Tips for Pressure Washing Your Home

Whether your home is older or just becoming dirty on the outside, there is no more convenient or cost-effective way to clean the siding of your home than a pressure washer. It can easily blast away mildew, dirt, and muck that would take hours to remove by hand. If you are new to the concept, here is what you should know:

Safety

When pressure washing your home, make sure your siding can handle it. Concrete, vinyl, brick, and stone are all capable of handling a strong pressure washer (even stucco with the proper procedure). If your house has been painted, be cognitive that no lead was used in the paint. This can release harmful vapor you can breathe. Inspect your home for any areas that will need special attention. Remember, do not pressure wash your windows; they will break! Also, you should wear a pair of safety gloves and safety goggles at all time. The high-pressure water is strong enough to literally cut you! It is important to be aware of its power at all times and remember to stay safe.

What Is a Pressure Washer?

Your typical garden hose has an average of 35 psi. PSI is a measurement of Pounds Per Square Inch. A pressure washer will hook up to your house and amplify that tremendously. Some pressure washer will range from 1500-3500 PSI, but you can find some in a wide variety of ranges. Pressure washers can come electric, cordless, or gas-powered. The stronger the PSI, the more heavy-duty grime you will be able to remove.

Setting up Your Pressure Washer

Attach your garden hose and turn on the water. Your pressure washer will have an inlet and an outlet hose. Then hook up your outlet house with your high-power hose. You can select different tips to place at the end of your hose. Most pressure washers will have a wand which can allow you to control turning on and off the sprayer easily. Find out which tip is best for your project. Some pressure washers can be powerful enough to tear right through your siding. Test a discrete area to see which tip is best for the job.

Stucco Specifics

Since we are in Arizona, stucco is the most popular siding option in our area. To make sure you properly use your power washer on your stucco siding, you will want to be cognitive of the following: 

  • First, you should look for chips or cracks in the stucco. You do this because water can come in through those areas. If there is a crack or chip, it will need to be filled before beginning. 
  • Next, you will want to spray the pressure washer in sections. Each section should be completely rinsed, have detergent applied, and completely rinsed again before moving onto your next section.
  • Additionally, while you apply the detergent, you should water the area to soak up some of the excess detergent on your stucco walls.
  • Lastly, you will want a 20-degree nozzle for a standard surface. With your intense stains, place a rotating scrub brush on the hose. 

Since stucco differs from other siding options, ask your pressure washer sales associates for a complete run-down before renting or even purchasing the pressure washer. This will ensure you fully understand its power and capabilities.

Pressure washing your home is an effective way to get rid of dirt and grime. Be very careful when using a high PSI pressure washer. Do not use this on windows or on your car because it can damage them. For more insight on exterior cleaning, make sure to subscribe.

Stucco Maintenance

Many builders in the Southwest have turned towards stucco as a decorative finish to the exterior of homes. While vinyl and brick are both excellent choices, this low-maintenance siding is superior against the intense heat and has become a staple in many Southwestern home designs! Stucco is a plaster that is exceptionally durable and resistant to many traditional exterior home issues. However,?there are some of the low maintenance options you can do to keep your stucco looking brand new. Let’s take a look!

Staining 

While stucco rarely needs maintenance, you may notice over time some discoloring or mildew build up near areas with high shrubs or plants. Plants require water which can cause unwanted algae to build-up on your homes. This will not happen overnight, but you may notice over time that some stucco can begin to form darker spots. Using an oxygen bleach solution can help remove stains. That being said, do not use bleaches that are too harsh for the environment outside since these can kill your nearby plant life. 

Cleaning 

Stucco is a decorative concrete and is porous. Being naturally porous can allow liquids to penetrate it and absorb stains. However, painting your stucco should never be your first means of fixing the issue. You will not need a complex formula to clean your stucco. A power washer with some dish soap will do just fine. Test the power of your power washer in a hidden area to see how your home reacts. Next, spray down your home and watch unwanted mold and mildew build up disappear!?

Sealing 

If moisture gets into your walls, it can lead to unwanted cracking or bowing. Sealing your stucco is recommended. Being porous is stucco’s main vulnerability. By sealing stucco, you can prevent moisture penetration. New stucco should be sealed with clear concrete. Stucco sealing can be done every five years, and the waterproof finish will significantly improve the longevity of your exterior. Some sealants are made with micro holes which will allow water to escape but not enter. This gives your stucco the opportunity to breathe, and these sealants can last up to 10 years.

Stucco is very low maintenance. Remember, if you decide to paint your stucco, this can bring more annual maintenance. Depending on your preferences, you may decide to leave your stucco unfinished for lower maintenance. These simple tricks and tips will keep your curb appeal beautiful for decades to come.