Why you shouldn't pressure wash a house? - Cleaning Talk - Professional Cleaning and Restoration Forum
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post #1 of Old 06-14-2018, 02:06 PM Thread Starter
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Why you shouldn't pressure wash a house?

never pressure wash your house. Everybody pressure washes their house. But few people know that the way it’s usually done is NOT good for your house.

You may just be going with the crowd, but in this case, the crowd is wrong, and you’re likely causing big damage that you have no idea about.

Pressure washing is usually the first step in getting a new paint job, so I see a lot of painters doing it and doing it wrong.

It’s not just unknowing homeowners doing this, it’s the professionals as well! Painters and pressure washing companies walk away from a house with a clean exterior, but the work they did has caused untold damage inside the walls of the house and other places.

There are four main reasons you should never pressure wash your house. Four ways that pressure washing does more harm than good. At the end, I’ll discuss the right way to way wash the outside of your house, but first the bad way.



Reasons to NOT Pressure Wash


#1 Water in the Walls
To me, this is the worst kind of damage you can do with a high pressure washer to a house. Commercial pressure washers shoot water at pressures starting at 1500 psi which isn’t too destructive, but they can go upwards of 3300 psi, which will blast through solid wood, asphalt, and even concrete (I’ve done it) if they’re close enough.

If you have a wood frame house with any kind of wood siding (clapboards, shiplap, board and batten, shingles, etc.) there is an excellent chance that washing your house with a high pressure washer will shoot water up under the siding, potentially soaking wall cavities, insulation, wiring, flooring, plaster, etc. Nothing is beyond the reach of these powerful water guns.

[Tweet “Your house is full of gaps and cracks and high pressure water will always find its way in.”]

Once the water is in the wall, it is often difficult for it to evaporate. Often, in the painting process, a house is pressure washed, then caulked and patched and finally painted. Essentially, the painter is soaking the inside of the walls and then sealing the water in with a fresh coat of caulk and paint.

I have seen moldy insulation, crumbling plaster, and cupped flooring all from a pressure washer’s work. Nothing in your walls likes to be wet so keep it dry.


#2 Missing Mortar
A lot of people think that since they have a brick house, they are safe to pressure wash. Think again! Old brick and mortar are softer than the new stuff today and can be easily blasted away with high pressure water.

I’ve seen brick houses with the mortar almost completely blasted away by pressure washing. And the expense of repointing a brick house is probably 10 times what the pressure washer charged you to wash your house.



#3 Gouged Wood
When pressure washing, a lot of painters will get right up close to the surface to try to blast loose paint off. They often succeed and then that 3000 psi water is blasting right into bare wood. It digs holes in the surface and furs the wood grain up damaging the siding.

Unless you’re into carving your name into the side of your house with water, this is yet another reason not to pressure wash.

#4 Lead Paint
It’s always there lurking beneath the surface on an old house. We all want it gone, but removing paint with high pressure water is not the solution.

It causes lead paint chips both small and large to be blasted all around the yard and get mixed into the soil where the kids can potential ingest it.

If you don’t have kids, think about the neighbors or the next folks. Lead paint is everyone’s responsibility. Read more about lead paint safety here.





When You Should Pressure Wash
Don’t think that I am against pressure washers. They are a great tool, I just see them being misused way too often. There are times and projects where a pressure washer is the best tool for the job and I want to be sure to mention those as well.

Some projects work best with high pressure (2000-3000 psi) and others with lower pressure (1250-2000 psi)

Decks (Low pressure)
Railings (Low pressure)
Wood Fences (Medium pressure)
Vinyl Fences (Medium pressure
Asphalt (Medium pressure)
Concrete Driveways & Sidewalks (High pressure)
Metal Patio Furniture (High pressure)
Stone and Pavers (High pressure)

So, if pressure washing is dangerous for your house what can you do to get things clean?



The Low Pressure Option
I’ve found that using a homeowner grade pressure washer allows me to safely wash a house with the pressure low enough to be relatively safe and I’ve outlined my methods in an earlier post Pressure Washing an Old House.

Ultimately, the safest way to clean and prep the exterior of your old home (especially wood houses) is to use a regular garden hose and spray nozzle along with an extension pole with a nylon scrub brush.

It takes longer, yes, but it actually does a better job at cleaning the house and preparing for paint in addition to being a hundred times safer for your house.

I’m not sure how many of you will follow this advice, but I would be remiss to not tell you the dangers. What you decide to do with the information is up to you!

Refrence: thecraftsmanblog com

Last edited by ColemanA; 06-14-2018 at 02:07 PM. Reason: refrence
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post #2 of Old 06-14-2018, 05:33 PM
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Very informative post, and thank you.

Several months ago my landlady hired a (cheap) pressure cleaner to clean the building and sidewalks. This jerk used a VERY high concentration of bleach and water. So much the smell made me feel faint, hours later. He damaged a TON of my flower garden and shrubs, and the worst thing was he lied to me. When he got there, I asked him how much bleach he planned to use. He told me he would "Go light" anywhere near the front garden. A total lie. It has taken me two months to nurse my plants back to life, and some had to be replaced entirely. Yes, the sidewalks looked better, but at what price?
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post #3 of Old 06-15-2018, 09:23 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by missannienow View Post
Very informative post, and thank you.

Several months ago my landlady hired a (cheap) pressure cleaner to clean the building and sidewalks. This jerk used a VERY high concentration of bleach and water. So much the smell made me feel faint, hours later. He damaged a TON of my flower garden and shrubs, and the worst thing was he lied to me. When he got there, I asked him how much bleach he planned to use. He told me he would "Go light" anywhere near the front garden. A total lie. It has taken me two months to nurse my plants back to life, and some had to be replaced entirely. Yes, the sidewalks looked better, but at what price?
I am so sorry to hear this! Honestly, I have "burned" one or two plants before but I have always paid to replace them. Did you reach out to the company about that? If you haven't I would recommend that. Also, I use a product called roof snot so my chemicals stick to the siding of the home when I apply detergents and use a product to mask the smell of the bleach.

I cant post links yet but check out this website to learn how to vet pressure washing companies southcoastpressurewashing com/how-to-pick-pressure-washing-companies-in-houston-texas/

I took out the . so I could post.

Again, sorry to hear about your bad experiences.
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post #4 of Old 06-15-2018, 04:55 PM
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Thank you. My landlady considers us "low rent" (her words, not mine). She always hires the cheapest handymen she can find, and the entire building is chock full of bad, ugly repairs. Its sad, becuse it could be a very nice building! I did not get the name of this man or his number. I went through my landlady and her response was - well, she refused to help. OR give me his number. This lady is truly a difficult person, and the less I have to do with her, the better.

My plants, for the most part, survived. It was touch and go for several months. Bleach just isnt good for living things! And I douobt it is good for buildings as well, and your post confirmed that.

Life goes on.....
Annie, in Florida
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post #5 of Old 08-28-2018, 07:08 AM
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Really very informative and helpful post.Thanks for sharing.
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