diseases. Additionally, by keeping outdoor areas clean and clear from dirt and debris, you’ll also be able to reduce insect infestations.
You’ll Catch Repairs Early
Pressure washing also lets you see what areas of your house need repairs. You get to fix these repairs before they get out of hand and become expensive problems. Pressure washing is also great if you intend to renovate because it’ll prime the surfaces and make the painting, staining, or sealing all the easier.
Choose the Right Type of Pressure Washer
The first step in choosing a pressure washer is deciding which type of machine is best suited to your needs. Pressure washers come in two main types — electric and gas-powered. Electric models are more affordable and require less maintenance than gas-powered ones, but they don’t offer as much power or portability.
Gas-powered models are more expensive but offer more power and portability than electric ones. For your house, a gas-powered model would be your best choice. The best part is that you can rent one if you want to avoid investing.
Consider Power Level and Water Flow Rate
Once you’ve decided on the type of machine you need, it’s time to consider its power level and water flow rate. The higher the power level (measured in PSI) and water flow rate (measured in GPM), the more powerful the machine can handle tougher jobs like removing stubborn stains or deep cleaning large surfaces like driveways or patios.
The right PSI for pressure washing your property will depend on building materials. Get 1200 to 1500 PSI for aluminum, softwood, stucco, or painted siding. Go with 2500 to 3000 PSI for hard surfaces, live vinyl, brick, stone, or steel. It’s generally not recommended to pressure wash materials like fiber cement. You also want to use wide-spray nozzles for most of the house, as these produce less pressure and cover a wider area.
Pressure Washer Safety Precautions
When pressure washing, wear protective gear such as goggles, gloves, and long-sleeved shirts and pants to protect yourself from the high-pressure water stream. It’s also a good idea to wear closed-toe shoes with non-slip soles for added protection. When using a gas-powered machine, wear hearing protection and when using an electric machine, ensure all connections stay dry.
Pressure washers generate a strong force of water that can cause serious harm if aimed at someone accidentally or deliberately. Keep children and pets away from the area to avoid any potential accidents or injuries. Avoid aiming the water at anyone or yourself.
Pressure washer recoil can be dangerous when you’re not ready, so avoid using the pressure washer on top of a ladder. If you must, ensure you have scaffolding to keep the ladder in place. Still, you must be very careful up there.
Step-By-Step Guide to Pressure Washing Your House
We’ve finally gotten to the best part, where you get to blast your pressure washer and clean your house. Let’s look at those steps and how you should go about them.
Cover Surrounding Greenery
Before you even begin pressure washing, cover any surrounding greenery with drop cloths or tarps. A cover will keep them safe from the pressure washer’s high-powered water stream and prevent any damage from occurring.
Close and Seal Doors and Windows
Close and seal off doors and windows with painter’s tape to keep water or debris from entering your home. Sealing is especially important for any openings close to your power washing area – just in case.
Prepare Your House Washing Solution
Once you have everything prepped, it’s time to prepare your house-washing solution. Use a pressure washing machine cleaning solution and mix it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Make sure you read all of the safety precautions before proceeding.
Remove All Obstacles That Could Get in Your Way
To ensure you can safely move around while pressure washing, remove any obstacles, such as furniture, toys, or sporting equipment, that could get in your way while working around your property.
Cover All Exterior Electrical Outlets
When dealing with a high-pressure stream of water, all electrical outlets must be covered as a safety measure so no one gets electrocuted during the process.
Fit Your Pressure Washer with the Proper Nozzle
The right nozzle will depend on what kind of surface you are cleaning and how much pressure you need to apply. For harder surfaces and a higher psi, use a 15-degree spray nozzle. For softer surfaces and lower psi, choose a 25- or 30-degree nozzle. Make sure that whichever one you use is rated for the PSI of your pressure washer. Otherwise, it could break or fly off during use.
Do a Pressure Wash Test
Before diving headfirst into pressure washing your entire house, do a test run on an inconspicuous spot like an outbuilding or driveway. A test run will show you how far away from the surface you should stand while spraying and what cleaning techniques work best on that particular type of surface.
Spray and Scrub Siding
Working in 10-foot-wide sections, spray each section with the cleaning solution and use the black nozzle. If some sections of the house are too dirty or grimy, you can scrub by hand with a brush or sponge mitt attached to an extension pole. When scrubbing, start from bottom to top. If you live in a two or more storey home, start from the top story and use scaffolding for safety purposes.
Power Washing From Top To Bottom
Once you’re done scrubbing each section, power wash the area from top to bottom using light strokes back and forth across each area until clean. After completing each section, spray overhangs and gutters first so that runoff doesn’t streak down freshly washed siding. Be bold and go over an area a few times to ensure you rinse off all the soap and grime completely.
Q. Can You Pressure Wash Stucco?
A. Yes, you can pressure wash stucco. However, due to the nature of stucco material, it requires extra care when cleaning. If done incorrectly or with too much force, it can cause damage to the stucco’s surface and even cause it to crack or break apart. Use a low-pressure setting that won’t damage the material.
Q. How Long Does It Take To Pressure Wash A House?
A. The time it takes to pressure wash a house depends on size and condition. Generally speaking, an average-sized house with minimal buildup should take 2-4 hours to complete. A two-story house could take 6 hours or more. The time frame may also vary depending on how much dirt you need to remove from each area. In addition, if there is extensive mold or mildew buildup on your home’s exterior, it could take longer.
Q. Are There Any Areas I Shouldn’t Try To Clean Myself?
A. If you have hard-to-reach areas in your home, it’s best to leave those areas untouched or hire a professional cleaner with access to ladders or lifts that can safely reach them. Additionally, if you’re unsure how to use a power washer and are afraid you may cause damage, call in a professional instead.
Q. Is power washing the best way to clean mold off your siding?
A. Basically, it’s one of the most effective ways to get rid of mold on your house.
Q. Should you pressure wash your home before painting?
A. Yes! Regardless of how clean your home might seem, there is dust, dirt, and some debris that pressure washing will eliminate. Cleaning will make it easier for the paint to adhere to your walls.
Q. Can you pressure wash a house with just water?
A. You can, but this is not recommended as it may take longer to clean. You might also need to use high pressure to pry off the grime from parts of the house, which could result in damages. Get a cleaning solution formulated for your house materials, whether wood, stucco, or vinyl.
Q. Can I Use My Own Detergent When Pressure Washing My House?
A. Generally speaking, using any detergent not specifically made for a pressure washer could damage the machine, especially if you use bleach. Many pressure washer cleaning solutions available will work just as well to clean your home efficiently.
There you have it — now you know exactly how to give your home an effective deep clean with a power washer. When done correctly, power washing is an incredibly powerful way to restore a home’s exterior and look back into tip-top condition again quickly and easily without spending too much money.