Before You Power Wash, Read This

There’s nothing wrong with caring for and cleaning your home’s exterior, but think twice before you power wash.  Although this technique can produce amazing results, it can also do more harm than good. Especially if you’re unfamiliar with power washers and power washing, in general.  At Schaefer Exteriors, we’re always here to help protect your siding, roofing, windows, and other exterior elements.  Just keep these damage-prone areas in mind before you turn up the pressure:

Siding May Be Waterproof…power washing siding

But it’s not designed to withstand the direct stream of a power washer.  Commercial power washing equipment packs a pound-force per square inch (PSI) starting around 1500.  As you creep up toward 3300 PSI, you can actually blow holes through tough surfaces, such as wood, asphalt, concrete, and—you guessed it—siding.  Apart from inadvertently damaging or loosening your siding with an inexperienced power wash, you may also direct water into your walls.

See, siding is designed to fit together seamlessly and steer water away from the structural elements of your home.  When you point the power washer directly in between the pieces, though, you risk soaking the interior elements.  Like your wood framing, insulation, interior walls, electrical components, etc.  This potential for water damage, alone, should make you reconsider the idea of a DIY pressure washing.

Power Washing and Windows Don’t Mix…

If siding struggles under pressure, then you can probably imagine what happens to windows.  While even the most inexperienced power washers tend to steer clear of glass, it’s not just the window panes themselves that you need to watch out for.  The area around windows, including the sealing and weatherstripping, can easily become dislodged during power washing.  If water leaks inside as a result, you could find yourself dealing with wood rot, mold, mildew, or other problems.  Be careful when washing shutters and/or screens, too.  You don’t want to knock your shutters loose or risk shredding expensive screens.

Yes, You Can Clean Your Roofing, Gutters, and More…

But you should proceed with caution.  Especially if you’re using a power washer.  While these upper features of your home’s exterior carrying a lot of dirt and debris, few homeowners think about actually cleaning them.  Gutters require regular maintenance in order to function properly, but who thinks about washing their roof?  Much less their soffits, chimneys, flashing, and more. 

It’s actually not a bad idea since these surfaces can accumulate moss, lichens, and other deposits. However, unleashing a power washer on your roof’s shingles can have disastrous effects.  If you really intend to use a power washer for this particular chore, then you need to use a very gentle setting.  Think of it as a thorough rinsing, rather than an active washing.  You’ll also want to double check that you don’t leave dirty standing water behind. In this case, it’s helpful to understand how you can activate the power washer’s steam setting to dry key areas. Including your gutters and soffits.

If you’ve read all this and still want to proceed with a power wash, we have one more piece of advice: call the professionals!  Look for a company that specializes in gentler techniques, such as soft washing.  To protect your home’s exterior, while still achieving that thorough clean we all want. For more information on preserving your siding, roofing, windows, and more, don’t hesitate to call Schaefer Exteriors!

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