Regular, consistent residential pressure washing by an experienced professional ensures that your home and property always look their best and that exterior surfaces are protected from mold, mildew, algae, and other damaging contaminants. However, many homeowners don’t realize that there is a difference between pressure washing and power washing!
Pressure washing uses high pressure to remove built-up dirt and grime from exterior surfaces, while power washing uses hot water to dissolve oily debris and residues you cannot clean with added pressure alone.
Most pressure washing companies will offer both forms of exterior cleaning, but it’s useful for a homeowner to understand a few vital details about these services, to ensure you choose the right company and the right form of cleaning for your property. Knowing how both pressure cleaning and power washing work can also ensure you rely on an expert for these services rather than assuming you can rent pressure washing equipment and tackle this job yourself!
Help for Choosing Residential Pressure Washing versus Power Washing
Check out some differences between residential pressure washing and standard power washing, and when these services are recommended for your home.
Pressure washing is about 100 times more powerful than a standard garden hose, which is why it’s so effective but sometimes outright dangerous for a residential property.
A pressure washer pushes away debris from your property’s surfaces; for example, high-pressure washing is effective for removing twigs, leaves, seeds, and other debris from gutters, sidewalks, and exterior decks.
Pressure washing loosens residues stuck to your property’s exterior surfaces, including chewing gum, food stains, built-up sand and silt, cobwebs, insect nests, bird’s nests, and thick mud.
High-pressure washing helps loosen and remove mud, dirt, sand, silt, and other debris ground into the pits and pores of exterior concrete and stone.
A high-pressure wand is useful for cleaning upper stories of a home while staying safely on the ground!
Hot water used during power washing helps dissolve oily residues, including automotive fluids.
Residential power washing is often recommended for washing away mold, mildew, and other biological contaminants.
Residues stuck to your property’s exterior surfaces after pressure washing might need power washing; for example, the hot water used during power washing can dissolve sticky chewing gum you can’t wash away, as well as tough food stains.
Power washing gutters and driveways dissolves or literally melts away tough layers of mud, dirt, and other debris.
Power washing with hot water removes pet stains from areas like outside decks and sidewalks, leaving behind a clean and safe surface.
When to Choose Residential Power Washing Over Pressure Cleaning
While both power washing and high-pressure cleaning have their advantages, you might note when to choose power washing with hot water versus cleaning certain surfaces with high-pressure washing equipment alone.
High-pressure cleaning might leave behind etching, scratches, and other marks on soft wood fences and decks. Too much pressure can also split and chip dry and brittle wood. Power washing is then often recommended for wood fences, decks, roofing tiles, and other such surfaces.
High-pressure washing can crack and even outright shatter windows, especially old and thin glass panes damaged from long-term sun exposure.
If your property’s metal, concrete, or wood surfaces are suffering from old and peeling paint, high-pressure washing might create even more chips and cracks in that paint or other such coatings.
Using too much pressure on window screens and screens for patio and entryway doors might shred those screens or weaken and bend them. Your window screens might then curve inward or outward or have loose mesh that allows in bugs, dust, and dirt!
Roof cleaning is best done with low-pressure washing, to avoid loosening shingles and tiles or washing granules off the surface of asphalt shingles.
While too much pressure can kick up dirt from concrete and other outside surfaces, pressure washing also removes weeds and other vegetation from the cracks and pits of concrete sidewalks and driveways as well as growth between patio pavers, edging, and other landscaping features.
Pressure washing reaches into the nooks and crannies of roof eaves, porch roofs, brick and mortar, and solid panel fencing, ensuring a proper clean of these materials and surfaces.
A pressure washer might provide enough cleaning power to make quick work of large surface areas, such as driveways, walkways, or exterior walls.
What Is Soft Wash Cleaning?
A soft wash power washing relies on certain chemical detergents or surfactants as well as the proper “dwell time” to get surfaces clean. Dwell time refers to how long you allow a cleanser to sit on areas to be cleaned, so that detergents have a chance to dissolve thick mud, dirt, and solid debris.
After surfactants dissolve thick dirt and grime, a low-pressure washing removes that debris without loosening roofing tiles and shingles, etching and scratching wood surfaces, or damaging exterior glass. Soft wash cleaning also dissolves thick dirt and grime, making it an excellent choice for residential gutter cleaning, pool decks, and areas where dirt and mud tend to build up or get ground into and caked onto a surface.
While soft wash systems are an excellent choice for exterior surfaces, remember that the detergents and surfactants used during a soft wash pressure washing can be quite strong. If you have sensitivities to cleansers or chemicals, it’s good to note that to your power washing contractor so he or she can schedule your soft wash pressure washing for a time when you’ll be away from home and those bothersome odors can dissipate before you return.
Why a Home Needs Professional Power Washing
It’s easy to assume you can rent or even buy the best pressure washing equipment available today and manage your own exterior property cleaning or house washing, but it’s good to rely on a professional power washing contractor instead. Even if you decide to use a low-pressure washer, you can still shatter a window or chip wood surfaces.
There is also a variety of pressure washer nozzles you might use, each of which has its own purpose! Some nozzles offer a wider spray for larger surfaces such as exterior walls, while others have a concentrated spray for removing residues like chewing gum, old paint, and thick mud. Still other nozzles have wider tips for use with thick detergents and solvents.
Residential pressure washing is also more dangerous than you might realize. Spray and splatter can injure your skin and eyes, and washing around electrical outlets and fixtures or running an electrical pressure washer’s cord through water puddles can result in shock and electrocution. Hiring a professional power washing contractor means protecting your property while also keeping you safe as well.
When Does a Home Need Professional Pressure Washing?
If you notice that your property’s exterior surfaces seem dirty, streaky, or otherwise rundown and dull, it’s time for a professional pressure washing! However, you might note when it’s time to call a power washing contractor near you, to ensure your property looks its best and is in good repair at all times.
If you enjoy spending summertime outdoors on a patio or deck, call for exterior house washing, deck washing, and gutter cleaning at the start of spring. A professional power washing contractor will remove mold, mildew, and other bothersome contaminants from these areas so you can breathe freely during summer months.
If you use lots of fertilizers and lawn care chemicals and additives on your property, arrange for exterior concrete power washing before wintertime. Concrete pressure washing removes lawn care chemical residues, protecting exterior surfaces from damage during wintertime.
Homeowners who enjoy opening all their windows during summertime should opt for professional window washing in spring. A window washing contractor will clean exterior glass as well as screens and window frames, providing a beautiful view to the outside. Dirty window screens can also be coated with dust, dead bugs, and other bothersome debris. Have these cleaned in springtime so you can enjoy fresh air in the home during summer.
Roof washing reveals areas of a home’s roof in need of repairs, including soft spots, water damage, and loose or damaged shingles. If you haven’t had your home’s roof inspected or repaired in several years, arrange for a roof washing so you can note if it’s time for a reroofing or other such needed work.
Before you decide that your home’s exterior deck, concrete sidewalk or driveway, or exterior walls need repainting or resurfacing, have these areas pressure washed! A thorough power washing removes years of built-up dirt and debris, restoring the color of these surfaces and making them look like new. A professional power washing also prepares those surfaces if you decide they still need new paint or other coatings!
Remember that it’s good to schedule pressure washing for your home anytime you feel it’s needed, and especially if you live in an area with lots of storms that leave dirt and debris on your property. A professional power washing keeps your property looking its best and ensures it’s always in good repair, as well as clean and hygienic and ready for you to enjoy!