What Can You Pressure Wash?

man pressure washing a shingle roof

What is Pressure Washing?

What is pressure washing?  Is it the same thing as power washing? This is a common question, and in conversation, the two terms are used interchangeably, and while their basic function is similar, to remove dirt and more with high pressure of water, they aren’t exact to each other.  

Once we have answered a few questions here and provided some information, you’ll have a better understanding of the differences. So, the next time you need something cleaned, you’ll know whether you need a power washing or pressure washing service. 

Regarding the water pressure of these two, they have similar pressure, it depends on the machine. As with most motorized things, a household version isn’t as powerful as an industrial unit. The key element that differentiates between a pressure washer and a power washer is the heating element. 

A power washer and a pressure washer both create a high-powered stream of water, but a power washer goes one step further. It heats the water. Does that make much difference?  Pressure washing is what you are probably the most familiar with, like having your home pressure washed. It has the same level of pressure blasting, but the water isn’t heated. And while this will still clean your home or driveway, it can’t remove the tough stuff like mold, moss, or stains on your concrete driveway. 

Power washing is done with a machine that creates high-pressure water that is heated. With the high pressure and heated water, it will blast dirt and other materials from outdoor surfaces, including stubborn stuck on things. Where there is a salty residue after the winter, or mildew and mold on the outdoor surfaces like your deck, driveway, patio, and more, the heat will clean even stuck-on chewing gum. 

What can you power wash?

Power washing is ideal for large jobs because it is heated high-pressured water. Some surfaces that power washing is the way to go are: 

  • Any large commercial space
  • Extra big driveway
  • Large patio spaces
  • Any large concrete surface

Power washing these types of surfaces, the heated water will help the job go faster because the heated water loosens the debris and dirt. 

Can you power wash your house?

Absolutely! With caution. Power washing your home twice a year is a practice that can provide value. However, it can also cause damage and harm if you’re not careful. Don’t forget the value in power washing a driveway too! 

What are the Benefits of power washing?

There are several benefits to power washing your home, among them: 

  • Property Value: Your home will appreciate over the years, but as it ages, it gets dirty and can sustain damages, making it look old and rundown. Regularly scheduled power washing will ensure to maintain the higher value you want your home to display. 
  • Curb Appeal: A dirty house that is looking old and worn doesn’t have the curb appeal you want. From the house itself to the driveway, patios, and other components, having power or pressure washing will improve the curb appeal. 
  • Family Health: With algae, mildew, and mold on the exterior of your home, the interior is affected as the wind-blown particles enter opened doors and windows. Power or pressure washing will keep these cleaned off and minimize what gets inside your home. 
  • Repairs Reduced: With power or pressure washing, the layers of debris and grime that have built up are removed, making it easier to see what may need repair before the small issues become a big problem.

Other benefits of power or pressure washing are those annoying, unsightly cobwebs are removed. Any graffiti on your home is removed, if you’re planning on painting, this will prime the surfaces, and when it comes time for spring cleaning, it speeds up the process! 

Is pressure washing dangerous?

It can be if isn’t done properly, but that isn’t something that everyone realizes. There are four things that pressure washing your home could happen: 

  • Water in the Walls: An industrial pressure water starts at 1500 psi and goes up to 3300 psi. The higher the pressure, the more likely water will blast through any asphalt, concrete, or wood.
  • Missing Mortar: People living in brick houses should be just as careful with pressure washing, especially in older homes. As the mortar and brick age, they get soft and high-pressure washing can be blasted away easily. 
  • Gouged Wood: Pressure washing will knock off any loose paint, experts will use 3000 psi water to make this happen. However, if you don’t know what you’re doing, you can cause holes in the surface, damaging the siding.
  • Lead Paint: The older the house, the more likely there is lead paint lurking under the surface. Pressure watching will remove that lead paint and the chips will be blasted everywhere, including in the air where it can be inhaled. 

Can a pressure washer destroy concrete?

Definitely!  As soon as you notice any visible damage from pressure washing, stop. This can cause damage that is irreversible.

What supplies do you need for pressure washing?

The first thing you should have for pressure washing your home is the right type of machine. If your home is painted, has a soft-grain wood siding, aluminum siding, or is stucco, nothing higher than 1,500 psi is needed. 

 For a home with vinyl siding or a rugged material like brick, steel, or stone, a maximum of 3,000 psi is recommended. If your home is sided with fiber cement, pressure washing should be avoided. 

Supplies you’ll need for a properly done pressure washing are:

  • Drop Cloths
  • Duct Tape
  • Mildewcide Detergent
  • Bleach
  • Five-gallon bucket
  • Brush for siding
  • Stiff cleaning brush
  • Safety Goggles
  • Garden Hose 

Can you pressure wash windows?

Yes, with certain precautions, yes, pressure washing windows simplifies the process! Wood-framed windows need special attention between the frame and glass. The glazing should be intact and in solid condition. Check the caulking and weather stripping around the frame where the siding meets the window. 

man pressure washing a metal roof

In Closing 

The information we’ve provided should help you in choosing the right method for your home. But what shouldn’t you pressure wash?

Never attempt any pressure washing humans, pets, or plants because the power of the water could penetrate the skin of humans and pets. And pressure washing will destroy plants!