Using high-pressure water could cause more harm than good.
While rejoicing in the great spring thaw, you might’ve noticed Old Man Winter didn’t leave your home exterior the way you left it last fall.Get quotes from up to
From general grime to bird droppings, many homeowners want to shine up their residences for the warm-weather months. Pressure washing is an option that often comes to mind, but those in the business say to proceed with extreme caution, whether you want to do it yourself or hire out.
“If you don’t know what you’re doing, you can damage your siding. You can blow a hole in it,” says Mike Spiczenski, of highly rated Indiana Roof and Exterior Cleaning in Indianapolis. “Plus, you’re usually shooting up, and because siding has vents, water will get in there and you can get wood rot between the siding and your home, or rot the siding itself.”
J.R. Merrill, of highly rated Under Pressure in Baltimore, has a straight-forward recommendation.
“Hire a licensed, professional pressure washing contractor that cleans with low pressure and detergents to clean the house,” he says. “It’s not worth causing damage to save a buck.”
Merrill and Spiczenski say pressure washing is meant more for concrete surfaces and decks. When it comes to homes, Spiczenski draws comparisons to other basic tasks.
“Do you wash your dishes in the dishwasher with no soap or detergent, or run your car through a car wash without it?” he says. “Why would you use just pressure water to clean your home?
“You don’t get a good clean. If you’re trying to remove algae or grime, just plain water won’t do it. If you aren’t disinfecting, it’ll come right back the next year.”
Dear Angie: What kind of companies can I hire to pressure wash a home and a wood deck? Are there any risks with power washing? — Alan M., River Vale, New Jersey
What pressure washing professionals do
To clean a home exterior, Spiczenski and Merrill both apply a custom soap solution that also acts as an algaecide and fungicide. While Merrill uses an application gun that can hit from 30 feet, Spiczenski uses stabilized ladders to achieve results. Spiczenski also uses a soft “salt and pepper” brush to scrub prior to rinse.
For that final rinse, both use low-pressure water that effectively cleans without causing damage.
“Pressure washing is an art,” Merrill says. “You have to know about different scenarios, different types of siding, oxidation and how it reacts to pressure, a lot of things.”
While they’re 600 miles apart, Merrill’s and Spiczenski’s prices are virtually identical. Merrill says his average job costs $300 to $350, while Spiczenski puts his range at $275 to $375.
Both provide full pressure washing services for roofs, gutters, decks, driveways, walkways and stone features.
Spiczenski says part of his job is to give homeowners an accurate assessment of whether cleaning is what they need.
“I’m a new set of eyes. I see things because it’s my business, and I see things they don’t see,” he says. “Sometimes I tell them we can’t make an improvement, and that they’re better off spending their money another way.”
articel via angieslist