When you want to pressure wash your house, one thing you will likely consider is how long the project will take. Will you need a couple hours to finish the job? A whole weekend? Something in between?
In general, it takes around three to five hours to pressure wash a small to medium-sized house. This estimate includes the time needed to complete the basic steps involved in power washing, such as:
- preparing the area you want to clean;
- setting up your equipment;
- spreading detergent on the area;
- letting the detergent set;
- rinsing off the cleaning solution;
- cleaning up the project area and
- putting your equipment away.
However, the exact amount of time for each pressure wash job depends on several different factors. Here are some reasons why your project might take more or less time.
The Size of Your Home
It might be obvious that power washing a 5,000 square foot home will usually take longer than trying to wash a 1,000 square foot home. However, there are other things to keep in mind besides your home’s footprint or the amount of space the house occupies on the ground.
Even houses that have less square footage overall can take a while to clean if the home has multiple stories or other hard-to-reach areas. This is because it often takes specialized tools and a higher level of skill to get these areas clean without mistakenly damaging the surface in the process.
Beyond the house’s siding, it is also important to consider the other areas you might want cleaned and that can add extra time. Other spots that homeowners commonly want pressure washed include the driveway, deck, garage floor, gutters, fence and sidewalk.
The Type of Siding on the House
The exterior surfaces of homes can be made from a wide range of materials, such as aluminum, stucco, brick, wood, fiber cement, steel, vinyl or stone. Some kinds of materials are delicate, which means it will usually take extra care and extra time to clean them. Some materials might not even be able to stand the pressure of a power washer. Meanwhile, you can pressure wash other types of siding such as vinyl siding, because it can withstand a bit more pressure.
The Shape of Your Home and the Landscaping Surrounding the House
If the outside of your home has a lot of angles or there are trees close to the structure, then it might take more time to power wash your house. This kind of shape and landscaping can make it difficult to reach all the exterior surfaces of your home. This means it will take longer to give them a good solid cleaning.
The Level of Grime on the Siding and Other Surfaces
As with anything in your house, if it has been a while since you have had your home’s siding cleaned, then the job will take longer. Additionally, the type of grime on the surface can affect how long the project will take.
For example, it can take a while to remove dirt, mold, pollen, moss or algae spots completely and safely. Without regular maintenance, this grime can build up and stain the surface, which means you might need to focus on a small area for a long time. Typically, it is best to power wash your home at least once every year or two to help prevent these kinds of stains and stubborn buildup.
Preparing the Tools
An additional factor that can add time to a pressure washing project is if you do not already have the tools and materials needed for the job. If this is the case, you will need to figure out which power washer makes the most sense for your home. Then, you’ll need to buy or rent the appliance, along with the other necessary tools and materials, such as:
- detergent specifically made for pressure washing;
- a rotating or utility brush to target areas with buildup or tough stains;
- an extension or telescoping wand to reach higher areas and
- safety equipment, such as goggles, gloves, pants, boots and a long-sleeved shirt.
Beyond the time involved in finding and purchasing power washing tools, it also takes time to learn how to use them. A pressure washer is a piece of high-powered equipment that can easily pierce your skin or damage your home if it is not used properly.
Because of this, it is wise to carefully read the directions for these tools before using them and to follow all safety precautions. Otherwise, instead of getting a clean home after your power washing project, you might end up with a hole in the side of your house or a serious injury to yourself or a family member.
Pressure washing is a time-consuming, messy and dangerous task for homeowners, especially those who do not have a lot of experience with this type of project. That is why it is best to hire a professional for any power washing job instead of taking a do-it-yourself approach. They can handle everything for you. That way, you can keep your home looking clean and beautiful without having to hassle with the mess and risk of power washing on your own.
Should I Pressure Wash My Deck?
Pressure washing the deck can be a great way to get it cleaned. Wooden decks typically need cleaning about once a year to prevent the buildup of mildew and other substances. This buildup can not only leave your deck looking dingy but can also degrade the wood.
Nonetheless, it is critical to use extreme caution when pressure washing your deck. These machines are powerful enough to damage brick and can easily ruin wood surfaces. That is why it is usually best to hire a professional to power wash your deck. They have the experience to know the best way to get your deck clean while also protecting the surface. Plus, these pros have the specialized training and tools to take care of all your deck maintenance needs.
If you want to try to tackle this project on your own, following some basic steps can help protect your deck and keep you safe in the process.
How to Pressure Wash a Deck
- Gather your equipment and materials. This includes a pressure washer with a fan tip, safety clothing and gear, pressure washing detergent and a friend to assist.
- Put on your safety gear and then prepare your project area. Close doors and windows around your deck and remove any objects that might get in your way like patio furniture. It is also good to tape plastic sheeting over electrical outlets and cover plants, shrubs and other vegetation in the area to help protect them from the cleaning detergent and high-powered water.
- Figure out which setting you should use by testing a small, out of the way area. Stand with the tip of the power washer at least a couple feet away from the surface. Then, start with the tool’s lowest setting to ensure your deck can handle the pressure. Then, slowly increase the pressure or gradually get closer to the surface as needed. This will help you determine the right pressure to get the surface clean without damaging it. This is important, as pressure washers can damage concrete if not used carefully. For most wood surfaces, you typically do not want to use any more than 1,200 psi and do not want to hold the tip of your power washer any closer than six inches from the surface.
- Apply a deck cleaning solution, starting by the house and moving outward. Use a sweeping motion and overlapping strokes that go with the grain of the wood or parallel to the deck boards. Once you have covered the entire deck, let the cleaning solution rest for a few minutes to set. Then, repeat the above process with plain water to rinse off the cleaning solution.
- Allow the deck to dry completely (this usually takes around 48 hours). Then, use sandpaper to buff any areas that are splintering or fuzzy. Lastly, apply a sealer to help protect the deck from warping or cracking.
Can You Use Dish Soap in a Pressure Washer?
While you can use dish soap in a pressure washer, it might not be powerful enough to clean surfaces like your deck or house as deeply as needed. With dish soap, you might have to go back over the same spot multiple times to remove a stain. Dish soap can also leave behind a residue and be difficult to rinse off. This means it might end up taking you much longer to pressure wash your home.
Typically, you should purchase a detergent that is made specifically for the kinds of surfaces you are cleaning. Most hardware stores carry specialized cleaning agents that are meant to be used with power washers. These cleaners are more effective than regular dish soap in removing the types of grime found on exterior surfaces.
Or, better yet, you can hire a pro. They will know what type of cleaner to use to get your surfaces squeaky clean, plus they can do all the hard work of pressure washing your home for you.
ABC Can Get Your Home Sparkling Clean
There’s a lot that goes into pressure washing a home. Instead of spending your weekend doing this messy project, contact ABC Home & Commercial Services. Our specialists are highly trained and will make your home look like new.