Your Complete Pressure Washing Guide
Using pressure washers for difficult to clean surfaces is growing in popularity. There are a ton of different reasons that power washing is becoming more and more popular every day. First and foremost, they are a very effective modern convenience that saves the user incredible amounts of time and energy that would normally be spent on any cleaning project. For that reason alone, they are very practical tools that can be used in many different environments.
The Best Uses for Power Washers
- To clean your deck: Use the pressure washer to remove the dirt and the discoloration of old wood on your deck. The pressure removes the greyish color and makes the wood look like new.
- To clean vinyl siding: The pressure washer can remove dust and debris from your home's vinyl siding. In areas where the vinyl doesn't get any sun, you can use the pressure washer to remove the mold and mildew that accumulates in these areas.
- To clean the underside of outdoor equipment: Whether you're cleaning the underside of a lawn mower or you're getting into the hard to access areas of your BBQ grill, pressure washing can get it looking brand new. It's even effective for cleaning lawn furniture, garbage cans, and window screens.
- To clean concrete: Power washers are also very effective in cleaning concrete block foundations, driveways, cleaning grease spills on garage floors, and even pet areas that generally give off odors and stains.
Types of Surfaces That Work Best for Power Washing Service
There is no doubt that there are many different uses for a good pressure washer cleaning but there are certain surfaces that tend to respond better to this type of cleaning. It is very effective on a number of different surfaces but is probably most often used in the following areas.
- Pressure washing around your home: If your sole purpose for your pressure washer is to keep your car clean then you could probably get by with a small electrically powered model. With this type of washer you can easily clean your car, truck, boat, sidewalks, decks, lawn furniture, fences, and aluminum or vinyl siding on your home.
- Industrial uses for a pressure washer: Pressure washers are also commonly used in many industrial settings. Cold water washers are often used to clean machines, vehicles and buildings on a daily basis and they are very efficient in removing stubborn dirt and stains. Hot water washers are often used to get an even deeper clean in many different settings.
How to Choose the Right Pressure Washer
Choosing the right power washer will depend largely on what you plan to do with it, how often you plan to use it, and your budget. If you plan to only use it for seasonal cleaning (once or twice a year) then you will probably be satisfied with the low end of the line, direct drive washer that you can find at a neighborhood hardware store.
100 hours or more: If your use of the washer is more frequent, you should consider using an industrial model. These are designed to hold up under hours of difficult uses.
How Often Should You Wash
The answer to this question will depend largely on the surface that you are washing. Some materials can withstand the pressure more frequently than others but as a general rule of thumb consider these points.
- Your house: Pressure washing your house exterior should be done at least once a year, however if you live in an area that gets a lot of airborne dust and dirt, it might be best to do it twice a year.
- Your car: Cars are not as durable as the exterior of your home so the frequency of washing will really depend on the type of washer you use. In order to avoid damaging your paint or water getting forced under paint scratches and other areas of the car, you need to use a low-pressure machine to remove the dirt and debris. Professional car washes use these types of washers and are quite effective. Frequency is not as much of an issue as your technique in using the machine; although some experts recommend a weekly washing should be sufficient.
- Your equipment: When it comes to tools there are many things that must be considered before you decide to pressure wash. The frequency of washing will depend not only on the washer you use but also the amount of pressure you apply, the type of chemicals you use, and your own technique.
The best advice to be given when it comes to pressure washing is to ensure that you learn how to use your washer correctly and that you start at a low pressure and work your way up to avoid damaging the surfaces of the areas you clean. When you know how to use your washer correctly, you should be able to gauge for yourself how frequently it should be used.
Risks of Damaging More Delicate Surfaces
To avoid damaging the surfaces you're cleaning there are several things you need to keep in mind:
- The amount of pressure: Always start using your washer at the lowest possible pressure to protect the surfaces that you clean.
- The angle: You also want to pay close attention to the angle of the spray of the washer. The more direct the angle the stronger the pressure will be on the surface. Start your force at a low angle and increase to a more direct angle if needed.
- The chemicals you use: Carefully select the chemicals you use for your cleaning job. Some chemicals can be too harsh for the surface you plan to clean so it would be best to consult a professional for assistance in choosing the right chemicals to use on your cleaning job.
Power Washing Cost
Depending on the type of pressure washer you buy the prices could range from as little as $150 - to as much as $500 for a home model. Industrial washers could be priced well into the thousands depending on your specific demands or needs. When it comes to buying or renting a pressure washer there are many models you can choose from. For those who are having difficulty deciding, the best way to narrow down your choices is to know exactly how you plan to use it. With that knowledge you can better gauge how much pressure you'll need to complete the job and then list washers that will meet your expectations.
- Light and Medium Duty Washers: Great for washing vehicles, sidewalks, stairs, fencing, outdoor furniture, garage floors, driveways, siding and stain removal. These will usually average around $100.00 each. Depending on the model and psi you choose the cost could be a little more or less.
- Multi Duty Washers: In many cases gas powered washers are more effective and practical for many jobs around the home. Average cost will run you around $200.00.
- Heavy Duty: Ideal for outdoor surfaces, stain removals, and paint preps. These will usually run around $250.00 but depending on the make and model could cost into the thousands.
Most homeowners choose to hire a power washing company because they are not only experts in getting your things clean, but they are also cost efficient.