If your home has accumulated some dirt, grime, algae or other unwanted materials on its exterior surfaces, you may feel like power washing or pressure washing is due. It is true that these services can quickly revitalize your outdoor space and keep your home safe from creeping intruders like mold and algae.
However, you may have heard that power washing can do damage to your surfaces if you are not careful, and you might wonder if there is truth to this. The short answer is that yes, it is possible to damage your exterior surfaces if you do not properly power wash them. This is why many individuals opt to trust a professional for this service instead of going the DIY route.
How Power Washing Works
Despite their seeming interchangeability, power washing and pressure washing are not the same thing. The difference is heat; where pressure washing uses a powerful jet of water, power washing makes that water hot in order to tackle certain aspects of a project. This heat can contribute to damage, but so can other factors.
The high pressure from a power washer combined with the high temperatures can make this project highly effective but also dangerous, and you should never use a power washer if you do not have experience or are around children, pets and other people.
Damage From Excessive Pressure Or Heat
One of the easiest ways to cause damage with a power washer is to keep it too hot or turn the pressure up too high. This intense jet of water can melt or warp some fragile surfaces if it is too hot, and the high pressure may chip paint, sealant or other wanted materials off of surfaces.
Depending on the model of power washer you are using, you could be faced with upwards of 2800 psi (pounds per square inch) of output from your device, which can exert an extraordinary amount of pressure on a small surface area, causing damage. The pressure output of the water jet on a power washer is adjustable, and different intensities are appropriate for different materials and needs.
The Distance Used Matters
You may think that getting up close and personal with grime will help to ensure that all of it is blasted away, but keeping your power washer very close to the surface you are cleaning causes many of the same problems as described above. By moving closer, you are increasing the power of the water jet, which can chip away materials and infiltrate deeper than you intend.
This may introduce water into areas you do not want; remember, materials such as brick are more porous than they appear. Do not forget, too, that the water is hot, and if you are standing close to a surface, you will be creating significant splashback. This can not only be harmful to the surface but dangerous for you and others as well.
Choosing The Right Cleaning Solution
When you use a power washer, it is also common to use a cleaning solution. Some cleaners can cause paint to lift or produce stains or other unwanted effects if used incorrectly or in too great a quantity. Consider leaving power washing with cleaners to the professionals so that you are sure that the right cleaner is being used for the job. Never use acidic cleaning solutions on wood, as they can cause it to degrade.
Hovering Over The Same Area
Even if you stand at some distance from the object that you are power washing, the water jet is still spraying at a high intensity. There is some skill and experience in the pace and movement of a power washer head; be sure that you do not hover over the same area for too long, as this can accelerate the process of breaking down the material that you are cleaning. Instead, move in regular, wide rows, keeping the spray of water moving consistently.
Trust The Experts To Handle Your Surfaces With Care
Power washing is a job best left to the professionals due to its potential hazards as well as the wide variety of decisions that must be made, from temperature and pressure to cleaning agents. The expert power washers at Waterproof Caulking & Restoration would be happy to help you clean your exterior surfaces—and as an added bonus, our knowledge of caulk and water intrusion into homes ensures that we do no damage to your existing waterproofing structures in the process. Reach out to schedule an appointment and rely on our help to achieve your project goals and beautify your outdoor spaces.