When people consider the DIY projects that they feel comfortable tackling, many are drawn to pressure washing due to its seemingly easy use and the aesthetic appeal of the surfaces it has treated. However, it is important to remember that pressure washing uses extremely powerful jets of water, and failing to understand how to properly pressure wash your surfaces could open them up to damage. Can you really damage your exterior surfaces with a pressure washer? Before you begin your DIY project, make sure you understand the risks.
Can Pressure Washing Damage Your Exterior Surfaces?
In short, pressure washing can damage your exterior surfaces, but the majority of basic projects do not pose a significant risk. You do not need to rely on extreme pressure in order to tackle most of the surface cleaning that you likely have in mind.
If your project is particularly complex or is meant to tackle caked on grime, you will be best served by reaching out to a professional for many reasons, just one of which is to avoid potential damage to your surfaces. However, be aware that pressure washing on your own does still require some knowledge, and if you do cause permanent damage as a result of using water that is too powerful or going over an area for too long, you may end up paying more for your project than you budgeted in order to repair your mistakes.
What Pressure Wash Damage Looks Like
Concrete and wood are two of the most common surfaces that are subjected to pressure washing, but their requirements are actually rather different. Concrete, brick and other porous materials tend to respond well to high pressure that can penetrate the nooks and crannies of the material’s texture to flush out dirt and grime.
This means that you are less likely to damage these materials if you attempt pressure washing. However, wood and vinyl are a bit more delicate and can certainly benefit from the hand of the professional. Wood is softer than stone, which means that high pressure may impact its surface, and you can even knock vinyl siding loose by using too much pressure from a washer.
If you do accidentally damage your surfaces, you should know what to look for as an indication. Overall surface deterioration and pitting indicate that the pressure may have been too great for stone or concrete materials. Keep an eye out for any splintering if you are working with wood, and do not power wash your hardwood floors; the high pressure can cause the wood to splinter, and hardwood can soak up water, leading to the development of mold and rot that may compromise the material.
A professional pressure washer will understand how much pressure to use on a specific type of surface, as well as which detergents can be beneficial to remove dirt and detritus without the need for an aggressively powerful water jet.
Additionally, do not forget that pressure washing is often used to remove graffiti and other marks. This makes it less suitable for cleaning painted surfaces if you would like to preserve the paint. A professional can assist with cleaning painted surfaces without damaging them.
Preventing Pressure Washing Damage
Damage from pressure washing occurs in a variety of ways, and a skilled pressure washing contractor will be experienced in how to navigate all of these factors simultaneously to provide a good clean without damage.
Be sure to keep the wand moving so that you do not concentrate the spray on a single area for too long. Also, be cognizant of which nozzle you select and the distance at which you are spraying. You may be able to remove grime quicker if you place the nozzle very close to the surface, but this is not the best way to approach the problem.
The right level of pressure for your water depends on the surface you are cleaning and what its current condition is; if you are unsure how to determine the right pressure, consider asking a professional pressure washer.
Work with the Professional Pressure Wash Contractors
Using a pressure washer for a DIY project can be appealing, not only because it is a widely accessible tool but because many people enjoy the cathartic cleansing of their outdoor surfaces. While damaging your exterior by using a pressure washer is not always likely, it is possible, which is why most people choose to leave pressure washing to the pros.
There is no sense in risking potential damage to your surfaces when you can leave the project to a pro and enjoy a faster, more thorough and more convenient pressure washing. The experts at Waterproof Caulking & Restoration would be happy to help you navigate your project, so reach out to schedule an appointment and discuss any questions.