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How Outdoor Pressure Washing Works

Pressure washing is a great way to clean many outdoor surfaces, as well as prepare some of them for painting. At Colorful Concepts Painting, we use professional-grade pressure washers on our projects, but in this post we’re going to be referencing the electric- or gas-powered pressure washers homeowners can easily purchase or rent.

We can help you pressure wash your home, but if you’d like to handle it, do yourself a favor and check out the information below.

Things Which Can Be Pressure Washed

There are a number of different parts of your exterior which can be pressure washed, from decking and railings, to fences, patio and brick, as well as siding, stucco, doors, windows and trim.

Tips & Techniques For Outdoor Pressure Washing

1. Prep Work

Do research on the proper cleaner for the type of grime you are removing. Make sure you have the proper cleaner along with a 5-gallon bucket for mixing.

Before the day you want to spray, be sure to repair or replace any damaged siding to prevent water from getting behind it and causing a mold problem. Brick and mortar needs to be patched and allowed to dry for at least a week. Simply replace any damaged vinyl siding, but with stucco you’ll need to patch the chips and cracks and let them dry for at least a week.

Make sure the hose you wish to use is long enough, kink-free and can deliver the amount of water you need. Check your pressure washer documentation to find out how many gallons per minute (GPM) the machine needs. Then turn your hose on and time how long it takes to fill a 5-gallon bucket, and divide the time by 5 to find your GPM.

2. Tip Angles

Typical spray nozzle angles for pressure washers include:

  • 65° – the ‘detergent’ nozzle, used for spraying a cleaner onto the surface;

  • 25° – the ‘flushing’ nozzle, used for removing grime and soap; and,

  • 0° – the ‘blasting’ nozzle, only used sparingly on the toughest grime as it can easily damage your exterior if used improperly.

Depending on the pressure washer you rent or purchase, you may have access to more nozzles than this, but these are typical ones.

3. How To Spray

  • Ensure your water source is on, and is flowing through the machine and out of the sprayer hose before turning on the pressure washer. Set the sprayer to a low- or no-pressure setting to prevent recoil when the washer is started. If you’re using a gas pressure washer, you should remove the tip completely before turning on the machine.

  • Pull the trigger to prime the system and remove air.

  • Start the pressure washer and let it run for a minute or two before beginning to clean.

  • Adjust your pressure settings and tips.

  • Your first spray should be in an inconspicuous place, in case the sprayer causes damage to your property.

  • Spray at a 45° angle, never straight on. A straight on shot will drive grime deeper into the property rather than out of it.

4. Safety

Remember, water and electricity don’t mix. You’re going to get wet, and so is everything around which puts you at greater risk of electrocution. Watch above you for power lines, and don’t spray them or place ladders near them. Avoid blasting water directly into your home’s electrical service-entrance cable, electric meter, exterior outlets or lights.

When using a ladder, find a firm footing at about a 75° angle. If you’re at all uncomfortable with ladder work, hire a professional like us rather than risk a fall.

Don’t blast water directly into corners, under the edge of windows and doors or into dryer or attic vents. Don’t blast water at a steep upward angle under siding. Any of these moves can result in water getting behind your siding or inside your home, which can lead to mold issues.

Houses painted before 1977 may have lead in the paint, and any paint chips which come off will need to be collected and disposed of properly.

Advantages To Choosing Colorful Concepts Painting

Having an expert at your beck and call is always a distinct advantage. Our outdoor pressure washing professionals have years of industry knowledge and skill to make your next project true to the finish.

Our crew will advise you through the entire process to make sure it’s exactly what you want. Plus, we do all of the hard work for you, saving you time and effort, getting you back to living your life faster.

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