We bath ourselves, wash our cars and pets, and vacuum our carpets frequently.  Yet sometimes, we forget about cleaning the largest item most of us own – our house, specifically, it’s exterior.  Pressure washing is an excellent method for cleaning many of the surfaces around our home.

Most exterior surfaces around your Portland home respond well to being power washed.  With water commonly being shot out at between 1000 to 4000 psi, this type of washing offers a unique opportunity to clean deeper than simple hosing or manual brushing.

Pressured washed fence - before and after

Pressured washed fence – before and after

Examples of such suitable surfaces for power washing are concrete driveways, walkways, patios, brick patios, pavers or stonework (only if mortared, otherwise can be horrendously messy if packed with sand or dirt), siding of most types (except EIFS – susceptible to water intrusion issues), gutter exteriors, fences, and decks (both wood and synthetic composites.)

Siding Before and After

Driveway Pressure Washing - Side by Side

Driveway Pressure Washing – Side by Side

gutter exterior side by side

That being said, pressure washing is often best left to someone with much experience doing it – either a professional company or an experienced homeowner.

Dangers of Pressure Washing

  • First, there are physical dangers.  With pressures so high, a misguided water stream can easily rip though typical shoes and tearing skin and flesh.  Not a pretty thought or sight.
  • Next, incorrect washing can cause aesthetical damage.  The wrong tip, angle or distance can cause streaks or gouging in surfaces that may not be easy, if not impossible to correct. The susceptibility to streaking and gouging varies by surface and material, with wood decks often being the easiest to damage.

Concrete pavement is the one surface that can typically withstand full pressure.  Even then, types of concrete such as exposed aggregate can lose pebbles either from excessive pressure or even lower pressure if the concrete is aged.  Minor pebble loss on older, deteriorating concrete is to be expected, but caution and skill always help minimize it.

Pressure Washing Results

Despite the cautions, such deep cleaning can produce wonderful results.

Years of grime, pollutants, moss and/or mildew often come right off, leaving the underlying surface looking anywhere from refreshed to virtually brand new.  Often we don’t realize how dirty something actually is until we clean it.  When you consider that siding, pavement and decks constitute a large percentage of your house’s exterior impression, you start to understand what a difference pressure washing can make.  If you are preparing a home for sale, chances are very high that there is likely at least one surface that would benefit from a pressure wash.

It is good to remember that pressure washing can be a messy project, even though that may seem counter-intuitive since its purpose is to clean.  Often, it is only messy when mid-project and everything will eventually clean completely up.  Other times, a mess might get created that could stay for a while.  Examples of this would be power washing right next to a newly barked landscape bed or washing pavers that are not solid mortared but have sand or dirt between them.  Timing is often critical and sometimes, if you miss your window of opportunity (such as washing before the bark gets spread) it might be best to hold off on the washing, at least for a while.

There is one surface that we haven’t mentioned so far in this article, and for a good reason.  While you can pressure wash your roof, we do not recommend it as the first cleaning option.  Even with specialized machines (which we do possess and use when asked) with reduced pressure and increased water flow, pressure washing is still hard on a roof.  If at all possible, you want to look for other cleaning options first, such as air blowing, hand brushing, and treatments.

We love making homes look fresh, clean and beautiful again.  If you are ready for your home to look it’s best, please give us a call today.  503-590-9274.