Power washing is a great way to scrub and wash away dirt, grime, mold, stains and all kinds of crud from the exterior of your home. But not every element of your home’s exterior can be safely washed this way. Some things should not be exposed to water. Other’s should not be subjected to the pressures that a power washing will bring to bear- and a few things could take the water or the pressure- but not both. An outdoor electrical outlet, for example, may be waterproof and tough- but a power washer could blast it open and blow the protective rubber seal off. Here are four elements of your home exterior which can be safely cleaned using a power washer.
This material is tough and water proof and could benefit from a good power washing to blast away the dust, mud, cobwebs and other fouling it can attract. Wash vinyl siding from the top down using a consistent motion. Avoid directly spraying door casings and windows. Do not spray up into the soffits or the lower edges of the panels. While vinyl is tough, it is also light and pliant- making it easy to get water under it if you hit it at the wrong angle.
Concrete and Brick
Probably the one type of material that would benefit most from a power washing; concrete and brick are strong and water resistant. Even if you round out a corner or blow away a chipped piece, it’s not a big deal. Mold likes to grow on these low-lying elements, and power washing can blast away mold very nicely. Take care not to spray in-ground electrical elements. Also be aware that any draining system you may have might need help draining after you finish spraying.
Wood that you are preparing to stain can be power washed. However, treated wood and soft wood should not be cleaned this way unless you are planning to refinish it. If you have a very rough surface that you are not terribly concerned about but want to clean- like an old barn or fence- a power washing can be a good first step to improving it. It’s especially good if you want to refinish that old surface and give it a new lease on life. Be aware that any paint chips that come loose may be environmentally unsound, and can harm pets, plants, and children that come into contact with them.
It’s understandable that you might want to power wash the large painted outer surfaces of your home. This can be done, but only if the paint is in good condition. You will have to use a lower pressure setting to make sure you don’t damage it. Conversely, if the paint job is old and you plan to apply a fresh one, a power wash can be a viable preliminary step.