A pressure washer sends out a stream of water under high pressure that blasts away dirt, debris, and almost anything else in its path. Pressure washing can lift grease off sidewalks and remove mold from almost anything. It can also blast away pieces of siding, push water onto the exterior sheathing of your house, leave grooves or holes in your deck floor, and flood your basement, as it uses a lot of water. Washing with a pressure washer is fun—no doubt about it. You can blast through just about anything in its path, and it’s an immensely satisfying endeavor. Pressure washing is beneficial when a hose sprayer doesn’t have the oomph you need. Last summer, I watched my niece pressure wash the cement around the pool, changing it from ugly black to its original cement gray; the house went from a greenish beige to cream (its original color). Yup, pressure washing is a great way to freshen things up.
Before you begin, though, do a serious inspection of the siding, checking for cracks and loose pieces. Look very closely at areas of heavier grime, as that might indicate a problem, such as a leak or some infestation like bats. Stay away from windows and doors with the pressure washer, as they can be severely damaged. Don’t bother to look at the roof. Pressure washing roof shingles can loosen and lift them. If you’re also going to do a wood deck, be careful about boards that show signs of cracking. Get that spray nozzle too close, and you’ll have holes. Set the pressure washer on the PSI (pounds per square inch) recommended in the machine’s instructions for what you’re cleaning. Wooden decks will do best on the lowest PSI setting. And never get closer than 12 inches to any surface. Some pressure washers allow you to use a detergent, giving you more pressure. However, do not use any product not specifically designed for a pressure washer unless you’re looking to purchase a new one.
The good ones— pressure washers—cost $60 to $100 for an electric one and $250 to $500 for a gas-powered washer (and, yes, gas-powered machines tend to be stronger). Note: Electricity and water can be a lethal combination. If you choose an electric one, follow safety instructions carefully. Also, on safety, and I shouldn’t even have to say this, do not point a pressure washer nozzle at any living thing. You can cause serious injuries.
If you haven’t invested in a pressure washer and only have a limited amount to do, consider hiring a professional. The cost of hiring someone that you know is insured and has experience is less than the cost of a good gas pressure washer. Plus, you don’t have to find a place to store the machine when you’re not using it.
Posted on March 30, 2021
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