Long gone were the days when people used their hands to scrub off the old paint. Now a pressure washer is a “life savior” in giving your house a glossy new coat in no time!
You can imagine how exhausted and time-consuming the task of manual cleaning is! It not only takes ages to remove the old paint but also does not guarantee the consistency of the cleaning. You may leave some patches and unremoved spots here and there!
That’s when a pressure washer comes into handy. This device will take the burden of cleaning off your shoulders by providing an efficient way to have the job done in a matter of minutes.
However, the biggest question here is “How to pressure wash a house properly?”. If you fail to apply the washer correctly, the high water pressure is likely to ruin the exterior, and you can soon say goodbye to your house’s fabulous look.
So, how to prevent this tragedy from happening? Keep reading my post until the end to find out the answer you need to master your pressure washer!
Do You Have To Pressure Wash A House Before Painting?
If you want to impress your neighbors with the house’s shiny and gorgeous new coat, then YES! House washing is a crucial step in every exterior painting application process.
Even though you think your house’s exterior looks clean enough, there are several spots you can’t see with your naked eyes and the cleaning will become pointless. Especially, when you start applying the new paint to the surface, which is not adequately washed, there is no guarantee that the color will last in the long run. You don’t want to waste a considerable sum of money on maintenance and paint replacement, do you?
Thanks to the fantastic invention of power washing, you can quickly get rid of stubborn dirt, the old ugly paint, chalking, and smelly mold that you are barely able to reach and see.
Pay attention to the chalking as it can be a pain in the neck if you don’t remove it right away by power washing. It refers to the old paint surface, which is broken down into small particles under years of being exposed to the sun.
To verify this, use your fingers to swipe over the paint film and see the white chalk accumulate on them. If you continue applying the new paint on this residue without pressure washing in advance, the paint won’t stick appropriately. The same thing happens with dust. Remember that you always need a clean surface for the paint to hold on.
In case you spot the growth of mildew on your home’s surface, let the power washing chemical substances get rid of those annoying problems that interfere with your long-lasting paint coat. Don’t try to “deceive” the mold as it will develop and break through the new paint at an incredible speed.
So, once again, pressure washing your house before painting is a MUST! This task not only ensures that the exterior is suitable for painting but also lengthens the lifespan of your new paint.
What Size Pressure Washer Do I Need To Clean A House?
Now you have known that pressure washing is an essential step in the paint application. Next comes another important part, which is to determine the suitable size of pressure washer for different materials and surfaces.
Experts often measure the pressure created by a washer in PSI (pounds per square inch). These PSI figures may vary depending on what you aim to clean. For example, for car washing, you only need a small amount of pressure to remove the dirt, while much pressure is required for cleaning stubborn oil stains.
Another factor to consider when it comes to the size of the pressure washer is GPM (gallons per minute). GPM informs users the number of water released from the machine every minute so that they can adjust their use and demands.
How much pressure does it take?
Besides, different tasks require you to meet different requirements. Thus, know exactly what you need to have the job done will guarantee your buying of a washer with suitable pressure.
For house washing, mainly paint stripping, a 4000 PSI washer is perfect to complete the job.
How much water does it take?
BINGO! The perfect combination of high pressure with huge water volume brings about a pressure washer for cleaning a house at a recording speed.
According to the time of use, you can easily adjust the GPM figures to suit your needs. For instance, a 14-minute cleaning time requires around 2 GPM, while a 4-minute one takes up to 4 GPM for quicker cleaning.
How To Pressure Wash A House
You have already purchased a pressure washer with a suitable size for yourself. Now let’s get the job started!
Before diving deeper into the central part of the article today, which is “How to pressure wash a house,” there are several necessary tools you need to prepare for a smooth and effortless house washing.
Required tools for DIY cleaning projects
- Bucket, sponge, rags, and detergent (for dealing with mold)
- Cleaning substance
- Protective gears (glasses, gloves, clothes, etc.)
- Power washer and nozzle
- Paint scraper
- Ladder (for reaching far-away places)
Note: Make sure to choose the detergent explicitly made for house cleaning and stay away from those which may ruin your surrounding plants and furniture.
- Keep the landscapes and other items out of the way
Before applying the washer, you should make use of plastic sheets to cover the plants to prevent the high water pressure from taking off all the leaves. Although these damages rarely kill your trees, they are likely to affect healthy growth.
Moreover, remember to cover the pipeline and other outdoor utilities as well before starting to wash your house.
- Get rid of noticeable dust and stains
Work from top to bottom with the pressure washer and non-chemical water (plain water). A full spray angle and a relatively low pressure can perform the trick correctly. Visible debris, such as leaves, dirt, or insect nests, should be your top priority to remove immediately with this step.
- Remove mold areas by applying a bleach solution
If noticing your siding has failed to retain its original color because of the mildew’s intrusion, consider mixing up 1 part of bleach solution with ten parts of water and applying the liquid to those areas. You can also make use of a spray bottle to distribute the mixture evenly.
Be careful not to let the bleach solution touch your trees.
- Apply the cleaning solution
The best time for carrying out this step is when there is no direct sunlight and strong winds. Fill up your pressure washer’s tank with the cleaning solution and start working from top to bottom. It’s advisable to make use of a low-pressure level and a wide spray angle for this task.
Perform horizontal stripes on the surface needed cleaning and gradually move upward. During the process, keep your hands steady at a downward angle when applying the solution.
A ladder is of great help here to reach far-away and inaccessible corners, which are impossible with your average height.
- Rinse off
Let the solution do its magic in about 10-15 minutes, then use clean water to rinse all from the top down.
You can see the difference in the order of execution between Step 4 and 5. The cleaning should always be done from the bottom and moving upward. In contrast, the rinsing requires a reverse order, which is from the top down. This difference is to ensure dirty water won’t flow through the already cleaned areas.
Rinsing often demands more powerful pressure and a broader spray angle, but make sure to follow the manufacturer’s advice carefully and wash off thoroughly.
As I mentioned earlier, too high water pressure is likely to damage your surface. Thus, keep the nozzle at an appropriate distance away from the siding at first and move closer slowly. Stop immediately if you notice any damage to the siding and consult the experts. Keep continuing with your cleaning only makes the problem worse and you can soon say goodbye to your new flawless paint.
How Long Do You Have To Wait To Paint After Pressure Washing?
In general, wait until everything is arid, let’s say 48 hours, before applying the new paint. Note that the timing may vary based on different materials. For example, wood sidings have a slow-drying feature than that of vinyl plastic or aluminum. If you can’t process the painting right after the pre-wash, don’t wait more than a month as dirt can accumulate, leading to another time-consuming and exhausting house wash.
Is Pressure Wash Your House Compulsory?
Of course, not! Feel free to apply other cleaning methods to give your house a new shiny look. But, in my opinion, these methods can hardly reach the practical level like a pressure washer and consume more time.
Always consult the experts or manufacturers to know what cleaning suggestions are available, what size of pressure washer fits your project, or which chemicals are safe enough to use.
In A Nutshell
How to pressure wash a house has never been more comfortable if you follow my instructions above carefully. If you want to clarify any of my points, don’t hesitate to drop a comment below and I will reach you as soon as possible!
I am a licensed architect who is passionate about all things home improvement industries, I have been doing DIY painting projects and have developed lots of experience around home improvement over the 10 years.