Power washing is important in maintaining the quality and image of your residential or commercial property. A dirty, grimy surface on the exterior walls, sidewalk, driveway, or deck is unappealing and not the visual you want visitors to have.
If you have limited experience in owning and taking care of your property, you may have some questions about pressure and power washing. To help, we’ve put together some answers to the questions most frequently asked.
General Pressure Washing FAQs
What is power washing?
Pressure and power washing is the application of a high-pressure water spray to surfaces that require cleaning. It is used on concrete and brick to remove mold, gum, and dirt stains.
It is used on residential home surfaces to remove pollution, mildew, and other signs of age. It is used on wooden decks to remove mildew and restore the wood’s vibrant color.
How often do most surfaces need power washed?
For most surfaces, an annual power washing is sufficient. However, the surface material and the current condition of the surface may require increasing the frequency of power washing.
What are PSI and GPM?
PSI indicates the pounds per square inch. The PSI is the force the water sprays in order to remove contaminants off the surface.
GPM is the gallons per minute that are sprayed to flush the contaminants pushed off by the PSI. Depending on the specific usage and the condition of the surface, you may want more PSI or GPM. For example, a business owner of a store may want more PSI to get the dirt and grime off the exterior.
Is power washing a do-it-yourself project I can do?
There is a clear distinction between a novice DIY and a professional service. A professional power washing business has better equipment and greater expertise due to trained technicians.
Professionals know the correct pressure to use for the unique condition and materials being washed. They know how close to hold the nozzle to the surface.
As a non-professional, it is easy to make mistakes that result in chipped painting, damaged windows, ruined siding, and uneven coverage on driveways and sidewalks.
What ingredients are used in commercial pressure washing?
Most of the main ingredients are the same with each company, even though they may be using different brands. A lot of companies mix their own cleaning solutions. The most important thing is to ensure the safety of everything used.
Different situations demand different chemicals. Here are some of the usual chemicals used:
- Ammonia – Effective in cleaning stainless steel and glass
- Bleach – Sanitizes and disinfects aggressively; it is a mixture of sodium hydroxide and sodium hypochlorite
- Citric Acid – Stain removal and cleaning of concrete driveways or wooden decks
- Oxalic acid – Useful in rust removal and other similar cleaning processes
- Potassium hydroxide – Used in making liquid soap or soft soap
- Sodium hypochlorite – Disinfects and removes stains
- Sodium hydroxide – Dissolves grease and fats and works well on glass and steel
How can I protect my plants during power washing?
There are a number of ways you can protect your landscaping plants during the power washing process.
Water your plants
By watering your plants prior to power washing, the detergent and chemical runoff is diluted.
Cover your plants
Use a plastic sheet to cover your plants. Be careful not to leave them covered for prolonged periods of time because it cuts off their air supply and ultimately kills them. To avoid this, only cover plants in the area that’s being power washed.
Use a detergent instead of bleach
Pressure wash that is detergent-based rather than bleach-based is more environmentally friendly because it is typically diluted to a 10:1 water-to-detergent ratio, making it less harsh on plants.
However, still yet, detergent can leave brown spots on plants. Be sure to water plants prior to power washing and rinse them afterward to avoid this problem
Residential Pressure Washing FAQs
How long should it take to power wash a house?
The answer to this question is “it depends.” It depends on the size of the house, the condition of the surface, and how dirty it is. Generally, however, for a typical house, it will take from about 30 minutes to 2 hours.
Add in an additional 15 to 30 minutes of setup and packing-up time. Small houses (1200-1500 square feet) can be done in about 30 minutes, while larger houses can take 2 to 3 hours to complete.
Do I need to be home for my services?
No, you don’t need to be home during washing. Make sure to close your windows and doors and provide access to a working water spigot.
What happens if it rains on my day of service?
You still get your house power or pressure washed in the rain or wind. If the weather is too extreme, the company will contact you about rescheduling.
Business Pressure Washing FAQs
What types of business buildings can be pressure washed?
Any type of building can be power or pressure washed, regardless of surface material or height. Whether a building is made from brick, concrete, or synthetic material, pressure washing is accommodative.
Commercial pressure washing the sidewalks in front of a building removes deep stains and leaves the sidewalk as if it is brand new.
Can pressure washing remove graffiti?
Yes, pressure washing not only removes dirt and mildew, but is also one of the most effective ways to remove graffiti. Most other cleaning methods simply are not powerful enough to remove graffiti, but pressure washers can handle it easily.
Can pressure washing prevent repairs?
Yes. Mold, algae, dirt, and bird droppings are not only visually unappealing, but they can also cause rot and wear, causing the building to deteriorate.
For instance, bird droppings, because they are very acidic, can build up and actually weaken the structure. Mold and algae can little by little destroy the structure of a building over time.
By removing these decomposing agents, you save money in the long run by preventing a variety of costly repair measures.
Contact Blue Wave Pressure Washing