Pressure washing is a fast and affordable way to spruce up your property. Pressure washing, when done correctly, can remove dirt, moss, debris and weeds from hardscapes, grime from building windows and exteriors and stains from decks and fencing. This task is easily accomplished by even a novice operator, as long as care is taken.
Pressure washers are available for rent from most equipment rental companies and home improvement stores.
The following steps will help guide you to success when pressure washing.
Make sure you understand the basic operating procedures for the pressure washer you are using – how do you turn it on and off, what type of fuel does it require, how do you hook up the water source, etc. While there are some variations between models, basic operating procedures should remain consistent across the board.
Make sure you have (and use) the proper safety gear. All persons operating a pressure washer should have eye and ear protection. Eye protection because small objects can be thrown or ricocheted by the pressure washer. Ear protection because pressure washers can be quite loud and protecting your hearing is a priority.
Make sure the nozzle at the sprayer tip is the correct one for the job you are tackling. A wide fan spray is effective for light work over large areas. A fine spray tip is more effective for spot treatments and heavily stained areas.
Keep in mind, the finer the spray, the more pressure you will be applying to the area being worked. Because of this, caution is required when spraying old, cracked, damaged, porous or soft surfaces. It is possible to cause damage to any surface if the force exceeded by the pressure washer exceeds the integrity of the surface. If you have any doubt as to the durability of the surface or whether the nozzle you have chosen is the correct one, perform a test spray in a hidden or out of sight area before moving on to more visible areas. This way, adjustments can be made before any damage occurs.
When pressure washing any area, it is best to begin at one end (or side or corner) and work across the surface, as opposed to beginning in the middle. This will allow for an orderly progression and ensure you do not miss any spots. This will also help to wash all generated debris off the surface in one direction, eliminating the need to sweep off the area once the pressure washing is completed.
Use the pressure washer by applying smooth, even, overlapping strokes to the surface being worked. It is important to overlap because it can be easy to miss a spot and any areas missed will be very obvious, once the surface dries, in the form of dark stripes. Take your time. A careful, organized approach will yield the best results and will save you much time and frustration.
If the surface you are cleaning has stains, try pressure washing the area first, then apply a product designed to remove the type of stain you are faced with (for example, a degreaser can be very effective in removing oil stains). Let the product sit for the amount of time stated by the manufacturer, then pressure wash the area again. Chances are the stain, if not removed completely, will be very much reduced. Repeat as needed.
Keep in mind what is downhill of the are you are pressure washing – especially if using any special products for stain removal, if you are working in an area with existing oil or other potentially dangerous substances present AND/OR if you are working near any waterways.
Pressure washing can be performed annually for most surfaces. Regular pressure washing can keep your property looking fresh and clean. As long as your surface integrity is strong, you can pressure wash as frequently desired.