From Dan on May 15th, 2008 in Tools and Tips
After a good year of work, wear, and weather on your outdoor surfaces, it’s time to get things clean and sparkling again. If your wood deck is looking worn or your driveway or patio are stained, and a good scrubbing won’t do the trick, then your next option is power washing.
Power washing, or pressure washing, will work for common outdoor surfaces such as concrete, wood, aluminum, or vinyl. It can eliminate stains, grit, dirt, mildew, moss, or peeling paint. Power washers are great tools for preparing surfaces for repainting or staining. For wood, they do an excellent job of returning grey, weathered decks or fences to their natural appearance.
Power washers can be found easily at your local rental shop. It is best to use wide-spreading fan tips for close-up cleaning such as decks, patios, driveways, and low siding. Spear tips can be used for high, hard to reach areas. It is vital that you use long, arc-like sweeps with the nozzle, or wand. Power washers typically run at 1,500-2,000 psi and will leave noticeable lines in concrete or wood if pressed too close to the surface or stopped abruptly.
On a safety note, do not ever point the wand at another person as water at such a pressure can be harmful. It is a good idea to wear knee-high rubber boots to protect your feet and legs from the highly pressurized water. I have personally seen feet, legs, and even arms cut severely from wayward spray. Often homeowners choose contractors who specialize in outdoor cleaning to do the work in order to achieve uniform, professional work. But usually you can do the job yourself. Just be wary of permanent scarring. Get practice first in a less visible area of the surface and enjoy the satisfaction of your renewed deck, patio, or gleaming siding.
photo credit: Power Washing of San Diego