Have you ever noticed that the side of your house seems grimy and mossier than it used to be? Are you trying to figure out how to remove an old coat of paint from your house to prepare it for new paint? If so, power washing may be a good option for you.
But before you run out and get a pressure washer, you need to know the proper procedure for power washing a house. If you don’t follow the right guidelines, you could wind up with some expensive siding repairs – or medical bills – on your hands. Read on to discover the right way to pressure wash your home.
Prep the House
The first step in pressure washing your house is to prep it for the process. Pressure washing can be a great way to clean and strip old paint off of wood, aluminum, vinyl, and brick siding, but it’s not a good idea to use it on hardboard siding. It’s also not a good idea to use it in areas where you want to keep the current coat of paint intact.
Start by doing any repair work needed on your siding before you begin pressure washing. Replace rotten boards and reattach loose ones to the house. You don’t want to get under a board while you’re working and send a stream of water through your wall.
Once your house is prepped, hook your pressure washer up to the outdoor faucet. If you want to clean paint without removing it, hook up the 25-degree nozzle, adjusting down to the 15-degree nozzle if needed. Don’t use the 0-degree nozzle, since it can cause severe damage to the siding.
Make sure you wear safety goggles to keep paint and other debris out of your eyes. You also need to wear clothes that can get wet; we guarantee you’ll be drenched. It’s also a good idea to cover the ground and shrubbery around your house with tarps or drop cloths to catch loosened bits of paint.
Pressure washers may look like fun squirt guns, but they pack a punch of more than 2,000 pounds per square inch. Never ever point them at yourself or anyone else, and never try to rinse off your hands or feet with them. They will strip the flesh off your body in just a few seconds.
Make sure you never use a pressure washer while standing on a ladder, since the recoil could knock you off. Be sure to avoid any electrical contact while you’re working, since pressure washers do use water and could electrocute you. And always keep two hands on the wand to make sure you maintain full control over the machine.
Find an inconspicuous area of your home and test out your pressure washer setup before you start on the full siding. Make sure the nozzle is the right degree to clean or remove your paint without damaging the siding. It’s a good idea to find out what is the best pressure washer for your job before you begin.
Also, use this time to refine your pressure washing technique and get used to using the tools. Start about two feet away from the siding and move closer until you find the distance that will clear the grime or paint without damaging the material. Once you get the hang of using the pressure washer, you can move on to the rest of the house.
Start at the Top
Start your pressure washing at the top of your house and work your way down. Otherwise, you’ll have to go back and rinse off what you just cleaned as the grimy water from the upper levels washes over the lower portions. As much as possible, try to keep your nozzle pointed down to avoid sending spray up underneath your siding.
Use an extension wand to reach the upper sections of your home, making sure to maintain careful control over the pressure washer during this process. As we mentioned, never ever work with a pressure washer while you’re standing on a ladder. As you get upper sections of your home clean, work your way down, swapping out the extension wands as needed.
While you’re working, be sure to avoid windows, light fixtures, and other breakable objects on your house. A pressure washing stream can shatter a window easily and can cause shorts in electrical circuits. If you’re in doubt about whether you should pressure wash an area, don’t.
Be sure to avoid shooting water into gaps or cracks in your siding. Never direct the stream into soffit vents on your house, and try to avoid directing it underneath siding. And keep an eye on your siding as you work to make sure it isn’t taking damage from the pressure washing.
Scrub Inaccessible Areas
There may be some areas of your house that you cannot reach with a pressure washing wand, even with a twelve-foot extension on it. Do not try to reach these areas to pressure wash them from a ladder. Instead, you’ll need to scrub these areas by hand.
Start at the lower levels and work your way up to the top when you’re scrubbing by hand. Be sure to rinse often during this process and keep the siding below your working area damp to avoid drip marks. When you’re done, rinse the entire area down with a garden hose.
Learn More About Power Washing a House
Pressure washing is a great way to clean up siding on a house and prepare it for a new coat of paint. But you have to be careful when you’re power washing a house. It’s easy to do damage to your house or yourself if you don’t use the proper procedure.
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