You’re getting ready to paint your house. There are several steps to getting your house prepared, and we covered them in a previous article. One of those steps is washing your house using a powered pressure washer.
Using a pressure washer can seem daunting if you’ve never done it. Let’s take a look at a few tips and tricks to get you started cleaning your home’s exterior.
Which Pressure Washer Should You Use
Washing your house is a big job. You’re going to want a pretty high powered washer to get the job done. We suggest using a heavy duty gas powered washer. Using an electric machine could take 2 or 3 times longer to use.
GPM stands for Gallons per Minute. You’re going to want a power washer with a high flow rate so you can get the job done quicker. A power cleaner with at least 2.3 GPM should do the trick.
Next comes the question of should you rent or buy. If you think you’ll use it for more than just your house, it might be better to just buy one. Renting a pressure washer can cost almost $100 per day. Buying a new one will cost you around $300.
You’ll need a soaping nozzle for applying detergent. Using a 25 or 40 degree nozzle tip is usually the best for washing houses. You’ll also need an extension wand for reaching hard to reach places.
Before You Get Started
There are a few safety precautions you’ll want to take before you get started. You’ll want to avoid injuries and accidents while on the job, so here’s a few tips to keep you safe.
Make sure you have eye protection. This is mandatory. A simple pair of safety glasses or goggles are all that is needed. Without eye protection you’ll be getting water and soap in your eyes, which is never fun.
You should avoid using ladders when possible. The push back from the washer could end up knocking you off. This is why we mentioned using an extension wand previously.
This should go without saying, but you should stay clear of power lines. Water and electricity don’t mix. Take a walk around the house and make note of where they are at and stay clear of them as much as possible.
While you’re walking about the house, you should clean up any debris, toys and trash. You’ll want to make sure you’ve got a clear route as you make your way around the house.
You’ll also want to make sure you close up any vents or openings that you don’t want water getting into. This can save you from cleaning up an unwanted mess when you’re finished.
Pressure Washing Your House
When you first start out, it’s best to keep your pressure a little low. When washing painted surfaces at a high pressure you can wreck the surface if you’re not careful. 1500 psi should be good enough to start.
Make sure you start at the top of the wall and work down. You don’t want to push dirt back into spaces you’ve already washed, so keep your nozzle pointed down, not up or straight at the wall.
Try to keep at least a foot away when you’re at a lower pressure. You can move closer for tough areas, but be careful. When you raise the pressure up a bit, 3 feet is a good safe distance unless you’re tackling something hard to remove.
If you’re using a cleaning detergent, try to find something that’s environmentally friendly. If you can find something with a lower pH it will be better for the houses exterior and nearby plants. Make sure you don’t let the detergent dry on the walls.
Once you are finished, make sure you let the house dry before painting. It may take a full day or even longer depending on the weather. Applying paint to a wet house can wreck the entire job, so make sure it’s good and dry.
Pressure washing your house can seem like a big task, but with the right tools and preparation it can be easy. If you want help, call us! We’d love to hear about your next painting project and would be honored to work with you on it.