Many people depend on the rain to wash dirt and grime away from their property, but there may come a time when stubborn dirt and grime build up and even the heaviest rains won’t make a difference. Whether you are dealing with stuck-on mud, slippery moss, oily grime or damaging salt, powerwashing can save the day.
What Is Powerwashing?
Powerwashing entails using water at a high pressure to remove all manner of dirt and debris from surfaces and objects. This might include removing mud, dust, grime, mold, algae, loose paint or even chewing gum from surfaces such as driveways, patios, masonry, concrete, asphalt, fences, siding and building facades.
In some cases, chemicals may be added to make the surface cleaner, such as commercial powerwashing soaps, sanitizers, detergents, disinfectants, vinegar, baking soda or citric acid.
Things To Know Before Powerwashing
The results of powerwashing can be dramatic, but before embarking on a powerwashing project, it is important to have a full understanding of the right methods and safety procedures to follow. Here is a look at everything you need to know before powerwashing.
Difference Between Power Washing And Pressure Washing
Although the terms powerwashing and pressure washing are sometimes used interchangeably, they are actually two different processes. Both methods involve using water at a high pressure to clean surfaces, but powerwashing uses heated water, whereas pressure washing does not.
The best course of action depends on the surface in question. Although heated water will clean a surface better, it is not a good choice for masonry, concrete or brick, as it can be too harsh on them. For these materials, consider using a pressure washer in conjunction with an appropriate cleaner.
Know What To Wash And What Not To Wash
Here’s a look at what is suited to a power washer:
- Areas of the home that have heavy dirt, grease or slick surfaces because of mold. Heated water works well at loosening the stuck-on grime in addition to killing mold and moss and helping to keep them at bay.
- Big areas such as long or large driveways
- Hard surfaces that can withstand heat and pressure.
A pressure washer is suited to:
- Softer surfaces, such as siding, tiles and wood decks.
- Brick, concrete and masonry.
- Smaller driveways, decks and patios.
It is important to keep in mind that not every surface in the home can be safely powerwashed.
Here is a look at some of the surfaces to avoid:
Asphalt roofing: Using a power washer on asphalt roofing will remove its granules and destroy it.
Stained wood: A power washer can take the stain out of the wood. Although the wood could always be re-stained once it has dried, it is best to use a different washing method for stained wood.
Laminar sandstone: A pressure washer will simply wash away the sandstone or leave grooves in it. This material is too soft to power wash safely.
Older surfaces: Whether it is old furniture, an old deck or an old building, keep in mind that any dry rot that is present will disintegrate when a pressure washer is aimed at it. Even wood that does not appear to be decaying may be soft and could incur damage.
Anything that is painted: Although these surfaces can be washed in theory, this should only be undertaken by a professional who knows how to do it without destroying the paint.
Consider The Type Of Surface And Area Size
It is also important to keep in mind the size of the area that will be cleaned and its surface. If the area is larger and has a lot of mildew, salt or weeds, a power washer is typically the better choice.
You also need to use the right nozzle for the job at hand. A zero-degree nozzle has a very hard spray and is best reserved for algae, stains, mud and clumps of dirt. Meanwhile, a wide, 40-degree nozzle spray is ideal for sidewalks, decks, patios and house siding.
Know The Safety Requirements
When using either of these washers, safety is an important consideration. Water can come out of these machines at 2000 pounds of force, which is enough to send bits of stone and concrete hurling at someone else or ricocheting back at you with the force of a bullet. Here are some safety precautions to follow when using a power or pressure washer.
- Wear a full face shield or safety goggles when spraying.
- Start using the lowest setting available and test it on a hard surface before you use it on a soft surface or window.
- Start at the top of vertical surfaces and work your way down to prevent dirty water from dripping onto clean areas.
- Avoid spraying power washers at electrical outlets; these should be secured before you begin spraying to avoid accidents.
- Stay at least five to six feet from the surface you are cleaning until you have a good idea of how it will react. You can consider moving closer for more intense cleaning once you have determined it is safe.
- Never spray the washer at another person, as it could hurt or even kill them.
Consider The Time Of Year
Powerwashing should ideally be done in the spring or fall. Although it may also be undertaken on a winter day, it is important to check the forecast. Spraying water into crevices within a few days to a week of freezing weather could cause any remaining water to freeze and expand, leading to damage.
Work With Powerwashing Pros
Powerwashing can be a great way to remove built-up dirt and make your home look dramatically cleaner, but it can also damage your property or injure people if it is not carried out correctly.
If you would like to restore the appearance of your property, get in touch with the powerwashing pros at Waterproof Caulking & Restoration to find out more about their cleaning services or to arrange a powerwashing session.