As you’ve pulled your power washing machine out of the garage, hooked up your hoses, got your wand, which tip should you use? Well first off DO NOT use the little red tip, I have seen more damage caused by that guy then any other one, While the Yellow is great for concrete this too can cause significant damage, Now the green may ‘be good for brick, depending on if mortar is cracking the white tip will suffice, Now for siding and higher areas, Lowes sells what’s called a Second Story kit, a pink / light blue tips that are great for soaping and rinsing the high areas and its gentle enough to use on siding if you stand back away from your home at lower levels.
When it comes to chemicals, most professionals all use the same basic soaps to wash your home, there is NO “secret mix”. The primary ingredient is Liquid Pool Shock, which is 12% Sodium-hydrochloride, diluted with water and add a surfactant to help it stick to the surface longer. IMPORTANT: Always make sure you use Sodium-Hydrochloride, some pool shock is Calcium-Hydrochloride, and this has a severe chemical reaction when mixed with water. ALWAYS insure you are using Sodium based. It is also important to rinse off plants around your home with water both before and after as these soaps can cause damage to plant life.
Now that you are ready to wash your house, we look at some of the things you should avoid. Some may seem common sense but are often over looked. The first is electrical outlets, not only should you not directly spray but I have seen (even professionals) have runoff that gets behind the plug and start a fire. Another area to avoid is use of pressure on windows, you can blow out caulking, seals, glazing, and cause sever damage to your windows. Also, be mindful of doors, using a high pressure on the door causes it to ‘break’ the weather seal, allowing water to enter the home, before you know it 5 to 10 gallons of water is on your floor if your home is brick, be gentle around the mortar as you can cause the joints to be exposed. This also applies to EIFS. Roofs???
So now you have all the proper power washing equipment, Soap the sides of your home starting with the bottom and working your way up. Leave the soap on and give it time to dwell, usually around 20 minutes, its important not to leave the soap on too long as this can cause damage as well, it’s okay if you must soap it twice, if needs be just do one side at a time, as this will be more manageable. Now that your ready to rinse, start from the top and work your way down, A good tip to remember is ‘Soap up, rinse down’.
Now when it comes to your roof, I HIGHLY recommend hiring a professional, this is one of the most dangerous area to work. Also this requires specific equipment that we use called ‘soft washing’ machine, that operates at roughly 60psi. Never ever use, or let a company use pressure on your roof.
This article was written by James, owner of Innovative Glass Window Cleaning & Pressure Washing, located in Knoxville, Tn.