If curb appeal is important to you, power washing could be the chemical-free answer to uncovering your home’s natural beauty. Power washing cleans up your home’s exterior and the hardscaping around the property, from algae-covered roof shingles to cobwebs under the eaves to bird droppings on the sidewalk.
Whether you decide to hire a professional for power washing services or you want to attempt the job yourself, here are some useful tips and tricks for cleaning up specific areas in your front and back yard.
Before you begin, turn off and cover all exterior outlets. Close all windows and doors, and cover nearby shrubs with plastic weighed down with bricks or secured with clear packing tape. Prior to repainting your home is a great time for pressure washing to remove dirt and peeling paint.
If you choose to use a cleaning solution, only use one recommended for siding. Bleach is not recommended since it can remove UV protection from vinyl siding. Start at the bottom and work your way up to avoid streaking. Rinse a final time from the top down for the cleanest finished look possible. If your home is higher than one story, use a telescoping wand to reach all the way up under the eaves.
Aim away from light fixtures and windows that could break under the high pressure water stream. Use a lower setting on the pressure washer to prevent damaging the siding or peeling paint off the walls. Avoid spraying beneath horizontal siding so water doesn’t infiltrate your home.
Roof and Gutters
If your roof has debris, mold or algae problems, it’s best to leave this cleaning job to the professionals. Reaching the high roof surface can prove tricky, and you don’t want to risk an accident. To prevent damaging the roof, use the lowest setting on your pressure washer, avoid chemical cleaners, and aim downward the way rainwater flows to prevent water from seeping up beneath the shingles.
Driveway and Sidewalks
The driveway and sidewalks are a big part of your home’s curb appeal. Dirty, dingy concrete or pavers are not appealing. Power washing removes ground-in dirt, mud and bird droppings without any hard scrubbing. Before you begin, protect surrounding flower beds from runoff by covering them with a tarp and weighing down the edges with bricks or stones to divert water into the street.
Patios and Decks
If you hope to revitalize your deck, thorough power washing helps create a clean slate before you re-stain it. By removing dirt, stains, rust and oxidation first, you end up with a more beautiful finished product.
In preparation for power washing, remove all furniture, planters and other decorations for unobstructed access to the entire patio or deck. Make sure you give your deck two or three days to completely dry after power washing before you reapply stain.
General Pressure Washing Tips
- Power washing provides the greatest results when performed in the summer out of direct sunlight. You don’t necessarily have to wait for a cloudy day; just power wash certain areas while they’re in the shade to prevent streaking.
- Don’t power wash any surface while standing on a ladder. You could easily lose your footing from the push you get when turning on a pressure washer.
- Keep an eye on your home’s siding, driveway and other surfaces, and plan to power wash them every one to two years or as needed.