Homeowners who are preparing to put a fresh coat of paint on the exterior of their home or who are simply looking to get rid of that pesky mildew that grows in hard to reach places might be tempted to head to their local hardware store to rent or buy a pressure washer. However, pressure washing is one project where the only thing you should DIY is to pick up the phone and call a professional. When pressure washing is done by someone without the proper experience it can do more harm than good and result in permanent damage to a home’s exterior. It can also put the person doing the pressure washing in danger. In this article, we’ll cover a few ways DIY pressure washing can go wrong.
Pressure washing is an excellent option for cleaning vinyl siding because the power of the machines allows for a deep, quick clean in hard to reach places. Some machines are even equipped with nozzles that enable them to clean siding three stories off of the ground. But, at too close a range these extremely high pressures can result in visible damage to vinyl siding. This etching is irreversible and cannot be remedied without replacing the damaged siding.
Homeowners might see mildew on the outside of the house and think that pressure washing is the way to get rid of it. However, when done improperly, pressure washing can result in an even more dire mildew situation. Water can end up on the wrong side of a home’s lap siding if the power washer’s pressure output is too high. This leads to mold and mildew on plywood behind the siding that can’t be removed without tearing the siding off. And just like that a simple DIY pressure washing project becomes a costly siding replacement job.
The high power operation of a pressure washer requires some skill and accuracy. Someone inexperienced in pressure washing may incidentally aim the nozzle at their windows. When this happens the pressure of the water is enough to tear window screens and damage window seals that keep air and water from entering the home. Again, these are costly fixes that can be avoided by hiring a professional pressure washing service.
So far, we’ve only talked about how DIY pressure washing can lead to unwanted property damage. Yet, there is an even greater concern that comes with DIY pressure washing. According to a Consumer Reports article, 6,057 people were sent to the emergency room in 2014 due to pressure washing related incidents. Pressure washing can result in electrical shocks, lead-paint exposure, ladder fall incidents, and presents a number of other dangers.
Homeowners set on pressuring washing their own home should become aware of all necessary safety precautions and familiarize themselves with proper pressure washing techniques. For most homeowners though, the best option is to hire a professional for any pressure washing needs.